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Literary Theory: A Primer PowerPoint Presentation
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Literary Theory: A Primer

Literary Theory: A Primer

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Literary Theory: A Primer

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  1. College American Literature Literary Theory: A Primer

  2. 1. Post-Colonialism

  3. 1. Post-Colonialism • Typical Questions Asked:

  4. 1. Post-Colonialism • Typical Questions Asked: • How does the text, explicitly or allegorically, represent different aspects of colonialism?

  5. 1. Post-Colonialism • Typical Questions Asked: • How does the text, explicitly or allegorically, represent different aspects of colonialism? • What person/group does the work identify with “other” or “stranger”? How are they described and treated?

  6. 1. Post-Colonialism • Typical Questions Asked: • How does the text, explicitly or allegorically, represent different aspects of colonialism? • What person/group does the work identify with “other” or “stranger”? How are they described and treated? • What does the text reveal about the politics or psychology of anti-colonial resistance?

  7. 1. Post-Colonialism • Typical Questions Asked: • How does the text, explicitly or allegorically, represent different aspects of colonialism? • What person/group does the work identify with “other” or “stranger”? How are they described and treated? • What does the text reveal about the politics or psychology of anti-colonial resistance?

  8. 1. Post-Colonialism • Typical Questions Asked (cont’d): • What does the text reveal about the operations of cultural difference in shaping our perceptions of ourselves, others, and the world? • Examples: ways in which race, religion, class, gender, sexual orientation, cultural beliefs, and customs combine to form identify

  9. 1. Post-Colonialism • Typical Questions Asked (cont’d): • How does the text respond to or comment upon the characters, themes, or assumptions or a canonized (colonialist) work?

  10. 1. Post-Colonialism • Facets

  11. 1. Post-Colonialism • Facets • Post-colonial critics are concerned w/literature produced by colonial powers and works produced by those who were colonized.

  12. 1. Post-Colonialism • Facets • Post-colonial critics are concerned w/literature produced by colonial powers and works produced by those who were colonized. • Looks at issues of power, economics, politics, religion, and culture – and how these elements work in relation to colonial hegemony • Ie – western colonizers controlling the colonized

  13. 1. Post-Colonialism • Facets • A critic might be interested in works looking at a colonialist attitude • Ex: how robinsoncrusoe is shipwrecked and examinations towards the black man he “colonizes” and names “Friday”.

  14. 1. Post-Colonialism • Facets • What is the role of western literary canon and what colonial aspects are expressed?

  15. 1. Post-Colonialism • Who’s in charge and why?

  16. 1. Post-Colonialism • Who’s in charge and why? • Look for issues on slavery, colonialist views on “taming the savage land/peoples”

  17. 1. Post-Colonialism • Who’s in charge and why? • Look for issues on slavery, colonialist views on “taming the savage land/peoples” • Ask yourself: how are the people native to a land CHANGED, REPRESSED, or ELIMINATED in the process of colonization

  18. 1. Post-Colonialism • Who’s in charge and why? • Look for issues on slavery, colonialist views on “taming the savage land/peoples” • Ask yourself: how are the people native to a land CHANGED, REPRESSED, or ELIMINATED in the process of colonization • Post-colonialism DEMANDS you understand and dissect how the dominating power (the “victor) looks down on, and seeks to change, the repressed people.

  19. 1. Post-Colonialism • Caveats:

  20. 1. Post-Colonialism • Caveats: • While the theory depends upon the idea that “history is written by the victors”, it does NOT depend upon finding accusations of racism.

  21. 1. Post-Colonialism • Caveats: • While the theory depends upon the idea that “history is written by the victors”, it does NOT depend upon finding accusations of racism. • Think like this: the terms “first/second/third world” are terms constructed by those in power to describe themselves and others. They are, by nature, a reinforcement that the western world is the dominant power

  22. 1. Post-Colonialism • Caveats: • While the theory depends upon the idea that “history is written by the victors”, it does NOT depend upon finding accusations of racism. • Think like this: the terms “first/second/third world” are terms constructed by those in power to describe themselves and others. They are, by nature, a reinforcement that the western world is the dominant power • It is NOT a condemnation of any party, oppresser or oppressed.

  23. 2. Reader Response

  24. 2. Reader Response • Questions asked:

  25. 2. Reader Response • Questions asked: • How does the interaction of text and reader create meaning?

  26. 2. Reader Response • Questions asked: • How does the interaction of text and reader create meaning? • How do the sounds/shapes of the words as they appear on the page or are read out loud effect meaning?

