literary theory
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Reading is different online than off, experts s...

Reading is different online than off, experts s... | literary theory | Scoop.it
Our brains, neuroscientists warn, are developing new circuits with a big impact on non-digital reading

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Ayn Rand "The Virtue of Selfishness"

Ayn Rand – THE VIRTUE OF SELFISHNESS THE VIRTUE OF SELFISHNESS“Ethics is not a mystic fantasy—nor a socialconvention—nor a dispensable,

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Excerpt from "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair

Excerpt from "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair | literary theory | Scoop.it

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Dan Galvin's curator insight, December 19, 2012 10:43 PM

INFORMATIONAL (LITERARY NONFICTION)

This is a text that has gret potential in the classroom.  While it is dense and complex in its language, the descriptions are vivid and scintillating enough that the challenge of decoding the text results in an immediate payoff - a rare quality in classroom texts.  In addition, it is a text where the connections to Marxist criticism are fairly immediately apparent, and can thus be a good early text for Marxist analysis.

 

QUANTITATIVE MEASURES

Purpose / Levels of Meaning

The purpose of the text is truly social commentary with and eye towards inspiring popular demand for legislative change.  The task in reading the text critically comes from analyzing the techniques the author uses to accomplish his purpose, and determining why those specific techniques were used.

 

Structure

The genre is somewhat tricky, in that it has the appearance of a narrative, but is argumentative in its purpose and nonfiction in its subject matter.  However, in this case, the narrative structure makes the text actually a bit more readbale than other approaches the author might have used.  Examination of the effect of one genre versus another is another level of analysis that is important to truy appreciate the text.

 

Language Conventionality and Clarity

The narrative is dense with description of the inner-workings of an industrial plant, but the narrative in written in such a way as to be very accessible to readers without knowledge of the meat-packing industry.  The dense descriptions actually serve to create vivid images which make the text more engaging, rather than difficult.

 

Knowledge Demands

The purpose of the text is wide accessibility.  However, as it was written for an audience of the early 1900's some basic background knowledge of the social conditions and econom of the day would aid readers in quickly comprehending the texts literal meanings as well as underlying social critiques.

 

QUANTITATIVE MEASURES - Lexile 1240

The quantitative measure of this text is within the limits of the 11-CCR complexity band, mainly for its elaborate, descriptive sentences, and wide array of descriptive vocabulary.

 

RECOMMENDED PLACEMENT

All facets of the text are aligned to place the text within the 11-CCR complexity band if taght with a focus on the larger implications rather than a surface-level appreciation of the descriptions contained therein.

 

 

PERFORMANCE TASK

Students compare and contrast the figurative and connotative meanings as well as specific word choices in Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" in order to determine how the descriptions of industry shape the meaning and tone of each poem. The reader pays particular attention to the implied message regarding capilatism and the relationship between the roles of workers and the larger structures of industry. [RL.11–12.4] 

 

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Purdue OWL: Literary Theory and Schools of Criticism

Purdue OWL: Literary Theory and Schools of Criticism | literary theory | Scoop.it
This resource will help you begin the process of understanding literary theory and schools of criticism and how they are used in the academy.

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Dan Galvin's curator insight, December 22, 2012 8:23 AM

INFORMATIONAL (DIGITAL FORMAT)

This is a texts that would really only be truly useful in its original online format, to be used as a database for future inquiry.  In this form, it would serve as an excellent bridge linking Marxist literary theory to other schools of literary theory.  Students could familiarize themselves with the structure of the text for the page dedicated to Marxism, a theory which they have now studied extensively, and then use that mastery of the structure to explore other schools of literary criticism.  The goal is to use this page to decide what other critical theory might be the subject of a research project.  Additional texts would need to be found in order to truly understand the crtitical theory and history, but this online database would serve as an ideal primer on the basics of several theories, as well as a useful resource as the research ensues.

 

QUANTITATIVE MEASURES

Purpose / Levels of Meaning

The purpose of the text is quite clearly and explicitly to give students a tool by which to understand the basic concepts of Marxist theory, as well as questions to use in beginning Marxist literary theory.

