Modernism

alliteration
when initial consonant sounds in neighboring words repeat (“Landscape lover, lord of language”; “waters of the world”)
allusion
a reference to a myth or another literary work (“death, thou shalt die” from John Donne’s “Holy Sonnet X” is an allusion to several scriptures in the Bible that explain how Christ will overcome death including Rev. 21:4–“there shall be no more death”–and Isaiah 25:8–“He will swallow up death in victory”)
ambiguity
multiple meanings in literature, often used purposefully to illustrate the complexity of life.
Apollonian
referring to the Greek god of music, truth and light Apollo, characteristic of human nature that is orderly, civil and rigid. Primanproper from “Case of the Crushed Petunias,” the Works in “Deer in the Works” and the We society in Anthem are examples of Apollonian places. Tom from The Great Gatsby is an Apollonian character.
archetype
an image, setting, or character type that appears throughout literature in different times and places to suggest a universal human experience or condition (seductress figures [Daisy], Christ figures [Gatsby], the underworld [Valley of Ashes])
assonance
when vowel sounds in a line of poetry repeat (“Grave men near death who see with blinding sight/ Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay”—the long i, long a, and short e sounds are repeated here))
Christ figure
a character in a work of literature or film that shares many of Jesus Christ’s characteristics. Beowulf, Neo, and Gatsby are Christ figures.
concrete poetry
is sometimes synonymous with spatial poetry, but it is also sometimes used to indicate a kind of spatial poetry where words are manipulated on the page to create a picture of the action described in the poem. For instance a poem about birds flying might have words arranged to echo that image. Cummings’s poem about a leaf falling is a concrete poem.
consonance
when end consonant sounds repeat in a line of poetry (“His dumb, warm comfort to the heart”). “I like the lake” would be an example of exact consonance because all but the vowel sound is repeated.
Dionysian
referring to the Greek god of wine Dionysus, characteristic of human nature that is sensual, pleasure seeking, wild and savage. Highway 77 from “Case of the Crushed Petunias” represents the Dionysian. Gatsby’s parties are Dionysian
doggerel verse
ugly, trite, clichéd, sentimental poetry with forced rhymes, faulty meter and inept handling of subject, probably derived from the word “dog.” Julia Moore’s poem about a drowned child named Andrew is doggerel verse. Twain mocks this poetry in Huck Finn; the modernists hated this kind of poetry
ego
part of Freud’s three-fold self or personality, the ego is the conscious element, the thinking rational self that is fully aware
enjambment
when a line of poetry does not end with punctuation but continues on the next line without a pause:
Death, be not proud, though some have callèd thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so: (Donne’s “Holy Sonnet X”)
epigraph
a quote at the beginning of a work of literature that announces key themes in the work. F451 begins with a quote by Juan Ramon Jimenez: “If they give you ruled paper, write the other way.”
free verse
poetry that has no set rhyme or meter. All modernist poetry is written in free verse; otherwise, it is not modern
haiku
a traditional Japanese poem of 17 syllables. Five in the first line, seven in the second and five in the third. Two images are juxtaposed in order to create a sublime idea
hubris
excessive pride that often leads to a character’s downfall. A character believes himself to be as powerful as a god
id
part of Freud’s three-fold self or personality. The id is the irrational and animalistic part of the unconscious that is desire driven; it is where the pleasure principle resides.
impressionism
when an author provides a subjective impression of a scene rather than a detailed, objective description
internal rhyme
when words within a line of poetry rhyme: “what if a keen of a lean wind…”
irony
A simple definition is “when the literal meaning is different than the intended meaning.” Irony is a subtly humorous perception of inconsistency, in which an apparently straightforward statement or event is undermined by its context so as to give it a very different significance. There are three main types of irony:
• Verbal irony is a discrepancy between what is spoken and what is intended; an example from Julius Caesar is when Antony says during his funeral speech: “and Brutus is an honorable man.”
• Dramatic irony occurs when the audience knows more about a character’s situation than a character does and things are said which contradict or undermine what the audience knows. Oedipus the King is filled with dramatic irony. One example would be Oedipus saying, “I shall rid us of this pollution, not for the sake of a distant relative, but for my own sake.” First, it is ironic that Oedipus himself is the pollution and he doesn’t realize it; it’s also ironic that he refers to his father as a “distant relative.”
