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Topical/Historical Approach to Literature


Kristen Black

on 5 November 2012

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Transcript of Topical/Historical Approach to Literature

Approach to Literature Information Examples Activity Historical Events Referenced in "Young Goodman Brown"
Salem Witch Trials of 1692
Puritan intolerance of the Quakers
King Philip’s War "The Yellow Wallpaper"
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman Julius Caesar
by William Shakespeare "Young Goodman Brown"
by Nathaniel Hawthorne J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter Series
World War Two Applying This
Approach Charlotte Perkins Gilman, "Why I Wrote The Yellow Wallpaper" (1913)

This article originally appeared in the October 1913 issue of The Forerunner.

Many and many a reader has asked that. When the story first came out, in the New England Magazine about 1891, a Boston physician made protest in The Transcript. Such a story ought not to be written, he said; it was enough to drive anyone mad to read it.

Another physician, in Kansas I think, wrote to say that it was the best description of incipient insanity he had ever seen, and--begging my pardon--had I been there?

Now the story of the story is this:

For many years I suffered from a severe and continuous nervous breakdown tending to melancholia--and beyond. During about the third year of this trouble I went, in devout faith and some faint stir of hope, to a noted specialist in nervous diseases, the best known in the country. This wise man put me to bed and applied the rest cure, to which a still-good physique responded so promptly that he concluded there was nothing much the matter with me, and sent me home with solemn advice to "live as domestic a life as far as possible," to "have but two hours' intellectual life a day," and "never to touch pen, brush, or pencil again" as long as I lived. This was in 1887. Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Nathaniel Hawthorn

Young Goodman Brown

Pureblood Wizards

Topical/Historical Approach B A Muggles/Mudbloods
Wrote the "Yellow Wallpaper" because she suffered a nervous disorder and nearly went crazy
Analyzing the time period in which the literature takes place or the time period in which it was written and the effects on the piece
Aryan Germans
Wrote "Young Goodman Brown". The story was published in 1835
It looks at literature by analyzing the time period it was written and the proposed future concepts
Is the main character in a short story involving the Salem Witch Trials, Puritan intolerance of Quakers, and King Philip's War
Wrote "Young Goodman Brown" because he was happy with his family's involvement in the Salem Witch Trials
Lord Voldemort I went home and obeyed those directions for some three months, and came so near the borderline of utter mental ruin that I could see over.

Then, using the remnants of intelligence that remained, and helped by a wise friend, I cast the noted specialist's advice to the winds and went to work again--work, the normal life of every human being; work, in which is joy and growth and service, without which one is a pauper and a parasite--ultimately recovering some measure of power.

Being naturally moved to rejoicing by this narrow escape, I wrote The Yellow Wallpaper, with its embellishments and additions, to carry out the ideal (I never had hallucinations or objections to my mural decorations) and sent a copy to the physician who so nearly drove me mad. He never acknowledged it.

The little book is valued by alienists and as a good specimen of one kind of literature. It has, to my knowledge, saved one woman from a similar fate--so terrifying her family that they let her out into normal activity and she recovered.

But the best result is this. Many years later I was told that the great specialist had admitted to friends of his that he had altered his treatment of neurasthenia since reading The Yellow Wallpaper.

It was not intended to drive people crazy, but to save people from being driven crazy, and it worked. What is it? Topical/ Historical analysis can be approached is 2 main ways:
1. Analysis of the time period.
By researching and analyzing the history of when the work was written you can better understand what outside influences were on the writer.
Certain events or mental stigmas of the time period can provide deep understanding to concepts or references within the piece of work that may not be understood without the background information. 2. Analysis of the author.
By learning about the history of the author and the family you can establish information that effected their writing.
Their religion, beliefs, and view points of there family could all have a major effect on the opinions and references presented in the work.
Also, the knowledge of the author's place of living could help provide incite into references
As well as events in the writing based on geographic location.
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