February 25, 2007

Gilbert and Gubar and The Imprisonment of Women

Gilbert and Gubar, ''The Yellow Wallpaper'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"Moreover, conditioned to believe that as a house she is herself owned (and ought to be inhabited) by a man, she may once again but for yet another reason see herself as inescapably an object" (Keesey 261).

Out of respect for Karissa, I am not going to say anything about the feminist essay. The main reason why I did not appreciate the Kolodny piece is because of the lack of evidence behind the essay. It would have been a better essay, if it would have been less of a rant against men, and more of a critical essay.

As for this critical essay, Gilbert and Gubar present many effective situations on the literal and metaphorical imprisonment of women in the late 1800's, and why the cure became the actual poison for the women in that society. I think that there is a reality behind the metaphors in the "The Yellow Wallpaper," and the imprisonment of the main female character is believable because of the overall imprisonment of women by the men in their era. Creating a comparison between the house and the woman is actually is a genial thought, and through this essay, I have a greater understanding of what a mimetic criticism looks for, and why it is important to literary criticism as a whole.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 10:55 PM | Comments (0)

Talking Pictures: Brann and "The Ode"

Brann, ''Pictures in Poetry: Keats's 'Ode on a Grecian Urn'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"Indeed, there is no purer way of insuring that poetry will be strictly picture-like than to make it speak about a picture" (Keesey 245).

I really enjoyed the idea of talking pictures as reality in relation between formalism and mimetic criticism. We all know how crucial the urn is to Keats's poem, but now we have another reason why according to Brann. Because of the images provided by the text of Keats, the reader is able to find meaning behind the text. I do not think that we find realism, as much as we find a meaning, which is actually more of a formalistic criticism than a mimetic. There are flaws in Brann's essay, including where the actual realism occurs in the poem. There is not really an elemental truth, except for that beauty and truth are equal to each other. I am still slightly confused on whether the Urn is important to the reality of the society, or whether the Ode on the Urn becomes the perspective of reality. It is debatable either way, one question still lingers if the Urn is important. How is the urn realistic to anyone? That is the question that I pose to you.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 10:19 PM | Comments (2)

Donovan: A Better Feminist Essay

Donovan, ''Beyond the Net: Feminist Criticism as a Moral Criticism'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"For a feminist, moral literature is one which affirms the life of women, as well as all other creatures" (Keesey 230).

Alright Donovan! This is actually a critical essay that does not bash another essay, or is set up like a high school paper. Donovan argues multiple valid points about the history of women, and how unrealistic situations have been shown for women in literature. This is not one sided, because there are situations that overcompensate for one gender, and the other gender is left to not be as important or realistic to the society. The interesting thing to note is the mentioning that the only way that a female character became important is because of the audience's perception of the realistic nature of the character's actions or nature. Overall, Donovan provides many effective critical points in her essay, and while she does show the portrayal of multiple female characters, she also shows the importance of focusing on all genders as an important part of mimetic criticism.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 9:41 PM | Comments (0)

Murfin and Ray: Realism

Murfin and Ray, Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"Realism: "(1) ...a term that can be applied to the accurate depiction in any literary work of the everyday life of a place or period...it usually refers more specifically to a writer's accuracy in portraying the speech and behavior of a character or characters from a low socioeconomic class" (Murfin and Ray 398).

Why a low socioeconomic class? Is there a reason why a someone who is more likely to be in poverty knows reality more? I can understand why that is effective, and one could argue that Shakespeare's literature is very realistic because of the role of the fool understanding the meaning behind each and every one of the characters. Notice that it is not the rich king who knows all of the information, but rather, the fool who is usually a part of the scene, but as someone who is not wealthy by any means. I think that I just found the realism in Shakespeare. To use improper English: "Ain't that something?"

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 8:52 PM | Comments (0)

Characterization as a Mode of Mimeses

Paris, ''The Uses of Psychology'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"A careful examination of the nature of realistic fiction as modern criticism is coming to conceive it will show that in certain cases it is proper to treat literary characters as real people and that only by doing so can we fully appreciate the distinctive achievement of the genre" (Keesey 217).