 

Structure

The structure is designed so as to make the text easy to navigate and decipher, with clear headings and bullet-points.

 

Language Conventionality and Clarity

Much of the vocabulary and language is rooted in complex concets that span the domains of history, economics, and social theory.  Therefore, while a very basic understanding might be possible through the reading of this text

 

Knowledge Demands

While the text is designed to be a summary of these concepts, true understanding would most likely not be truly achieved without a closer reading of the documents on which the summary is based, as well as the history involved in the development of such theories.

 

QUANTITATIVE MEASURES - Lexile 1180

The complex vocabulary, as well as complex language use as drawn from primary texts, make for a text that would most likely fir quantitatively into the 9-10 complexity band, which spans from 1080 to 1305.

 

RECOMMENDED PLACEMENT

While the actual text in itself is not sufficiently complex for the 11-CCR complexity band, when considered as a part of a larger online database, the complexity of the onine format make the text suitable for use in the 11-CCR band.  However, it is important that this text be used as a database to spur further research into other theories of literary criticism, and thus additional complex texts, a task which would then be clearly at the upper end of the 11-CCR band.

 

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Action Philosophers Marx


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Dan Galvin's curator insight, December 28, 2012 1:57 PM

INFORMATIONAL (GRAPHIC NOVEL)

This is a great text to introduce the throries of Karl Marx in as accesible a way as possible.  Because of the complexity of the task of using Marxist theory to analyze texts, it will be important that ALL students have a firm grasp of the background knowledge of Marxist theory before advancing to the application of theory to literature.  This text is therefore ideal for providing an engaging and accessible introduction to some very complex yet essential concepts.

 

QUANTITATIVE MEASURES

Purpose / Levels of Meaning

The purpose is to explain the basic theories of Marxism through an accessible and entertaining format.  The compexity, however, comes from an ambiguity about how the author feels about those theories, thus making it difficult to determine bias and thus reliability.  The child character in the text serves as a stand-in for the reader as the cartoon-Marx explains it's theories.  However, while portrayal of Marxism can be interpreted as extreme and violent, it is unclear how much of this portayal is a result of author's bias.

 

Structure

The structure presents visuals to accompany all text, but the interrelatedness of text and visuals vary.  Some of the visuals are helpful in supporting understanding of text.  A few of the more difficult passages of text, however, have very little in the way of visual scaffolds to understanding.

 

Language Conventionality and Clarity

The language is designed to be accessible, however many of the terms (i.e. commodities, fetishism, bourgeois) describe such complex concepts that the provided explanations and visuals may be inadequate to fully understand without additional explanation or instruction.

 

Knowledge Demands

Many of the concepts referred to require an understanding of economics, history or social theory, much of which may need to be pre-assessed and pre-taught.

 

QUANTITATIVE MEASURES - Lexile 930

The efforts made by the author to present complex information in as accessible a manner has resulted in a much lower lexile score than would be assumed.  The information is segmeneted by both smaller sentences as well as speech bubbles and panels, which makes the information easier to process.  More complex terms are counterbalanced by simpler language, all of which reults in a lexile level consistent with the grade 4-5 complexity band, despite containing subject matter decidedly more complex.

 

RECOMMENDED PLACEMENT

This is a difficult text to place, due to the variety of ways in which the structure and author's choices work to make the text as accessible as possible.  However, due to the knowledge demands and the presence of complex conceptual Tier III vocbulary, I believe that the text would be appropriate for the 11-CCR complexity band.  Some of the concepts addressed in the text are often not encountered until college, and so the format is simply helpful scaffolding for what is, in reality, a very complex text.

