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Elit 48 c class 7 post qhq


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Elit 48 c class 7 post qhq

  1. 1. ELIT 48 C: CLASS #7
  2. 2. AGENDA • Lecture: New Criticism • Discussion: • The Great Gatsby • Application • QHQs
  3. 3. CRITICAL THEORY IS A TOOL! • Our goal is to learn to use the tools as a way to put together an opinion about a piece of literature. Each of you will encounter tools that are easier or better for you to use, and that is fine. But for now, let‟s focus on learning how to use each tool.
  5. 5. NEW CRITICISM • Generally, New Criticism (or Formalism) maintains that a literary work contains certain intrinsic features, and the theory “defined and addressed the specifically literary qualities in the text" (Richter 699). • Formalism attempts to treat each work as its own distinct piece, free from its environment, era, and even author. This point of view developed in reaction to “forms of 'extrinsic' criticism that viewed the text as either the product of social and historical forces or a document making an ethical statement” (699). Formalists assume that the keys to understanding a text exist within "the text itself," ("the battle cry of the New Critical effort" and thus focus a great deal on […] form (Tyson 118). • For the most part, Formalism is no longer used in the academy. However, New Critical theories are still used in secondary and college level instruction in literature and even writing (Tyson 115). With the permission of
  6. 6. NEW CRITICISM: HOW TO USE IT • Ask yourself “”what single interpretation of the text best establishes its organic unity? In other words, how do the text‟s formal elements, and the multiple meanings those elements produce, all work together to support the theme, or overall meaning, of the work? Remember, a great work will have a theme of universal human significance. (If the text is too long to account for all of its formal elements, apply this question to some aspect or aspects of its form, such as imagery, point of view, setting, or the like)” (Tyson 150).
  7. 7. • Because New Critics believed their interpretations were based solely on the context created by the text and the language provided by the text, they called their critical practice intrinsic criticism, to denote that New Criticism stayed within the confines of the text itself. • In contrast, forms of criticism that employ psychological, sociological, or philosophical frameworks—in other words, all criticism other than their own—they called extrinsic criticism because it goes outside the literary text for the tools needed to interpret it. • New Critics also called their approach objective criticism because their focus on each text’s own formal elements ensured, they claimed, that each text—each object being interpreted—would itself dictate how it would be interpreted.
  8. 8. PARADOX, IRONY, AMBIGUITY, AND TENSION •For New Criticism, the complexity of a text is created by the multiple and often conflicting meanings woven through it. And these meanings are a product primarily of four kinds of linguistic devices: paradox, irony, ambiguity, and tension.
  9. 9. PARADOX • “Briefly, paradox is a statement that seems self- contradictory but represents the actual way things are” (Tyson 138). • “Many of life’s spiritual and psychological realities are paradoxical in nature, New Critics observed, and paradox is thus responsible for much of the complexity of human experience and of the literature that portrays it” (139).
  10. 10. EXAMPLES OF PARADOX • Nobody goes to that restaurant because it is too crowded. • Deep down, you're really shallow. • In George Orwell's Animal Farm, the words "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” • In Shakespeare's Hamlet, the title character states "I must be cruel to be kind."
  11. 11. IRONY • “Irony, in its simple form, means a statement or event undermined by the context in which it occurs” (139). • “New Criticism [. . .] primarily valued irony in a broader sense of the term, to indicate a text’s inclusion of varying perspectives on the same characters or events. [ …] The result is a complexity of meaning that mirrors the complexity of human experience and increases the text’s believability” (139). • “[T]he text’s own internal irony, or awareness of multiple viewpoints, protects it from the external irony of the reader’s disbelief” 140).
  12. 12. EXAMPLES OF IRONY • It was a tragic irony that he made himself sick by worrying so much about his health. • I posted a video on YouTube about how boring and useless YouTube is. • The name of Britain‟s biggest dog was “Tiny.” • You laugh at a person who slipped stepping on a banana peel and the next thing you know, you slipped too. • The butter is as soft as a marble piece. • “Oh great! Now you have broken my new camera.”
  13. 13. AMBIGUITY • “Ambiguity occurs when a word, image, or event generates two or more different meanings” (140). • In […] everyday language, ambiguity is usually considered a flaw because it‟s equated with a lack of clarity and precision. In literary language, however, ambiguity is considered a source of richness, depth, and complexity that adds to the text‟s value” (140).