We are told to avoid plot summary and characterization in a piece of fiction, but Paris's essay shows us that characterization has an important role in the conventions of a modern mimetic criticism. I can understand that there is a relationship between the characters as a real person, or at least someone who we understand has meaning in their lives, or a goal to accomplish. Although it is fiction, the characters must take a real and effective role in order to display a deeper meaning in the text. While many can find meaning in the text, with the importance of fiction, and especially plays, the characters or the narrator are the ones who create an implication in our minds that they are real, emotional, goal-oriented human being with a task at hand: finding a philosophical truth through their personas or actions. I think that mimetic criticism becomes more and more interesting, and I can actually find a possible relevance for why we are to see "Everyman."

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 8:40 PM | Comments (2)

Mimetic Criticism: The Mixed Bag of Literary Goodies

Keesey, Ch 4 (Introduction) -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"In other words, critics operating within a system of thought can account for the function of literature and measure its truth in terms of a larger framework of ideas" (Keesey 210).

Mimetic criticisms appear could actually a relation to the three different forms of criticisms we have already looked at: Authorial Intent, Reader-Response, and Formalism. Think about this: although we do not have an author, there is a meaning that is being searched for that either the reader finds, or the author establishes, not because it is the want of the author for the reader, or himself, but really it is a want to seek the real truth. If it not a search for truth, then it is a showing of a truth or a piece of evidence of reality that has been found by the author to be shown to the audience.

There can be multiple interpretations of a mimetic criticism, but really, it is a literary mixed bag o' goodies, but the only difference is the goal or task at hand. The primary focus of the mimetic criticism is to show that there is a piece of philosophical reality that is seen from the person who wrote the literature, and throught form and content, is showing the audience either the truth, or the harshness of the reality which they are apart of in their particular time period, or for generations afterward.

Overall, this is a very intense criticism that is going to take a lot of time to invest, because after all, everyone is searching for the overall truth in a piece of literature.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 8:30 PM | Comments (3)

Everyman

Anonymous, ''Everyman'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"The story saith,-Man, in the beginning,
Look well, and take good heed to the ending,
Be you never so gay!
Ye think sin in the beginning full sweet,
Which in the end causeth thy soul to weep..." (Everyman)


I was very pleased with the production of Everyman, and after reading the morality play, I understand how there is a realism not only in the 15th century, but in our society. The moral behind maintaining our good deeds and losing our worldly possessions can be understood in any time period because of the reality behind the message of the play. Being able to understand how sins have overtaken society, and since the people in that time period believed in a Christian God, the play makes perfect sense because that was, and still is the belief of the people who believe in God.

I particularly enjoyed the role of Everyman because of the hard transition that he faced throughout of the play. While Everyman was on his journey, it appears that he understands the importance of who is crucial to join them on their journey. Everyman is a character that many consider to be just like themselves, because after all, Everyman is a representation of the each and every one of us. Considering the Paris essay "The Uses of Psychology," understanding the concept of realistic fiction, and relating the two together, the audience can create a relationship between the personas of Everyman and their own characteristics that are either positive or negative.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 8:00 PM | Comments (1)

February 22, 2007

WildCard: A Blog of Self-Doubt and Self-Confidence

Basically I do not write many personal weblog entries, but there is something that I would like to get off of my chest. I know that I come off confident, sometimes a little headstrong, but the truth is that I am worried about going into the Education field. I know that is what I want to do for a long time, but I can not help having some doubts on my ability to control a classroom of 27 students, some of which could careless about English. My personal view on Education is one that says "Everyone has potential." At the same time, I know that I need to be prepared for the student that is not willing to learn, and not willing to grow. I can not accept failure (and all of you know that), and my fear is that if a student fails, then I fail, because I could not do enough to help that student make a difference in his own life.

I know that is supposed to be the attitude, but just like tennis, I take losing very hard. I am not a poor sport, or have bad sportsmanship, believe me, I am one of the nicest guys on the tennis court. But when I get home, I take losing and failure to heart (any of you who know April Beere can ask her how rough I take a loss). English is a very complicated subject, and I am supposed to be able to make an impact on 100-150 students every single year. Everyone would like to expect a 100% positive turnout, but is that really going to happen? I am going to do everything in my power to make a difference, but the failure will be very tough to take.