• Situational irony occurs when an event defies logical cause/effect relationships and justifiable expectations. Not only must the circumstance be unexpected and reversed, it must be strangely, humorously, or perversely so. It is not merely a coincidence or something unfortunate. Odysseus’s returning to Ithaca dressed as a beggar and not a victorious king is ironic. Also, Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” begins with a description of “flowers blossoming profusely” and “richly green” grass and a small community of neighbors being friendly and smiling. Since they brutally murder a woman at the end, this situation is ironic—it reverses our expectations in a unexpected and perverse way.
juxtaposition
the act of setting things side by side; this is when authors have two character or place descriptions and place them next to each other so that the audience will notice the similarities or contrasts
metaphor
a comparison of two objects
metonymy
a figure of speech in which one word or phrase is substituted for another with which it is closely associated. “The pen is mightier than the sword” has two metonyms: pen represents writing and sword represents military force. White house=the president’s office, Hollywood=US film industry. “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears” (Julius Caesar)
misogyny
the hatred of women. Some people argue that The Great Gatsby is misogynistic. This isn’t really a literary term, but it is a term we have discussed frequently
mood
the emotional response a work evokes in the reader; the emotional landscape. A mood can be dark and gloomy or light and airy or any other number of feeling words
motif
a reoccurring pattern or structure in a work of literature (repetition of flower images in Gatsby)
nostalgia
longing for the past
onomatopoeia
a word that imitates the sound it describes: buzz, hiss, meow, moo, ring, etc.
oxymoron
two contradictory words juxtaposed to create a paradoxical effect (jumbo shrimp, feathered lead, bittersweet, living death)
paradox
a self-contradictory statement that proves to be true or has some truth in it from a certain point of view. “Progress is regress.” “Tell the truth with a lie.” These are paradoxical statements
parallelism
a line, sentence, or sentences that has clauses or phrases of the same
grammatical structure: When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative” (Martin Luther King, Jr.); “Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more” (Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar).
“I’ll give my jewels for a set of beads,
My gorgeous palace for a hermitage,
My gay apparel for an almsman’s gown,
My figured goblets for a dish of wood,
My scepter for a palmer’s walking staff
My subjects for a pair of carved saints
and my large kingdom for a little grave.” (Shakespeare, Richard II)
pastoral
originally, a literary form idealizing the lives of shepherds, today the term is used more generally to celebrate the cultivated enjoyment of the countryside. Implicit in the idea of pastoral is the identification of happiness with simple, natural existence, associated in classical times with the Golden Age. Fitzgerald uses pastoral images to describe New York City
personification
when objects or animals are given human traits (a hungry heart, the watchful moon, death is proud)
simile
a metaphor using like or as
spatial poetry
an ancient kind of verse that depends on its visible pattern. The shape itself is symbolic or the shape represents the object the poem describes. George Herbert’s “Easter Wings” and Cummings’s grasshopper poems are spatial poetry
speaker
the voice of the poem, the person speaking the poem
stream of consciousness
a continuous, rapid flow of sense-perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and memories usually in unpunctuated paragraphs. (Joyce, Woolf, Faulkner). There are whole pages in Joyce’s Ulysses and Finnegan’s Wake that are examples of this. Here is one from Ulysses, describing a character trying to sleep: “a quarter after what an unearthly hour I suppose theyre just getting up in China now combing out their pigtails for the day well soon have the nuns ringing the angelus theyve nobody coming in to spoil their sleep except an odd priest or two for his night office or the alarmlock next door at cockshout clattering the brain out of itself let me see if I can doze off 1 2 3 4 5 what kind of flowers are those they invented like the stars the wallpaper in Lombard street was much nicer the apron he gave me was like that something only I only wore it twice better lower this lamp and try again so that I can get up early.”
superego