  27. 2. Reader Response • Questions asked: • How does the interaction of text and reader create meaning? • How do the sounds/shapes of the words as they appear on the page or are read out loud effect meaning? • How do the reader’s life experiences, and understanding of the world, alter or effect the meaning of the text?

  28. 2. Reader Response • Questions asked: • How does the interaction of text and reader create meaning? • How do the sounds/shapes of the words as they appear on the page or are read out loud effect meaning? • How do the reader’s life experiences, and understanding of the world, alter or effect the meaning of the text? • What does the text SUGGEST about the critics who first interpreted and/or the reading experience produced by that text?

  29. 2. Reader Response • Facets:

  30. 2. Reader Response • Facets: • Reader Response is a criticism that considers reader reaction to literature is vital to gaining meaning.

  31. 2. Reader Response • Facets: • Reader Response is a criticism that considers reader reaction to literature is vital to gaining meaning. • It can take many different forms, and the criticism can use a variety of different lenses in interpretation.

  32. 2. Reader Response • Facets: • Reader Response is a criticism that considers reader reaction to literature is vital to gaining meaning. • It can take many different forms, and the criticism can use a variety of different lenses in interpretation. • However you look: the reader cannot be omitted from understanding, and readers do NOT passively consume a meaning presented in a text.

  33. 2. Reader Response • Caveats:

  34. 2. Reader Response • Caveats: • “Reader Response” is often misdiagnosed as a method to dismiss text because they don’t fit with a personal world-view. This…is…inaccurate.

  35. 2. Reader Response • Caveats: • “Reader Response” is often misdiagnosed as a method to dismiss text because they don’t fit with a personal world-view. This…is…inaccurate. • RR does not give ammunition to dismiss because you disagree with the text. It, instead, gives you a method to understand WHY your biases may exist, as well as uncovering biases within a text.

  36. 3. Feminist • Questions Asked:

  37. 3. Feminist • Questions Asked: • How is the relationship between men and women portrayed?

  38. 3. Feminist • Questions Asked: • How is the relationship between men and women portrayed? • What are the power relationships between men and women?

  39. 3. Feminist • Questions Asked: • How is the relationship between men and women portrayed? • What are the power relationships between men and women? • How are male/female roles defined; what constitutes masculinity/femininity?

  40. 3. Feminist • Questions Asked: • How is the relationship between men and women portrayed? • What are the power relationships between men and women? • How are male/female roles defined; what constitutes masculinity/femininity? • How do the characters EMBODY or DEFY these traits?

  41. 3. Feminist • Questions Asked: • How is the relationship between men and women portrayed? • What are the power relationships between men and women? • How are male/female roles defined; what constitutes masculinity/femininity? • How do the characters EMBODY or DEFY these traits?

  42. 3. Feminist • Questions Asked: • Do characters take on traits from opposite genders? How? How does this change others’ reactions to them?

  43. 3. Feminist • Questions Asked: • Do characters take on traits from opposite genders? How? How does this change others’ reactions to them? • What does this work reveal about the operations (economics, politics, society, psychology) of patriarchy?

  44. 3. Feminist • Questions Asked: • Do characters take on traits from opposite genders? How? How does this change others’ reactions to them? • What does this work reveal about the operations (economics, politics, society, psychology) of patriarchy? • What does the work imply about the possibilitties of sisterhood as a mode of resisting patriarchy?

  45. 3. Feminist • Questions Asked: • What does the work say about women’s creativity?

  46. 3. Feminist • Questions Asked: • What does the work say about women’s creativity? • What does the history of the work’s reception by the public and by the critics tell us about the operation of patriarchy?

  47. 3. Feminist • Questions Asked: • What does the work say about women’s creativity? • What does the history of the work’s reception by the public and by the critics tell us about the operation of patriarchy? • What role does the work play in terms of women’s literary history and literary tradition?

  48. 3. Feminist • Translation:

  49. 3. Feminist • Translation: • The FUN part of Feminist criticism is that there are SO MANY ways to understand it. A feminist critic asks a variety of questions about him/herself, the world around us, and the characters in a text, in order to understand how a text supports or defies the patriarchal society.

  50. 3. Feminist • Translation: • The key point to remember: feminist criticism assumes that we live in a patriarchy – a system of government/society run by male powers. Either intentionally or unintentionally, our world is built around the idea of feminine ideas being secondary.