I hope that many of us have our doubts, but also have enough confidence in themselves to know they have the preparation, the power, and the capabilities to teach students not only their specialized field, but to teach them life-long lessons and make a difference.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 11:25 AM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2007

The Wonderful World of the Blogosphere: Number One

http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JasonPugh/019352.htmlPortfolio I -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

So here is the first of the the three final blog portfolios I will have completed. I really feel like I am coming down to the final stretch of my college career, and I must say that I would hope to use weblogs after I am gone from Seton Hill. I can't believe I am going to say this, but I have really enjoyed the blogs for the most part (never thought I'd say that ever).

As for literary criticism, I feel like I am understanding how one can make an argument with three different types of criticism. Literary criticism is certainly a complex method to interpret a piece of literature, so that we can feel closer to multiple different types of individuals. I am fascinated by literary criticism, but I am still a pawn in this giant chess game, and hopefully I might move up to rook status one day.

So far my favorite type of criticism is a tie right now, between authorial intent and reader-response. I feel like I can understand reader-response more, but I am more interested in the history of the society, and what their society's conventions consist of. Both are great, and if the next batch is like the first, then I will still be enjoying literary criticism.

ANYWAY, Here is the first collection of weblog for Blog Portfolio One (What the categories fall under are in parentheses). First of all, every single one of these blogs are under the categories of COVERAGE and TIMELINESS, so I am going to mark those as C & T in parentheses:

Platonic Criticism from Murfin and Ray (C & T)
What is Literature? An Eagleton Reading (C & T)
Keesey: An Introduction to Literary Criticism (Discussion, Interaction, C & T)
Benito Cereno: A Melville Not-So-Short Story (Depth, Interaction, C & T)
Breaking Away from Tradition (Depth, Discussion, Interaction, C & T)
WORD(S) OF THE WEEK: Authorial Intention (Interaction, C & T)
Keesey Chapter 1: Historical and Authorial Intention (C & T)
Hirsch's "Objective Interpretation" (C & T)
Melville's Relation to American Society (Interaction, C & T)
The Yellow Wallpaper: Once Again Depth, Interaction, Discussion, C & T)
Shakespeare and Justice (C & T)
Murfin and Ray: The Word of the Week (C & T)
Watson Did Not Solve This Case (Depth, Interaction, C & T)
Audience = Historical Intention: A Yachnin Piece (Interaction, C & T)
Austin, Hirsch, and Keats: An Interpretation of One Line (Depth, C & T)
Keesey: Chapter 2 Formalism (Interaction, C & T)
Insert Ironic Statement Here-----> (C & T)
Style: Murfin and Ray Week 4 (C & T)
McDonald's Essay = I'm Lovin It Interaction, Discussion, C & T)
Kent and Keats: A Grammatical Disconnection Interaction, C & T)
O'Connell and the Important Narrator (C & T)
Iser Knows his Readers (C & T)
You Knew There Had to be Feminism... (Interaction, C & T)
Keesey Chapter Three (C & T)


The Blog Carnival Entry (Courtesy of Karissa Kilgore):

Karissa has been very helpful with the Blog Carnival Entry, and I feel like that this experience has been very influential. My blog carnival entry is concerned with the a recap of what my favorite criticism has been to this point. I feel like this was a great topic to discuss, because we never really have the opportunity to say how we feel about the particular criticism we are dicussing in class.

Blog Carnival Entry: Favorite Type of Criticism


The Comments

Many of these comments could be considered as Comment Primo or Comment Informative, because they are not comments that say I like this, or I don't like that, but they will still be separated. Here is the Xenoblog:

Comment Primo

Valerie Masciarelli's "The Healthy Combination?"
Kevin Hinton's "Not in a Vacuum"
Karissa Kilgore's "Our Own Thoughts on the Urn Ode"
Kevin McGinnis's "Watson? Can you Hear Me? Watson, I need you!"
Mitchell Steele's "Aesthetics, or my wife at three in the morning"


The Comment Grande

Erin Waite's "Kolodny Makes Me Rant, Not Read"
Valerie Masciarelli's "Yellow Wallpaper, back and more disgusting than ever!"


