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Analyzing literature 2012 with audio

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  • 1. Analyzing Literature
  • 2. Structure, Content & Style
  • 3. Approaching Texts All texts share three common elements:  Structure  Content  Style
  • 4. Structure Structure is how a text is built Think of the structure of a text like the frame of a house Structure can include sections, chapters, order of ideas, line breaks (poetry), acts and scenes (drama) A text’s outline reveals its structure
  • 5. Content Content is the ideas and information in the text Think of content as what is in the house (e.g. furniture) Content can include things like plot, character, main ideas, theme, dialogue A summary of the text reveals its content
  • 6. Style Style is the unique way the author has presented the ideas in the text Think of style as how the contents of the house are decorated Style can include things like word choice, use of language, syntax, sentence structure, imagery Identifying what makes one author/text different from another reveals style
  • 7. Structure, Content & Style Any text can be analyzed using these concepts – short stories, novels, plays, poems, essays, non- fiction texts, letters Structure, content, and style work together and often overlap
  • 8. Critical Approaches to Literature
  • 9. Critical Approaches to Literature The same text can be looked at through more than one “lens” These “lenses” are known as critical approaches Critical approaches to literature are developed by readers who look for different meanings in a text Critical approaches are created in different time periods and generally reflect cultural changes that are happening at that time
  • 10. Common Critical Approaches Formalist Criticism Biographical Criticism Historical Criticism Psychological Criticism Mythological Criticism Cultural Criticism Reader Response Criticism
  • 11. Formalist Criticism Literature is a form of knowledge with intrinsic elements – style, structure, imagery, tone, and genre What gives a literary work status as a great work of art is how all of its elements work together to create the readers experience Appreciating a text requires close reading – a careful, step- by-step analysis and explication of the text Style and theme influence each other and cant be separated if meaning is to be retained
  • 12. Formalist Criticism "Extracting" elements in isolation (theme, character, plot, setting, etc.) may destroy a readers aesthetic experience of the whole Formalist critics dont deny the historical or political situation of a work, they just believe works of art have the power to transcend them Formalist criticism is evaluative in that it differentiates great works of art from poor works of art Formalist criticism is a "scientific" approach to literary analysis, focusing on "facts amenable to "verification" (evidence in the text)
  • 13. Biographical Criticism Real life experience can help shape (either directly or indirectly) an authors work Understanding an authors life can help us better understand the work The focus is always on the literary work under investigation
  • 14. Historical Criticism Investigates the social, cultural, and intellectual context that produced it This investigation includes the authors biography and their culture Seeks to understand the impact of a work in its day and how meanings change over time Explores how time and place of creation affect meaning in the work
  • 15. Psychological Criticism Great literature truthfully reflects life and is a realistic representation of human motivation and behavior May choose to focus on the creative process of the artist, the artists motivation or behavior, or analyze fictional characters motivations and behaviors
  • 16. Mythological Criticism Mythological criticism studies recurrent universal patterns underlying most literary works Combines a variety of academic disciplines – anthropology, psychology, history, comparative religion Demonstrates how the individual imagination shares a common humanity by identifying common symbols, images, plots, etc. Identifies "archetypes“ – symbols, characters, situations, or images evoking a universal response
  • 17. Common Archetypes: Characters The hero - The courageous figure who runs in and saves the day The outcast - he or she has been cast out of society or has left it on a voluntary basis; the outcast figure can oftentimes also be considered as a Christ figure The scapegoat - gets blamed for everything, regardless of whether he or she is actually at fault The star-crossed lovers - the young couple joined by love but unexpectedly parted by fate The shrew - nagging, bothersome wife always battering her husband with verbal abuse
  • 18. Common Archetypes: Situations/Symbols The task - a character, or group of characters, is driven to complete some duty of monstrous proportion The quest - the characters are searching for something, whether consciously or unconsciously; their actions, thoughts, and feelings center around the goal of completing this quest The loss of innocence - a loss of innocence through sexual experience, violence, or any other means The initiation - process by which a character is brought into another sphere of influence, frequently (in literature) into adulthood Water - a symbol of life, cleansing, and rebirth; it is a strong life force and is often depicted as a living, reasoning force
  • 19. Cultural Criticism Examines literature in its cultural, economic, and political context Explores the relationship between the artist and the society Focuses on the social content of literary works
  • 20. Reader-Response Criticism Attempts to describe the internal workings of the readers mental processes Recognizes reading as a creative act or process No text is self-contained, independent of a readers interpretive design The plurality of readings possible is all explored – critics study how different readers see the same text differently, and how religious, cultural, and social values affect readings Instead of focusing only on the values embedded in the text, this type of criticism studies the values embedded in the reader
  • 21. The Literary Canon
  • 22. The Literary Canon What is a cannon? What is a canon? “An authoritative list, as of the works of an author" and "a basis for judgment; standard; criterion." Belonging to the canon confers social, political, economic, and aesthetic status Belonging to the canon is a guarantee of quality
  • 23. The Literary Canon What is the role of the canon in literature? What is the impact of the canon on literature? What are the drawbacks of the literary canon?
  • 24. Questions?
  • 25. Works CitedEsch, Stacy. Critical Approaches to Literature. 2002. 4 Aug. 2008 <http://brainstorm-services.com/wcu-2002/critical- approaches.html>.PageWise. Understanding Literary Archetypes. 2002. 4 Aug. 2008 <http://www.essortment.com/all/literaryarchety_rabl.htm>.University Scholars Programme Project. “The Concept of Literary Canon: An Overview.” The Victorian Web. 1989. 4 Aug. 2008 <http://www.usp.nus.edu.sg/landow/victorian/gender/canon/cano nov.html>.