Critical and Literary Theory Question Grid

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Critical and Literary Theory Question Grid
Critical theories were developed as a means to understand the different “ways” people read the world. Literary theory grew
out of critical theory as a way for people to understand literature. The question grid is helpful for your to recognizing what
theory or lens you are using when you ask specific questions.
Reader’s Response
Feminist/Gender
Social Class
Critical Race Theory
Examines the relationship
between the text and the
reader (you!) personal
reactions, how the reader
creates meaning
Examines power, gender, and
how they interact
Examines power, social class,
and money in order to show
social injustice. Based on the
theories of Karl Marx
Examines how people of
different races are portrayed
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What am I thinking as I
read?
How do I feel about
what I am reading?
What personal
characteristics,
qualities, or elements of
my personal history
might be relevant to
how I read this text?
What properties of the
text(vocabulary,
sentence length,
punctuation, structure,
etc) affect my reading or
response? Why?
What meaning did I find
in the text?
Why am I reacting in a
certain way (positively
or negatively) to the
text?
Examples: Gender roles, how
different genders are
portrayed, etc
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How are women
portrayed or
represented?
How are men portrayed
or represented?
How are the
relationships between
men and women
shown?
What are the power
relationships between
men and women?
Which gender has
power?
How are female and
male roles defined?
Do characters take on
traits of the opposite
gender at any point?
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Who benefits if the text
is accepted or believed?
(those with money,
those without money)
What is the social class
of the author?
What social classes do
the characters
represent?
What values does the
text support?
What values does the
text criticize?
How do the characters
from different classes
interact, communicate,
or conflict?
How do the more
powerful characters
hold the other ones
down?
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What races are
represented in this text?
Does this text portray
any stereotypes?
Is this text “good” for
people of color?
How does the text
portray people of color?
Does this text exclude
people of color?
Does this text silence
people of color?
Is this text historically
accurate?
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