February 19, 2007

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 February 19, 2007 4:01 PM

What I found interesting (and so I blogged about it) is that Kolodny brings up this Bloom guy's psycho-dynamic reading concept... I'm still trying to wrap my head around it, but I think it applies to what you're saying about the genders of readers. On page 202 she quotes Bloom saying "You are what you read" and so, I think that, especially considering the stories that she chose to examine, it's possible to consider that people may align themselves with whatever character shares their gender. If this happens, then the reader takes in that character's role more deeply and responds to the text differently than the opposite gender.

I could be wrong, but I think that's how it works. Let me know if you have any thoughts on it.

Posted by: Karissa at February 19, 2007 4:55 PM

Haha of course there has to be feminism! Why would you think any differently?

Some parts of this article seemed a bit...much at times. Just because different genders may write a piece, it doesn't mean that they can't "get" it as well as the other gender. The themes and ideas are different and yet still universal and provide insight into the lives of the characters. I don't think there necessarily has to be seperate categories for reading the text based on gender.

Posted by: Nessa at February 21, 2007 8:53 AM
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