April 2009 Archives

Student Presentations = Success

In the middle of March, Angela gave a presentation on "The Uses of Psychology" by Paris. She discued how mimetic criticism relates to real world events and how psychological criticism can result in a meaning that is deeper than what appears on the surface.

Another interesting presentation that I learned a lot of information from was called ''Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences'' by Derrida. Ellen described how desconstruction is a very improtant aspect of literary criticism. A reader can take a structure or object and make it ahve one meaning based on specific evidence in a text or article. As critics, we can take the tools of the past and transform them into current learning which will result in new criticism of the future.

A third presentation called ''Reader, Text, and Ambiguous Referentiality in 'The Yellow Wallpaper''' by Feldstein was presented by Bethany. She re-introduced the class to how a text can have ambiguous situations whether in its language or phrases. Specifically, The Yellow Wallpaper has many ambiguous phrases because of how the narrator sees the wallpaper. Bethany also went into detail about how Gilman uses the word "wallpaper." There are instances that the reader is presented with the word and a hyphen and other instances that the word has a space in it. Which is the right way, Bethany asked. Well, as critics we may never know that answer, but we can use our learned knowledge to generate a thoughtful response that is supported with evidence.

The last presentation called ''Literature, History, Politics'' by Belsey was presented by Katie. This presentation began with a very interesting hook. Katie divided the class into two sections and favored one side more than the other. This type of introduction introduced the class into how one meaning is only one meaning to a text. Katie, then began talking about quotes from the text talked about how literature, history, and politics are all combined. Without these three concepts how can we have literature? It is through the information of the past that create new literature.

A Reflection of Literary Criticism at SHU

At the beginning of the course, I was unaware of what literary criticism was and how someone used it. In my first week's entry called A Paradox of the Unkown I questioned the phrase "Beauty is truth" (Austin 49) and how it is similar to a paradox. On a second reading of this quote and blog entry, I thought how there is not one specific truth to Keats's poem, but many becuase the urn is an object that represents all aspects of a culture and how each culture sees it in a different way. As the term began to start up, I wondered if History Was Necessary to Write Literature because of how literature contains a lot of examples, metaphors, and references to history. My classmates and I created a lengthy discussion that proposed how literature is similar to philosophy and is interpreted in different ways based on a person's own critical knowledge. The concepts of formalism and reader response were taught by Dr. Jerz in class and I began to wonder how one can only use a text to criticize literature or use their own response. A Formalist Approach or a Reader-Response made me think how a formalist would only study the words of Keats's poem and would not look to the symbolism and imagery that the urn holds. It seemed to me that when someone criticizes literature, then they can use multiple schools of thought in relation to one specific topic.

Not only did I learn about formalism and reader response, but I was introduced to a new type of blogging called a blog carnival. This entry is similar to an in-class discussion of a text, but it is in a virtual format. Specific classmates and myself applied criticism to "The Dead" by James Joyce. This outstanding blog carnival sparked discussion that questioned the snow and main character. From this experience, I learned that reader response in relation to formalism is a great combination because it showed me how literary criticism is not only used on scholarly texts, but on any text that is apart of literature.

In addition, formalism made me question how a Reader Stays on Course when they are reading a text in relation to critcism. Concepts of race, gender, and religion are usually popular themes that people relate to, but a formalist must try to be an ideal reader who strives against relating to these issues. A classmate mentioned that it is important to highlight a text while reading because this will help the formalist stay on topic and focus on the text instead of outside themes.

Another topic that I learned was psychological criticism and its affect not only on a literary text, but on a Hollywood production or movie. A classmate and I decided that we were going to analyze The Dark Knight and use a psychological approach on Batman, the Joker, and Harvey Dent. These characters all represent forms of psychology and how their minds work in the city of Gotham. Once we composed our website called Batman we noticed that the characters could be related to a Christ complex, an oedipus complex, and the pygmalion effect which are all apart of psychological criticism.

Another important topic that I learned in literary criticism was that an essay can have more than one answer and intertextual criticism can be used to support the other answers. Long before my in-class presentation I composed a blog entry called Male Control vs. Female Sanity and used several outside sources to support my critical viewpoint. A poem by Anne Sexton called "The Room of My Life" and a painting by Murillo called "Two Women at a Window" showed how important intertextual criticism is when looking at a text. Readers may not only see one meaning, but they can relate different types of medias from the time period to help prove that women did not have much control and many female authors were searching for their place and identity.

Lastly, the essay by Derrida gave me some closure to how literary criticism works in a text. The concept of deconstruction is not only one way to look at a text, but it provides the reader with several different ways of understanding a text, phrase, or word. If we take the urn in Keats's poem and deconstruct it, then we can see a female, an object, a tomb, a planter, a representation of history, and much more. Through the many ways that we see an object or text it gives us many options to how literature is viewed. In reference to history, Derrida came to the Rescue which allows us to use multiple schools of criticism with our own knowledge. On this same topic, a post-structuralist would look at Derrida's deconstruction theory as being very practical and useful because there is not one specific way to look at a text or one correct answer, but there are many views that are correct as long as they are supported with some form of criticism or scholarly source.