The Comment Informative

Sue Myers's "EL312: Objective Inerpretation"
David Moio's "Why Lock Up the Beast?"
Gina Burgese's "Is it always about me?" (P.S. The first two comments are mine).
Diana Geleskie's "The Hamlet of Last Tuesday"


The Wildcard

If you really would like to be able to get inside of my head, personally, then read this blog. I really opened myself up on this one. Here it is:

WildCard: A Blog of Self-Doubt and Self-Confidence

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 11:47 PM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2007

Blog Carnival Entry: Favorite Type of Criticism

Karissa posted this topic for the Blog Carnival Entry:

"in-depth info. on any of the specific crit. styles we've studied so far--your personal take on whichever one you want"

So far, after the first couple of weeks, I truly feel that the most recent criticism, the reader-response criticism, is the most influential to me. I wrote my paper last year on the Chaucerian Reader and his relationship to Chaucer's literary works, and how influential his works are to the reader. Also, I discussed how important the reader's judgments were to the literature, because they bring in their own individual stereotypes, or class classifications (haha), into the literature. I think that it is important the reader-response criticism is important, because we are all readers, and each of us, elementary or professional, have our own response or interpretation to the literature. This entire class is based because of reader-response criticisms, because we have our own thoughts and responses, which lead us to make judgments and assumptions about the poem, the literature, the author, the history, or the semiotics behind the literature. It is all because of the reader-response criticism.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 4:20 PM | Comments (2)

Keesey Chapter Three

Keesey, Ch 3 (Introduction) -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"For reader-response critics are most often concerned with the present audience. There are, it should be noted, audience-oriented critics with a historical bent who study the reception of poems over time" (Keesey 129).

Reception is really the key word to the Keesey essay. How one can interpret the information is very important. Think about this: Every single one of us are part of reader-response, including Iser, including Kolodny, including Watson, and including Kent. We are all associated with the interpretation of the literature, and we all find ways to either find an assumption made by an author or narrator, or we make our own assumptions based off of judgments or rationales. How we recept a piece of literature or poetry, points us in the direction on what we would like to discuss about it. Reception is very important to literature, and I think that so far, this type of critique is my favorite so far.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 4:13 PM | Comments (1)

You Knew There Had to be Feminism...

Kolodny, '"A Map for Rereading: Or, Gender and the Interpretation of Literary Texts'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"But in each instance, it is the survival of the woman as text -- Gilman's narrator and Glaspell's Minnie Foster -- that is at stake; and the competence of her reading audience alone determines the outcome" (Keesey 202).

I knew that somewhere along the line, we were going to have to complete a weblog entry on a feminist criticism. I can understand how we can make a relation between Gilman and a gender-based reader, but this seems very elementary to me. I was not necessarily offended by the Kolodny piece, but it did strike me as wrong, assuming that a male reader are not better readers on a feminist piece than a female reader. How can one possibly say that without relating it to the actual history behind the text. I can make some relation because a male reader might not want to understand, but just because a male reader reads differently (as Iser has suggested), does not mean that one is definitely more effective as a reader, no matter what the aim is.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 4:01 PM | Comments (2)

Iser Knows his Readers

Iser, ''Readers and the Concept of the Implied Reader'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"The sequence of reactions aroused in the reader by the surface structure of a literary text is often characterized by the fact that the strategies of that text lead the reader astray -- which is the prime reason why different readers will react differently" (Keesey 143).

Iser's piece is by far the favorite essay at this point, because I feel that he actually understands the diversity of complexities behind the actual reader. There are different types of readers who bring their own judgments, rationales, and opinions into the piece of literature before they even read it, yet the author or narrator can still have an effect on the reader by the end of the story. While competence is a necessary component to reading literature, the fact that a reader already brings in their own judgments into a text is very influential to the literature itself. I wrote an essay on the importance of reader-response and the implications of the reader's original stereotypes and categorizations of characters in Chaucer's literature, and found myself very satisfied with the results of the essay.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 3:37 PM | Comments (2)

O'Connell and the Important Narrator

O'Connell, ''Narrative Collusion and Occlusion in Melville's 'Benito Cereno''' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"My interest is in showing how this manipulation of the reader is accomplished and suggesting a theory as to why, at this particular moment in political and literary history, such an approach was both available and effective" (Keesey 188).