part of Freud’s three-fold personality or self, the mostly unconscious superego constitutes one’s social conscience and morality
synaesthesia
blending or confusion of different kinds of sense impressions, in which one type of sensation is referred to in terms more appropriate to another. Ex: A loud shade of red, a smooth whisper, a sweet touch
tone
the author’s attitude towards a subject (there are many types of tones; here a few: nostalgic, cynical, embittered, mournful, optimistic, ironic, sarcastic, critical…)
tragic hero
has five principles characteristics:
1. larger than life/has stature
2. driven by an often impossible dream
3. expects more than the world can offer in return
4. has a tragic flaw that leads to his downfall
5. doomed to fail
Jay Gatsby clearly fits these traits
Expressionism
(Expressionism: know definition and authors’ names)
Presented a wildly distorted and symbolic world to reflect the feelings and emotions of the character or author (Kafka, T.S. Eliot, Joyce, Ralph Ellison). (Expressionism: know definition and authors’ names)
Imagism
(Imagism: know definition, rough dates, influence (Symbolism and Haiku poetry), the five basic traits of imagism, authors, and be able to identify an imagist poem)
Time period: (1912-1917). Rejected sentimentality and cloudy verbiage and aimed for new clarity in short lyrical poems. Imagists believed images carry the poem. Meaning happens in the air. There were four basic rules of the Imagist movement:
1. use the common language of speech
2. use the exact word
3. images in poetry should be “hard and clear”
4. Write in free verse.
(Pound, Amy Lowell, Williams, H.D.)
While the official movement lasted only a few years, many modern poets were influenced by its ideas and Lowell continued to write imagist poems well after 1917.
The imagists were influenced by Japanese haiku, a form of short lyric verse that arose in the 16th century. The goal of a haiku was to capture a single impression of a natural object or scene within a particular season in 17 syllables in three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables.
An Imagist poem by Amy Lowell: A Lover (1917),
Autumn (1919) by Amy Lowell,
Opal (1919) by Amy Lowell
Magic Realism
(Magic Realism: know definition, authors)
Fabulous and fantastical events are included in a narrative that otherwise maintains objective realism. (Borges, the vultures talking in Hurston)
Minimalism
(Minimalism: know definition, authors (Hemingway and the imagists))
Extreme restriction of a work’s contents to a bare minimum of necessary elements. (Imagism, Becket, Hemingway)
Surrealism
(Surrealism: know definition, rough dates, who influenced the movement (Freud), and be able to identify a surrealist poem)
An anti-rational movement in the 1920s and ’30s, surrealism seeks to break down the boundaries between rationality and irrationality, exploring dreams, hallucinations, and sexual desire. Influenced by Freud. (Breton, Cocteau, Apollinaire, Lorca)
A surrealist poem by Federico Garcia Lorca: Dawn (1929)
A surrealist poem by Antonin Artaud: Dark Poet (1926)
Symbolism
(Symbolism: know definition)
A late 19th-century French poetry movement that influenced several modern writers. The leading symbolists—Baudelaire, Rimbaud, and Mallarme—wrote in reaction against realism and objectivity. The symbolist used highly symbolic language aimed for a poetry of suggestion and not to imitate nature. In fact, they avoided direct description and opinion. Their goal was to create poetry like music, something that evoked subjective moods rather than convey a single specific idea.
Modernism Definition
(Modernism: know definition, rough dates, influences (Whitman, Freud, Marx, Darwin, Nietzsche, Einstein), themes, traits, audience, and authors mentioned above (Williams, Pound, cummings, etc.; you don’t need to know all the authors listed on the handout)..
A general term applied retrospectively to the wide range of experimental and avant-garde (from the French word meaning ‘advanced guard’ or ‘vanguard’—people active in the invention of new techniques) trends in the literature and other arts of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, mainly in Europe and North America…. Modernist literature is characterized chiefly by a rejection of 19th-century traditions and of their consensus between author and reader: conventions of realism … or traditional meter. Modernist writers tended to see themselves as an avant-garde disengaged from bourgeois values, and disturbed their readers by adopting complex and difficult new forms and styles. In fiction, the accepted continuity of chronological development was upset by Joseph Conrad, Marcel Proust, and William Faulkner, while James Joyce and Virginia Woolf attempted new ways of tracing the flow of characters’ thoughts in their stream-of-consciousness styles. In poetry, Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot replaced the logical exposition of thoughts with collages of fragmentary images and complex allusions….. Modernist writing is predominantly cosmopolitan, and often expresses a sense of urban cultural dislocation, along with an awareness of new anthropological and psychological theories. Its favoured (sic) techniques of juxtaposition and multiple points of view challenge the reader to reestablish a coherence of meaning from fragmentary forms.