Overall, this course has taught me how important literary criticism is and how many different ways that it can be applied to a text. The many types include formalism, reader response, struturalism, post-structuralism, historical criticism, intertextual criticism, and a few more. These critical views lend way to each person that looks at a piece of literature because even though people think that they are not applying criticism, they really are. It is through literary criticism and my weekly casebook papers that I have been able to learn how a text's many meanings are just a beginning to how in-depth they can go. In addition, history, culture, government, education, and much more these are only a few topics that literature includes and each person can use these topics to create a solid foundation of literary criticism.

Blog Portfolio 3 - Personal Growth and Learned Criticism

This blog portfolio will cover a variety of topics and projects that will bring the literary criticism class to its completion. As always, my blogs have been submitted in a timely manner along with comments to my peers. We have covered many critical topics, but language and cultural criticism are the final two topics that we learned. Before I dive into these two topics, I want to present you with a casebook paper, a weekly assignment, that I posted on my blog for the community to see. This paper was entitled Post-Structuralism: Transforming History through Meaning in which I discussed how post-structuralism has many theories, but does not give a clear definition. My peers and I found Dr. Mary Klages and her discussion about the "self" to be very pertient to learning post-structuralism. As a result of this essay, I was able to use Derrida's concept of deconstruction in order to explain the methods or ideas that are associated with post-structuralism.

Another area of criticism that we covered was the topic of language and its universal role in literature. A very impressive and informative essay by Feldstein allowed me to write a blog that was called a story containing every critical view. Since my term paper will analyze and criticize The Yellow Wallpaper, I asked my peers if they thought that the text gives the reader what they want from it? A lengthy discussion arised and the result was that the text has multiple meanings, but the reader, along with supporting evidence, can defend a personal opinion of the text. One one hand I thought the power of words - a fishy situation, but then I questioned how do you see art. These blogs discuss abstracts in structure and how a reader can define the urn in reference to catching a fish.

Similarly, the topic of cultural criticism presents issues of symbolism, a close-reading of the word literature, history, and finally politics. The influence of culture makes a critic and reader question how literature is influence, greatly, by society and their meanings of words and text. Why does history always have an influence in a literary work? Is it habit that was formed from the past or is it because we can not write literature without referrring to societal norms and structure? On a similar note, I ask my traditional Seton Hill audience why are there so many * * * * * * * in The Yellow Wallpaper. This entry discusses madness and writing vs. publisher and reality.

In addition to every blog being posted on time, creating discussion, and contributing to active learning, I want to discuss a term project that conducts a psychoanalysis criticism on The Dark Knight. This website created by Angela and myself analyses Batman, the Joker, and Harvey Dent in reference to psychological terms, academic articles, and scholarly sources. First, Batman is seen as a Christ complex because of his dual identity between Bruce Wayne and Batman. Next, the Joker is seen as having an oedipus complex because of his past history with scars and negative effects upon the community of Gotham. Lastly, Harvey Dent is accociated with the pygmalion effect because of his knowledge of how the future will conclude. As a result of this project, we, Angela and I, have learned that The Dark Knight is not simply a movie that attracts viewers all over the world for excitement and fun, but a movie that contains characters that present psychological issues in relation to providing safety to Gotham and its inhabitants. Please feel free to browse around our newly created website and if you have not seen the movie before, then here is The Dark Knight trailer that will lure you into the city of Gotham and our critical views of the movie.

Moreover, when looking back on what Angela and I did for our term project, we feel a lot of satisfaction and success. Our term progress summary discusses what we did after proposing our idea of analyzing Batman, the Joker, and Harvey Dent. When we created our website, these characters had a specific page devoted to their attributes and importance in relation to psychological criticism. Overall, this in class presentation was excellent and our movie re-enactment went according to plan. The classmates felt excited, surprised, and motivated to see our ideas and presentation. This class and term project presentation will be a memorable experience that I will not forget.

I also want to briefly discuss my reflections and comments to two other term projects. The first term project that I found very interesting is being conducted by Katie and Greta. There project involves the process that a secondary public school teacher goes through in order to teach a lesson. There lesson plan was geared towards 10th grade students and literary theory. The cooperating teacher gave excellent remarks and comments to both of them which should be considered as a job well done. Both members mentioned that they are going to present us, classmates, with posters that the 10th grade students created while they were teaching their lesson. These examples will be a great addition to our literary criticism classroom because it will show us how literary theory does not only have one answer, but many. My assumption is that the posters will be very different, but they will represent how a classroom of learners came together to summarize how literary theory is important in society. When the students were given exit-slips then they were able to express their ideas towards the material and lesson. The students did not write any questions, but they seemed to be happy with the material that was presented. This type of reaction should be taken very seriously because it means that the lesson was taught well and the people teaching it, Greta and Katie, did a great job! We can give thanks to Dr. Jerz for helping us learn literary criticism and how it is beneficial when studying literature.

