The “Schools” of Criticism in the text:
• Formalism and New Criticism (p. 171)
New Criticism A kind of formalism that dominated Anglo-American literary criticism in the middle decades of the twentieth century. It emphasized close-reading, particularly of poetry, to discover how a work of literature functioned as a self-contained, self-referential aesthetic object.
Formalism A broad term for the various types of literary theory that advocate focusing attention on the text itself and not on extratextual factors. Formalist critics are interested in the formal elements of a literary text —structure, tone, characters, setting, symbols, linguistic features — and seek to create meaning by examining the relationships between these different parts of a text.
• Feminist and Gender Criticism (p. 172)
Feminist criticism A school of literary criticism that examines the roles of women in literature and culture as well as the relationships between men and women. Contemporary feminist criticism rose to prominence in the 1970s, when the modern feminist movement began to explore the patriarchal structures in which many women felt trapped. Some feminist critics seek to show the ways in which literary texts demonstrate the repression and powerlessness of women — or, alternately, to show how female literary characters could overcome sexist power structures. Still others seek to rediscover and promote writing by women whose works have been excluded from the mostly male canon of “great” literature.
Gender Criticism: A broad term for literary criticism that highlights gender roles or relationships between the sexes. In this expansive sense, Feminist criticism is a kind of gender criticism, although the latter term is most often applied to gay and lesbian approaches to literature that explore the construction of sexual identity.
• Queer Theory (p. 173)
• Marxist Criticism (p. 173)
• Cultural Studies (p. 174)
• Postcolonial Criticism (p. 175)
• Historical Criticism and New Historicism (p. 176)
• Psychological Theories (p. 177)
• Reader-Response theories (p. 178)
• Structuralism (p. 180)
• Poststructuralism and Deconstruction (p. 181)
As you write your interpretive criticism, remember to provide substantial context for both the critical theories AND the play. While you can assume your reader is familiar with these texts, you can’t expect that their memory is as “fresh” or “vivid” as your own. You will likely need to research the school of criticism further before you begin to write.
• 4 Full Pages Minimum – 6 Full Pages Maximum with proper MLA Formatting and a Works Cited Page. The Works Cited page does NOT count towards the page
• Substantial and relevant evidence from the play AND critical theories. This is a
close reading of literature, so you should avoid using outside research about the play or the cultural moment it was published within. The ONE exception is if you want to spend some time reading up more about the schools of criticism. If you do utilize any outside sources to help you gain a more substantial understanding of the theories AND you use this information in the essay, make sure to cite these articles accordingly.
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