American Lit. 11/9/16 – Literary Theory Lenses response

Hi American Lit-ers,

Now that you’ve seen five presentations (as well as your own) on different lenses literary scholars use to analyze literature, it’s time for you to put into writing what details, questions or conclusions your classmates came to that you wouldn’t have thought of.

In case you need a reminder, here are the lenses we studied in class:
-Psychoanalytical (Freudian)
-Critical Race Theory
-Post-Colonialism
-Feminist
-New Historicism

In the comments below, explain how one of these groups revealed an aspect to Song of Solomon that wouldn’t have occurred to you otherwise. In another paragraph explain why scholars might align themselves to a prescribed literary lens when analyzing and writing about literature.

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3 thoughts on “American Lit. 11/9/16 – Literary Theory Lenses response

  1. The Feminist group revealed to me an aspect of Song of Solomon that I would not have thought of before. The book mostly revolves around males as the main character, Milkman, is male and we see the world through his eyes. But after the presentation, I can see how female empowerment is portrayed, where Reba is a intimidating and independent person. But there is also the fact that during the time where Hagar is trying to kill Milkman, the book kind of portrays Milkman as the victim why Hagar is the crazy one. But if you look closely at the book, we should feel sympathetic for Hagar for her treatment from Milkman, this brings out the feminist aspects of the book.

    Scholars might align themselves to a literary lens because of personal interest or belief. Someone could also do it do give the book a deeper meaning or see it from an unbiased way because the way Tori Morrison writes Song of Solomon, one can see that she wrote based on events at the time and what literary lenses do is look at a part of the book where opinion doesn’t have to be involved

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  2. Feminism is actually a big part in the book and I did not know that until the group pointed it out. In Song of Solomon, Pilate shows dominance when she puts the voodoo doll on Macon Dead Jr’s desk because he wanted to abort Ruth’s baby. Instead of just listening to the male “figure” and doing what he wanted, they instead took the alternative to try and prevent the abortion. Another form of feminism in this book is Hagar. She was obsessed with Milkman and when she tried to kill him she was in charge of Milkman’s future up until magical realism happened.
    Aligning yourself to a prescribed literary lens would help any scholar trying to analyze a text. It helps with going more in depth when trying to understand parts of a text.

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  3. By using different lenses, we as readers are able to analyze different perspectives of the literature. It allows us as readers to contextualize the content to fully understand it. It also allows us to create connections between different areas of study, for example, the psychoanalytical group connected American literature to a soft science, psychology. While others group connected this literature with history, social justice and other English perspectives. It allows us to broaden our horizons while focusing on specifics. It gives us a more holistic review of the book by focusing on smaller parts of the book and then comparing it as a whole.
    The post-colonialism lens was very interesting because during that time there was SO much that happened. From racism, to power, to ego, to abuse, to inhumanity, to natural law and the effects of it ripples through time today. Post-colonialism art allowed the underprivileged to speak upon their oppressors. It gave the side of the “losers”. In Song of Solomon, the setting is heavily effected by post-colonialism as there are still angry sentiments in the United States. From Guitar and his killing mindset. This also showed that Milkman believe that he is equal to a white counterpart but in reality he is brainwashed in believing so. Post-colonialism does not want the oppressed to feel like their oppressed rather it wants to be done subconsciously and Milkman falls right into that. However, of course that plays into Milkman’s journey to his own self-identity. Through the post-colonial lens, we can see that the hardships and difference that are set upon people of color and white people. As well as the discrimination and injustice that surrounds it. This lens gives a history lesson from different victors and losers of that time.
    *Forgot to hand in class today*

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