Utilizing the Metaphor of a Critical Lens
 Reader
Response
 Talking to the Text
 Read Aloud
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A theory provides an angle or perspective you
will take when you look at a text.
Each lens is a view point or opinion.
It doesn’t mean that the theories’
perspectives will necessarily disagree.
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This is the relationship between the text and the
reader.
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The reader must find meaning in the literature
itself.
◦ Who is the piece written for and why?
◦ What interpretations are created?
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Because we don’t read in a vacuum, we are
creating an argument based on what we knownot just on text.
Basically, this is what you [the readers] think.
Reel
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When we Talk to the Text, we will exam a picture,
text, paper, or experience to explore how our
internal thoughts and feelings individually. We
will record these ideas on the text itself, post-it
notes, or our journals. We will consider our
terminology, author’s purpose, background
knowledge, questions, ideas, emotions, and
vocabulary when analyzing the text. By doing so,
we will have a record on the text itself our initial
reaction and continuing consideration of the text
as we consider it for ourselves.
Birds
Candy Cigarette
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Read “A&P” on page 833 through a Reader
Response Lens utilizing Talking to the Text.
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Background: the story came to Updike when
he was driving past the store and saw girls
who looked “surprisingly naked.”
What do you think about the story?
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Feminist Lens
Marxist Lens
Structural/Archetypal Lens
Psychoanalytic Lens
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This perspective takes into account the
feelings and actions associated with the male
and female characteristics in a work of
literature.
“No written law has ever
been more binding than
unwritten custom
supported by popular
opinion.” –Carrie Chapman Catt
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Reinforce or undermine economic, political,
social, and psychological oppression of
women.
Men = thought, aggression, assertion,
rationalism
Women = feeling, passivity, non-rationalism,
(all which keep them from holding positions
of power)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
How is the relationship of men/women portrayed?
What is power relationship between men and
women?
How are gender roles defined?
What constitutes masculinity v femininity
(economically, politically, socially, or
psychologically)?
Do characters take on traits of the opposite gender?
What does the work imply about the possibility of
sisterhood forming to resist patriarchy?
What does the work say about women's’ creativity?
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Karl Marx thought the world consisted of a
series of class struggles: oppressor v
oppressed.
Literature expresses class struggle and
materialism where a quest for wealth often
defines a character.
“Workers of the world unite;
you have nothing to lose
but your chains.” –Karl Marx
1.
2.
3.
What role does class play in the story?
How does a character overcome oppression?
In what way is the work propaganda for
status quo? Or does it undermine status
quo?
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4.
5.
Status quo: Keeping things the way they currently are
Are social conflicts ignored or blamed?
Does the literature propose a Utopian
(perfected) vision to the current society?
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The text is shaped by myths of the cultural
recurring images, symbols, patterns, and
motifs.
◦ Characters like the witch, the scapegoat, the hero,
or the wise old man
◦ Situations like birth, death, rebirth, or sacrifice
◦ Settings like forests, water, or caves
All of these things make us think a certain way
to predict the text.
“You can’t look at a text as if
it were in a vacuumeveryone recognizes story
patterns and symbols in
text.” – Karl Jung
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
How do characters in text mirror archetypal
figures?
Does it mirror literary patterns?
Is the protagonist a hero?
Does the hero embark on a journey?
Is there a journey to the underworld or land
of the dead?
What trials does the narrator face?
What is the reward for overcoming them?
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This lens is based on Freudian Theories of
psychology.
People’s behaviors are based on the
unconscious, and they are driven by desire,
fear, need, and conflict.
◦ Mostly from childhood events
◦ Children need parents and
from the relationship with or
without them, children are
developed.
ID: Location of drives (libido)
EGO: Defense against power of drive
SUPEREGO: Houses judgment of self
and others (unconscious)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
How does the idea of repression inform the
work?
Are there family dynamics at work here?
How is the character’s behavior in line with
ID, EGO, and SUPEREGO?
What does the work say about the author?
What does your interpretation say about you
as a reader?
Homework: Read Charlotte Perkins The Yellow
Wall Paper on page 1149 utilizing one of the
four lenses discussed in Part 2 (Feminist,
Marxist, Archetypal, or Psychoanalytic) and
Talking to the Text.