Modernism Timeframe
dominated the cultural landscape until the 1950s…Perhaps the distinguishing feature is its determination to dispense with the past, in Ezra Pound’s phrase “to make it new.” In one sense this impulse lies at the basis of every literary movement in history, but what distinguished this movement was the profound sense of intellectual crisis in which it developed.
Modernism Influences
It was a response to the shift in thought and belief precipitated by intellectual developments and discoveries associated with, but not limited to, the names Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, and Albert Einstein. Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859) uprooted the traditional view of “man made in the image and likeness of God,” replacing it with one of man as the descendant of an ape. Marx’s view of the economic determinism that governed Western history human and culture directly challenged the idealist philosophy of its time. Nietzsche’s übermensch and declaration of the “death of God” summarized the dismissal of the very ground of the Hebraic/Christian tradition, while Freud’s representation of the significance of the unconscious—and the primal and primarily sexual nature of the psyche or self—called into question the notion of morality and rational free choice. And Einstein’s theory of relativity and the conception of space/time uprooted the straightforward chronological narrative forms of the 19th century. While modern literature and art was being developed before World War I, the vast, senseless carnage of the war (exacerbated by modern weaponry) prompted modernists to a wide variety of literary experimentation, attempting to define a viable position for the self in social and philosophical predicaments of many kinds.
Modernism
One consequence of this intellectual crisis was a turn toward the inner self. As the critic Denis Donoghue has expressed it, “… is concerned with the validity of one’s feelings and the practice of converting apparently external images and events into inwardness, personal energy.” Thus, one of the most influential terms in this literature was James Joyce’s epiphany, which implied that truth was at best a fleeting, impermanent, intensely personal moment that the artist could strive to capture. Another was the focus on the literary symbol, frequently employed as the outward sign of an interior condition. Symbolism became a major feature of this art and literature and of the criticism it fostered.
Modernism Themes
Themes/Subjects:
• Anti-romantic
• Moral relativism
• Reject past traditions and turn away from religion, traditions (marriage) and other societal values or traditions
• Reject past literary traditions (form, structure, theme, narration, etc.)
• Agonized recollection of the past
• World is fragmented, broken
• Atheism—poet/author/work responsible for transcendence/spiritual (not God or church)
• The work of literature is the only place where order and meaning can be found
• Alienation and loneliness
• Individualism
• Loss/despair/hopelessness/apathy
• Disillusionment
• Paralysis—an inability to act
Modernism Traits:
• Heavy use of allusions (to other works of literature, Greek myth, the Bible)
• Detached, ironic narrator or speaker
• Irony and satire
• Impressionism—when an author provides a subjective impression of a scene rather than a detailed, objective description (Conrad, Woolf)
• Rejection of realism
• Nonlinear structure
• Free verse (no set rhyme or meter—Whitman)
• Stream of consciousness—a continuous, rapid flow of sense-perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and memories usually in unpunctuated paragraphs. (Joyce, Woolf, Faulkner)
• Frustration of common expectations of coherence
• Purposeful obfuscation
• Ironic and ambiguous juxtapositions
• Multiple points of view and/or narrators
• Synaesthesia—blending or confusion of different kinds of sense impressions, in which one type of sensation is referred to in terms more appropriate to another. Ex: A loud shade of red, a smooth whisper, a sweet touch, etc. (Symbolists, Imagists)
Modernism Audience:
• Mostly elite, not a general audience (especially Pound and Eliot)—as opposed to most romantics
Modernism Authors
Modernist Novelists:
– European: James Joyce
– American: Zora Neale Hurston, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway

