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February 24, 2007

As Real As It Gets

Ch. 4 Intro, Keesey

Literary Criticism--EL312

Freudians, Jungians, Marxists, Thomists, and other supporters of particular psychological or philosophical systems have perforce been interested in literature as a representation of human character and action, as have critics who focus on the issues of race, class, and gender as these are represented in literature.

Some literature has taken some steps to make themselves as real as possible. Think of Jack London's "To Build A Fire", that story would most likely happen in real life. Keesey made great points about what we see in reality and how it could been shown in literature. Unlike reader-resonse theory, the experiences of the characters, NOT the readers, matter. That is why we are bring "psychological or philosophical systems" to figure out what these characters are thinking. I think remember in Intro to Literary Study, Dr. Jerz was kind of reluctant to put a psychological analysis on a fictional character. I agree will him somewhat, but I believe that by making psychological analysis on a character, you can learn a small piece of info about the author. I 'm not sure but this may be Dr. Jerz philosophy " the artist's bed need not be a copy of the carpenter's." Consider this my feeble attempt to analysis a professor.

Posted by KevinHinton at February 24, 2007 11:20 PM


One of the goals I wanted to accomplish in EL 150 was to keep students from treating fictional characters as if they are real people. So, yes, "To Build a Fire" *could* happen in real life, but if so, we couldn't possibly know the man's thoughts as he dies.

The point of psychology is to explain, in general, how humans experience the world; the point in literature is to represent specific experiences of specific people.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz Author Profile Page at February 25, 2007 8:54 AM

I just wonder how useful the amateur psychological profiles of junior psychologists can be? I think of Lucy at her psychology stand charging five cents for advice whenever I think of a literary critic evaluating the psychology of a character.

Posted by: Dave Moio at February 28, 2007 8:37 PM

I agree with Dr. Jerz on the concept of relating specific characteristic traits to real people in order to understand a meaning of reality in a piece of literature. We can not really get inside of the heads of the characters unless an author provides thoughts for us, but we can relate specific actions and relationships to another human beings actions. Psychological profiles are important because we can actually find patterns in a society, or a genre, or actually even the writer's style.

Posted by: Jason Pugh at February 28, 2007 10:14 PM

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