ETI 309-Introduction to Contemporary Western Literature. Literary Theory I: Formalism and Structuralism. What is Literary Theory?.
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Signs (e.g. tree, love, table, child) all refer to concepts—not unrelated to the real world, but clearly the product of generalization and abstraction
If we did have the word “horse” but not the word “pony” would we still see ponies as ponies or would we see them as horses much like all other horses because our language does not offer us an alternative?
If so, we can say that language precedes thought and constitutes the framework within which thought must necesssarily operate, which then might mean that our reality is, in fact, constituted by language.
How should the text be classified in terms of its genre? (i.e. what patterns exist within the text that make it a part of other works like it?)
Analyze the text's narrative operations...Can you speculate about the relationship between the text and the culture from which the text emerged? (i.e. what patterns exist within the text that make it a product of a larger culture?)
What patterns exist within the text that connect it to the larger "human" experience? (i.e. can we connect patterns and elements within the text to other texts from other cultures to map similarities that tell us more about the common human experience?--This is a liberal humanist move that assumes that since we are all human, we all share basic human commonalities)
What are the semiotics of a given category of cultural phenomena, or 'text,' such as high-school football games, television and/or magazine ads for a particular brand of perfume...or even media coverage of an historical event?