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Literary Theory. Term Four. Gender Theory. Gender Theory. Look back at feminist theory. What were the major facets?. Gender Theory. Look back at feminist theory. What were the major facets? Male/Female Relationships. Gender Theory.

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gender theory1
Gender Theory

Look back at feminist theory. What were the major facets?

gender theory2
Gender Theory
  • Look back at feminist theory. What were the major facets?
    • Male/Female Relationships
gender theory3
Gender Theory
  • Look back at feminist theory. What were the major facets?
    • Male/Female Relationships
    • Power in a patriarchy
gender theory4
Gender Theory
  • Look back at feminist theory. What were the major facets?
    • Male/Female Relationships
    • Power in a patriarchy
    • The roles of masculinity
gender theory5
Gender Theory
  • Look back at feminist theory. What were the major facets?
    • Male/Female Relationships
    • Power in a patriarchy
    • The roles of masculinity
    • The weakness of femininity
gender theory6
Gender Theory
  • Look back at feminist theory. What were the major facets?
    • Male/Female Relationships
    • Power in a patriarchy
    • The roles of masculinity
    • The weakness of femininity
    • An examination of the canon
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Gender Theory

Gender theory is closely related to feminist. However, while Feminist examines how a patriarchy controls feminine traits, gender theory examines:

gender theory8
Gender Theory

Gender theory is closely related to feminist. However, while Feminist examines how a patriarchy controls feminine traits, gender theory examines:

Sexuality

gender theory9
Gender Theory

Gender theory is closely related to feminist. However, while Feminist examines how a patriarchy controls feminine traits, gender theory examines:

Sexuality

Power

gender theory10
Gender Theory

Gender theory is closely related to feminist. However, while Feminist examines how a patriarchy controls feminine traits, gender theory examines:

Sexuality

Power

marginalized populations in literature and culture

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Gender Theory

The most important thing: gender is influenced by feminist theory, but it concerns itself as much with the role of sexuality and gender identity as it does feminine/masculine traits and ideals

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Gender Theory

The most important thing: gender is influenced by feminist theory, but it concerns itself as much with the role of sexuality and gender identity as it does feminine/masculine traits and ideals

Ask yourself: how is gender and sexuality discussed?

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Gender Theory
  • The most important thing: gender is influenced by feminist theory, but it concerns itself as much with the role of sexuality and gender identity as it does feminine/masculine traits and ideals
  • Ask yourself: how is gender and sexuality discussed?
    • While feminist theory is effective in changing how you read, there are parts of feminist theory that are just the “same old game” – in order to counter patriarchy, you begin to work AWAY from the male/female binary.
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Gender Theory

Binaries:

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Gender Theory
  • Binaries:
    • While feminist studies looks at how the binary exists, gender studies seeks to break down this binary
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Gender Theory
  • Binaries:
    • While feminist studies looks at how the binary exists, gender studies seeks to break down this binary
      • Cultural definitions of sexuality and what it means to be male/female are in flux
gender theory17
Gender Theory
  • Binaries:
    • While feminist studies looks at how the binary exists, gender studies seeks to break down this binary
      • Cultural definitions of sexuality and what it means to be male/female are in flux
        • Thirty years ago, women couldn’t wear baseball caps and men could comfortably wear frilly shirts barely 100 years ago. Feminist theory examines this existence – gender theory breaks down the arbitrary assignment of these ideas and examines how “alternative” identities and sexualities are repressed.
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Gender Theory

Typical Questions:

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Gender Theory
  • Typical Questions:
    • What elements of the text can be perceived as masculine (active/powerful) and feminine (passive, marginalized), and how do the characters support these traditional roles?
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Gender Theory
  • Typical Questions:
    • What elements of the text can be perceived as masculine (active/powerful) and feminine (passive, marginalized), and how do the characters support these traditional roles?
    • What support (if any!) is given to elements of characters who question the masculine/feminine binary? What happens to these elements/characters?
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Gender Theory
  • Typical Questions:
    • What elements in the text exist in the middle, between the perceived masculine/feminine binary? In other words, what elements exhibit traits of both?
gender theory22
Gender Theory
  • Typical Questions:
    • What elements in the text exist in the middle, between the perceived masculine/feminine binary? In other words, what elements exhibit traits of both?
    • How does the author present the text? Is it a traditional narrative?
gender theory23
Gender Theory
  • Typical Questions:
    • What elements in the text exist in the middle, between the perceived masculine/feminine binary? In other words, what elements exhibit traits of both?
    • How does the author present the text? Is it a traditional narrative?
    • What are the politics (ideological agendas) of specific gay, lesbian, or queer works, and how are these politics revealed in the work’s content or characters?
gender theory24
Gender Theory
  • Typical Questions:
    • What are the poetics (literary devices and strategies) of a specific lesbian, gay, or queer work?
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Gender Theory
  • Typical Questions:
    • What are the poetics (literary devices and strategies) of a specific lesbian, gay, or queer work?
    • How does the work contribute to our knowledge of queer, gay, or lesbian experience and history, including literary history?
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Gender Theory
  • Typical Questions:
    • What are the poetics (literary devices and strategies) of a specific lesbian, gay, or queer work?
    • How does the work contribute to our knowledge of queer, gay, or lesbian experience and history, including literary history?
      • Think of it like this: there’s HISTORY that we know…and this lens, like the post-colonial lens, reveals a hidden truth.
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Gender Theory
  • Typical Questions:
    • How is queer, gay, or lesbian experience coded in texts that are by writers who are apparently homosexual?
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Gender Theory
  • Typical Questions:
    • How is queer, gay, or lesbian experience coded in texts that are by writers who are apparently homosexual?
      • Or how do traditionally “straight” characters exhibit alternate gender identities?
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Gender Theory
  • Typical Questions:
    • What does the work reveal about the operations (social, political, psychological) of homophobia?
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Gender Theory
  • Typical Questions:
    • What does the work reveal about the operations (social, political, psychological) of homophobia?
    • How does the literary text illustrate the problematics of sexuality and sexual “identity”; that is, the ways in which human sexuality does not fall neatly into separate categories defined by the words “homosexual” and “heterosexual”?
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Gender Theory
  • Typical Questions:
    • What does the text reveal about the conflict/clash given when gender identity is repressed?
psychoanalytic theory1
Psychoanalytic Theory

Dude. This is gonna get weird.

psychoanalytic theory2
Psychoanalytic Theory

There are as many methods of using the psychoanalytic lens as there are psychologists and psychological theories. We’re only going to focus on three.

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Psychoanalytic Theory

There are as many methods of using the psychoanalytic lens as there are psychologists and psychological theories. We’re only going to focus on three.

Let’s start with Freud.

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Freud

Facets:

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Freud
  • Facets:
    • Freud believed that our unconscious was influenced by our childhood. He developed these ideas into developmental stages involving relationships with parents and children.
      • There are drives of desire and pleasure where children focus “on different parts of the body – starting with the mouth…shifting to the oral, anal, and phallic stages”
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Freud
  • Facets:
    • These three stages reflect base levels of desire, but they also involve fear of loss (loss of genitals, affection from parents, life) and repression
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Freud
  • Facets:
    • These three stages reflect base levels of desire, but they also involve fear of loss (loss of genitals, affection from parents, life) and repression
    • Repression doesn’t ELIMINATE our painful experiences and emotion; we unconsciously behave in ways that will allow us to play out our conflicted feelings about the painful experiences and emotions we repress.
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Freud
  • Facets:
    • To keep all of this conflict buried, Freud argued that we develop defenses: Selective perception, selective memory, denial, displacement, projection, regression, fear of intimacy, and fear of death (among many others).
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Freud
  • Facets:
    • To keep all of this conflict buried, Freud argued that we develop defenses: Selective perception, selective memory, denial, displacement, projection, regression, fear of intimacy, and fear of death (among many others).
    • Freud believed that our desires and unconscious conflicts give rise to three areas of the mind, wrestling for dominance from infancy to adulthood:
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Freud
  • Facets:
    • Id: the location of the drives (instinct, libido)
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Freud
  • Facets:
    • Id: the location of the drives (instinct, libido)
    • Ego – the primary defense against the power of the drives and home of the defenses listed above. Think of this as the conscious mind.
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Freud
  • Facets:
    • Id: the location of the drives (instinct, libido)
    • Ego – the primary defense against the power of the drives and home of the defenses listed above. Think of this as the conscious mind.
    • Superego – the area of unconscious that houses judgment (of self and others) and begins formation in childhood as a result of the Oedipus complex.
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Freud
  • Facets:
    • Oedipus!
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Freud
  • Facets:
    • Oedipus!
    • Freud called this impulse one of the most powerfully determinative elements in the growth of the child; he theorized that it is only by overcoming this base desire that we can be psychologically whole.
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Freud
  • Facets:
    • Oedipus!
    • Freud called this impulse one of the most powerfully determinative elements in the growth of the child; he theorized that it is only by overcoming this base desire that we can be psychologically whole.
    • This impulse is built around the idea that we wish to take over the place of our same-sex parent. Freud maintained that there is a conflict of attention to the opposite-sex parent and a desire to overtake the life, skills, and placement of the same-sex.
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Freud
  • Facets:
    • Boys handle, Freud says, the Oedipus desires differently, focusing on rivalry between the boys and their fathers, fantasies of rage against those who fit the model of the father figure – this could be literal fathers or metaphorical.
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Freud
  • Facets:
    • Boys handle, Freud says, the Oedipus desires differently, focusing on rivalry between the boys and their fathers, fantasies of rage against those who fit the model of the father figure – this could be literal fathers or metaphorical.
    • This rage will often take the form of castration, either literal or figurative. When boys effectively work through this anxiety, they learn to identify with the father in the hope of someday possessing a woman like their mother.
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Freud
  • Facets:
    • In girls, the castration complex does not take the form of anxiety, but instead a frustrated rage in which the girl shifts her desire from the mother to the father. Eventually, Freud believed, the girl eventually works towards a desire to possess a man like her father later in life.
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Freud
  • Facets:
    • In girls, the castration complex does not take the form of anxiety, but instead a frustrated rage in which the girl shifts her desire from the mother to the father. Eventually, Freud believed, the girl eventually works towards a desire to possess a man like her father later in life.
    • However you slice it, Freud believed that these pieces (id, ego, superego, and oedipus) are inescapable and these elements influence all our behavior (and even our dreams!) – this behavior involves what we write.
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Freud

So – what does all this have to do with literature?

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Freud

So – what does all this have to do with literature?

Some critics believe we can “read psychoanalytically to see which concepts are operating in a text in such a way as to enrich our understanding of the work and, if we plan to write a paper about it, to yield a meaningful psychoanalytic interpretation.

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Freud
  • So – what does all this have to do with literature?
  • Some critics believe we can “read psychoanalytically to see which concepts are operating in a text in such a way as to enrich our understanding of the work and, if we plan to write a paper about it, to yield a meaningful psychoanalytic interpretation.
    • This may mean we use the elements of a text to psychoanalyze the author, or to analyze its characters.
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Freud
  • So – what does all this have to do with literature?
  • Some critics believe we can “read psychoanalytically to see which concepts are operating in a text in such a way as to enrich our understanding of the work and, if we plan to write a paper about it, to yield a meaningful psychoanalytic interpretation.
    • This may mean we use the elements of a text to psychoanalyze the author, or to analyze its characters.
      • This idea is a part of each psychoanalytic interpretation
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Freud

Typical Questions:

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Freud

Typical Questions: How do the operations of repression structure or inform the work?

