VIEWING LITERATURE THROUGH A CRITICAL LENS Building to the Comparison of Antigone and Dead Poets Society Mrs. Reichert English 10 Honors AFTER WE READ ANTIGONE AND WATCH DEAD POETS SOCIETY You will work with a group to develop a thesis statement and give a presentation defending it, viewing the play and film through a particular critical lens of your choosing. Objectives: • Students will develop their own criticisms of literature. • Students will learn to create thesis statements based upon their own observations. • Students will use textual evidence to support their interpretation of the text. CRITICAL LENS “Critical”: Examining and searching for meanings in something. “Lens”: A point-of-view through which you examine something. In literary theory, readers interpret what they read through several different “critical lenses,” based on their personal experiences, as well as their focus and their experience with the text. We’ll look at two theories: Feminist and Marxist FEMINIST CRITICISM Looks at literature through the eyes of a feminist. Examines the way the literature reflects how society perceives women and girls. For this, you will want to focus specifically on how the women in the play behave and how they are treated. Focus on the women in the play and the film. FEMINIST CRITICISM: QUESTIONS How is a character’s experience different based on his/ her gender? Who has the power? Is there anything offensive, unjust, or oppressive happening to women? FEMINIST CRITICISM: QUESTIONS Does the social context connect to the treatment of women in this text? How are women characterized or perceived by other characters? What does this mean about the way women are seen here? Are the impressions of women the author’s or the character’s? MARXIST CRITICISM Examines a piece of literature as a struggle between the individual and the establishment. Establishment: A place with rigid rules, ideas about right and wrong, and ideas about how to shape members MARXIST CRITICISM: QUESTIONS Who is the individual? Who represents the establishment? Who are the powerful and the powerless in this story? Why are they powerful? How are the individual and the establishment in conflict? What is oppressed in the individual? Who triumphs? How? OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER Determine thematic subjects as you see them in Antigone and Dead Poets Society. Focus your criticism on a theme. In using your critical lens, how do Sophocles and DPS Director Peter Weir demonstrate this theme? What lines and evidence specifically deal with your critical lens? In other words, what stands out to you regarding either a feminist or a Marxist lens?