Analyzing Multicultural Literature


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Analyzing Multicultural Literature

  1. 1. Analyzing Multicultural Literature Dragons ELE 616 Readings and Research in Children’s Literature Fall 2008
  2. 2. A Matrix for analysis Diversity Homogeneity SOMETHING NOTHING Local, specific substantial content General, but still substantial and meaningful Generic, lacking in depth or real meaning Recognizable, but shallow Everywhere Elsewhere Nowhere Somewhere
  3. 3. Two continuums <ul><li>Diversity----------------Homogeneity </li></ul><ul><li>Something----------------Nothing </li></ul>Analyzing Multicultural Literature
  4. 4. The Vertical Continuum <ul><li>Diversity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the condition of being diverse : variety ; especially : the inclusion of diverse people (as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Homogeneity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the quality or state of being homogeneous </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>of uniform structure or composition throughout <a culturally homogeneous neighborhood> </li></ul></ul></ul>Analyzing Multicultural Literature
  5. 5. The counterweight continuum <ul><li>Something—Nothing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ . . . something [is defined] as a social form that is generally indigenously conceived, controlled, and comparatively rich in distinctive substantive content; a form that is to a large degree substantively unique.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ In this case, ‘nothing’ refers to a social form that is generally centrally conceived, controlled, and comparatively devoid of distinctive substantive content .” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>George Ritzer (2004). The Globalization of Nothing , 3,7. </li></ul></ul></ul>Analyzing Multicultural Literature George Ritzer
  6. 6. Huh? <ul><li>Something </li></ul><ul><ul><li>By “something” Ritzer means often unique objects, persons, services, etc. that have deep meaning, are often created and controlled by people in the local area where they are used or encountered , or have universal significance. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Nothing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Essentially, Ritzer is saying that “nothing” refers to objects, persons, services, etc. that are shallow, unoriginal, and created and controlled by impersonal entities far away from where they are used or encountered. </li></ul></ul>Analyzing Multicultural Literature
  7. 7. Examples of something--nothing <ul><li>SOMETHING NOTHING </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Place (community bank)---------------Nonplace (credit card co.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thing (personal loan)-------------------Nothing (credit card loan) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Person (personal banker)--------------Nonperson (telemarketer) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Service (individualized assistance)---Nonservice (ATM) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adapted from Ritzer, G. (2003, September). Rethinking globalization: Glocalization/grobalization and something/nothing . Sociological Theory, 21 , 3: 196 . </li></ul></ul>Analyzing Multicultural Literature
  8. 8. Important to consider! <ul><li>Evaluation is subjective </li></ul><ul><li>No absolute positioning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Some elements of diversity in otherwise homogenous texts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Nothing” does not necessarily mean that a book is completely devoid of “something” </li></ul></ul>Analyzing Multicultural Literature
  9. 9. Back to the matrix Analyzing Multicultural Literature SOMETHING NOTHING Local, specific substantial content General or universal, but still substantial and meaningful Generic, lacking in depth or real meaning Recognizable, but shallow Diversity Homogeneity Everybody Anybody Nobody Somebody
  10. 10. Application to Literature??? And to Dragons????
  11. 11. Top Left Sector of Matrix <ul><li>Something for Somebody </li></ul>Analyzing Multicultural Literature Diversity SOMETHING Somebody Folklore : Folklore is the body of expressive culture , including tales , music , dance , legends , oral history , proverbs , jokes , popular beliefs , customs, material culture , and so forth, common to a particular population, comprising the traditions (including oral traditions ) of that culture, subculture , or group . ( Wikipedia )
  12. 12. Dragons in Folklore <ul><li>Chinese Dragons </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Xiao Sheng and the Dragon’s Pearl </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Xiao Sheng, a boy living in the days of cloud-breathing dragons, is both hard-working and good natured. He gathers fresh grass to sell in the market in exchange of meager income to support his mother. One year, when the village goes through a severe drought, Xiao Sheng finds a patch of grass, lush and never diminishes in size no matter how much he's cut it. Xiao Sheng finds a pearl buried near the patch and brings it home to please his mother, and also replants the grass near his house. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Read more </li></ul></ul></ul>Analyzing Multicultural Literature
  13. 13. Dragons in Native American Folklore <ul><ul><li>The Seven Headed Dragon – Ojibwa </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sacred Medicine Water – Caddo </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Chenoo, or the, story of a cannibal with an icy heart -- A Passamaquoddy and Micmac Legend </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Search the First People website for other examples! </li></ul></ul>Analyzing Multicultural Literature
  14. 14. Bottom Left Sector of Matrix <ul><li>Something for Everybody </li></ul>Analyzing Multicultural Literature Diversity SOMETHING Homogeneity Everybody Quality literature, sometimes adaptations, or else original writing, with universal appeal and meaning for everyman and everywoman
  15. 15. An dragon who is something for everyone <ul><li>Smaug </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Smaug the Golden was the greatest dragon of Middle-earth to survive into the Third Age . In the year 2770, he attacked the Lonely Mountain and drove the dwarves out, claiming their treasure as his own. Killing Smaug and reclaiming the treasure was the object of the quest in The Hobbit . </li></ul></ul>Analyzing Multicultural Literature
  16. 16. A Webquest on T he Hobbit <ul><ul><li>by Audrey Weaver, Purdue University Calumet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You will be going on an internet adventure. Along the way, you will meet the author of The Hobbit, and you will discover what it means to be a hero. </li></ul></ul>Analyzing Multicultural Literature
  17. 17. A good dragon for everybody <ul><li>My Father’s Dragon </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A Newbery Honor–winning title and a favorite among children, My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett, is a humorous adventure story about a clever and resourceful boy named Elmer Elevator, who runs away to Wild Island to rescue a baby dragon. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>My Father’s Dragon </li></ul></ul></ul>Analyzing Multicultural Literature
  18. 18. Top Right of the Matrix <ul><li>Nothing for Anybody </li></ul>Analyzing Multicultural Literature Diversity NOTHING Anybody Recognizable stories, but unoriginal and shallow
  19. 19. Dragon stories that are nothing for anybody? <ul><ul><li>In this first of the Dragon Slayers' Academy series, Wiglaf, the put-upon sensitive son in a family of louts, heads off to school along with his faithful pet pig, Daisy. . . . This lightweight, amusing adventure rattles right along, without pretensions and with, given the series title, a resolution that cleverly avoids violence--Wiglaf slays the dragon with bad jokes. An entertaining confection. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 7-10) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates Review cited by Amazon </li></ul></ul></ul>Analyzing Multicultural Literature
  20. 20. Bottom Right of the Matrix <ul><li>Nothing for nobody </li></ul>Analyzing Multicultural Literature Homogenous NOTHING Nobody Generic, unoriginal, impersonal, shallow
  21. 21. A dragon that could be nothing for no one? <ul><li>What about the Dazzling Dragon? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>When Princess Daisy hears that a real dragon is being brought into the Princess Academy, she is terrified. What will her friends think of her being such a scaredy cat? But later Princess Daisy has a chance to show how brave she really is... </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Blurb from The Tiara Club website </li></ul></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Reminder! <ul><li>Evaluation is subjective </li></ul><ul><li>No absolute positioning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Some elements of diversity in otherwise homogenous texts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Nothing” does not necessarily mean that a book is completely devoid of “something” </li></ul></ul>Analyzing Multicultural Literature