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Freud

Typical Questions: How do the operations of repression structure or inform the work?

Are there any Oedipal dynamics – or any other family dynamics – at work in the text?

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Freud

Typical Questions: How do the operations of repression structure or inform the work?

Are there any Oedipal dynamics – or any other family dynamics – at work in the text?

How can characters’ behavior, narrative events, and/or images be explained in terms of psychoanalytic concepts of any kind – consider fear of death, sexuality, which includes love/romance as well as sexual behavior – as a primary indicator of psychological identity and the operations of id/ego/superego

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Freud

Typical Questions:

What does the work suggest about the psychological being of its author?

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Freud

Typical Questions:

What does the work suggest about the psychological being of its author?

What might a given interpretation of a literary work suggest about the psychological motives of the reader?

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Freud

Typical Questions:

What does the work suggest about the psychological being of its author?

What might a given interpretation of a literary work suggest about the psychological motives of the reader?

Are there prominent words in the piece that could have different or hidden meanings? Could there be a subconscious reason for the author using these “problem words”?

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Jung

Here’s where it gets even stranger.

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Jung

Jungian criticism attempts to explore a connection between what Carl Jung called the “collective unconscious” of the human race – “racial memory, through which the spirit of the whole human species manifests itself”

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Jung

Jungian criticism attempts to explore a connection between what Carl Jung called the “collective unconscious” of the human race – “racial memory, through which the spirit of the whole human species manifests itself”

Closely related to Freudian theory because of its connection to psychoanalysis – it assumes that all stories and symbols are based on mythic models from mankind’s past.

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Jung

Based on all this, Jung developed archetypal myths: The Shadow, The Anima, The Animus, and The Spirit

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Jung

Based on all this, Jung developed archetypal myths: The Shadow, The Anima, The Animus, and The Spirit

The shadow is the sex and life instinct. Composed of repressed ideas, weaknesses, desires, shortcomings. This is the darkness, the chaos and unknown.

The anima, the feminine side of the male self, and then there’s the animus, the corresponding masculine side of the female self. The anima/animus combined is the true self

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Jung

Let’s be honest – this is a fascinating area of the lens – but if you use it, you’ll need a handbook on myths and Jungian psychology in order to keep it laid out.

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Jung

Typical Questions:

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Jung

Typical Questions:

What connections can we make between elements of the text and the archetypes? – mask, shadow, anima, animus

How do the characters in a text mirror archetypal figures – look at great mother, whore, destroying crone, lover, destroying angel (etc)

How does the text mirror the archetypal narrative patterns (Quest, Night-Sea-Journey)

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Jung

Typical Questions:

How symbolic is the imagery in the work?

How does the protagonist reflect the hero of myth?

Does the “hero” embark on a journey in either a spiritual or physical sense?

Is there a journey to an underworld or land of the dead?

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Jung

Typical Questions:

What trials or ordeals does the protagonist face?

What is the reward for overcoming them?

maslow
Maslow

1943 – A theory on Human motivation – Abraham maslow proposed that all humans are driven by a series of basic needs which, once satisfied, allow us to move on to greater thinking. Some of these stages do follow physiological development, but some move beyond.

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Maslow
  • Physical – the most fundamental of needs. They’re what we’re born into and they are the most primitive. Being stuck at a physical level on the hierarchy does not mean you’re starving (for example), but merely that you are unable to understand life without a presence.
    • Consider food – an infant cries when it’s hungry because it sees hunger as a life or death scenario. It panics and is in fear/pain because of hunger. To move beyond the hierarchy is to recognize that hunger occasionally happens.
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Maslow

Consider: a person grows up poor, and is unable to regularly eat. As a result, when this person sees food, even as an adult, he/she immediately gorges. This might be, from Maslow’s point of view, a result of upbringing affecting a path to self-actualization.