Catharine O'Connell brought up a different side to reader response that multiple people usually do not notice in literature: The effect of the narrator and his or her presentation to the audience or reader. The reader is really dooped into believing what the narrator is presenting to him, because of the implications of Delano's and Babo's character, and the actual situations that Melville provides in the story. The one concept that I fail to understand is the overall idea on how a reader-response critic can show the reader that what he thinks is not necessarily as important as the narrator implies. Is that not Authorial Intent? I can understand that the reader is supposed to understand the meaning behind the story, but if the narrator is the so-called "puppetmaster," then how is the reader any more important than the person telling us the story?

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 3:23 PM | Comments (0)

Kent and Keats: A Grammatical Disconnection

Kent, ''On the Third Stanza of Keats's 'Ode on a Grecian Urn''' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"Both urn and ode are finally dependent on a beholder, a reader, to give life to to image and typograhical symbol -- to animate by imagination...All art is, finally, dependent" (Keesey 115).

I really can appreciate the approach that Kent had taken toward Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn." He explains the importance behind the plethera of grammatical devices used by Keats in order to display an art that not many readers (including myself) have truly noticed before. I agree with Kent when he describes in his essay that there is a certain dependency associated with the grammatical uses by Keats. But here is the question, is the art really dependent? How can the art of the poem be dependent when such imagination is used? Can't I just take the McDonald approach toward Keats? Too many questions still that leave me wondering the credibility behind the Kent essay.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 12:33 AM | Comments (3)

McDonald's Essay = I'm Lovin It

McDonald, ''Reading The Tempest'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"Moreover, the style and form of The Tempest engage the audience textually with the same issues of control and mastery -- the problem of power -- that are brought into sharp focus by considerations of historical contexts" (Keesey 101).

It goes to show many of us new critics that one type of a criticism can be made in agreement to a completely different type of ciriticism, stressing the same point, but finding a different route to get there. This piece really reminded me of the Yachnin piece, expressing instances of justice and power. But rather than attempting to find an explanation from the author's audience, or the author's specific time period or history, McDonald is trying to look into the patterns of the literature itself.

Another concept that is brought up by McDonald is the appreciation of the ambiguity of the play and the admiration of the form and style from Shakespeare. I recall multiple occasions to which I have heard these words: "Shakespeare is too hard to understand...I don't like it." McDonald seems to stress that it should be the exact opposite, and I think that many of us are at the level to which we try to decipher the code of Shakespeare, but still find an appreciation to his mastery.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 12:10 AM | Comments (3)

February 18, 2007

Style: Murfin and Ray Week 4

Murfin and Ray, Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"Used generally, the way in which a literary work is written, the devices the author uses to express his or her thoughts and convey the work's subject matter...Style, however, is as elusive to define as it is to identify and analyze a paricular work or a group of works" (Murfin and Ray 463).

Style is a very important component toward a formalist criticism, but because it is so difficult to identify, it is very hard to make a formalist critique on a piece of literature. What is very interesting is that a formalist piece of writing can be associated with an authorial or historical criticism because the style that an author uses can be associated with the identification from the literary critic. Style is so very difficult to pinpoint, so I am assuming that the best way is to depict a piece of style to the author and the intention, or maybe just try to appreciate the style and try to make an educated guess on why an author would use that style.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 11:23 PM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2007

Insert Ironic Statement Here----->

"I have argued that irony, taken as the acknowledgment of the pressures of context, is to be found in poetry of every period and even in simple lyrical poetry. A great deal of modern poetry does use irony as its special and perhaps its characteristic strategy" (Keesey 89).

Irony is a concept that is overused in every category, but the most effective place that irony deserves to be in the poetry. Using metaphors to get the point across is an element that one could laugh at first, but then should be admiring the use of it in that particular line of the poetry. I agree with Brooks when he writes that irony is used way too often in situations that should not be used, and thus, takes away from the form and context of the actual poem. Modern poetry seems to try too hard to place irony delicately, whenever it should really flow in the poem. Symbolism is something that one could look at in a piece of literature, and it sticks out like a sore thumb. Every piece of poetry, literature, music, etc... has either irony or symbolism jammed into the lyric, and it should be used at the right time. Poets such as Wordsworth, Eliot, and even Keats place irony and propose questions that they already know answers to. I am finally understanding the use of formalism (thanks to Karissa), and I can see how a poem can stand out strictly on its own, by using a literary technique, or a punctuation in the right place, to signify something incredibly strong and meaningful in a piece of poetry.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 8:20 PM | Comments (1)

Keesey: Chapter 2 Formalism

"These are all forms of complexity, and the good poem is complex because, more than any other kind of discourse, it deals faithfully with our complex experience of the world. It tells us the truth about that experience" (Keesey 80).

