Discussion 11

A. Choose one of the critical approaches from the reading. Use the research strategies in chapter 5 to find out some more about that approach. Post your findings. Wednesday

B. “Using Indexes and Databases’ (71-72), find one academic article related to the paper you are revising. Make an MLA citation and post it. Describe how you found the article. Sunday

30 thoughts on “Discussion 11

  1. I searched “biographical approach to literary criticism” to learn more about. Wikipedia says that it is a critical method that sees a literary work chiefly, if not exclusively, as a reflection of its author’s life and times. Which is one of the reason that I would look more into this kind of an approach. Another interesting tid bit is http://www.cla.prudue.edu says that there are weakness that should be avoided with this approach don’t equate the character with the author, and avoid less-than-credible sources of information, particularly works that tend to be highly speculative or controversial unless verified by several sources.

    1. That is very good advice! A biographical approach can certainly give you insight into the writer of a text and it will help you understand historical conditions if the writer is writing about his or her own time. But authors also set their work in other times, and those historical conditions will be helpful in a similar way as biographical information.

  2. I used Google to find out more about the “psychological approach to interpreting literature” since Psychology is what I’m studying. Our text doesn’t go into the fact that this approach shouldn’t be the only one used so as to not miss the essential aesthetic experience from what we are reading. I find that I do end up using this approach more often when it comes to any kind of text assigned, making most everything I read not really appealing, but once I switch to a book or poem that I chose myself I’m not analyzing it this way. I also found out that some of the people who broke away from Freud led to other branches of psychoanalytic criticism. For instance Carl Jung’s work led to the entire fields of mythocriticism and archetype analysis.

    1. Not using a single approach to literature is good advice all around. I am interested in what you are saying about the different way you read depending on the purpose of your reading. I hope that everyone will read through all of the posts to see the many different systematic ways one can analyze literature. But reading for enjoyment of the text in whatever way one enjoys is first and foremost. The text itself will naturally lead to different kinds of questions.

  3. In my research, I found that the Marxist approach for interpreting literature takes into account the form, style and meaning in a work. It also tries to grasp those meanings, combined with the author’s background and ideology, as a mirror image of the social institution that was in place at the time of the writing. I also found that the Marxist approach looks at each work as a historical document. This is pretty much what the book says as well. The new information I found was that the Marxist approach analyzes the class constructs in place and determines if a work is progressive or not.

    1. Marxist interpretations view the text as an artifact, much like an archeologist. So in an interpretive system like Marxism, the story and its language is only a fraction of the concern. The way the text came to be, the author, the historical context, and the climate of creating texts, as well as the power structures determining authorship and publication, all have meaning in a Marxist interpretation.

  4. While skimming through Google Scholar, I came across a quote by Patricinio Schweikart that said, “what difference does it make if the reader is a woman?”. Her feminist theory of reading and my initial thought on gender focus as a critical approach for interpreting literature seemed similar. However, after some research on the subject I now have a greater, more open, understanding as to why this approach is important and interesting. As opposed to a historical approach or formalist approach, the gender focus gives you a more personal view of the work you are reading. As a feminist, one might deconstruct the reading while pointing out female oppression. As a male, he might try to relate to a character of the opposite sex. As a gay or lesbian reader, one might be able to bring life experience to the table allowing a deeper understanding. These are just a few of the benefits of using gender focus as an approach to interpret literature.

    1. Discussion 11 Part B:
      I found this article using Google Scholar.

      Schweikart, Patricinio. “Reading Ourselves: Toward a Feminist Theory of Reading”. nd. Web. 23 Nov 2014.

      1. Similar to the Marxist approach Adam wrote about, a feminist approach has a focus on ideology, and it includes that judgment that is highlighted in Adam’s last sentence. Feminism as a movement has had many manifestations over the years. You make a distinction between this and a gender focus approach, which can be less driven by ideological questions. To me, the gender focus is an aspect of any identity question, and it is intertwined with the historical and class focus. As we saw in The Glass Menagerie, if set today, Amanda seems like she just needs to get a job.

  5. I choose gender focus for the critical approach for interpreting literature. In my research, I found that the sexual identity influences the creation and reception of the literary works. The feminist movement showed that a lot of the literary works of art are dominated by men. An authors gender may influence different approaches of people in their writing. The feminists and masculinists each has their own effects in power, privileges, and expectations of different readers.

    1. You can see what I have to say more in my response to Erin’s post. I wonder what the limitations are on imagination. Questions of identity always make me wonder, can’t we imagine being another human being? Can’t a woman imagine being a man? When we are talking about depicting people in fiction or even in non-fiction, the author must imagine those other people. It makes me think of the play Beauty and how they supposedly switched bodies and brains at the end, and yet they kept their consciousness. So what does that mean about what makes us who we are? An analysis of the portrayal of gender in a work can lead to some fun existential questions.

