Authors write their literary works within a context, a social, economic, and political space and time. Social factors like economics and politics as well as social issues like gender, equality, and the green movement are common social lenses through which literature can be examined.
Take a look at this image derived from George Orwell’s book Animal Farm. What do you see that seems to suggest a stance on a social issue?
How does social criticism influence how you might read your novels The Handmaid’s Tale (Atwood), Never Let Me Go (Ishiguro) and Brave New World (Huxley)?
Add comments to your annotations from this perspective.
In our Summer Assignment, you are asked to answer the question, How does the text form a critical perspective?
A critical perspective comes from a context, a social, economic, and political space and time. Social factors like economics and politics as well as social issues like gender, equality, and the green movement are used to frame literature and forms a critical perspective through which the literature is examined.
Take for instance a novel you read last year, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. We can look at this novel from different critical lenses.
If we examine The Kite Runner through a personal reader response critical lens, we have to do the following:
1. Look at the connections between what we know and the text
2. Look at the text through your experiences
3. Look at the text and how it connects to something we have read, seen, or heard
4. Look at the text through our own point of view, based on how we act, think, behave
Let’s take a look at an example. Say that I want to look at The Kite Runner through the reader response critical lens. I read the text and I find that the jealousy Amir feels toward Hassan and what seems like his father’s favoritism towards Hassan is similar to how I feel about my parents’ treatment of me and my younger brother. I would write a response that explains this similarity and how it might feel to go through this experience. I would also explain to what extent it has affected Amir’s behavior as well how the jealousy in my life has affected my behavior. I might reach some conclusions about this aspect of how the novel reveals human behavior and motivation.
What are other critical lenses? Take a look at this summary outlining the different critical perspectives.
Literary works often show us the author’s comment or view on certain social practices or attitudes, and that is a critical perspective the author takes.
Readers also use critical perspectives to read and analyze texts to find the meaning and significance of that literary work.
Post questions in the comments if you have them.