What? And to think, I really respected Keesey after the first chapter. He keeps discussing that the more complex the piece of literature is, the more meaning we can find out of it. That actually seems like the total opposite. I understand that we are supposed to find meaning right in the text. It seems very difficult to look at a piece of text without finding a meaning behind the text. But I am going to find myself ripping my hair out of my head trying to take this approach, because just looking at the text itself and admiring value, does not necessarily have me find meaning in a text. I really don't understand how we are not supposed to search for a meaning without looking at what the author meant, or what the reality behind the text represents based off of race, or feminism, or history...or SOMETHING!!! I am really struggling with this approach, so if anyone can help me, I would greatly appreciate it.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 7:25 PM | Comments (2)

Austin, Hirsch, and Keats: An Interpretation of One Line

"Although there are numerous interpretations of the concluding lines of Keats's Ode, each of them expresses one of six contending perspectives: that beauty and truth are the same (1) in life, (2) in Keats's dream world, (3) in some Platonic or Absolute reality, (4) in the world of the Urn, (5) in imaginative or artistic perception, and (6) in eternity" (Keesey 48).

Austin really provides multiple perspectives that were very helpful. Who would have thought that there were that many approaches to one line? So far there are many approaches that do not specifically follow the conventions of the a specific criticism. Although this is an authorial intent essay, the basis of looking at the literature, or the specific lines that lie within, are based off of a more formalist approach. Austin really is effective in all six of his interpretations, including a background and an educated rationale behind each and every one of the interpretations.

We also mentioned that being artistic and being useful could coincide (art of the sake of art, and sweet and useful), and Austin implements both of these useful arguments in his essay. Personally, I am amazed that Austin can find this many interpretations behind one of the most influential lines in Keats's writing. My favorite interpretation of the Keats is the interpretation that "beauty refers to imaginative or artistic perception" (Keesey 50), because this relates to both the formalist and authorial intent approaches. I wish that they would have actually discussed how short of a life he lived, and how that could alter his perception of writing. I think that Keats wanted beauty to be associated to eternity, because that was exactly where he was heading at the time.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 6:38 PM | Comments (0)

Audience = Historical Intention: A Yachnin Piece

"To locate The Tempest in the literary field does not necessarily foreclose the possibility of a particular reading of the play; rather, it simply requires that such a reading be grounded in a historically specific negotiation between the text and the normal political attitude of the theatre-audience" (Keesey 38).

This concept is fairly new to me. So far we have been looking at the authorial intention of a piece of literature by searching for what the author was trying to accomplish, or what the society was doing at the time period. This essay focuses more on the importance of the "theatre-audience", and finding the meaning of the text that Vanessa and I look for (as well as everyone else) lies in the interest of the audience in the specific time period. This seems more like a reader-response approach mixed with a historical approach, and I really am enjoying this approach to a piece of literature. Shakespeare created the characters' personas because he understood what the audience would appreciate, and thus, playing with their emotions when one of those characters performs in the play.The main idea that I disagreed with is the concept that Shakespeare's invite to have the audience in the time period pass a judgment on the character, provides the moral authority for the story. I think that could be true, but Shakespeare does know his audience, and knows what's going to appeal to them. I think that Shakespeare understood his audience's thoughts, which made him the genius that he was, but he could have made a play that didn't appeal to his audience, and it still would have been deep and meaningful.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 6:15 PM | Comments (2)

Watson Did Not Solve This Case

"Nobody in all probability, has never denied that on the whole a novel is a novel, or an elegy an elegy because an author intended it to be so. But in the anti-historical atmosphere of the early twentieth century it was possible to protest that...the historical critic had little to contribute by 'going outside the poem'" (Keesey 32).