  6. I choose to do my research based upon the religious approach to examining and interpreting literature. From the slightly biased christian perspective, I see how people could potentially have more of a prejudice when reading literature if per say the author was of their religion. The same goes for gender, ethnicity, location of birth, etc. Religion is a highly persuasive thing for many people, with religion goes the code of ethics and morals, that will also effect the opinions people will have on literature. Religion is a huge contributor to analyzing literature, amongst other things. It plays a great role for many people.

    1. This was not one of the approaches from the book, but let’s go with it. What would a religious approach be? You could make a judgment as to the work’s support of particular religious tenets. Or you could focus more on how the reader’s religiosity affects his or her interpretation of a work. Or you could examine the depiction of particular religions in a text. It would be important to be as specific as possible, and to differentiate between religion and belief. A focus on religion would require knowledge of the specific religion or religions, including differences within religions. A focus on belief would be more of an individual identity focus.

  7. I researched the formalist approach for interpreting literature. Our “Literature and the Writing Process” textbook explains formalist approach as, “A formalist critic looks at a piece of literature as complete within itself. The formalist approach appreciates the way in which all the features of a piece work together in a unified, meaningful whole” (1085). In my research I found that Formalism attempts to treat each piece of work as its own distinct work. This means that it is free from environment, era, and even author. Formalist believe the keys to understanding the text is within the text itself. Although Formalism is no longer used, it is taught in secondary and college level courses.

    1. So this is the approach that is opposite from all the other approaches dealt with in the posts above. I would not agree that it is no longer used. To a certain extent, explication is always formalist, and then we add layers of context. It is true that a contextual reading (as are all of the readings above) is now a preferred reading, but all reading involves some formalism. In a way, pure formalism is a paradox because without the reader, the text is uninterpretable. The reader is at very least a factor, even if the author and his or her context might be erasable.

  8. I researched The Reader Response for interpreting literature which is something that is formed when the person reading the story brings their life experiences or point of view in to play while reading. I read on an English website the definitions of Critical Approaches to Literature. Masterworks of English Literature defines The Reader Response as: “This approach takes as a fundamental tenet that “literature” exists not as an artifact upon a printed page but as a transaction between the physical text and the mind of a reader.” it also went on to say that rarely do two readers interpret the same piece exactly the same way. “Each text creates limits to its possible interpretations.” – Masterworks of English Literature. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia’s Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama, Sixth Edition (New York: HarperCollins, 1995), pages 1790-1818.

    1. So you might say that reader response is the answer to the paradox of pure formalism. The final line that you quoted is the formalist part because reader response can be limited to the world of the text. However, personal association explodes the world of the text. And it can get very fun and creative when reader response focuses on personal associations with texts. What kind of research element might be brought into reader response interpretations?

  9. B.
    Express & Echo (Exeter). “Help is at hand during the ups and downs of becoming new parents.” 19 Sept. 2009: 30. EBSCO. Web. 2014
    I found this by going to UAF’s online library website, logged on, did an academic search, that shoot me over to EBSCO website, and then I looked through the related topics that met my search criteria and read through tell I found one I liked.

  10. Part B of Discussion:
    My paper 2 is related to the poem by A.E. Housman, “To an Athlete Dying Young.” I found an article “Halls of Fame Honor Hero-Athletes.” First, I went onto the UAF Online Library and clicked on articles, then typed in “athletes honor and fame.” I logged in and it brought me to the EBSCOhost website and I went to the basic search, I typed in “athletes honor and fame” and that’s where I found my article.
    “Halls of Fame Honor Hero-Athletes.” EBSCO Industries, Inc. Web. 2014.

  11. Discussion Part B:
    McGuire, Alice, and James Tucker. “Literature for Children.” The Reading Teacher 24.8 (1971): 771-73. JSTOR. Web. 22 Nov. 2014. .

    My paper two is the one that I will revising and it is about the aspects we enjoyed in nursery rhymes are the reason we still enjoy poetry, and other types of literature, today. I tried using my old school’s e-library first (the school is based entirely online) and couldn’t locate very much on my topic. So while talking with a friend in my Human Services class she told me how to get to the online library for UAF. After a lot of different searches I finally landed in the JSTOR database with an article that was closely related to my topic.

  12. Saldivar, Toni. Academic Journal Article: “The Art of John Updike’s ‘A&P.'” Studies in Short Fiction , Vol. 34, No. 2 , Spring 1997. Web. 23 November 2014.

    Although I could only read half of this essay, I enjoyed what this man wrote about. I found him via UAF library and then branched off into Google Scholar. I did not incorporate his words into my essay but the way I revised my paper is similar to his thoughts. My paper 1 was on conformity and related it to “A&P” and I revised it by incorporating more of my own thoughts and cleaning up my formatting style.

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