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April 2009 Archives

April 5, 2009

More Muddiness to my Muddy Points

"If we assume we can apply, say, a formal approach to The Tempest, and then a historical approach, an intertextual approach, and so forth, and see which approach works best, or see to what extent each 'works,' we implicitly claim that we possess already a standard of critical adequacy independent of any approach. We will know what 'works' when we see it" (Keesey 347).
"But it is the mark of the deconstructive critics not to stop at any certain point" (Keesey 348).

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Back to Romantics...

"The 'writable' text, usually a modernist one, has no determinate meaning, no settled signifieds, but is plural and diffuse, an inexhaustible tissue or galaxy of signifiers, a seamless weave of codes and fragments of codes, through which the critic my cut his own errant path" (Eagleton 119).

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Aliens are real, I swear...I just can't prove it to you.

Reading a text is no longer considered an innocent activity. (Wright 393)

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Path over Product: Blogging Portfolio 2

Thus begins blog portfolio two...you know what that means---only one left! However, while I am indeed excited that the semester's end is visible on the horizon, my excitement should not be mistaken to imply a dislike of this class. In fact, my experience thus far has been quite the opposite. I feel that I have learned immensely as a student of literature as a result of this class, and I believe that my improvements are visible in my blogging efforts. It's true that at times, this class has been incredibly frustrating and wearisome, but, for the most part, I have successfully been able to work through my weariness and learn from my frustrations. For example, while I still have frustrating muddy points, I feel that this frustration is only natural given the class's contents. In fact, I've come to realize that I will always have muddy points, for when it comes to literary criticism being "right" is somewhat arbitrary. Finding the "right" answer is not really what matters; instead, what we should be paying attention to, as literary critics, is the path that we take to find our own interpretations. Below is a brief description of my own critical path I have taken in my blogging:

Coverage: Here's a list of all the blogs I wrote since portfolio 1:

Shadows in Dust
Books Have Birth Certificates
The Labyrinth
Muddled Mimetically
You know what they say: When you ASSuME...
Free Will Isn't Free
Repetition Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
Literary Liposuction
An apple is not an orange
Teaching with a Critical Awareness
Frye Spies with his Critical Eye
From Monolith to Monomyth
Back to Romantics
More Muddiness to my Muddy Points
Deconstructing Derrida's Deconstructivism
What's the Buzz?
Aliens are real, I swear...I just can't prove it to you.

Depth:
Here's a list of blog entries where I really invest myself in the material being discussed. In my opinion, almost all of my blogs are fitting for this category; however, here are the ones I spent the most time on:

Muddled Mimetically

You know what they say...When you ASSuME
An apple is not an orange
What's the Buzz?
Deconstructing Derrida's Deconstructivism

Interaction: Here's a few examples of where I contribute to my peer's blogs:

On Jenna's 5 Stars for SHU's Life is a Dream
On Angela's ...And the Point Was?
On Bethany's T.S. is back for more and it's muddy!!

Discussion: Here's a few examples of where my blog or my comments spark a discussion:

On Angela's The Terrible Terribleness That Exists Within a Terrible Criticism
On my Teaching With a Critical Awareness
On my Repetition Makes the Heart Grow Fonder


Xenoblogging: Here's a few examples of where I help my classmates out through my comments and links:

The comment grande:
On Angela's blog, What? He was supposed to be funny!
On Greta's Use the Tool that Works Best

The comment primo:
On Jenna's So, what's the center?

The comment informative:

On Sue's One big ol' muddy point

The link gracious:

In my blog Deconstructing Derrida's Deconstructivsim

Wild Card:
And, drum roll, please....Here is my most prized blogging possession for this batch:
Teaching with a Critical Awareness While this may be a surprising choice, I feel that this blog is most important to me because, in it, I link what we are doing in class directly to what I will be doing in the future. While I consider my blogging on Derrida to be important, particularly when I look at how many of my classmates I was able to help, I consider this small blog just as important, if not more so, because it shows how I can take what I've learned in class and help not just my current classmates, but, more importantly, my future students as well.

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April 9, 2009

Psychological Theory: Frued vs. Jung

As a class, we have studied psychological criticism and how it applies to literature; however, we didn't ever go into detail about the different psychological theories that exist that we pull from when using this critical approach. While many psychologists have been mentioned in the essays we have read: Freud, Lacan, Adler, Jung, etc, in this blog, I will focus on only two and attempt to differentiate the often overlapping theories of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.

To begin with, let's focus on Freud. The elder of the the two renowned psychiatrists, Freud (1856-1939) is best known for his theories on the unconscious mind involving issues of repression and sexual desire (Wikipedia). 225px-Sigmund_Freud_LIFE.jpg He is the acclaimed creator of the practice of psychoanalysis, which focuses on the interpretation of dreams to reveal unconscious desires. According to Freud, the mind can be divided into three parts: the id, the ego, and the superego, which respectively refer to our instincts, our reality, and morality. maybe_maybe_not.gif Often times, the id (our instinctual desires) clashes with the superego (our moral concepts) as our id seeks to fulfill our basic needs while the superego seeks to achieve the ideal.

