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English Literary Theory

This is the english literary theory project.

ab sh

on 28 March 2011

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Transcript of English Literary Theory

Interpretation of lieterary form and the study of literary devices

like “Structuralism,” its the study of literature on a scientific basis through objective analysis of the motifs, devices, techniques, and other functions that comprise the literary work

A common concept of formalism is defamiliarzation. ( When you take yourself out of the work and focus on the mechanics) Presentation The Large Ant The Large Ant: A Literal Anaylsis By: Harry Williams, Hayley McNorton, Brad Hart and Abdullah Shihipar MARXISM What is Structuralism? Reader Response Theory What is the Reader Response Theory?

*Quite simply how a reader reponds to the
text New Historicism The literary theory of New Historicism focuses on the importance of historical context to understand literature. New historicism studies on-going contests for power similar to Marxism but does not limititself to economic struggles
Literature must be studied and interpreted with both the context of the historical era and the history of the critic. New Historicism considers all work to be bias due to the historical influences of the author. Post-Colonialist Literary Theory This literary theory deals with the reading and writing of literature written in previously or currently colonized countries. Post colonialist literary theory focuses on the distortion of experiences and realities of the colonized people. It also focuses on the integration of people, signs and practices between the colonizing and the colonized cultures. Formalism/ New criticism What is formalism? Ecocriticism refers to anyalzing works
from an environmental/nature
perspective One must have a prior understanding
of what plagues the natural world, a sense of activism
before they anaylze through an ecocritical lens. deforestation air pollution 1970 1990 1980 Ecocritism is offically born. In the story ... The main character kills the ant
because he felt threatened by it
and/or annoyed by its presense. The ant was not doing anything,
just the sheer size of it was enough to
justify the use of force against it. ANTHROPOCENTRISM “I saw it,” I answered slowly, “And somehow I knew that I must kill it.
I didn't think and decide. I just grabbed the iron and hit it. Excerpt from the book. humans > animals The professor on the other hand .... values nature. he expresses disgust
at the way humans only show
concern for themselves. remarks on how intelligent the creature looked, and how much potential it could have had. "Why?" Liberman demanded. "Look at yourself, Mr. Morgan -- a cultured and intelligent man, yet you cannot conceive of a mentality that does not include weapons as a prime necessity.."
- Excerpt from the book BIOCENTRISM taking into account the impact
on the environment and the natural world. one could say
he displays
the love of nature. So what is the book overall? it is biocentric. it tries to convey to the reader that
we have to stop the whole culture, of valuing humans
over animals and nature (killing the ant), showing disregard.
They are of value also (the possible intelligence of the ant). Freudian/Psychoanalytic Deals with the id/ego/superego

The pleasure and reality principle

Sublimation Taking desires that can't be fufilled and transferring that energy into a useful action. Ex sex. FEMINISM What is the Feminist theory? Focuses on gender inequality, power
relations and sexuality Analyzes women's rights, issues
and interests within literature Discrimination,stereotyping,objectification,
and oppression are considered when
analyzing literature through the feminist theory Chauvinism
Gender roles of the characters in the text: significant vs. minor
Gender Ratio: Why are women not involved?
Lack of Ecriture Feminine Role of the Wife Patriarchy What is Marxist Literary Theory? Based upon class struggles, with an emphasis on the economic divide between the workers and the ruling class. Karl Marx belived that literature written by society acts as a mirror of society. Reflecting current struggles and attitudes. Marxist literary theory analyzes the struggles and conflict between two social orders within a piece of literature, and the factors that contribute to these struggles. Often seen in politics particularly the struggle between Proletariat and the Bourgeoisie "In bourgeois society capital is independent and has individuality, while the living person is dependent and has no individuality."
-Karl Marx
What is the Reader Response Theory? - The text will mean different to different people
- It will also envoke unique reactions from each reader each time they read it Male dominated society
Family dominated by male "I have a date with Ann for lunch- I had
no idea you were coming back. Shall I
break it?"
"No please dont. I can find other things to do that have to be done." & men>women "Do get rid of that fishing creel. It smells."
"Yes darling. I'll get rid of it."
"I should think you'd want to take a nap after driving all night."
"Funny, but I'm not sleepy." As a Maternal Sterotype Freuds interpretation of how the conscious and subconscious work together.
The id is the instinctive actions we act out without a sense for how it could effect others. This is common occurance for young children.
The ego and superego is our conscience, it is our awarness that our urges should be checked for society. They are interested in what makes
up a piece of writing. each piece of writing is made up of elements,
or units. these elements form patterns.
governed by a set of rules
Think of it as a rubix cube. ELEMENTS = RULES with pieces of writing,
we have to anaylze elements
that match the system's rules.
Examples, si-vous plait? every princess story. reality shows some say that the theory is too ... Nobody's perfect. Simplistic. No complex interpertations. Lingustics plays an important role! in 1916, Ferdninand De Saussure
(mr. mustache) came up with the 'signs' concept. calm down. it's not an m night. movie. signs are images that our mind associates with a certain idea. made up of 'SIGNIFIED' and 'SIGNIFIERS' Signifier = the word
Signified = the image Saussure says that thought
cannot exist wtihout language. langue: the rules of language (syntax, grammar, etc.)
parole: the indiviudal unit, or the word. THE STORY: The ant is a symbol of innocence and the unknown. - would argue that killing the ant is "human"
- remark that family structure/gender roles imply 1960s
- professor displays "human" feelings of empathy/ digust would classify it as: APOCOLYPTIC SCIENCE FICTION POST STRUCTURALISM Post-strctua wha? Post structuralsim is a critique of
structuralism, think of them as
the rebels. The systems in structuralism
are not strong enough to
obtain meaning. meaning is really depdendent
on the reader's thoughts/
reactions to text. the reader originated in the 1960s
and the 1970s. "What gets read, and by whom?" "What gets published and why?" critics say that it is too
v a g u e Deconstructionism - element of post-strucutralism
- seeks to challenge the idea
of 'complete meaning in a text'. It seeks to deconstruct ideologies (socio/economic,
gender, race, culuture) and assumptions about people.

