Literary theories and approaches- a review

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  • 1. Darwin T. Carlos ABE IV-3D Sir. Raffie The teachings of literature and literary theories and approaches have gained popularity throughout the years and they also have engraved their names in the field of academe wherein these two play an important role in the teaching of literature especially in the pedagogical context. Literature has been part of human life; from the very beginning before human exists literature was already taught and perceived through spills of words from God’s time until this modern era. What makes literature remarkable? It’s simply because literature touches and drives human emotions and feelings that shape one self and it affects one’s perspective. Literature is always and will always be part of human life it lives on the bloodstream of every human and it is inseparable to us, it doesn’t matter if you read books or not through hearing you can learn literature. It is something that lives in every nation around the world regardless of time, language and culture. Thus literature conquered the world; the world is full of literature and continuously spreading its “virus content” that moves every people. The world has embraced literature; literature has also embraced the world. It is something that talks about in groups of people: tribes, cultural organizations, religious groups and especially in the academe sector. “The history of literature is the history of literary criticism.” This is something the emerged simultaneously; they are twins and married couples that cannot be separated from each other, inseparable regardless of period, culture nor language. Literature cannot live without its lover and that is criticism. Literary theory sometimes called “critical theory” or “theory” with the discipline of literary studies that can be understood as the set of concepts and intellectual assumptions on which rests the work of explaining or interpreting literary texts. Thus, literary theories and approaches refer to any principles in multiple interpretive situations. There are two present periods: the early and modern theories that could be involved in the development of theories of literature. Here are some of the literary theories and approaches that bloomed and marked their names in criticizing literary pieces. Psychoanalysis approach by Sigmund Freud wherein text can be read as an author’s unresolved
  • 2. issues in life, resulting in his/her evident work. Marxism theory by Karl Marx wherein literature is a reflection of the unending and irreconcilable and ongoing class struggle of ruling class and proletariat in a particular society. Reader response approach by Gerard Prince wherein literature may be judged according to how the reader perceives it instead of what the author intends. Feminism approach wherein literature may be interpreted as a battle of the sexes or a reaction or result of oppressive patriarchy. New criticism theory by John Crowe Ransom wherein it is a reaction to tradition, works that may be interpreted or judged purely from what is apparent in the texts. Archetypal by Carl Jung wherein it assumes that there is a collection of symbols, images and motifs that is archetypes that evokes basically the same response in all people. Structuralism by Gerard Barthes wherein literature is concerned with the language, culture and society. Autobiographical approach by Paul de Man wherein work may be seen as autobiographical in nature and highly subjective that is lacking of objectivity. Cultural studies wherein literature is judge according to its role or use from practical to profound in daily life of a given culture. Post modernism wherein a negative reaction to modernism, it means a text may be reinterpreted with the reader being doubtful of the ways it has been interpreted before. Biographical approach wherein it views literature as a reflection of an author’s life and time or of the characters’ life and times. Deconstruction by Jacques Derrida wherein texts must be read many times to be able to get the real meaning of a text. And there are still literary theories and approaches that are in the development. The birth of literary theories and approaches serve as an ally of literature that makes it more creative and more complementary and helps to conceptualize the pedagogical import of texts of literature in to ideological stand points. The academe sector is the most known and one of the earliest producers of literature from Aristotle’s time up to this modern time. Through the ages literature is taught, analyzed and criticized by people most of them are scholars. Most of the literature of the world is placed in the pedagogical line. Literature pieces are being taught in school, they are being studied, analyzed and criticized through the aid of different literary theories and approaches. It is evident that these literary theories and approaches have set the standards on how a literary piece be
  • 3. analyzed and criticized. Through the use of these literary theories and approaches teaching of literature became more convenient and more accessible to criticize and judge because bases were set by different pioneers and proponents of different theories and approaches. It is very uplifting that there are literary theories and approaches that are available that can be used when it comes into teaching of literature wherein teachers and students can have clear objectives on how they will analyze and criticize a particular literature. This shows that teachers and students can have a good rebuttal or exchanging of ideas when having discussions of different literary pieces. The vitality of literary theories and approaches have made clear and certain standpoint in the academe sector on how it will be used as a tool in analysis of literature. They gained a huge space in the field of teaching particularly literature, without these theories and approaches literature is boring and dull in a sense that it is only a drawing without color, color that adds beauty to a literature. No matter what happens literature and literary criticism are inseparable forever, one cannot live without its lover, the criticism. From the foregoing discussions, it has been established that literary theories are very vital tools for literature to achieve its goal to communicate to its audience. It is not required to argue that the ‘naughtiness’ in form of ‘lack of comprehension’ common in texts of literature is resolved by literary theories. What I have done in this paper is the discussion of the prominent literary theories and approaches that help to make literature more enjoyable and meaningful to its readers and users. And how literary theories and approaches are use in educational sector when teaching literature.