Another term project that I provied feedback to was Ellen and Bethany's which is going to use an intertextual approach towards fables and tales such as The Three Little Pigs. While I was reading their proposal and update, I logged onto EBSCO through Seton Hill University's library (Reeve's) and found an article called "The True Story of The Three Little Pigs (Book)." My comment caused Greta to respond and say that she had the book as a child and is familiar with it. I think that it is important to analyze children's literature because it gives us a new viewpoint upon a subject that many people only seem to read for fun instead of in a critical mindset. Overall, I am excited for this project also because it is going to let us understand how society changes over time and how important it is to study why the change occurred and what caused it.

Continually, the last literary criticism class consisted of my presentation and the remaining classmates. The grand finale of presentations discusses each presentation of the last night of class and what there purpose was. Overall, each student did a great job at conveying the information and letting us know what a specific in-depth study resulted in. I want to send a "Great Job" congratulations to everyone for making the class a great learning environment! Thank you class and Dr. Jerz for making it a memorable experience!

In addition to the term projects and class information, I composed a cover entry that is A Reflection of Literary Criticism at SHU and shows just how much I learned during this course. I find my the teaching techniques and styles of Dr. Jerz to be extremely helpful in my learning because each class is different and involves a different format. This type of instruction is not only helpful to classmates, but it shows us, students, how when a class includes multiple forms of media, literature, and knowledge, then we are able to use our own knowledge to create an engaging in-class learning environment. Overall, I have learned a great amount of knowledge within the literary criticism field and plan to incorporate this knowledge into my remaining courses at SHU and my future career of teaching.

As a result of learning criticism in the classroom by Dr. Jerz, we, students, each week, gave several presentations that involved essays from Keesey's textbook. The Student Presentations = Success were excellent and taught me a lot of information about how literary criticism can be used in many real life situations. Finally, the presentations not only taught the class critical information, but it gave each member experience in an educational classroom.

Finally, I want to discuss, briefly, my intentions and purpose of my term paper. My paper will involve The Yellow Wallpaper and issues of fear and a two-sided reality. This will be combined with psychological and post-structural criticism in relation to the narrator's husband, John. I want to convey, in my paper, how John's control and masculinity not only as a husband, but as a doctor has contributed, greatly, to why the narrator's sickness becomes worse and she begins to see things within the wallpaper. In addition, I will discuss how the narrator's life, from child to adult, has contained issues of a sickness because of how she always studied the wall and its paper.

Comparing texts for the purpose of criticizing them

"Intertextuality has usefully directed attention to the relationship between texts: discourse moves us towards a clarification of just what kinds of relationship are invovled" (Barker 445).

Intertextuality is a very good linking tool. In other words, we can use two texts to compare similar or different issues. Barker italicized the word between to emphasize how it can be one tool that we can use. There are many other tools such as history and politics, but this is one critical technique.

In literature, many people, including myself, try to find "relationships" in order to analyze specific texts. It is these relationships that form our opinions and papers and help us to direct our thoughts towards a specific technique. When looking at The Tempest we can relate it to history and politics of the time, but intertextuality is a great way to describe how two texts are essential to use in order to convey a specific point.

What genre is The Tempest apart of? I bet you are thinking of a specific genre, but anyone could relate it to another genre.

So, could I politely say that The Tempest can be analyzed as a play of critical meaning that has no intertextual comparisons?

Click here for the course web page devoted to Barker.

Why are there so many * * * * * * *

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"The number of section breaks is vexed a question as the placement of them" (Dock 474).

I will leave this blog entry short, so that we can discuss why there are so many section breaks?

Is this because the author, Gilman, stops writing each time there is a section break?


Is there specific pieces of the text that are missing and the publishers simply linked the texts together?

I seem to think that the section breaks are used to emphasize how the narrator could only write at specific times in her life. This would include when John is gone and when the sister is out of the house. Why is the narrator afraid to write with her husband in the house? Is it the illness that causes this or is she too afraid of John?

Do we think that the section breaks are used to show how the narrator's sickness is becoming worse as we read?

Let me know your thoughts...

Click here for the web page devoted to Dock.

History is like a germ that infects everything

"The poem, then, is written not in a historical vacuum, but in the face of a national act of appropriation that seemed to promise England benefits not only spiritual but also material, and in the context of a political debate of which Keats was fully aware" (Garson 455).

This quote is packed solid with information about the poem.

Just as we deconstructed this poem in class, I think there is some reference to history, but especially to politics. Lets take a look at the fourth stanza which states "Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel" (487). This line seems to be in reference to Mount Rushmore because society built this mountain into a symbolic presidential statue which brings peace to a lot of people. Would you agree?

Since I have not had the privileged to research the history of Keats's poem, I do not know if England was important to Keats.

I seem to be struggling in respect to the spiritual aspect of the poem. Where do you see it? After reading the poem again, I seem to see it in the line that states "What men or gods are these? Is that a reference to the kings and rulers in England who control large populations?

Click here for the web page devoted to Garson.

How do we teach literature


"Literature or fiction is not a knowledge, but it is not only a site where knowledge is produced" (Belsey 432).

When I read this quote, I quickly thought of the second to last line in Ode on a Grecian Urn which states "Beauty is truth, truth beauty" (487). How can we deconstruct literature and knowledge? Literature seems to be much easier to deconstruct than knowledge? Is knowledge the amount of information that one person has or is it how far they progress in there life?