As a young, up and coming psychiatrist, Jung (1875-1961) 225px-Mem_dream_reflec_Jung.jpgbecame a follower of Freud, particularly supporting his theory of the unconscious and methods of dream analysis (Wikipedia); however, his theory diverged from Freud's sexually charged analysis to a wider encompassing focus of the unconscious rooted in spirituality. Like Freud, Jung divides the individual into three parts: "the self: the shadow, or the darker, unconscious self (usually the villain in literature); the persona, or a man's social personality (usually the hero); and the anima, or a man's "soul image" (usually the heroine)" (Hamilton Burris--check it out! This site is a great overview of what we've been learning in class). Like Freud, Jung argues that in order to maintain a healthy mental state, a person needs to successfully balance these three aspects of his/her existence.

In light of their similar theoretical beliefs, Freud and Jung became professional friends, working closely together and influencing each other for a number of years. This friendship ended, however, as the two became increasingly argumentative about their different concepts of the unconscious. One website details this difference stating, Freud "depicted the unconscious as a receptacle underlying the conscious mind, whose task is to contain rejected and un-encountered events, feelings, thoughts and experiences of the resenting conscious mind." Meanwhile, Jung viewed the unconscious as a two layer concept: "a personal unconscious, right under the conscious mind, taking in personal psychic contents and down below the collective unconscious, containing the accumulating experience of all humanity." Furthermore, while for Freud, everything derives from sexuality, Jung believed that "there is much more to life than sexuality, which is but a part of a greater wholeness, which underlies the process of Individuation and constant search for meaning."

Thus, in applying a psychological approach to literature, we, as writers, need to be aware of exactly whose psychological theory we are employing. Just as there are subtle differences between the theories of literary critics (for example contrast the deconstructivist theories of Derrida with those of Paul de Man), there are differences between psychological theories. As a result, perhaps it is not enough to say that we are doing a psychological reading of "The Yellow Wallpaper"; we may need to be more specific and claim that we are doing a Freudian or Jungian reading of the text.

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April 13, 2009

An archie Debunker

...asked by his wife whether he wants to have his bowling shoes laced over or under, Archie Bunker answers with a question: "What's the difference?"... As long as we're talking about bowling shoes, the consequences are relatively trivial; Archie Bunker, who is a great believer in the authority of origins (as long, of course, as they are the right origins) muddles along in a world where literal and figurative meanings get in each other's way though not without discomforts. But suppose that it is a de-bunker rather than a "Bunker," and a de-bunker of the arche (or origin), an archie Debunker such as Nietzsche or Jacques Derrida for instance, who asks the question "What is the Difference"--and we cannot even tell from his grammar whether he "really" wants to know "what" the difference is or is he just telling us so we shouldn't even try to find it. (de Man 368)

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Lessons Learned

According to Stephen J. Miko, Prospero's "exile is a consequence of both the natural evil in his brother and his own retreat fro ducal responsibilities into studies--magic and the liberal arts" (377).

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April 14, 2009

How do we compete?

"I'm not, however, going to attempt even a sketchy summary of all the variant readings of the poem; instead I want to consider a point that none of the innumerable readings I've come across has made--at least, none has done so emphatically enough" (Guetti 386).

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April 19, 2009

The Ugh of Exam Questions

Examination questions, the ultimate location of institutional power, identify the boundaries of the discipline, and define what is permissible to "discuss," as they so invitingly and misleadingly put it (Belsey 428).

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April 20, 2009

An Optimistic Twist

...despite our romantic cult of originality, most artists are themselves gifted creators of variations upon received themes. Even those great writers whom we regard with special awe, and whom we celebrate for their refusal to parrot the cliches of their culture, tend to be particularly brilliant improvisers rather than absolute violaters or pure inventors...Such borrowing is not evidence of imaginative parsimony, still less a symptom of creative exhaustion--I am using Dickens, Shakespeare, and Spenser precisely because they are among the most exuberant, generous, and creative literary imaginations in our language (Greenblatt 439).

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War! Huh, What is it good for?

...different readings struggle with each other on the site of the text, and all that can count, however provisionally, as knowledge of the text, is achieved through this discursive conflict (Barker and Hulme 444).

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A little art history lesson

...when one Caryatid was removed from the Erechtheum, those that remained lamented "their ravished sister" with wailing that could be heard throughout the town (Garson 454).

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Term Project Progress Report: Intertextuality and "The Three Little Pigs"

Bethany and I have chosen to focus on the story of “Three Little Pigs” and perform an intertextual study by comparing several different versions of the text. The following is a list of the texts we have chosen to focus on:

• Joseph Jacobs version
o considered by many to be the original

• John Scieszka’s version
o This version twists the story to imply that the wolves actions resulted from a simple misunderstanding rather than malice

• “The Wolf and Seven Young Kids” by the Grimm brothers
o Still debating on this one…it’s more like “Little Red Riding Hood,” but it might be interesting to show how different tales overlap

• Eugene Trivizas’s “The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig”
o A cute twist on the classic where the roles of the pigs and the wolf are reversed

• Green Jello’s song, “Three Little Pigs”
o Hilarious…

• Disney’s song, “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf”
o Part of a short film produced by Disney that retells the story in a more traditional manner

• “A Dairy Tale: The Three Little Pigs”
o Another Disney remake; interesting because it assumes the viewer’s familiarity with the story (like some of the other version above)

Obviously, we may not have time to cover everything in this list in our presentation, so we still have some narrowing down to go. This list is by no means finalized.

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About April 2009

This page contains all entries posted to EllenEinsporn in April 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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