critical theories

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Moral Criticism (~360 BC-present)

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Moral Criticism (~360 BC-present)

-If art does not teach morality and ethics, then it is damaging to its audience (Plato) -The moral value of a work -The compatibility of a work with current moral codes/beliefs

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Dramatic Construction (~360 BC-present)

-How the language, rhythm, harmony, plot, character, thought, diction, song, and spectacle influence the audience's pity and fear or satisfaction with the work (Aristotle)

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Formalism (1930s to Present)

-Maintains that a literary work contains certain intrinsic features -Treats each work as its own distinct piece, free from its environment, era, and even author -Usage of imagery to develop symbols -Usage of paradox, irony, ambiguity, and tension in the text -Central or focal passage that can sum up the entirety of the work -How the rhythms and/or rhyme schemes of a poem contribute to its meaning

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Psychoanalytic Theory (Freudian) (1930s to Present)

-People's behavior is affected by their unconscious -Influenced by childhood stages involving relationships with parents and drives of desire and pleasure where children focus on different parts of the body -Stages reflect base levels of desire, fear of loss, repression -The development of defense mechanisms (denial, displacement, projection, regression, fear of intimacy, etc.) suppress conflict in the unconscious

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Id, Ego, and Superego

-3 areas of mind that wrestle for dominance during growth -Id: the location of the drives (libido) -Ego: one of the major defenses against the power of the drives and the home of the defenses -Superego: the area of the unconscious that houses Judgment (of self and others) that forms during childhood as a result of the Oedipus complex

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Oedipus Complex

-Children's need for their parents -The conflict that arises as children mature and realize they are not the absolute focus of their mother's attention -Boys have a murderous rage against the father with punishment taking place in the form of castration -Girls have a frustrated rage in which her sexual desire shifts from the mother to the father

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Psychoanalytic Theory (Jungian) (1930s to Present)

-All stories and symbols are based on mythic models from mankind's past -The connection between literature and the "collective unconscious" of the human race -Jung developed archetypal myths: the Shadow, the Anima, the Animus, and the Spirit -Beneath the Shadow is the Anima, the feminine side of the male Self, and the Animus, the masculine side of the female Self

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Marxist Criticism (1930s to Present)

-Reveals the ways in which our socioeconomic system is the ultimate source of our experience (oppression/profit) -Concerns itself with class differences, and the implications and complications of the capitalist system -Historical change is driven by the material realities of the economic base of society, rather than the ideological superstructure of politics, law, philosophy, religion, and art -There will always be conflict between the upper, middle, and lower (working) classes reflected in literature -Leads to revolution by oppressed peoples forming the groundwork for a new order of society and economics (socialism)

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9

Reader-Response (1960s to Present)

-Readers' reactions to literature is vital to interpreting the meaning of the text -Maintains that what a text is cannot be separated from what it does -The role of the reader cannot be omitted from the understanding of literature -Readers actively make the meaning they find in literature instead of consuming the meaning presented to them

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Structuralism (1920s to Present)

-Maintains that practically everything we do that is specifically human is expressed in language -Language symbols extend far beyond written or oral communication -Language exists in patterns, so certain underlying elements are common to all human experiences -Structural system of classification (i.e. underlying principles that govern buildings' composition) -Individual item belongs to a particular structural class (i.e. composition of a building demonstrating underlying principles)

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11

Structuralism (Frye)

-Explores ways in which genres of Western literature fall into his four mythoi -Theory of modes, or historical criticism (tragic, comic, and thematic -Theory of symbols, or ethical criticism (literal/descriptive, formal, mythical, and anagogic) -Theory of myths, or archetypal criticism (comedy, romance, tragedy, irony/satire) -Theory of genres, or rhetorical criticism (epos, prose, drama, lyric)

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Structuralism (Peirce)

-Gave structuralism three important ideas for analyzing the sign systems -Iconic signs, in which the signifier resembles the thing signified -Indexes, in which the signifier is a reliable indicator of the presence of the signified (like fire and smoke); -True symbols, in which the signifier's relation to the thing signified is completely arbitrary and conventional