Belsey seems to be trying to say that literature is only one form of knowledge because everything else we learn ful-fills the rest of our knowledge base. This may include the sciences, the maths, and the histories. I found it to be confusing when she said that "literature is not knowledge." If it is not knowledge, then how can it be a "site?"

History and politics are usually vivid subjects when reading literature, but why?

If literature is a separate form of knowledge, then why don't we make it a separate area? What would literature be if authors did not include history and politics? It would still be literature, but without history and politics.

Does literature only survive by containing parts of history and politics?

Click here for the web page devoted to Belsey.

The Influence of Culture


"In any culture there is a general symbolic economy made up of the myriad signs that excite human desire, fear, and aggression" (Greenblatt 440).

This quote represents how society makes symbols in literature. If it was not for society, then we would not be able to create these symbols?

Greenblatt's next point involved "language" and how it is connected with culture. Let’s think about how society changes the meaning of words in reference to literature. Let’s also recall Bethany's presentation last night and how we discussed how the word "wallpaper" was written. Is society/culture the ones who are making the meaning or is it the author?

I also want to notate another quote that stated "The current structure of liberal arts education often places obstacles in the way of such an analysis by separating the study of history from the study of literature" (440).

I would have to disagree with this quote because at Seton Hill we do not separate history from literature. We learn both of them at the same time in order to understand the literature that we are reading. What is "the current structure?" Is it the university or is it the type of education that "liberal arts" provides?

So, what do you think about culture forming the meaning and symbols in literature? If it was not for culture, then who would form these ideas?

Click here for the web page devoted to Greenblatt.

Term Project Progress Report - Completed


Hi All!

Our intention for this term project is to conduct a psychoanalysis criticism on The Dark Knight.

We have been working very hard on a website called Batman with navigation links to three specific characters. They include Batman, the Joker, and Harvey Dent. Please read over, if you would like, and comment on any of the pages. We will respond in a timely manner and, hopefully, start a brief conversation about our project. In addition to our web page, we have (Angela and I) included several links throughout each page that describe the psychological terms that we used and how they apply.

The update that we want to provide everyone is that we are almost completed with this project and will only be changing some small issues that arise and adding some information that we find to be pertinent.

We hope you enjoy this website because we really did while creating it!


Term Paper Presubmission Report

The Separation of a Condemned Reality: Mind and Soul

1) Thesis paragraph:

  • Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper presents issues of insanity, masculinity, and religion. A critical reader may question how the narrator's sickness overtakes her, but when using psychological and post-structural criticism we can study what causes the psyche to perform with madness. On one hand, the wallpaper causes distress and displays extraterrestrial life; however, the narrator searches for an escape route, but fear and a two-sided reality interrupt.

1A) A supporting paragraph:

  • An underlying cause to the narrator’s sickness is the wallpaper and how it responds to her. Suess stated that there “are two conditions for full responsibility of the subject: social similitude and personal identity” (83). These common literary themes are seen in the narrator because she uses the wallpaper as a means for self-preservation. Since John is constantly on the move, his wife must use the wallpaper as a pivotal object in her life. The wallpaper not only gives her something to think about, but it allows her to view herself with some freedom.

2A) Quotations that support your thesis (from the text):

  • "John is a physician, and perhaps - (I would not say it to a living soul, of course, but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind -) perhaps that is one reason I do not get well faster" (Gilman 531).

  • "On a pattern like this, by daylight, there is a lack of sequence, a defiance of law, that is a constant irritant to a normal mind" (Gilman 535).

2B) Quotations that refute your thesis (from the text):

  • "The most beautiful place! It is quite alone, standing well back from the road, quite three miles from the village" (Gilman 531).

  • "Hurrah! This is the last day, but it is enough. John to stay in town over night, and won't be out until this evening" (Gilman 537).

3A) Quotations that support your thesis (from academic articles):

  • "Similarly, evoking the Foucaultian perspective, John S. Bak sees the narrator as almost literally bound and gagged by what he calls the oppressive structures of “her male-imposed shackles, he Panopticon'" (Suess 80).
  • "However, because the perceiving self can never achieve identity with its specular image—its ego-ideal, as Lacan calls it—its desire will always pursue a phantasy" (King 26).

3B) Quotations that refute your thesis (from academic articles):

  • "Early feminist readings provided a valuable corrective to this tendency to enclose the heroine’s problem within her own abnormal psychological state" (King 24).
  • "However, some, including Hume and King and Morris also fault the narrator for her illness, seeing her not as disobedient but submissive to the demands of her doctor/husband" (Suess 87).

4) A Preliminary conclusion:

  • Overall, as a literary critic and reader, this text shows the need for critical review and study by means of psychological and post-structural criticism. The narrator in The Yellow Wallpaper presents psychological issues that are derived from Gilman’s intent and the literary structure. John, that narrator’s husband, presents the text with a medical background that introduces and instructs how the narrator’s consciousness will work through his informed decisions. This short story makes the reader question their own perception of the text through a two-sided reality that the narrator displays.

5) MLA-style Works Cited list:

Derrida, Jacques. “Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences.” for Criticism. Ed. Donald Keesey. New York: McGraw, 2003. 353-63.