 

 

PERFORMANCE TASK

Students provide an objective summary of this interpretation of the philosophy of Karl Marx wherein they analyze how the author's articulate the central ideas of nature of capital, value and exploitation  and how those ideas interact and build on one another. [RI.11–12.2] 

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Anthem by Ayn Rand (Full Text with Annotations)

Anthem by Ayn Rand (Full Text with Annotations) | literary theory | Scoop.it

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HARRY POTTER and the SORCERER'S STONE: A Marxist and Feminist View of the Boy Who Lived

HARRY POTTER and the <em>SORCERER'S STONE</em>: A Marxist and Feminist View of the Boy Who Lived | literary theory | Scoop.it
Literary theory on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling.

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Dan Galvin's curator insight, December 22, 2012 9:05 AM

EXPLANATORY ESSAY

This text is an ideal text to help students take the step from reading texts in orer to understand Marxist literary theory to actually applying that knowledge to create their own Marxist interpretations of literarture.  This text serves as an ideal model for the type of writing students will be expected to produce. The fact that the subject is a story most students are familiar with through popular exposure through books, movies and media makes the text even more ideal as students grapple with how to approach such a comlex task.  However, even though the author provides a mini-primer of Marxist theory, the concepts involved are complex enough that this text would be most effective only after students have a basic understanding of Marxist theory.

 

QUANTITATIVE MEASURES

Purpose / Levels of Meaning

The purpose of this text is two-tiered.  The text seeks to introduce it's reader to two schools of literary criticism, and to then use apply that knowledge in order to analyze the popular Harry Potter series usig both a Marxist and Feminist lens.

 

Structure

The structure of he text resembles that of a literary essay, similar to what students may themselves produce.  However, there are enough stylistic and structural deviations from the basic essay structure so as to serve as a model for a more sophisticated approach to literary essays.

 

Language Conventionality and Clarity

While it seems the author has made an attempt to keep the language relatively accessible, the subject matter, specifically the references to literary theory, require the use of highly domain-specific language and vocabulary often not seen even in most high school english classrooms.

 

Knowledge Demands

While the author does make efforts to supply the reader with the basics of both Marxist and Feminist literary theories, in order to understand those theories, a suffcient background knowledge of the social and economic circumstances that led to their creation is necessary in order to properly understand the throries as they are introduced, and thus follow the author as he applies those theories to Harry Potter.

 

QUANTITATIVE MEASURES - Lexile 1360

The complex vocabulary necessary to analyzing literature using literary theory, as well as some complex sentence structure, results in a lexile measurement that places the text slightly above the 11-CCR complexity band, which is set at 1215-1355.

 

RECOMMENDED PLACEMENT

Both qualitative and quatitative measures suggest that this text is apt fr the 11-CCR level.  Certain measures place the text at the uper end of the band, meaning that it would be best utilized after students have attained a basic familiarity with many of the concepts of the text, as well as understanding of some of the terms.

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Questions From a Worker Who Reads, Bertolt Brecht 1935

Questions From a Worker Who Reads, Bertolt Brecht 1935 | literary theory | Scoop.it

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Dan Galvin's curator insight, December 26, 2012 1:28 PM

POETRY

This is a simple text, and thus ideal for student first experimenting with the process of using literary theory to dissect text.  The text itself is on a complexity level simple enough that the text itself should prove simple to decipher, allowing students to focus on the process of incorporating complex criticism into their analysis and thus their writing.

 

QUANTITATIVE MEASURES

Purpose / Levels of Meaning

The purpose of this poem seems to be drawing a common thread though many famous historical events, with that thread being the presence of common, working class people who have toiled to make the great events of history possible, only to have the upper-class heroic figures be remembered. The case that can be made that while many Marxist texts attempt to establish a working brotherhood across national and ethnic dividing lines, this poem attemts to take that effort one step further and forge those connections across the divides of history and time.

 

Structure

The structure is simple and repetitive, using the basic comparison between the famous figures who have been recounted throughout history, and the ccomplishments of the lower-classes whose support has made their accomplishments possible.

 

Language Conventionality and Clarity

The language is quite clear, with simple sentence structure, and vocabulary that can be quickly explained wthout much in the way of complex conceptual explantion.

 

Knowledge Demands

The entire poem is essentially a series of historical references of varying degree of obscurity.  However, if a student is unaware of the context surrounding one or more references, it does not prevent understanding and appreciation of the larger themes or message. 

