Introduction to Literary Criticism Different Perspectives in English
Perspectives What is a perspective? What does it mean to have different perspectives?
Perspectives • Teachers vs. Students What is the purpose of school? • First World Problems How big of a deal is losing your phone?
Literary Perspectives • Psychoanalytic The psychological motivations and subconscious desires of the person are most important • Gender The gender of the person and how society sees his or her gender role is most important. • Social/Economic The social standing of the person and how that impacts their life is most important.
A simple story: A woman who is angry that her husband doesn’t pay enough attention to her cheats on him with a rich guy.
Psychoanalytic A woman who is angry that her husband doesn’t pay enough attention to her cheats on him with a rich guy. The woman has repressed anger toward her husband who is not affectionate enough.
Gender A woman who is angry that her husband doesn’t pay enough attention to her cheats on him with a rich guy. The only way the woman can get back at her husband is through cheating because she is not physically strong enough to harm him and because she is a woman does not have the standing in society to stand up to him. Because being a woman makes her feel powerless she feels cheating is her only method of revenge.
Social/ Economic A woman who is angry that her husband doesn’t pay enough attention to her cheats on him with a rich guy. If her husband had made more money she would be less likely to cheat. She may claim the issue is her husband not paying attention to her, but she wouldn’t care if she had a better life.
Literary Criticism Psychoanalytic The perspective that the unconscious mental processes that motivate human behavior are the biggest effect on a person/character. Someone reading a piece of literature with this perspective is concerned with why characters do and say things. What in their mind motivates them?
Psychoanalytic When Elizabeth Proctor screams: “Question Abigail Williams about the gospel, not me!” The psychoanalytical way of reading that is her repressed anger against Abigail has caused her to lash out even though she’s saying this in front of Hale and other court officials. Even though she doesn’t want to expose her husband as an adulterer, her anger has affected her so sharply she can’t contain herself.
Psychoanalytic This perspective is based in the science of psychology. Psychology - the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, esp. those affecting behavior in a given context.
Psychoanalytic One of the earliest pioneers in the field of psychology was Sigmund Freud.
Freud Freud lived from 1856-1939 Freud was an innovator in the field of psychology. He started down this path when he had a sick patient who he was able to make better through discussion. Although Freud’s theories are contested today, he is credited with laying the base for modern day psychology.
Psychoanalytic Id, Ego, Superego Freud believed our minds (and behaviors) were controlled by three distinct functions of the brain: The Id, The Ego, and The Super-Ego.
The Id The Id is the part of our minds that houses our desires. The Id is pure instinct. Hunger, Aggression, Sex Drive, etc.
The Id The id demands immediate satisfaction and when this happens we experience pleasure, when it is denied we experience ‘unpleasure’ or pain. The id is not affected by reality, logic or the everyday world. It operates on the pleasure principlewhich is the idea that every wishful impulse should be satisfied immediately, regardless of the consequences.
The Id When you are a baby, the only part of your personality that has yet developed is the Id.
The Super-Ego As you grow older, you begin to develop The Super-Ego to keep the Id in check. When you’re about four or five, you begin to develop a sense of the rules of society in which you live and how they impact your Id or immediate desires.
The Super-Ego The superego's function is to control the id's impulses, especially those which society forbids, such as sex and aggression. It also has the function of persuading the ego to turn to moralistic goals rather than simply realistic ones and to strive for perfection.
The Ego The Ego is the part of your personality that finds a compromise between the demands and needs of The Id and the concerns of the Super-Ego
The Ego Like the id, the ego seeks pleasure and avoids pain but unlike the id the ego is concerned with devising a realistic strategy to obtain pleasure. The ego’s main question is: “How can I make myself happy without violating the rules and morals of society?” When the ego chooses the follow the id, the super-ego will often make the ego feel guilty.
Psychoanalytic Id, Ego, Superego Your id tells you you’re hungry. Your id knows that chocolate bars taste delicious and it wants to buy one right now.
Psychoanalytic Id, Ego, Superego Your super-ego reminds you that you’re on a diet. It knows you’re a little overweight and society looks down on that.
Psychoanalytic Id, Ego, Superego Your ego has to decide: do I ignore my diet and eat the fatty chocolate bar or not? Maybe the ego compromises and you eat only half of a chocolate bar – satisfying the hunger of your id but also convincing your super-ego that you’re not eating too much extra calories.
Psychoanalytic To Freud, most of our behavior was controlled by thoughts and impulses that we’re not consciously aware of called the subconscious. He believed the brain buried these ideas deep down because it would be emotionally painful to acknowledge them.
Subconscious Although the subconscious remains buried deep with our mind, Freud believed it finds small ways to slip out every now and then. Dreams – Freud believed dreams were an example (often in confusing ways) of the subconscious revealing itself to the mind.
Subconscious Freud was an advocate of dream analysis – writing down what happened in your dreams and trying to figure out what it meant for your hidden mind. For example, it is said that a dream where your teeth are falling can represent underlying worries about money.
Subconscious Freud also believed your subconscious snuck through in your words when you weren’t paying attention. A “Freudian Slip” refers to phrase that sounds like an innocent mistake but has a deeper meaning.
Psychoanalytic The Puritans The people of Salem lived eternally with the superego guiding them. Their strict religion made them feel guilt and repress nearly all the urges of their id – anger, sex, pleasure, and other strong human instincts.
Psychoanalytic The Puritans When the court started hanging people and the accusations of witchery started to fly – finally they could express the anger their id had built up over so many years!
Psychoanalytic This motif about the id, ego, and superego being at war with each other shows up in many types of literature. Often, physical characters are used to represent this mental battle. Lord of the Flies – Piggy as the superego Jack as the id Ralph as the ego
Psychoanalytic This motif about the id, ego, and superego being at war with each other shows up in many types of literature. Often, physical characters are used to represent this mental battle. Romeo and Juliet– Benvolio as the superego Mercutio as the id Romeo as the ego
Psychoanalytic This motif about the id, ego, and superego being at war with each other shows up in many types of literature. Often, physical characters are used to represent this mental battle. Grand Theft Auto 5