Gilbert, Sandra M., and Susan Gubar. “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Contexts for Criticism. Ed. Donald Keesey. New York: McGraw, 2003. 259-263.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The Yellow Wallpaper. Contexts for Criticism. Ed. Donald Keesey. New York: McGraw, 2003. 531-538.

King, Jeannette, and Pam Morris. “ON NOT READING BETWEEN THE LINES: MODELS OF READING IN ‘THE YELLOW WALLPAPER.’” Studies in Short Fiction 26.1 (Winter89 1989): 22. Academic Search Elite. Seton Hill University, Greensburg, Pa. 13 Apr. 2009 .

Suess, Barbara A. “The Writing's on the Wall” Symbolic Orders in ‘The Yellow Wallpaper.’” Women's Studies 32.1 (Jan. 2003): 79. Academic Search Elite. Seton Hill University, Greensburg, Pa. 13 Apr. 2009 .

Personal Opinion and Author/ Reader Intent

"My intention, in other words, is not to counter the literary theories I have critically examined in this book with a literary theory of my own, which would claim to be more politically acceptable" (Eagleton 178).

This is the final chapter in Eagleton's book and it is a great way to summarize what we have learned, thus far, in Literary Criticism.

It seems as though Eagleton is stating, in the quote above, that his opinion or critical advice is one way of looking at a text, but it is not the only way. There is a political emphasize placed upon this statement, as it states, because it shows how his view is geared towards the "politically acceptable" (Eagleton) audience.

Eagleton does a great job at concluded his book in addition to Keesey's essays. He mentions the rhetorics and language and their importance in literature. As a reader and critic, we need to look at all literary devices and viewpoints that the authors present us with.

Eagleton states in his last paragraph that "It is not out of the questions that the death of literature may help the lion awaken" (Eagleton 189). This quote has a lot of power to it and refers to how new ideas and concepts are only born when an old theory or idea passes away. Would you agree?

It is through the ideas and theories of the past that will shape our future of literature.

Click here for the web page devoted to Eagleton.

Literature and History = A Common Theme

"If, for example, you want to open the "canon" to previously marginalized works, you will find it useful to deconstruct the binary opposition of center and margin and to subject the process of canon formation to a demystifying analysis that will show all claims for literary calue to be historically contingent" (Keesey 415).

So, is it true, if we wanted to deconstruct The Yellow Wallpaper, then we would begin with history? Does the narrator's sickness show how we must look at history in order to determine why she becomes mad?

These are just some questions to think about because if we look to history when studying literature, then we may miss other types of views. History is, of course, one way of looking at a text, but there are many others that include political, economic, and religion. Or are these included in history? hmmm...

We may not have a definition for post-structuralism just as we do not have a definition for literature and how to study it. We must use our own critical lense to determine what we believe the author was intending and how to study it.

On the other hand, if we deconstruct literature every time we read it, then we may never get to a meaning or possible conclusion. Deconstruction leads to new ideas and concepts, but it may not solve the question of why does the narrator's sickness worsen.

Click here for the webpage devoted to Keesey.

A Story Containing Every Critical View


"If we read "The Yellow Wallpaper" ironically and not simply as a case history of one woman's mental derangement, the narrator's madness becomes questionable, and the question of madness itself, an issue raised as a means of problematizing such a reading" (Feldstein 403).

We have studied this story inside and out and still do not know exactly what causes her mental disorder or "madness." Is it John, is it her past, or is it simply a way to look at a madness and its affects?

Truthfully, as a literary critic, now, I would say that the entire text is ironic. We never fully understand if one thing really means what it was intended to mean. In other words, we are constantly questioning ourselves and trying to find the meaning. In the end, we are left with an empty scene because we do not know what happened to John.

Is the wallpaper similar to the growth of a child? You probably think that is crazy to think, but wait a minute. If the wallpaper is birthed when the narrator enters the home, then we can see the growth of how the wallpaper or the narrator becomes insane. Is it the wallpaper that is the problem or is it the narrator? I would say that it is the narrator because wallpaper is an object with no human qualities. It only has human qualities when a human has a mental disorder or illness.

Do you think that The Yellow Wallpaper is a text that gives you what you want from it? In other words, what you get from it when you read is the final outcome? Or is there more to it?

Click here for the webpage devoted to Feldstein.

The Power of Words - A Fishy Situation

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"The words in the poem, in other words--in Keats's words--"tease" us, as the girl teases her "forever painting" lover, constantly holding out the bait of an object that is constituted by the failure of our efforts to reach it" (Guetti 389).

Words and there meaning always seem to equal a different definition.

So class, why does Keats use an urn in his poem? We may never know this because it is author intent, but we can support our opinions with evidence of one particular viewpoint. Does the urn bring happiness or sadness to him or society?

The quote that I chose has great meaning and really, I mean it, really, relates to us. We do not know how or why he chose to use an urn, but we have our opinion about it. The urn is like the bait that usually fails, but, just but, we may once or twice get the idea. Okay, so think about fishing and how the bait attracts fish, but do you always get a fish? The answer is no because it takes time and knowledge to get that fish just as we would get the meaning of an object.