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Maslow

Safety – with physical needs relatively satisfied, safety takes precedence. In the absence of physical safety, people may experience PTSD or Transgenerational Trauma. In the absence of economic safety, these needs manifest themselves as preferences for job security, procedures to protect onself from authority, savings accounts, insurance policies…this list goes on.

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Maslow

This level is more likely to be found in children (just like physical needs) but can absolutely be found in adults. Consider:

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Maslow
  • This level is more likely to be found in children (just like physical needs) but can absolutely be found in adults. Consider:
    • Personal Security
    • Financial Security
    • Health and Well-being
    • Safety net against accidents/illness and their adverse impacts
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Maslow

Love and Belonging:

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Maslow

Love and Belonging:

Once physical and safety needs have been met, the third level is a desire for belongingness. This need is, again, especially strong in childhood and can override a need for safety in extreme cases.

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Maslow

Love and Belonging:

Once physical and safety needs have been met, the third level is a desire for belongingness. This need is, again, especially strong in childhood and can override a need for safety in extreme cases.

Deficiencies in this, or earlier levels, can impact an individual’s ability to form/keep significant relationships of any kind.

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Maslow

Humans have an innate need to belong to social groups, whether the group is large or small.

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Maslow

Humans have an innate need to belong to social groups, whether the group is large or small.

Humans also need to love and be loved, both sexually and non-sexually, by others.

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DECONSTRUCTION
  • Here’s where it gets weirder than ever.
    • This stuff is alternatively called post-structuralism or post-modernism
deconstruction2
DECONSTRUCTION

This lens approach concerns itself with the ways and places where systems, frameworks, definitions, and certainties break down. Deconstruction maintains that frameworks and systems (like the structural systems in any narrative text) are fictions and cannot be trusted to develop meaning or give order.

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DECONSTRUCTION

This lens approach concerns itself with the ways and places where systems, frameworks, definitions, and certainties break down. Deconstruction maintains that frameworks and systems (like the structural systems in any narrative text) are fictions and cannot be trusted to develop meaning or give order.

The very act of seeking order or a singular Truth is absurd because there exists no unified truth.

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DECONSTRUCTION

Basically – nothing exists. Nothing matters. We build our own meaning to the world, and our meanings are, by nature, riddled with inconsistencies.

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DECONSTRUCTION

Basically – nothing exists. Nothing matters. We build our own meaning to the world, and our meanings are, by nature, riddled with inconsistencies.

Cogito ergo sum – does it even matter?

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DECONSTRUCTION

Basically – nothing exists. Nothing matters. We build our own meaning to the world, and our meanings are, by nature, riddled with inconsistencies.

Cogito ergo sum – does it even matter?

Post-structuralism holds that there are many truths, frameworks must bleed, and structures by nature will become unstable and decentered (entropic).

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DECONSTRUCTION

Post-structuralism is also concerned with the power structures or hegemonies and power and how these elements contribute to and/or maintain structures to enforce an artificial hierarchy.

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DECONSTRUCTION
  • Post-structuralism is also concerned with the power structures or hegemonies and power and how these elements contribute to and/or maintain structures to enforce an artificial hierarchy.
    • Basically – this theory has implications far beyond literature.
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DECONSTRUCTION

By questioning the process of developing meaning, deconstruction strikes at the very heart of reality, throwing knowledge into what is called “freeplay” – the concept that structure by nature is contradictory – structure is impossible, and any person, government, work of text (etc forever!) that tries to build structure will have to use force to maintain it, with entropy being the inevitable result.

