Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Literary Terms

Here are the literary terms we have learned so far:

Definition: The genre of educational development, or the coming-of-age story of the protagonist.
Example: The film Malcolm X is a bildungsroman that follows Malcolm from his childhood to his death.

Definition: The breaking of a unit between lines.
Example: Gwendolyn Brooks is known for her famous poem "We Real Cool," which relies on enjambment to emphasize the importance of the collective.

Definition: Placing two units side by side to generate a juxtaposition.
Example: "A Bronzeville Mother Loiters in Mississippi" and "The Last Quatrain of the Ballad of Emmett Till" are placed in parataxis to highlight the contrasting mental states of the two mothers.

Here is a summery of the literary concepts we will develop as we move throughout the course:

The Gaze
Definition: A concept introduced by the French philosophers Michel Foucault and Jacques Lacan, the gaze was said to epitomize the idea of power relations. Later adapted by feminists and postcolonial critics, the idea of the gaze was a way to theorize how differences in power lead to perceptual biases.
Example: One example of the gaze in "A Bronzeville Mother Loiters in Mississippi" is the Mississippi mother's determination to see Emmett Till as a fairy tale villain rather than a young boy.

The Other
Definition: The Other is the opposite of the Same. In most cases, the Other is anyone other than yourself. To highlight the abstraction of the idea, the other is capitalized. Usually, this concept is used to describe the dehumanizing aspects of seeing people as units rather than individuals, characterized by their communal characteristics rather than their particular ones. French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas is a notable theorist on this topic.
Example: In "A Bronzeville Mother Loiters in Mississippi," Northern newspapers lament the Emmett Till murder by describing the perpetrators as "barbarians." Here, the Other is inverted. Instead of seeing African-Americans as Other, Southern whites are placed in the uncomfortable position of being judged by their Northern brethren.

No comments:

Post a Comment