 

QUANTITATIVE MEASURES - Lexile 460

The simple sentence structure, as well as limited Tier 3 vocabulary would indicate that quantitative measurements would place the text weel below the 11-CCR complexity band, perhaps as low as Grades 2-3.

 

RECOMMENDED PLACEMENT

The text itelf, while making reference to complex concepts and historical references, is actually relatively simple.  It is then important that the task and analytical demands bring the level of challenge up to a sufficient level as to be worthy of the 11-CCR level.  In this case, a requirement that analysis of the poem be done through citation of other texts that have been clearly established within the 11-CCR band would be challenging enough for students still mastering the task of using literary criticism to analyze text.  However, this text should be seen merely as a scaffolded 'stepping-stone' to the analysis of more complex texts using Marxist literary theory.

 

 

PERFORMANCE TASK

Students determine the purpose and point of view of Bertold Brecht in "Questions from a Worker who Reads,” and Karl Marx in the Communist Manifesto, analyzing how the themes and content contribute to the eloquent and powerful contrast between the commn worker and the powerful in each separate epoch. [RI.11–12.6] 

 

 

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THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO

THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO | literary theory | Scoop.it

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Dan Galvin's curator insight, December 19, 2012 9:22 PM

ESSAY (HISTORICAL TEXT)

This famous historical document has value both a historical text as well as an exercise in literary and critical reading.  Due to the complexity of the text itself, the need for a complex and demanding task is not as necessary.  In fact, this may be a text ideal for allowing students to express their understanding through ceative means.

 

QUANTITATIVE MEASURES

Purpose / Levels of Meaning

The purpose of the text is to explain the makeup of the social system at the time the text was written, and to explina how that social system was exploiting the vast majority of individuals within that system.  It also sought to explain why the overthrow of the system was necessary and inevitable.  Clearly, however, the overthrow was not inevitable, as it has not taken place. The complexity of the process of reading the text derives from determining where the flaws in the text's logic arise, and what conditions described in the text remain in present day.

 

Structure

The structure of the text is relatively straightforward, as it is uses an essay structure, and while the lnaguage may be somewhat complex, the structure is fairly straightforward.

 

Language Conventionality and Clarity

The language is very complex.  There is a great deal of conceptual, Tier III vocabulary, and an in-depth understanding of certain key terms which are not fully broken-down within the text are essential to understanding the overall messages.  In addition, the use of figurative language in the text further increases the complexity.

 

Knowledge Demands

An understanding of history and economics, both at the time of the text's creation as well as since, are essential to reading the text with a critical eye.  In addition, the key terms that form some of the central understandings of the text require prior knowledge of the history and meaning of these terms.

 

QUANTITATIVE MEASURES - Lexile 1230

The long and complex sentences, as well as highly complex, domain-specific vocabulary, results in the text receieving a quantitative measure within the 11-CCR complexity band.

 

RECOMMENDED PLACEMENT

Due to the incredibly complex language, as well as the array of knowledge demands necessary to perform a critical reading fo this historical text, the mere reading and comprehension of the text is sufficiently demanding to warrant inclusion in the 11-CCR complexity band.

 

 

PERFOMANCE TASK

Students determine the meaning of key terms such as bourgeoisie, proletarians, and communist as well as other domain-specific words and phrases such as epoch, serfdom, and feaudal absolutism used in Karl Marx’s “Communicts Manifesto” [RST.11–12.4] 

 

OR

 

Students delineate and evaluate the argument that Karl Marx makes in the Communist Manifesto. They assess the reasoning present in his analysis, including the premises and purposes of his essay. [RI.11–12.8] 

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A Introduction to the Three Volumes of Karl Marx's 'Capital' « All that ...

A Introduction to the Three Volumes of Karl Marx's 'Capital' « All that ... | literary theory | Scoop.it

Heinrich's modern interpretation of Capital is now available to English-speaking readers for the first time. It has gone ...


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