  14. 14. EXAMPLE OF AMBIGUITY A good life depends on a liver. Liver may be an organ or simply a living person. Foreigners are hunting dogs. It is unclear whether dogs were being hunted or foreigners are being spoken of as dogs. Each of us saw her duck. It is not clear whether the word “duck” refers to an action of ducking or a duck that is a bird. The passerby helps dog bite victim. Is the passerby helping a dog bite someone? Or is he helping a person bitten by a dog? It‟s not clear.
  15. 15. TENSION • “Finally, the complexity of a literary text is created by its tension, which, broadly defined, means the linking together of opposites. In its simplest form, tension is created by the integration of the abstract and the concrete, of general ideas embodied in specific images.” (140). • Tension is also created by the dynamic interplay among the text‟s opposing tendencies, that is, among its paradoxes, ironies, and ambiguities.[One example is] “the tension between reality and illusion” (140).
  16. 16. IN GROUPS • Discuss new criticism and your QHQs
  17. 17. QHQ: NEW CRITICISM 1. Q: Why did new critics value the form, organic unity, and literary language/devices so much within the text that they decided to abandon the preceding biographical-historical criticism? 2. Q: Why did New Critics believe that the author‟s background is irrelevant to the significance of a text? 3. Q: What aspects of new criticism still work today, and what aspects don‟t? 4. Q: To what extent do changes in our society and culture affect the popularity of different critical theories? 5. Q: Do you think New Criticism has readers create symbols or meanings that are not intended by the author? And if so, does this affect any messages that the author might be trying to convey?
  18. 18. WHAT DOES IT MEAN? 6. Q: Can a literary text have multiple meanings? 7. Q: What are the two fallacies of New Criticism and why are those supposed to be important to know? 8. Q: When we narrow a novel down to a single topic or theme, intending to unpack it, supported by evidence, are we in essence creating a thesis statement for a novel as we do when writing essays? 9. Q: Why is ambiguity, according to the New Critics, considered a source of riches, depth, and complexity? 10. Q: One specific aspect studied in New Criticism is irony. Why is irony important in a story?
  19. 19. 11. Q: HOW EXACTLY DOES A READER MAKE THESE SORT OF INTERPRETIVE LEAPS AND DETAIL CONNECTIONS? “Then we see Myrtle Wilson, whose posture at this moment, „straining at the garage pump,‟ embodies longing for future fulfillment, presumable in the form of marriage to Tom Buchanan, who will rescue her from the „valley of ashes‟ and deliver her into a world of, from her perspective, paradisal happiness. That she is „panting with vitality‟ underscores her connection with life, with springtime, with nature, in direct opposition to the „desolate area of land‟ (27; ch. 2) in which she lives, where people and objects alike appear „ash-grey‟ in the „powdery air‟ (27; ch. 2).” (155, ch. 5) “Notably, it‟s the color [blue] the novel frequently associates with Gatsby‟s hopefulness: the mansion he bought in order to be near Daisy has „blue gardens‟ (43; ch. 3) and a „blue lawn‟ (189; ch. 9); his trees have „blue leaves‟ (159; ch. 8); and when he and Daisy reunite, „a damp streak of hair lay like a dash of blue paint across her cheek” (90; ch. 5).” (155, ch. 5)
  20. 20. TYPICAL QUESTIONS NEW CRITICS ASK THEMSELVES: 1. How does the work use imagery to develop its own symbols? (i.e. making a certain road stand for death by constant association) 2. What is the quality of the work's organic unity “the working together of all the parts to make an inseparable whole” (Tyson 121)? In other words, does how the work is put together reflect what it is? 3. How are the various parts of the work interconnected? 4. How do paradox, irony, ambiguity, and tension work in the text?
  21. 21. 5. How do these parts and their collective whole contribute to or not contribute to the aesthetic quality of the work? 6. How does the author resolve apparent contradictions within the work? 7. What does the form of the work say about its content? 8. Is there a central or focal passage that can be said to sum up the entirety of the work? 9. How do the rhythms and/or rhyme schemes of a poem contribute to the meaning or effect of the piece? With permission from
  22. 22. •Read: Critical Theory Today: Chapter 4 “Feminist Criticism” pp. 83-130 •Post #7: QHQ: Feminist Criticism