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DECONSTRUCTION
  • Consider:
    • Time (noun) flies (verb) like an arrow (adverb clause)
      • = “time passes quickly”
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DECONSTRUCTION
  • Consider:
    • Time (verb) flies (object) like an arrow (adverb clause)
      • = get your stopwatch out, and time the speed of flies as you would time an arrow’s flight.
deconstruction12
DECONSTRUCTION
  • Consider:
    • Time flies (noun) like (verb) an arrow (object)
      • Time flies are fond of arrows (well, ONE arrow at least)
deconstruction13
DECONSTRUCTION
  • Consider:
    • All three of these constructions are valid, highlighting the entropic nature of language.
deconstruction14
DECONSTRUCTION
  • Consider:
    • All three of these constructions are valid, highlighting the entropic nature of language.
  • If we can’t trust language systems to convey truth, the VERY BASES of truth are unreliable and the universe (at least the one we’ve constructed) is unraveled/decentered.
    • Truth is an illusion about which it has been forgotten that they are illusions (On Truth and Lies)
deconstruction15
DECONSTRUCTION

Despite all this, deconstruction is not, in the end, just about tearing things down. Deconstruction is about overturning the classical oppositions and assumptions, as well as observing (and causing!) a general displacement of the system. Only then can deconstruction find a way to intervene in the field it is criticizing.

deconstruction16
DECONSTRUCTION

Despite all this, deconstruction is not, in the end, just about tearing things down. Deconstruction is about overturning the classical oppositions and assumptions, as well as observing (and causing!) a general displacement of the system. Only then can deconstruction find a way to intervene in the field it is criticizing.

Through deconstruction we can identify the inbetweens and the marginalized in order to build real knowledge.

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DECONSTRUCTION

In literature!

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DECONSTRUCTION
  • In literature!
    • If we’re questioning and resisting traditional methods, then traditional literary notions are also thrown into freeplay. These include narrative and author.
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DECONSTRUCTION

Narrative:

It’s a fiction that locks readers into interpreting text in a single, chronological manner that does not reflect our experiences. Post-modern texts may not adhere to traditional notions of narrative.

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DECONSTRUCTION
  • Narrative:
  • It’s a fiction that locks readers into interpreting text in a single, chronological manner that does not reflect our experiences. Post-modern texts may not adhere to traditional notions of narrative.
    • William S. Burroughs – Naked Lunch – the text here explores the traditional narrative structure and critiques almost everything modern – government, medicine, law enforcement
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DECONSTRUCTION

Narrative:

Grand narratives are also resisted – for example, the belief that through science the human race will improve is questioned.

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DECONSTRUCTION

Narrative:

Grand narratives are also resisted – for example, the belief that through science the human race will improve is questioned.

Post-modern knowledge building is local, situated, slippery, and self-critical (that is, it questions itself and its role) – because it is always self-critical, post-structural critics even look for ways texts contradict themselves.

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DECONSTRUCTION

Author:

The author is not the absolute authority, and the reader plays a role in interpreting text and developing meaning from the text.

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DECONSTRUCTION

Author:

The author is not the absolute authority, and the reader plays a role in interpreting text and developing meaning from the text.

Classical criticism has never paid attention to the reader, holding the author as the source of meaning – as a part of the criticism, we overthrow this authority, placing our own recreation of meaning to the center.

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DECONSTRUCTION

Questions to ask:

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DECONSTRUCTION
  • Questions to ask:
  • How is language thrown into freeplay or questioned in the work?
    • Think about how language is understood vs. meant, for example.
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DECONSTRUCTION

Questions to ask:

How does the work undermine or contradict generally accepted truth?

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DECONSTRUCTION

Questions to ask:

How does the author (or a character) omit, change, or reconstruct memory and identity?

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DECONSTRUCTION

Questions to ask:

How does a work fulfill or move outside the established CONVENTIONS of its genre?

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DECONSTRUCTION

Questions to ask:

How does the work deal with the separation (or lack thereof) between writer, work, and reader?

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DECONSTRUCTION

Questions to ask:

What IDEOLOGY does the text seem to promote?

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DECONSTRUCTION

Questions to ask:

What is LEFT OUT of the text that, if included, might undermine the goal of the work?

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DECONSTRUCTION

Questions to ask:

If we changed the point of view of the text (for example, from one character to another, or to multiple characters), how would the story CHANGE?

Whose story is NOT told in the text?

Who is left out, and why might the author have omitted this character’s tale?