Thursday, April 30, 2009

And it only took four ciritical papers this time

I'm about a third of the way through reading the Beloved critical articles for the M.A. Exam Part 2 next Monday. And I hit my limit, which is sad because I still have eight articles to go.

How do I know I hit my limit? When I have to reach for the dictionary to define words I already know. When I have a cracktastic idea that will not let go.

The cracktastic idea this time: I want someone to go all literary critical theory on one of my fanfics. Take the most extreme Freudian position possible. Or Lacan. Or ... okay I already forgot most of the major movements. Why do I want to see this happen? Because I can remember most of the stuff that churned in my brain, and proving or disproving patriarchal family models based on Oedipal theory was not one of them. The problem of domination was not one of them. Greek tragedy and resisting it wasn't one of them.

If none of them above make any sense to you whatsoever, thank the deity of your choice that you managed to skip literary criticism. But I honestly just want to see it from the other side of the curtain. Because deep down, I think this is all bunk any way when it comes to creation of the works analyzed. I think it has a purpose in helping people understand the work better or perhaps understanding the genre and stereotypes to break away from them. But I'm driven to hair pulling when I find one of these scholar positing so finitely "Morrison was creating an African-American feminist maternal dialogue to combat the white, patriarchal system that oppresses us to this day." You don't know that (but you sure wrote a damn long paper on the subject)! What if Morrison's inspirational thought was just exploring what about slavery would make a mother kill her child, which she has said there was a true case that sparked Sethe, and what if the child comes back as a ghost or something else?

Well, if you do want to psychoanalyze one of my works be prepared for me to laugh hysterically or congratulate you for getting into a character's headspace. Because the only agenda I have is seeing if I can make the plot and theme work and make readers happy.

Read Free!
The BookWorm


Astra Skadi said...

And this is why I loved Differential Equation and did everything I could to skip English courses...I could never figure out why the (non-scholar's college) non-science students could take general science course, but I couldn't take easier english courses.

I read "Ender's Game" back when I was in high school (I don't know if you've read it or not). I got a lesson from it about the choices people make and about loyalty being tied to what one chooses rather than what one is born into. One of the later books, which I read recently, pretty much indicated that the author was thinking of someone completely different.

KLCtheBookWorm said...

Sadly, I think the only Orson Scott Card I have read is his nonfiction "How to Write Science Fiction" book. And now I have a hard time separating his fiction from his real-life political/social leanings.

But there are levels to understanding and what you as a reader pull from everything you read. But I think there is a danger of academic critics assigning motivations to the author that does not exist.

And yeah, one of the comments I got on the Faulkner paper is that I was doing the same thing and needed to isolate the characters to each novel they appear in. "I write series characters, and I just came up with something that works with everything else I have previously written for this character but had no idea this was true when I first created it, and you're going to tell me Faulkner never did the same thing? "Absalom, Absalom!" is set in the middle of the "Sound and the Fury" for a reason!"

I can't get away from the feeling that if I had quoted Freud to support my view it would have been okay, instead of using my own experience as a fellow writer. :p

The whole set up is churn out more critics, and I'm not a critic. Writing especially the creative writing side is poorly represented.