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13

Semiotics (1920s to Present)

The study of sign systems, a non-linguistic object, or behavior that can be analyzed as if it were a language

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14

Post-Structuralism, Deconstruction, Post-Modernism (1966 to Present)

-Maintains that frameworks and systems are merely fictitious constructs and that they cannot be trusted to develop meaning or to give order -Holds that there are many truths, that frameworks must bleed, and that structures must become unstable or decentered -Concerned with power structures or hegemonies and power and how these elements contribute to and/or maintain structures to enforce hierarchy -Works can contract or undermine themselves -Works can fulfill or move outside the established conventions of its genre -Author is displaced, leaving the reader to interpret and develop meaning of a text

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15

New Historicism, Cultural Studies (1980s to Present)

-Reconnects a work with the time period in which it was produced and identifies it with the cultural and political movements of the time -Every work is a product of the historic moment that created it -Resists the notion that history is a series of events that have a linear, causal relations -The understanding of what such historical facts mean is strictly a matter of interpretation, not fact

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16

Post-Colonial Criticism (1990s to Present)

-Looks at issues of power, economics, politics, religion, and culture and how these elements work in relation to colonial hegemony -Questions the role of the Western literary canon and Western history as dominant forms of knowledge making -Terms "First World," "Second World," "Third World" and "Fourth World" reinforce the dominant positions of Western cultures populating First World status -Reveals the ways in which race, religion, class, gender, sexual orientation, cultural beliefs, and customs combine to form individual identity

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17

Feminist Criticism (1960s to Present)

-Ways in which literature reinforce or undermine the economic, political, social, and psychological oppression of women -Aims to expose misogyny in writing about women, which can take explicit and implicit forms -Can extend into diverse areas of our culture -Explains that women are marginalized, defined only by their difference from male norms and values

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18

First Wave Feminism

-Late 1700s-early 1900's -Highlights the inequalities between the sexes. -National Universal Suffrage in 1920 with the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment

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19

Second Wave Critcism

-Early 1960s-late 1970s -Builds more on equal working conditions necessary in America during World War II -National Organization for Women (NOW), formed in 1966, coheres feminist political activism

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20

Third Wave Feminism

-Early 1990s-present -Borrows from post-structural and contemporary gender and race theories to expand on marginalized populations' experiences

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21

Gender Studies and Queer Theory (1970s to Present)

-Explores issues of sexuality, power, and marginalized populations in literature and culture -Posed that in order to counter patriarchy, it was necessary not to think about new texts, but to think about them in radically new ways -Maintains that cultural definitions of sexuality and what it means to be male and female are constantly changing -The biology of male/female becomes complex and murky when the physical dualism of sexual genetic structures and bodily parts breaks down

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22

Ecocriticism (1960s to Present)

-The study of the relationship between literature and the physical environment -Human culture is connected to the physical world, affecting it and affected by it -Examines ourselves and the world around us, critiquing the way that we represent, interact with, and construct the environment -Reflects issues of environmental disaster and crises in works -Relationships between animals and humans

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23

First Wave Ecocriticism

-Taking place throughout the eighties and nineties -Emphasis on nature writing as an object of study and as a meaningful practice -Kept the cultural distinction between human and nature, promoting the value of nature -Speaks for nature

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24

Second Wave Ecocriticism

-Breaking down of some of the long-standing distinctions between the human and the non-human, questioning these very concepts -Boundaries between the human and the non-human, nature and non-nature are discussed as constructions -Examines the plight of the poorest of a population who are the victims of pollution and are seen as having less access to "nature" in the traditional sense.

