Literary Lenses One Text – Many Ways of Seeing It What are Literary Lenses? The different perspectives we use to understand and interpret texts. We bring different “angles” to texts. We bring different background knowledge. We focus on different parts of the texts. Why are Lenses Important? By focusing our reading attention on different parts of the text, we can move closer to understanding the text’s theme Remember that theme is the author’s comment on the human condition! Types of Literary Lenses Historical Feminist Marxist Formalism Reader Response Historical Looking at a text through its connections to history. The Crucible - Cold War Of Mice and Men - The Great Depression Focuses on the social, political, and economic climate of the event How to Look Through the Historic Lens Examine the historical connections of the text. Social, economic, political MOST readings done at Legacy are done through this lens Since we have integrated lit. and history classes Feminist Looking at a text through how gender is shown. Males / females Stereotypical gender roles How to Look Through the Feminist Lens Consider the gender of the author. Consider the gender(s) of the characters. What roles do gender and sexuality play in this work? Are gender stereotypes reinforced or challenged? Imagine yourself as the opposite gender while reading this piece Marxist Looking at a text in terms of power Oftentimes, power is related to money Who has money; who doesn’t Who has power; who doesn’t Who is “rich”; who is “poor” How to Look Through the Marxist Lens Consider who has the power and who doesn’t Consider who has the money and who doesn’t What role(s) do power, money, or class play in this work? What happens as a result of these differences? Formalism Looks at the text AS a TEXT. Meaning is discovered through close reading NOT by examining outside sources How to Look Through the Formalist Lens Look at words, literary terms, symbols. Analyze how parallels are established and create a unity within the text. Reader Response Looks at how the reader responds to the text. Individual meaning is derived as the reader reads How to Look Through the Reader Response Lens Ummm….just read (no…seriously) Track what you think and interpret the text to mean! Bring your own thoughts, moods, and experiences to the text. So What is the Point? Literal level Notice these structures for each lens Point out the history, the women, the powerful Interpretive level Answer the “so what…” question What might the author be implying with a powerful woman, a class conflict, or similes throughout….. the THEME Example to Ponder The Lion King Historical Made in 1990s Time of great political upheaval in world Theme – “right” governments can overcome adversity? The Lion King Feminist Helpless females Females provide food and care for the young yet males have ALL the power Nala is stronger than Simba, but she does not inherit the crown Theme – Strong men should rule in the world while women support them? The Lion King Marxist Males have all the power (Mufasa, Simba, Scar) When Mufasa dies, Simba is the ONLY one considered for the crown. Lions retain power over all other animals Hyenas are weak (lower-class) Class rebellion leads to the conflict of the film Theme – Class distinction should be eliminated? The Lion King Formalist Examine songs and messages? Examine artwork? Different with movies than with written texts. The Lion King Reader Response I like it because…. It reminds me of…. This connects to Hamlet….