So now we find a balance between Vanessa's and my thoughts. There is credibility in looking at what the author intended, but at the same time, we can not consider the entire biography as the only source of looking at a poem. He understands that the words and a formalist approach is a respectable approach, but considering the history behind the poem and what was the authorial intention is slightly more important, considering how we can not look at a piece of literature without knowing even a vague background. The only reason that I saw why Watson said that authorial intention is not always the approach, is because it sets a limit on the overall motive behind the story. Sometimes we do need to look at the particular lines to find an answer, and just because an author intended one thing, does not mean that the reader doesn't find another useful meaning. The only necessity in literature that I see is that it needs to be written for the sake of the author and the audience. Everything else comes down to strictly being useful. While Watson is close, and provides two sides to his argument, I still don't think that authorial intent is the key component, or the key approach to figure out a piece of literature. I do feel authorial intent is important, but Watson needs to consider other aspects like reader-response, because that is an important approach too.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 10:32 AM | Comments (1)

Murfin and Ray: The Word of the Week

"Hubris: Greek for 'insolence,' excessive pride that constiutes the protagonist's tragic flaw and leads to a downfall. Disastrous consequences result when hubris causes the protagonist to ignore a wise warning from a god or other important figure, to violate some moral rule, or to try to transcend ordinary limits" (Murfin and Ray 203).

I chose the word hubris because many people do not realize what a convention this is. This is a technique that is not only used in Greek Literature, but many other tragedies after it. Shakespeare even uses hubris, because many of his characters are flawed with excessive pride, and usually they are slain by the end of his plays. I personally believe that this the main characteristic behind why Greek Literature was as great as it was. Hubris is the quality that shows the reader that the character really is doomed from the beginning, yet we still want to find hope and a positive ending, even though the character's flaw got in the way. Sophocles is a master at using two key components in Greek Tragedies: a Chorus, and Hubris. Both of these qualities leave readers discussing about him thousands of years after he wrote such epic material.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)

Shakespeare and Justice

"A devil, a born devil, on whose nature
Nurture can never stick; on whom my pains,
Humanely taken, all, all lost, quite lost;
And as with age his body uglier grows,
So his mind cankers. I will plague them all,
Even to roaring" (Act IV, Scene i)

I love the fact that Shakespeare can have his characters have their own form of justice, especially considering that we ourselves have our own views on justice. Shakespeare basically creates the underlying thought that the person with the most power, can cast the most judiciary discipline on the others. Prospero is the only one with a spirit, Ariel, so therefore he has the upperhand over everyone else in the story. Notice that characters with less power never have any justice over someone who is more prosperous. Hamlet is a prince, Oberon is a King, etc...The character that has no wealth, has no power, and has no fairies to be invisible and cast spells amongst the other characters. This has been an occurring theme that I have picked up after reading a lot of Shakespeare.

On the other hand, I really don't know what it would be like if Claudius, Alonso, or Nick Bottom had a fairy. Would the justice be as just? Would the power be overused? It seems to me that the people that have the power, use their justice fairly, only to save themselves, or seek the truth. Although, Puck messed up, but hey, it's a comedy.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 10:04 AM | Comments (1)

February 4, 2007

The Yellow Wallpaper: Once Again

"John is a physician...If a physician of high standing, and one's own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression -- a slight hysterical tendency -- what is one to do?" (Keesey 531).

Yes, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, what is one to do? If one were to look at this as a criticism looking at Authorial Intent, then how does John maintain complete control over his wife, and why does Gilman allow him to do that? What was her motive behind having this woman completely trapped in, not only her room, but in her own life behind her husband? One would have to look at a few things to focus on this type of criticism, including Gilman's biography, any sort of letters, conversations, interviews, etc..., and other information on the society, and their views on marriage, gender, and anything else related to the topic. The Yellow Wallpaper was published in a Literary Journal in 1892, and if there were any other interviews, commentary, or anything relating to her views on the society and marriage. Overall, this is the fourth time that I have read "The Yellow Wallpaper" and every time I have found something different to look for, which always provides a different perspective toward the same story. Literary Criticism has really had an impact on my perspective of literature, and this is only the 2nd/3rd week.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 4:58 PM | Comments (5)

Melville's Relation to American Society

"True it is, of course, that Melville, even in his failures, is almost always an adroit artist, and as many have noted, there are moments of undeniable power in Benito Cereno. But looked at objectively...but rather notions of black primitivism dear to the hearts of slavery's apologists, a sublimination in fact of all that was sleazy, patronizing, backward and fearful in the works that preceded it" (Keesey 64).