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25

Pastoral Ecocriticism

-Focuses on the dichotomy between urban and rural life -General idealization of the nature and the rural and the demonization of the urban -Classic Pastoral: appreciation of nature as a place for human relaxation and reflection -Romantic Pastoral: a period after the Industrial Revolution that saw "rural independence" as desirable against the expansion of the urban - American Pastoralism: emphasizes agrarianism and represents land as a resource to be cultivated, with farmland often creating a boundary between the urban and the wilderness

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26

Wilderness Ecocritcism

-Examines the ways in which wilderness is constructed, valued, and engaged -Old World wilderness displays wilderness as a place beyond the borders of civilization, treated as a threat -New World wilderness applies the pastoral trope of the "retreat" to wilderness itself, seeing wilderness as a place to find sanctuary

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27

Ecofeminism

-Analyzes the interconnection between the oppression of women and nature -Examines hierarchical, gendered relationships, in which the land is often equated with the feminine, seen as fertile resources and the property of man -First Camp reverses the patriarchal domination of man over woman and nature; women are inherently closer to nature biologically, spiritually, and emotionally -Second Camp maintains that there is no such thing as a "feminine essence" that would make women more likely to connect with nature

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28

Critical Race Theory (1970s to Present)

-Examines the appearance of race and racism across dominant cultural modes of expression -Traces racism in America through the nation's legacy of slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, and recent events -Confronts the beliefs and practices that enable racism to persist while also challenging these practices in order to seek liberation from systemic racism -Emphasizes the importance of examining and attempting to understand the socio-cultural forces that shape how we and others perceive, experience, and respond to racism -Persistent racism problematically denies individuals many of the constitutional freedoms they are otherwise promised in the United States' governing documents -Understands how race interacts with other identities like gender and class

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29

White Privilege

-Refers to the various social, political, and economic advantages white individuals experience in contrast to non-white citizens based on their racial membership -Discusses dominant culture's tendency to normalize white individuals' experiences and ignore the experiences of non-whites

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30

Microaggressions

The minute, often unconscious, daily instances of prejudice that collectively contribute to racism and the subordination of racialized individuals by dominant culture

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31

Institutionalized racism

-The systemic ways dominant society restricts a racialized individual or group's access to opportunities -Deeply imbedded in legal institutions, absorbed into American culture to such a degree that they are often invisible or easily overlooked.

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32

Social construction

-The systemic ways dominant society restricts a racialized individual or group's access to opportunities -Deeply imbedded in legal institutions, absorbed into American culture to such a degree that they are often invisible or easily overlooked.

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33

Intersectionality and anti-essentialism

-The notion that one aspect of an individual's identity does not necessarily determine other categories of membership -It is impossible to predict an individual's identity, beliefs, or values based on categories like race, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality -Recognizes that individuals are capable of claiming membership to a variety of different categories and belief systems regardless of the identities outsiders attempt to impose upon them.

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34

Critical Disabilities Studies (1990s to Present)

-Disability in political, aesthetic, ethical, and cultural contexts, among others -Examines works to understand how representations of disability and "normal" bodies change throughout history, including the ways both are defined within the limits of historical or cultural situations -Investigates images and descriptions of disability, prejudice against people with disabilities (ableism), and the ways narrative relates to disability -Many races, classes, ethnicities, and other parts of identity have been classified as or associated with disabilities in the past

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35

Social model

-Distinguishes between impairment and disability -"Impairment" refers to a physical limitation -"Disability" refers to social exclusion -Stresses that we live in a disabling society in which we have failed to account for the diversity of bodies that live in the world -Useful for creating a group identity, spreading knowledge about disability, and promoting activism -The way we understand the body is based on socially constructed terms, ideas, and narratives;

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36

Normality

-Theory or idea based on "the average man," -Disguises the drastic differences among individuals in a society. -Literature ideologically emphasizes the universal quality of the central character whose normativity encourages us to identify with him or he -"Normate" describes those who are unmarked by the stigmas of disability, framing disability as a minority discourse -"Normate" highlights assumptions about the body in politics, rhetoric, literature, and other areas, including the erasure of cultural and bodily differences

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37

Narrative Prosthesis

-The ways narrative uses disability as a device of characterization or metaphor, but fails to further develop disability as a complex point of view -Used to mark characters as "unique," and it is sometimes what prompts a narrative in the first place -Works that feature disability prominently often uses it as a symbol or for comparative purposes -Stories often revolve around disability yet erase it simultaneously

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