It sees more value in CONCRETE experiences than ideas.

All interrelated The pleasure principle are our wants and desires (usually sex and food)

The reality principle is basically a reality check. That our desires must be put off until later or possibly never, because it doesn't fit in with society.

Sublimation is an action, it is the action of repressing our desires of the pleasure principle.

Sublimation works in the reality principle. Oedipus and Electra complex Freud's terminology for a males development of gender awareness.

Freud believed that boys wanted to have sex with their mothers and had a fear of castration from their fathers.

It was up to the boys to get over this complex so they could form healthy relationships with their parents. The Electra complex is the females version of gender awareness.

The roles are reveresed this time, the daughter wants to have sex with her father and feels resentment that her mother is in the way.

According to Freud girls also developed penis envy where they onced believed they had a penis. According to Freud 95% of our mind is unconscious behaiour Interpretations in the Text In the short story the largest example of Freuds literary theory would be the action of killing the ant.

As our id is in control of our unconscious behaviour, Morgans id told him to kill the ant without any regard for what the ants purpose was, regardless if it was a hostile one. In a split decison Morgan killed it.

Later when Morgan felt remorse and guilt for killing the ant, that was his superego feeling guilty and putting that invention of society on his shoulders. Perspective Viewing the Story The short story is evidently supposed to be seen from the main characters point of view However... What if you were the.. Ant Curator Government Offical Wife ...Would you still see the story the same? Persprectives can change how someone
reads and interprets the story This phrase was coined by Viktor Shklovsky Mr. Morgan Probably Not. Shklovsky was the figurehead of Russian formalism, he started the concept in 1914.

New criticism is a school of formalism that started in the 40's by American universities. Relations and Reactions to the Story "literature is a collection of stylistic and formal devices that force the reader to view the world afresh by presenting old ideas or mundane experiences in new, unusual ways" The Reader Response theory also includes how you relate to the
story, and therefore how you interpret the story's ideas, actions and emotions Can you sympathize with Mr. Morgan's actions to kill the ant? vs. Do you think it was human nature that drove him to kill the ant? You have certain opinions on these questions because you may not have the same experiences, thoughts, and emotions as someone else. These forces
influence you when reading the
story. Did this story remind you of any personal experiences/memories? ...of the Reader Response theory - In the 1960's & 1970's a reaction against Structuralism created the Reader Response literary theory
- Reader Response theorists believed that textual pieces and their content did not have a set meaning
- Words, phrases, actions and plot could mean or represent different things to different people Norman Holland -Believed that each individual had their own certain sytle of being and reading - Explored the Reader Response theory
when he wrote 'The Dynamics of Literary Response' in 1968 History of the Feminist literary theory - All through the 20th century the Feminist literary theory gained popularity
- Women began to be examined within literature
- Kate Millet and Simone de Beauvoir were two of the many writers who discussed it Virginia Woolf -Was one the of the pioneers of the Feminist literary theory - In 1929 she published 'A Room of One's Own' were she examined the harsh conditions for women in Shakespeare's time Formalism in the text Formalism focuses on all the literary devices found in literature. In the large ant there are many examples of literary devices that can be seen in the text. Such as... Interpretation of lieterary form and the study of literary devices

like “Structuralism,” its the study of literature on a scientific basis through objective analysis of the motifs, devices, techniques, and other functions that comprise the literary work

A common concept of formalism is defamiliarzation. ( When you take yourself out of the work and focus on the mechanics) Archetypal/Mythicism Background Archewhatal???! Archetypal literary theory holds the belief that there are recurring "myths" or archetypes in stories which transcend generations and other stories through out the ages. In all stories there are commonality's regarding theme and character roles, these commonality's include the wise old man, the mean step mother, the know it all sister, the prankster brother.

These characters can also embark on similar quests like the hero quest.

Finally the meaning of the story can also transcend different pieces, like in the Large Ant human nature plays out as the theme. Ask a Post Structuralist! They would say that humans have
unqiue experiences. Some would
react negatively to different things, while
others would not. Some people love
trying new things. They would reject
characterizing the character's actions
as "human" They would point to cases of APORIA (contradictions
within the text). The man kills so, humans are
destructive. But, the professor empathizes with the ant,
so does it make all humans caring and empathetic? They would claim that there is more than one case of BINARY OPPOSITION.
A pair of opposites, things that clash like (good vs. evil, etc.) Those clashes are: civilized vs savage innocence vs corruption selfishness vs. narcissism They would claim ERASURE! Erasure is when something becomes significant because
it is not in the text. In the short story, the ant was described vaguely. It's insides only
described as 'intstruments'. More detail could have led the reader to empathize with the
man, rejecting the author's concept that man is destructive. Can you think of another human nature themed story? Carl Jung is one of the founding fathers of archetypal literary theory Anecdote Atmosphere Imagery "Using two of the tools, he found a fissure and pried the bottom apart...." The End.
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