I will leave this blog entry shorter than normal because I want you to ponder over why an object in a poem is so different, if at all, than trying to catch a fish? We may never know if the bait will work, but we must have failure, at first, in order to capture the meaning of fish in the end.

Click here for the web page devoted to Guetti.

How do you see art?

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"For the next audiences, Prospero and then us, the shows flirt, even through their allusions, with the idea that art itself is to some important degree arbitrary" (Miko).

The title of this sub-section in Miko's text is called "Art, Magic, and Illusion." This was a very interesting post-structural essay that showed how specific audiences refer to specific scenes or characters. Could Prospero, being the Duke, represent the art of the country he is ruling? If an audience from a poverty stricken class viewed this text, then they would have a different appreciation of art and Prospero.

When we read The Tempest last month, Eric posted a blog that linked the BBC production of this play. The characters looked like cartoon figures, but they did a great job in relaying the play. Is it the art of how the characters are presented that make them so important or is it how we see them?

If someone did a formalist reading of The Tempest, then how could we see such "entertainment" qualities? In other words, a critic should use several forms of criticism in order to capture the different aspects of the play. Every audience that views it will have a different opinion and understanding, but what they see is what makes the play so great. This moves directly in the quote that I chose because art is only as good as how we see it. If we don't see anything, then how can we criticize it or even find "entertainment?"

Miko titled this sub-section for a specific reason and used the word "illusion." This term makes an audience think of one thing when the author is trying to portray another thing. Is there always an illusion in a text before we understand what the author was trying to tell us?

Click here for the course web page devoted to Miko.

Write me a persuasive story, please?

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"A chain of binary properties is set up and antithetically differentiated in terms of the inside/ outside polarity: properties of coolness, darkness, repose, silence, imagination and totality, associated with inwardness, contrast with the heat, the light, the activity, the sounds, the senses and the fragmentation that govern the outside" (De Man 370).

This quote is referring to a section of a story in De Man's essay entitled Swann' Way. When I first read this essay, along with the short story, I thought that one purpose of an author is to pursade a group of readers. What makes language become rhetoric? Is it the style of writing that the author uses or is it the scenes that are created in our minds?

The short story that De Man refers to is very complicated because it can be deconstructed in many ways. A section of the story states "It was hardly light enough to read" (Swann's Way) which can represent earth or human vision. In other words, we can define light as a particle that the earth gives off or we can say that light is how we see. One author may say that inside and outside is very similar, but I may say that the inside offers isolation and the outside gives freedom and a wealth of oppurtunity. Who is right? I would say the one with evidence to support their opinion. An author may be having a great day and think of inside and outside as two similar aspects, but on a bad day they may tear the two apart.

Finally, I ask what makes a room be "dark" and have "coolness" (De Man)? Is it the walls and the air filter system? When referring to rhetorics and literature, it is important to understand that any author wants to make the reader enjoy their literature so they try to persuade them by using interesting words, metaphors, and literary devices.

I will leave you with a question.

If De Man believes that Swann's Way contains rhetorics, then would you agree that we can deconstruct and find persuasion in any literature piece?

Click here for the web page devoted to De Man.

Post-structuralism, derived from structuralism, is a method that shows how a text has ambiguity and does not have one specific meaning. Roger Jones, a philosophy teacher, stated “he did not think that there were definite underlying structures…and he thought that it was impossible to step outside of discourse” (Jones 1). This concept is similar to Derrida’s essay in Keesey’s Context for Criticism because it shows how a post-structuralist approach can not be definite.

In addition to Jones, Dr. Bush published “Poststructuralism as Theory and Practice in the English Classroom” in which he lists three focus points when studying post-structuralism. They include “The Primacy of Theory, The Decentering of the Subject, and The Fundamental Importance of the Reader” (Bush 1). The “The Primacy of Theory” relates with how a reader theorizes a text before and after reading. Dr. Bush also gives credit to Eagleton’s text in which literary scholars can learn from. “The Decentering of the Subject” and “The Fundamental Importance of the Reader” are a form of author intent and question what the “subject” was intedned to mean from the author. One option that a reader can refer to is deconstruction, from Derrida’s essay, and the ability to use a subject with irreversible meanings. In other words, if a reader uses violence as a subject, then they can deconstruct it to mean freedom or harm.

Moreover, Dr. Mary Klages, a professor at the U. of Colorado, wrote an article entitled “Structuralism/Poststructuralism” which discusses a “humanist model.” Dr. Klages stated that “the SELF--also known as the ‘subject’ is self in language” (Klages 1). When a reader refers to theirselves as the speaker or critic, then a reader associates that idea with the author or speaker. As a critic, it is important to understand that the “self” can be demoted by simply finding one person that does not agree with what a specific author, reader, or critic is stating. If the “self” is related to language, then we have no specific structure or basis to form our ideas from. This results from how society and culture change the meaning of language. If a reader begins their ideas from a “self” view or their representation of language, then anyone else could use Derrida’s concept of deconstruction. Some may ask, “If the self is a form of language, then why should readers deconstruct, if everyone has a different interpretation?”