Modernist Poets:
– Antonin Artaud, Frederico Garcia Lorca
– American: Amy Lowell, William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound Marianne Moore, T.S. Eliot, e.e. Cummings, Archibald MacLeish, Langston Hughes

Antonin Artaud
“Dark Poet”
e.e. cummings
“[Pity This Busy Monster]”
e.e. cummings
“[O Sweat Spontaneous]”
e.e. cummings
“[r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r]”
e.e. cummings
“[l(a]”
e.e. cummings
“[What If a Much of a Which of a Wind]”
e.e. cummings
“[Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Town]”
e.e. cummings
Painter and a poet
• Just as much interested in visual impact of poems as he is with words and syntax
• Breaks lots of grammar rules
• Playful use of language
• Slightly misanthropic in some poems
• Highly critical of humanity
T.S. Eliot
“The Waste Land”
T.S. Eliot
“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,”
T.S. Eliot
“The Hollow Men”
T.S. Eliot
• Uses lots of allusions
• Writes beautifully lyrical lines
• “Waste Land” includes parts written in Greek, Latin, Italian, French, and German
• Has some romantic tendencies (thematically)
• God is absent in the modern world
• Nostaglic for past literary traditions and past morals
• Sees modern man as spiritually, morally, and intellectually empty
• Waiting for a messiah
• Purposefully obfuscating
• Converted to Anglicanism in 1927—only five years after “Waste Land” is published
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald
This Side of Paradise
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Tender Is the Night
F. Scott Fitzgerald
• Coined the phrase “Jazz Age”
• Came from a modest background
• First love Ginevra King married someone else because Fitzgerald was too poor
• Memorized parts of the Eliot’s “Waste Land”
• Writes beautifully lyrical sentences
• Uses lots of allusions
• Has some romantic tendencies (thematically)
• God is noticeably absent
• Sees the East and modern man as selfish and morally bankrupt (like Eliot) whereas the West is decent and hard working
• Criticizes the decadence of the 1920s in The Great Gatsby but also celebrated this lifestyle personally
• Views the Horatio Alger stories as a myth: you can’t just work hard to be successful and respectable
• Sees America as a defiled Eden; spoiled as soon as the “Dutch sailors” landed
Ernest Hemingway
“Hills Like White Elephants”
Ernest Hemingway
“In Another Country”
Ernest Hemingway
“The Killers”
Ernest Hemingway
A Farewell to Arms
Ernest Hemingway
Old Man and the Sea
Ernest Hemingway
• Minimalist and understated style
• “Fly on the wall” narration
• Iceberg theory—felt writing should only show the tip of the meaning and the remainder should be up to the reader to discern
• Nada: the nothingness of the world: man is born into a naturalistic, indifferent universe (a world without order or purpose)
• Hemingway code hero—Hemingway himself describes his ideal hero as a masculine man who follows a basic code: he is “a man who lives correctly, following the ideals of honor, courage and endurance in a world that is sometimes chaotic, often stressful, and always painful.”
o Courageous and brave: “Courage is grace under pressure”
o Never shows emotions
o Faces the nada still passionately perseveres
o Faces death with dignity
o Maintains free will
o Completely honest
o Dares to travel and have “beautiful adventures,”
• Suffered from depression—eventually committed suicide
Langston Hughes
“The Negro Speaks of Rivers”
Langston Hughes
“The Weary Blues”
Langston Hughes
“I, Too”
Langston Hughes
• Uses jazz rhythms in his poetry
• Uses common, colloquial language
• Celebrates African heritage
Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God
Zora Neale Hurston
• Uses a mixture of common, colloquial language and rich poetic language
• Celebrates the African-American folklore traditions
• Finding the self, being comfortable with who you are
• Early feminist novel
• Critical of those trying to be white
• You have to experience life, not just talk about it
James Joyce
Ulysses
Federico Garcia Lorca
“Dreams”
Amy Lowell
“A Lover”
Amy Lowell
“Autumn”
Amy Lowell
“Opal”
Archibald MacLeish
“Ars Poetica”
Archibald MacLeish
J.B.
Archibald MacLeish
“A poem should not mean / But be”
Marianne Moore
“Poetry”
Marianne Moore
“..with a perfect contempt for it, one / discovers in / it after all, a place for the genuine”
Ezra Pound
“The Garden”
Ezra Pound
“A Pact”
Ezra Pound
“In a Station of the Metro”
Ezra Pound
“L’art, 1910”
Ezra Pound
“Salutation the Second”
Ezra Pound
“A Retrospect”
Ezra Pound
• “Make it new”
• Advisor, editor and friend of Eliot, Joyce, Marianne Moore, Cummings, Williams, and Hemingway
• Elitist content
• Arguably shaped the modern poetry movement
• Owes much to Whitman
• Imagism
• Later became a fascist and supporter of Mussolini
William Carlos Williams
“Danse Russe”
William Carlos Williams
“The Young Housewife”
William Carlos Williams
“The Red Wheelbarrow”
William Carlos Williams
“This is Just to Say”
William Carlos Williams
“The Great Figure”
William Carlos Williams
“Spring and All”
William Carlos Williams
“Portrait of a Lady”
William Carlos Williams
Patterson
William Carlos Williams
• Trained and worked as a doctor professionally
• Never a formal member of the imagist movement, but adhered to its basic principles for a time
• “No ideas but in things”
• Romantic tendencies
• Focus on the common experience
• Humanist
• More hopeful than Eliot
• Uses common language
Archetypal criticism
This approach to literature assumes that there is a collection of symbols, images, characters, and motifs (i.e. archetypes) that evokes basically the same response in all people. According to the psychologist Carl Jung, mankind possesses a “collective unconscious” that contains these archetypes and that is common to all of humanity. For Jung this explains how similar myths developed among groups of people that had no known contact with each other and also explains why they remain important to storytellers to the present day. A mythological critic might read a novel like The Great Gatsby and show how it is really just a sophisticated retelling of the story of Beauty and the Beast? or how the novel To Kill a Mockingbird is a modern retelling of an initiation quest found in the myths and rituals of various cultures around the world. Myth critics identify these archetypal patterns and discuss how they function in the works. They believe that these archetypes are the source of much of literature’s power.
Deconstructionism
– seeks to expose deep-seated contradictions in a work by delving below its surface meaning

