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Views, Values and Contexts

Views, Values and Contexts

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Views, Values and Contexts

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  1. Views, Values and Contexts What are they? How can we identify them?

  2. What the Study Design says… • “This area of study focuses on consideration of the views and values in texts and the ways in which these are expressed to create particular perspectives of the world. Students consider the issues, ideas and contexts writers choose to explore and the way these are represented in the text. Students also consider how these representations may be shaped by and reflect the cultural, social, historical or ideological contexts in which they were created. Students enquire into the ways readers may arrive at differing interpretations and judgments about a text and the bases on which they are developed. Through close attention to ideas, incidents, characters and images, students justify their interpretations of the text.”

  3. What the Study Design says… • “This area of study focuses on consideration of the views and values in texts and the ways in which these are expressed to create particular perspectives of the world. Students consider the issues, ideas and contexts writers choose to explore and the way these are represented in the text. Students also consider how these representations may be shaped by and reflect the cultural, social, historical or ideological contexts in which they were created. Students enquire into the ways readers may arrive at differing interpretations and judgments about a text and the bases on which they are developed. Through close attention to ideas, incidents, characters and images, students justify their interpretations of the text.”

  4. So what are views and values? • Views: Attitudes to issues or ideas; sometimes means “opinions” • eg. A view that society unequally distributes wealth and power • Values: Principles; core beliefs • Values are by definition positive, eg. honesty; loyalty; respect; equality of opportunity; education; freedom of expression; religious freedom. (From Literature for Senior Students by Robert Beardwood, 2006, p.134)

  5. What does the Study Design expect of us? • Outcome 2 requires you to demonstrate “key knowledge” in a number of areas, and to demonstrate certain “key skills”.

  6. What does the Study Design expect of us? • Key knowledge • How contexts (cultural, social, historical or ideological) may influence the construction of the text; • The ways in which the text may reveal, or provide a critique of aspects of human behaviour, social convention or society; • The ways contemporary beliefs and values influence the student’s interpretations; • How the writer’s construction of the text can influence interpretations, for example the choice of characterisation, social and historical setting, structure, point of view, imagery and style.

  7. What does the Study Design expect of us? • Key skills These skills include the ability to • Identify and discuss the views and values represented in the text; • Analyse how views and values are suggested by what the text endorses, challenges and leaves unquestioned; • Compare different interpretations of the text; • Justify an interpretation of views and values of a text through close attention to textual detail.

  8. What does the Study Design expect of us? • Key skills These skills include the ability to • Identify and discuss the views and values represented in the text; • Analyse how views and values are suggested by what the text endorses, challenges and leaves unquestioned; • Compare different interpretations of the text; • Justify an interpretation of views and values of a text through close attention to textual detail.

  9. Whose views and values? • The Study Design requires you to separate your views and values from those presented by the text. You are not supposed to judge the views and values of the text, rather analyse them.

  10. Whose views and values? • Problem: • When texts present conflicting views and values through their characters, how do we know whose views and values are the “real” ones to talk about?

  11. Whose views and values? • This Outcome requires you to look at all key views and values in the text. However, not all of these will be supported by the text. • In The Boat, for example, you may come to the conclusion that, in some instances, Le is critiquing the views or values of a particular supporting character. eg. • Note that a key aspect of the task is to examine “what the text endorses, challenges and leaves unquestioned ”.

  12. Endorse/Challenge/Leave Unquestioned • Note the difference between author and character. • Sometimes the author will use certain characters as his/her mouthpiece. These characters might sometimes be termed the “moral compass” of the text, ie. theirs are the views by which we judge and assess the views of others. • Other times, characters may appear to be the mouthpiece of morality for the text, but the author does in fact present that character in a way that subtly undermines their values. • Other authors are overt in their undermining of certain views and values held or espoused by the characters.

  13. Endorse/Challenge/Leave Unquestioned • The Study Design specifies that you need to “justify your interpretation of the text” through “close attention to ideas, incidents, characters and images”. • Essentially, this is asking you to look at how the text is constructed, and what clues that gives you about how to interpret the range of views and values contained within it. • Note again the second “key skill”: • Analyse how views and values are suggested by what the text endorses, challenges and leaves unquestioned. • You will need to ask yourself: How does Le present certain views and values? Does he endorse them, or challenge them, or does he simply leave them unquestioned?

  14. Endorse/Challenge/Leave Unquestioned • Sometimes, a text will quite clearly support the views or values of a particular character. This might be done by showing the positive outcome of holding those views or values. • The author may also make the relevant character particularly likeable or sympathetic, meaning that the reader/audience sides with them over other characters with opposing viewpoints.

  15. Endorse/Challenge/Leave Unquestioned • When a text challenges a particular view, it will present that view through one or more character, and will then present a counter-argument which opposes or undermines that view. • When a text undermines a viewpoint, this will often be subtle, and may not be done through the mouthpiece of a character. • eg. Thanksgiving montage in American Gangster (dir. Ridley Scott, 2007).

  16. Endorse/Challenge/Leave Unquestioned • Sometimes, when we look at texts (particularly texts from different eras or cultures), we find that some values are presented almost unconsciously by the writer. For example, a text from the 1950s might present the view that women should be happy to be housewives – not by actively arguing that view, but simply by showing a world where all the “nice” female characters are content housewives who never think twice about their position.

  17. Views and Values in Radiance • All analysis in Literature has to be firmly grounded in what the author is saying in the text and how they say it. • Most commonly, a text will present its views and values through both its characters and their characterisation (ie. how they are presented as characters).

  18. Views and Values in The Boat • The Boat is a particularly character-driven play, and film. • Over the holidays, you were required to identify some of the views and values of each of the stories. • In groups of three to four, share the notes that you made on this task. • Once finished, you should select six of the listed views and values and, for each, decide whether Nam Le endorses, challenges or leaves unquestioned those views. Justify your decision.