Another academic article entitled “Critical Theory, Poststructuralism, and the Philosophy of Liberation” by Douglas Kellner stated “the Philosophy of Liberation is that Western Philosophy is the philosophy of the center” (1). If post-structuralism was birthed from Western Philosophy, then it is a form of language or self. In addition, if language is associated with Western Philosophy, then how can a reader have one specific “center” if some can deconstruct any meaning? Furthermore, the word “liberation” can have multiple meanings which include freedom or captivity, but this term in relation to philosophy would promote freedom as a meaning because philosophy is formed from knowledge which results in language.

Lastly, from "Poetics Today" Ellen Spolsky published “Darwin and Derrida: Cognitive Literary Theory As a Species of Post-Structuralism.” In this article’s abstract it stated “the very flexibility that destabilizes meaning is not only good enough, it is responsible for our success, such as it has been, in building and revising human cultures” (Spolsky 1). When comparing post-structuralism to meaning, language, and society, one can see how deconstruction can transform a society’s language or definitions. If one reader states the term “ruler,” then one could deconstruct it to mean the success of a nation or the slow death of a country. There are several more definitions to include, but Spolsky used a vivid image by saying that post-structuralism is “revising human cultures” (1). This can be seen from how a class of scholars can take a text and turn its meaning into something that the author, did or did not, intend it to mean.

As a result of these academic websites and authors, one can see how post-structuralism does not have one meaning or specific definition since it was a form of structuralism. The need to take a stand on a specific issue with supported evidence is one way of convincing or showing one specific meaning of a text. Derrida’s essay in Keesey’s textbook was a complicated text, but it showed how post-structuralism has the same attributes. In other words, a reader may have one meaning of a text, but another reader could deconstruct it to mean the complete opposite. One may wonder where the line is drawn or where does deconstruction stop. An answer to a question like this may not have one definition, but it provides society with a basis of formulating ideas and presenting evidence on a specific topic that supports a specific view point. When referring to the “self,” in reference to Dr. Mary Klages, a reader can utilize the complex nature of language and present their view point in a way that can be deconstructed, used to stimulate academic thoughtfulness, or to enrich a culture's knowledge.

Works Cited

Critical Theory, Poststructuralism, and the Philosophy of Liberation. Douglas Kellner. “Illuminations.” 4 April 2009. http://www.uta.edu/huma/illuminations/kell7.htm.

Darwin and Derrida: Cognitive Literary Theory As a Species of Post-Structuralism. Ellen Spolsky. 2002. “Poetics Today.” 4 April 2009. http://poeticstoday.dukejournals.org/cgi/ content/abstract/23/1/43.

Poststructuralism as Theory and Practice in the English Classroom. Harold K. Bush, Jr. June 1995. Eric Digest. 4 April 2009. http://www.indiana.edu/~reading/ieo/digests/ d104.html.

Post Structuralism. Roger Jones. 4 April 2009. http://www.philosopher.org.uk/poststr.htm.

Structuralism/Poststructuralism. Dr. Mary Klages. 11 Sept. 2008. 4 April 2009. http:// www.colorado.edu/English/courses/ENGL2012Klages/1derrida.html.

An Abundance of Katherines (The True Meaning)


I want to begin with a quote from "Unshelved" which has displayed a comic strip in memory of the story that we are focusing on (An Abundance of Katherine’s by John Green).

"Colin struggles to develop the Underlying Theory of Katherine Predictability to mathematically explain his relationships" (Overdue Media).

When I read that Colin had 19 girlfriends over the span of this education, I related it to how generals and councils had many wives in the early years. I assume that I am using historical criticism since I am comparing this story to events that happened in history. This can also be in biblical times, when King Solomon was assumed to have 700 wives. I understand that Colin was only dating them, very different from marriage (or not?), but this shows a relation to how the past, history, is still a current issue in literature today.

I also took the name "Katherine" and looked up its meaning in history. According to behindthename.com Katherine can be referred to "pure." This was interesting because it shows how Colin may be attracted to girls who are pure? Would you agree?

So, overall this story is interesting because Colin had 19 girls over a span of several years, but is it because of history (post-structuralism) or is it because of the meaning behind Katherine?

Click here for the web page devoted to the host's page (Angela).

Click here for the course web page devoted to the portfolio requirements.

Term Project Progress Report

Hi All!

Listed below is the term project progress report for Angela and I.

What we’ve already done:

  • Created a project proposal
  • Watched Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Taken notes on this movie
  • Decided that The Dark Knight would be a better movie choice for this project
  • Watched The Dark Knight
  • Taken notes (of much higher quality) on this movie.
  • Formulated a contrasting abbreviated psychoanalysis of other comic book superheroes to prove why we chose to use Batman
1. Superman; 2. Spiderman; 3. Ironman
  • Discussed as a group where we plan on going with this project

What we plan on doing:

  • Compile our notes into a more organized jumble, specifically putting all the notes on each character’s psyche together
  • Decide what we have determined (from our notes) makes each character really act the way he does
  • Formulate an in-depth psychoanalysis on each character based off of the quotes and situations that caught our attention from the movie
  • Create the blog/webpage
  • Create the Facebook/Twitter accounts
  • Have the characters converse with each other by posting on each other’s walls or tweeting
  • Present what we did to the class

This is a proposed list that Anglea and myself have come up with. Some changes may occur along the way, only to improve th outcome, but this is the outline we plan to follow.

