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Showing posts with the label literary criticism

Tea and Colonization

  Original title of the paper: Post Colonialism in Wonderland               When analyzing Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland using a post-colonialism approach, Alice herself can be viewed as a colonizer, perhaps even representing the British Empire of the nineteenth century. While literature is not “a passive reflection of history”, literature and history do feed off one another and each influence the other. (Parker 286). Whether Carroll intended to portray Alice as a representation of the British Empire, which ruled “roughly one quarter of the earth’s land and population” at one time (Parker 298), is unknowable (unless one wishes to be bogged down in trying to sort out the author’s intention). However, when applying the postcolonialism theory to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland , Alice does exhibit traits that are considered typical of a colonizer. She invades a space which is foreign to her, attempts to impose her own cultural norms on the society she finds there, and eventually en

Marrying the Hangman

  Original title of the paper: Gender, Feminism, and Marrying the Hangman             In Atwood’s Marrying the Hangman the reader finds a tale, based on a true story, in which a woman found guilty of stealing pretty clothes, must then beguile a man, sight unseen, in order to avoid being executed. And while she is written as a victim of patriarchal circumstance, she does, in the end create her own salvation via this beguiled man. Both the antique protagonist, and the poem’s modern “friends” with their “horror stories” all showcase the gender role these women are assigned and expected/allowed to live within, the lack of sisterly bonding between women, and how survival often requires a certain amount of what society might have judged as ‘unfeminine’ selfishness.             Gender is a “social class” (Cudd & Anderson 158) constructed by other people’s “cultural responses to the body” (Cudd & Anderson 166) which, in turn, positions that body (and whomever inhabits it) “with

Marxism in Wonderland

  Marx saw society through a rather practical “materialist” lens, understanding that life is made up largely, if not exclusively, of physical needs like food and shelter. He believed that it was our social conditions which determined our consciousness, not the other way around – so that a poor (proletariat) person and a richer (bourgeoisie) one would see the world differently because they were either poor or rich. And he saw the world as being “divided between a class of people who labor to produce goods” and a class of people who exploit them (Parker 230). Within Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass Carroll has created a literary world which brings to light social hierarchy, particularly the binary opposition of the ruling class and the working class. There are clear socio-economic stratifications on display. The treatment of the working-class playing cards by the aristocracy, the fact the bourgeoisie don’t align with and stand up for them, and the fact

Mrs. Dalloway and Feminism

  Original Title of the Paper: External Perceptions and Feminist Judgments of Women’s Choices Through the Lens of Mrs. Dalloway             On the surface Clarissa Dalloway is a conformist and a seemingly vapid socialite whose main concern in life is staging an excellent party. But in Woolf’s use of the stream of consciousness technique, we are let in on Clarissa’s secret internal world. Clarissa is not just running errands for her party, she is also having an internal existential crisis. At the same time Woolf shows the juxtaposition of Septimus. He is Clarissa’s opposite in many ways, male vs female, younger vs older, working-class vs upper class, etc. Septimus’ psyche has been damaged by the hardships of life (in his case war), which Clarissa has actively tried to avoid experiencing. However, both characters are examples of the gap between the external and the internal. Externally Septimus is young, healthy, and able-bodied, but internally he is non-functional. Externally Clarissa