– a strategy of close reading that elicits the ways that key terms and concepts may be paradoxical or self-undermining, rendering their meaning undecidable

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– A philosophical movement and theory of literary criticism that questions traditional assumptions about certainty, identity, and truth; asserts that words can only refer to other words; and attempts to demonstrate how statements about any text subvert their own meanings:

Feminism
Sees cultural and economic disabilities in a “patriarchal” society that have hindered or prevented women from realizing their creative possibilities and women’s cultural identification as merely a negative object, or “Other”, to man as the defining and dominating “Subject”. There are several assumptions and concepts held in common by most feminist critics. 1. Our civilization is pervasively patriarchal. 2. The concepts of gender are largely, if not entirely, cultural constructs, effected by the omnipresent patriarchal bias of our civilization. 3. This patriarchal ideology also pervades those writings that have been considered great literature. Such works lack autonomous female role models, are implicitly addressed to male readers, and leave the alien outsider or else solicit her to identify against herself by assuming male values and ways of perceiving, feeling, and acting. Feminists often argue that male fears are portrayed through female characters. Under this theory you would focus on the relationships between genders by examining the patterns of thought, behavior, values, enfranchisement, and power in relations between the sexes.
Formalism
Seeks to understand the text by identifying the various literary and rhetorical devices that are employed. The critic goes on to explain how the author uses these devices to add meaning and richness to the work. Formal critics will pay attention not just to the use of imagery or metaphor in a work, for example, but how these images and metaphors form patterns of meaning throughout the work. They will also pay attention to how the words sound together and how techniques from one genre (poetry, for example) are used to enrich a work written in another genre (prose, for example). This is what the Advance Placement English Literature Exam is asking you to do on the Poetry Essay (Q1) and the Prose Essay (Q2).
Marxism
Grounds theory and practice on the economic and cultural theory of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, especially on the following claims: 1. The evolving history of humanity, its institutions and its ways of thinking are determined by the changing mode of its ?material production?—that is, of its basic economic organization. 2. Historical changes in the fundamental mode of production effect essential changes both in the constitution and power relations of social classes. 3. Human consciousness in any era is constituted by an ideology—that is, a set of concepts, beliefs, values and a way of thinking and feeling through which humans perceive and explain what they take to be reality. A Marxist critic typically undertakes to ?explain? the literature of any era by revealing the economic, class, and ideological determinants of the way an author writes, and examine the relation of the text to the social reality of that time and place. This school of critical theory focuses on power and money in works of literature. Who has the power/ money? Who does not? What happens as a result? For example, it could be said that Wuthering Heights is about how love cannot survive a difference in class. Heathcliff and Catherine’s love is destroyed because Hindley has placed Heathcliff so low that it would ?degrade? Catherine to marry him as much as she loves him, thus she ?betrays [her] own heart? to marry Edgar who has the class and wealth to elevate Catherine. Young Catherine and Hareton’s love is only possible when she raises him up to her class with literacy and because they inherit Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange upon Heathcliff’s death.
Mythic criticism
a critical approach or technique that seeks mythic meaning or imagery in literature, looking beyond the immediate context of the work in time and place.

