What to do:
Read chapter 9 in Critical Theory Today.
Below are a series of questions taken from your textbook that a Post Colonial critic might ask about a text. In response to one of these questions, post a statement about a novel. Choose one question, and answer in 300 words. Use these books:
1- “critical theory today” chapter 9
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2- ” what lies between us”
The following questions are intended to summarize approaches to literary
analysis employed by new historicists and cultural critics. In the terminology
of cultural criticism, these questions offer us ways to examine the cultural work
performed by literary texts. As you read these questions and imagine the ways
in which a new historical or cultural critic might address them, keep in mind
that, for such critics, no historical event, artifact, or ideology can be completely
understood in isolation from the innumerable historical events, artifacts, and
ideologies among which it circulates, and our own cultural experience inevitably
influences our perceptions, making true objectivity impossible. For we can use
new historical and cultural criticism properly only if we keep clearly in mind
that our analysis is always incomplete, partial, and our perspective is always sub‑
jective. We can’t stand outside our own culture and analyze texts from an objec‑
tive vantage point. We can write only from within our own historical moment.
1. How does the literary text function as part of a continuum with other his‑
torical and cultural texts from the same period, for example, penal codes,
birthing practices, educational priorities, the treatment of children under
the law, other art forms (including popular art forms), attitudes toward
sexuality, and the like? That is, taken as part of a “thick description” of a
given culture at a given point in history, what does this literary work add to
our tentative understanding of human experience in that particular time
and place, including the ways in which individual identity shapes and is
shaped by cultural institutions?
2. How can we use a literary work to “map” the interplay of both traditional
and subversive discourses circulating in the culture in which that work
emerged and/or the cultures in which the work has been interpreted? Put
another way, how does the text promote ideologies that support and/or
undermine the prevailing power structures of the time and place in which
it was written and/or interpreted?
3. Using rhetorical analysis (analysis of a text’s purpose and the stylistic
means by which it tries to achieve that purpose), what does the literary text add to our understanding of the ways in which literary and nonliterary
discourses (such as political, scientific, economic, and educational theo‑
ries) have influenced, overlapped with, and competed with one another at
specific historical moments?
4. What does the literary work suggest about the experience of groups of
people who have been ignored, underrepresented, or misrepresented by
traditional history (for example, laborers, prisoners, women, people of
color, lesbians and gay men, children, the insane, and so on)? Keep in
mind that new historical and cultural criticism usually include attention to
the intersection of the literary work with nonliterary discourses prevalent
in the culture in which the work emerged and/or in the cultures in which
it has been interpreted and often focus on such issues as the circulation of
power and the dynamics of personal and group identity.
5. How has the work’s reception by literary critics and the reading public—
including the reception at its point of origin, changing responses to the
work overtime, and its possible future relationship with its audience—
been shaped by and shaped the culture in which that reception occurred?