The Lit Gender Gap

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A Map for Rereading: Or, Gender and the Interpretation of Literary Texts


Literary Criticism--EL312

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.
- Jason Pugh

I agree with Jay, there is absolutely no reason that a male reader would be lacking in reading a feminist article. I understand that you need some sort of experience (by being a woman) to understand some of the tones. But the whole reason for reader-response theory is to bring a new way of thinking into a text. For example, if we go into Machinal, men could be a new thought of why men in the play are the main contributors to the Young Woman anguish. No I am not opening the door to sexism, all I am trying to point out is in this type of criticism, we can not degrade works like Machinal to only the intended readers. Besides, I am pretty sure you had to analyze a lot of literature you did not like to read.

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If no men ever criticized a "feminist" work, how would there ever be a slightly different voice among the bleating of the collective who agree, at all times and costs, with what the core thought about it?

A perfect example, I think, was Dr. Wansor's American Lit when both myself and Lindsay wrote critical papers on Kate Chopin's The Awakening. It provided two different voices about the same work, and we both went in different directions.

No matter what, though, some form of bigotry will exist in literature as it does, sadly, in most everything else.