– Has references to famous mythological stories in works of literature
– These references are included in the hopes of getting a universal reactions from all readers
– It is similar to a psychological approach because it also is concerned with the things that underlie human behavior
– Myths are symbolic of people’s hopes fears, values, and other philosophical ideas

New Historicism
Historical: Historical / Biographical critics see works as the reflection of an author’s life and times (or of the characters’ life and times). They believe it is necessary to know about the author and the political, economical, and sociological context of his times in order to truly understand his works. Using this theory requires that you apply to a text a specific historical information about the time during which an author wrote. History, in this case, refers to the social, political, economic, cultural, and or intellectual climate of the time. For example, William Faulkner wrote many of his novels and stories during and after World War II, which helps explain the feeling of darkness, defeat, and struggle that pervade much of his work.

Is a school of literary theory, grounded in critical theory, that developed in the 1980s, primarily through the work of the critic Stephen Greenblatt, and gained widespread influence in the 1990s.

Aims simultaneously to understand the work through its historical context and to understand cultural and intellectual history through literature, which documents the new discipline of the history of ideas; is claimed to be a more neutral approach to historical events, and to be sensitive towards different cultures.

Psychoanalytic (Freudian and Jungian) criticism
These critics view works through the lens of psychology. They look either at the psychological motivations of the characters or of the authors themselves, although the former is generally considered a more respectable approach.
Freudian Approach: A Freudian approach often includes pinpointing the influences of a character’s id (the instinctual, pleasure seeking part of the mind), superego (the part of the mind that represses the id’s impulses) and the ego (the part of the mind that controls but does not repress the id’s impulses, releasing them in a healthy way). Freudian critics like to point out the sexual implications of symbols and imagery, since Freud’s believed that all human behavior is motivated by sexuality. They tend to see concave images, such as ponds, flowers, cups, and caves as female symbols; whereas objects that are longer than they are wide are usually seen as phallic symbols. Dancing, riding, and flying are associated with sexual pleasure. Water is usually associated with birth, the female principle, the maternal, the womb, and the death wish. Freudian critics occasionally discern the presence of an Oedipus complex (a boy’s unconscious rivalry with his father for the love of his mother) in the male characters of certain works, such as Hamlet.
Jungian Approach: Jung is also an influential force in myth (archetypal) criticism. Psychological critics are generally concerned with his concept of the process of individuation (the process of discovering what makes one different form everyone else). Jung labeled three parts of the self: the shadow, or the darker, unconscious self (usually the villain in literature); the persona, or a man’s social personality (usually the hero); and the anima, or a man’s “soul image” (usually the heroine). A neurosis occurs when someone fails to assimilate one of these unconscious components into his conscious and projects it on someone else. The persona must be flexible and be able to balance the components of the psyche.
Reader-Response
Reader-Response: These critics place their focus on the reader rather than text. Rather than looking for a definitive reading of a text they are interested in readers’ responses to the text, how they experience the text. Some would argue that in trying to dig out hidden meanings in a text the enjoyment of the text is lost as is its effect on the life of the reader. Reading is a creative act and as a text only provides the words the reader’s imagination must supply the images and make the applications of the text’s meaning to her or his own life experience. For some reader-response critics the text is re-authored each time it is read and no two people read the same text in exactly the same way, they do not author the same book. There is also inherent in this critical approach a desire to return ecstasy, awe, and wonder to our reading of literature.
Structuralism
.relates literary texts to a larger structure, which may be a particular genre, a range of intertextual connections, a model of a universal narrative structure, or a system of recurrent patterns or motifs. This criticism argues that there must be a structure in every text, which explains why it is easier for experienced readers than for non-experienced readers to interpret a text. Hence, everything that is written seems to be governed by specific rules, or a “grammar of literature”, that one learns in educational institutions and that are to be unmasked…

examines the universal underlying structures in a text, the linguistic units in a text and how the author conveys meaning through any structures

Mythological vs. Archetypal Criticism
Mythological Criticism:
– Has references to famous mythological stories in works of literature
– These references are included in the hopes of getting a universal reactions from all readers
– It is similar to a psychological approach because it also is concerned with the things that underlie human behavior
– Myths are symbolic of people’s hopes fears, values, and other philosophical ideas

Archetypal Criticism:
– First of all, archetypes are similar ideas, motifs, and images found in many different myths
– Normally defined as “universal symbols”
– Examples of archetypes are images (such as water, sun, certain colors or numbers, circles, the serpent, garden, tree, desert) “the hero,” “the earth mother”, “the soul mate,” “the trickster,” motifs or pattern, and genres

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