Good Luck Everyone and we look forward to hearing your term project proposals!

Blog Portfolio 2 - A Wealth of Learned Critical Knowledge

Since the beginning of this semester, I have written all of my blogs in an early and timely manner. The first aspect of my second portfolio involves the play “Life is a Dream.” After viewing this play, I thought that it had Comedy and Fear = A Neutral Approach which made me realize how a formalist reading may not have the comedy that a realistic drama has. Apart from this play, we, my classmates and I, attended a lecture that presented A Portrait of Survival: Azar Nafisi. After watching the play, “Life is a Dream,” and attending the lecture by Dr. Nafisi, I asked the class Can you translate that for me? in relation to Keesey and how when language encounters difficultly when being translated from Spanish to English. In addition to the play, lecture, and Keesey essay, I thought that Sears explained how we, readers and critics, are presented with a play and text that offers limited freedom. As a result, I said that de propia voluntad es el unico forma and compared “Life is a Dream” to “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Both of these texts give insight into limited freedom and control from a male.

Moreover, I found Gilbert and Gubar’s essay to be intriguing and very informative, so I gave a class presentation on it. In a lot of literature, Male Control vs. Female Sanity is usually a focus point or avenue that a reader or critic can associate with. Not only was this blog entry very lengthy and detailed, but it sparked over ten comments and made my classmates question their initial reading of the text.

After studying the effects of control on literature and culture, a reader may wonder is history repeating itself and Literature which describes structuralism vs. post-structuralism. My classmates and I commented back and forth several times and came to the conclusion that history is a basis or structure that literature is formed off of. In other words, Don't Linger on the Past, but on the Future which Keesey thinks that too many authors do when writing literature.

Once we learned structuralism vs. post-structuralism, we began to discuss post-modernism vs. post-structuralism and how Derrida came to the Rescue. Derrida’s essay discusses how the “tools of the past” are essential in literature, but in order to develop new techniques or viewpoints, a reader (or critic) needs to focus and explain their thoughtful ideas while reading. After the new ideas are presented, then society or scholars can think of a text in a new way. In other words, if we continue to simply focus on the learned tools, then how can we create new methods or techniques in literature? On the same note, Wright’s essay used “Benito Cereno” and conducted a psychoanalysis reading on it. Once I saw Broccoli in Derrida's Essay, then I knew how Language Associated with Babo was an important topic to analyze.

After reading, discussing, and analyzing the previous techniques, such as structuralism, post-structuralism, and post-modernism, my literary criticism partner, Angela, and I thought that our term project would involve a psychoanalysis criticism on the “Dark Knight” and the three main characters which include, Batman, Harvey Dent, and The Joker. Angela and I have came up with a term project progress report that will be our road map for completing this project. If anyone has any questions, concerns, or ideas, please feel free to post them by clicking on the link above for the progress report.

As a result of these timely, active, enjoyable, and educational blogs, my classmates and I have written several comments supporting, or politely disagreeing, how each topic, whether psychological determinism or structuralism support our learning or the author’s essays. One of many examples that I have for my discussion section includes The Early Bird Gets the Worm because I talk about how the second mouse gets the cheese and both of these blogs discuss mimtic criticism in comparison to poetry. Mara said Give me Freedom and Ellen said Repetition makes the heart grow fonder and, in both of these blogs, I was the first to comment which lead the discussion from my classmates. Another example of great discussion happened when Bethany said Can’t I have it all! This entry not only said how literary criticism has many answers, but it showed us, readers, how literature has answers that are more right since they are supported by textual evidence. These are just a few examples that include great discussion and timeliness, I could go on for a long time, but due to time and limited blogging space, I will move onto xenoblogging since all of my blogs fit into the interaction, discussion, and timeliness categories.

An example of a comment grande would be shown in The Heart of Post-Structuralism: Aporia by Greta, and I related an outside URL, describing the evolution of language and words, in relation to post-structuralism by Eagleton. I would have to include my presentation as part of the comment informative because I have learned and taught a lot about literature, male authority, and the effects of a controlling human. In reference to the link gracious, when I read Katie’s blog called Clarin...Pulling a Melville in Disguise? I thought about my own blog and referenced it in my comment which lead to a detailed discussion.

Lastly, my wildcard entry would have to be Male control vs. Female insanity because it was search a wonderful topic, in relation to Gilbert and Gubar’s essay, and it fits every category that is required for the portfolio. My classmates, Dr. Jerz, and I talked about how issues of control lead to comparisons of other literature, videos, and objects. Also, my blog carnival involvement with An Abundance of Katherine's (The True Meaning) presents why/how the main character, Colin, dates girls only with the name Katherine. Historical criticism and the meaning of the name, Katherine, are described and explained while being supported by factual information from secondary websites.

On a side note, I completed an extra blog assignment, A Sense of Great Potential - Derek Nikitas, and described how he would make a great addition to the current English department on campus!

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