Literary Theory (Condensed)


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Literary Theory (Condensed)

  1. 1. Literary Theory “ What you find depends mostly on how you see.”
  2. 2. What is Literary Theory? <ul><li>Literary theory means knowing how you read. </li></ul><ul><li>Looking at a story in several different ways. </li></ul>
  3. 3. What does that mean? <ul><li>If you are wearing red sunglasses everything that you see is slightly different from someone wearing blue sunglasses or someone wearing no sunglasses at all. </li></ul><ul><li>The type of “sunglasses” you wear effects the way you see the world. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Connection to Literature <ul><li>Likewise, the way we “see” literature (read and understand it) depends largely upon what kind of “glasses” we are wearing. </li></ul>
  5. 5. “ Little Miss Muffet” Exercise <ul><li>Little Miss Muffet, as everyone knows, sat on a tuffet eating her curds and whey when along came a spider and sat down beside her and frightened Miss Muffet away. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Look at Miss Muffet through different “sunglasses” <ul><li>While everyone knows this, the significance of the event had never been analyzed until a conference of thinkers recently brought their special insights to bear upon it. </li></ul><ul><li>Following are excerpts from the transcript of their discussion. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Sociologist’s Sunglasses <ul><li>“ Miss Muffet is nutritionally underpriviledged, as evidenced by the subliminal diet of curds and whey upon which she is forced to subsist, while the spider’s cultural disadvantage is evidenced by such phenomena as legs exceeding standard norms, odd mating habits, and so forth.” </li></ul>
  8. 8. Militarist’s Sunglasses <ul><li>“ Second-strike capability, sir! That’s what was lacking. If Miss Muffet had developed a second-strike capability instead of squandering her resources on curds and whey, no spider on earth would have dared launch a first strike capable of carrying him right to the heart of her tuffet.” </li></ul>
  9. 9. Demonstrator “Sunglasses” “ Little Miss Muffet, tuffets, curds, whey, and spiders are what’s wrong with education today. They’re all irrelevant. Tuffets are irrelevant. Curds are irrelevant. Whey is irrelevant. Meaningful experience! How can you have relevance without meaningful experience?”
  10. 10. Editorial Writer’s “Sunglasses” “ Why has the government not seen fit to tell the public all it knows about the so-called curds-and-whey affair? It is not enough to suggest that this was merely a random incident involving a lonely spider and a young diner.”
  11. 11. A Child’s “Sunglasses” <ul><li>“ This is about a little girl who gets scared by a spider.” </li></ul>
  12. 12. Which pair of “sunglasses” do you like? <ul><li>Why were their descriptions of the Little Miss Muffet story so different? </li></ul><ul><li>Whose understanding of the story is “right”? </li></ul><ul><li>Can they all be right? </li></ul><ul><li>Are some of them “more” right? </li></ul>
  13. 13. Why should I think about Literary Theory? <ul><li>Literary theory provides a deeper understanding of a text. </li></ul><ul><li>Literary theory lets you in on the “secret”. ( Helps you to see the man behind the curtain.) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Realizing there is no right answer to many texts has been a scary experience for me because I am a person who wants a correct response. But it has helped me grow as a reader, and I know I can think however I want to think without being confined.” ~Student </li></ul>
  14. 14. How many sides to a story? <ul><li>Most likely you have been taught New Criticism. This is just one of many ways to approach a text. </li></ul><ul><li>Although there are many “sunglasses” (different ways you can approach a text), we are going to study 5 in particular. </li></ul>
  15. 15. 5 Types of Literary Theory (“Sunglasses”) <ul><li>Historical Criticism </li></ul><ul><li>Reader-Response Theory </li></ul><ul><li>New Criticism </li></ul><ul><li>Feminist Criticism </li></ul><ul><li>Marxist Criticism </li></ul>
  16. 16. Credits <ul><li>This slideshow was originally authored by Mr. Finn but has since been modified and adapted by Mr. Hundermark. </li></ul>