I am not surprised that there is some sort of a racial motive behind Benito Cereno, but overall, I think that it is necessary to discuss it. I am glad that we can relate this racial issue to authorial intent. As a criticism, however, I really think that Kaplan used a lot of filler on the specific characters, and did not use enough application to the literature, and the overall intent of the author. There seems to be too much character analysis, and not enough about the literature and the intent of the author until the end of the criticism. There are multiple questions that are asked, and not enough answers that were given. I personally think that this was a weak criticism, that looks racially through the characters, instead of the characters' traits and the language used behind the text. The one concept that was effective toward the critical essay is the focus of the historical aspect of Herman Melville's time period, which focuses more on the society and how it relates to Melville's thinking. There were some positive points overall to the Kaplan piece, but like most criticisms, there are multiple things that could help the essay.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 3:30 PM | Comments (3)

Hirsch's "Objective Interpretation"

"Of course, the reader must realize verbal meaning by his own subjective acts (no one can do that for him), but if he remembers that his job is to construe the author's meaning, he will attempt to exclude his own predispositions and to impose those of the author" (Keesey 23,24).

Hirsch understands that the audience's interpretation is important toward reading a piece of literature, but legitimacy and correspondence between literature and author becomes necessary to critique a specific piece of literature. The poem should NOT speak for itself, because the authorial intent becomes a integral part of the literature. What readers take out of the poem is also important, but the reader should not take place of the author, who had their own original intentions when writing this piece of literature. I do not think that one should just look at the words and go "this is what the author was trying to say." As it was said in my previous entry, research should be done on an author and their historical background before making a logical critique on the corresponding writings. A reader can gain a better understanding of the author's life and their literature if they actually forget about what they think of the literature, and focus on the intentions of that literature.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 2:35 PM | Comments (0)

Keesey Chapter 1: Historical and Authorial Intention

"We may not have documentary about Shakespeare's school days, but we can find aout a good deal about what was studied and how in the schools available to someone of his age and station. We may not know exactly what Chaucer read, but we can discover what most educated people of his time were reading" (Keesey 10).

This excerpt shows how authorial intent is considered to be more of a historical criticism, because not only is the biography of the author important, but we also need to look for what was important to the society of a specific time period. Think of Charlotte Perkins Gilman not only for what she did, but think about what the society of late 1800's were thinking, and what was interesting to them in that part of history. Originally, we could look at the biography of the author, and have enough to understand her literature, if only she were still alive. Since we have not lived in that time period, we can not really understand the history of the author or the society. When one could consider the importance of intent, one must consider influence. Who knows if we have a lot of information about Gilman's view on marriage, but we could look at her own marriage, or marriages, and see how they ended, or what the views of marriage were like in the particular time period. Between those two aspects, we can find a common ground between what Gilman thought, and what relations are made between those thoughts and literature such as "The Yellow Wallpaper."

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 1:53 PM | Comments (1)

WORD(S) OF THE WEEK: Authorial Intention

Authorial Intention: Defined narrowly, an author's intention in writing a work, as expressed in letterss, diaries, interviews, and conversations. Defined more broadly, "intentionality" involves unexpressed motivations, designs, and purposes, some of which may have remained uncoscious. The debate over whether critics should try to discern an author's intentions (conscious or otherwise) is an old one...(Murfin and Ray 31).

This type of study requires research on the author, and possibly the history and culture around the author, rather than just looking strictly at the text. Research is very important, because any type of information on the author can assist in the criticism that one is trying to accomplish. It is very difficult to try to determine "what were they thinking" and "why did they put this here" and really, the one way that one can find out is through looking for interviews, or conversations, or something. If not, then one can really only either speculate, or if you are really good, can makes some educated guesses; the only difference is that speculation shows that you have done no research to back up your original thesis, and educated guesses shows that you have done some research to help your thesis. Personally, I believe that authorial intention is going to be the hardest type of criticism to try to attempt. This could be a crash and burn.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at 11:23 AM | Comments (2)