Why Be So Critical
READ AND REACT pp 145-149
What is the difference between
evaluating and interpreting a text?
Evaluate: State wheter a text is good or bad. Interpret: Pry
text open and look carefully inside to try and discover its
meaning and analyse its content
How do critics work like scientists?
How does their work differ from that
They establish a method, focus on a specific question, pay
careful attention to detail and base their answers on
evidence in the text. Unlike scientists, critics never draw
absolute conclusions. Instead their conclusions should open
up even more possibilities and ask even more questions.
Why does Auden find the Role of the
Critic useful? Summarize his answers
in your own words.
Critics can inform about unfamiliar works, disarm
dislikeable works, depict connections between works of
different ages or cultures, explain works, illustrate creative
parts of works and show how art relates to life, science,
economics, ethics, religion, etc.
Learning to be critical of a text can develop serious
intellectual muscle. When you learn to read and critically
evaluate a text, you can also apply that skill to understanding
art, media, scientific reports, films, poetry etc.
Why be so critical of a text? What can
the act of criticizing do for you?
Challenging old 19th-century
Doubt and mistrust of
World War I
New scientific discoveries
What is truth?
New narrative techniques
New Narrative Techniques
Stream of Consciousness
Multiple point of view
Twisting of chronology
Uncertainty about language
READ AND REACT pp 156-161
Explain in your own words what
the text tells us about why
modernist writers rejected older,
What is the main shift in focus
from late 17th century literature
to the period of modernism?
Name some of the new
techniques used by writers as
they tried to demonstrate their
new ways of thinking about art
and the truth.
Communist revolutions meant that people questioned old
power structures, colonial power was questioned and scientific
advances in psychology, physics and lingustics showed that
things were not as they have been tought to be. Also, the
horrors of of WW! Undermined people’s faith in authoroties.
All this led Modernist to cast aside old structures and to seek
new ways of artistic expression.
From portraying what can be observed on the outside to
portraying the invisible interior – seeking truth hidden beneath
Time twisting, multiple point of view, stream of
consciousness, use of gaps, fragmentation, uncertainty about
REFLECT AND SHARE pp 162-165
1. a, How did you experience the reading?
b, What does Joyce want you to experience and understand about the
workings of a person’s mind as you read this?
2. Identify a passage in the Joyce text that gives you the sense you are
”listening in” to the mind of a woman rather than a man. How and
why did you make your selection?
3. Apply the ”Critics Checklist for Modernism” to this text. How many
elements can you find at work here?
The Second Coming
REFLECT AND SHARE pp 166-167
Look at the meaning of the word gyre. What shape does 1.
it have? The gyre is symbolic of Yeat’s view of history, or
the way time passes. Does he think time is linear? What is
Why do you think the falcon cannot hear the falconer?
How do you interpret the line ”The best lack all
conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate
intensity”? What does this mean to you? Have you ever
seen people acting this way? Describe what you mean.
Falcon flies too far
What is the Second Coming to Yeats? What form will it
Are they the ”good”
and the ”bad”?
What kind of relationship do you think Yeats has with
The rebirth of
Christ. A beast?
expands outward as it
goes up toward chaos
Who cares what it means?
Texts are related in a web of ideas
Words words words! But what do they mean?
Blurry line between fiction and reality
READ & REACT pp 171-175
What is the relationship between art and meaning, according to
How can it be said that Postmodernism is playful?
What is the problem with language, according to a
What is the postmodernist’s problem with language? Explain in
your own words.
What does metafiction mean? Explain in your own words.
What is intertextuality? What is its purpose?
New Narrative Techniques
Playful disregard of meaning
Decentering a text
Breaking of genre
Truth is relative
Re-uses many typical traits of Modernism
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
READ & REACT pp 177-182
Which lines indicate that Rosencrantz and Guildernstern are feeling confused? Choose
three and explain.
What information are they sure about?
What strategy do they develop to deal with Hamlet?
Why won’t Guildenstern agree to go after Hamlet?
Who introduces the word game, and how?
What are the rules of the game? How is the game scored?
Who wins the game?
Refer to the postmodern checklist and identify as many elements as you can in this text.
Play at questions
The goal of the game is only to ask questions. If you make a
statement, repeat yourself, grunt, use synonyms, rhetoric or
non-sequiturs, you foul and give your opponent a point. Every
game goes up to three points. One needs to win two games in
order to win the entire match.
Thoughts about the person from Porlock
READ & REACT pp 183-186
What problem does Smith think Coleridge was really having when the
person from Porlock interrupted him?
Who is the person from Porlock, according to Smith? Describe him.
Make a chart where you identify which parts of the poem are regular and
rhytmic, and which parts read as fragmentary thoughts in plain verse.
Why does Smith say she ”longs for the person from Porlock”? List some of
the reasons she gives in the poem.
Smith refers to the ”One above” who is experimenting. Who is this? What
is being experimented with? Why?
Look at the checklist for postmodernism. Which postmodern elements can
you find at work in this poem?
A novelist born 1926 in USA
Praised by critics everywhere for her one
and only book, which also won a
Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1961
To Kill A Mockingbird contains
autobiographical parallells, a method
which is widely used by postmodern
Is To Kill a Mockingbird postmodern?
Why? Why not?
Is Adaptation postmodern?
Why? Why not?
An Irish novelist and poet
born in 1882
literature greatly with his
avant-garde style and his
“stream of consciousness”
His most famous works
includes: Ulysses, Dubliners
and A Portray of the Artist as
a Young Man
Born Adeline Virginia Stephen in
London in 1882
Joined the intellectual group of
artists and writers known as the
Unique for Woolf ’s texts are the
experimentation with psychological
conflicts and emotional motives of
Most famous works includes: To
the Lighthouse, Orlando, The
Waves and Mrs Dalloway
This is just to say
I have eaten
that were in
they were delicious
and so cold
you were probably
By William Carlos Williams
Principles of Imagist Poetry
To use the language of common speech, but to employ the exact word, not the nearly
exact, nor the merely decorative word.
To create new rythms … We believe that the individuality of a poet may often be better
expressed in free verse than in conventional forms. In poetry, a new cadence means a
To allow absolute freedom in the choice of subject
To present an image. We are not a school of painters, but we believe that poetry should
render particulars exactly and not deal in vague generalities, however magnicient and
sonorous. It is for this reason that we oppose the cosmic poet, who seems to us to shirk
the real difficulties of this art.
To produce poetry that is hard and clear, never blurred nor indefinite.
Finally, most of us believe that concentration is of the very essence of poetry.
Choose one of the poems
Try to identify in what way the principles are evident
Find examples of metaphore and similie
Find examples where other senses than sight are used
Come up with questions and try to answer them
Discuss and try to analyse what emotions it stirs in you