Critical Approaches

English-Fall 2008

Blog#1 – How do I approach reading?! September 19, 2008

Hmmm….how do I approach reading? Tough question. Well a definite answer is “not as blindly as I used too!”

I have to say that last year I approached a lot of readings with a feminist approach. I looked a lot at the dominance of women by men. The submissiveness of women in general, how they were being oppressed by society, etc. I did my first paper in last years English class on the repression of women in the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” and ever since then I found myself taking somewhat of a feminist approach at all sorts of literary works. I think maybe because I had done so much research on the repression of women in literature for my essay that the next time I picked up a s

tory or poem that involved a woman I automaticalliy looked for the signs of inequality. 

I have learned now however to keep an open mind when reading different works, I don’t want to be stuck reading stories from the same viewpoint over and over again. So I would say that I tend to keep a very open mind, and I especially enjoy making an effort to take several different approaches to a single piece of work. I think it makes things so much more interesting if you view them from several different perspectives. I will admit that I find the historical approach very helpful. It helps me a lot to understand the writing if I have the opportunity to perhaps see things from the authors perspectiv


e; to know what was going on at that time of the author’s life, economically or socially, it helps me gain better insight as to what the author may have been trying to portray in their writings.

So there you have it, I guess I don’t have a particular approach that I use every time. Instead, I feel the more open your mind the better, to not consistently view things from one perspectives enables me to gain a better understanding of the work as a whole.

Hope you enjoyed my first blog….comment away!!

Pablo Picasso - Young Girl Reading a Book on the Beach - 1937

Pablo Picasso - Young Girl Reading a Book on the Beach - 1937


5 Responses to “Blog#1 – How do I approach reading?!”

  1. tc100067449 Says:

    Hello Meaghan,
    I really enjoyed The Yellow Wallpaper, I took more of a psycho-analytical approach as I read it, however I can clearly see your perspective by it. I agree with looking from many critical lenses and as we mature as scholars I am sure these abilities will come as easy as looking outside at the weather and deciding how we wish to dress for the day. As we read a new peice,depending on the day, we can wear a different critical shirt that will make us comfortable in that environment.
    What a great blog!
    Thank-you very much!!!
    Tim Coulter

  2. Meaghan Says:

    Hi Tim,
    Thanks for the comment! I absolutely agree, as we mature as students it seems easier to approach texts from different perspectives! I remember last year when i was introduced to these critical approaches; I was terrified, and confused. Now I feel at least confident enough to give any of them a try! I might not necessarily be great at all of them, but I will always try! 🙂

  3. heatherjervis Says:

    I think that as women the more education we recieve the harder it is not to take a feminist stance. Every class you can take from English to History to Sociology and Political Science, ect. all delve into issues of the repression of women in society. How can these issues affecting our gender not influence our thinking and perceptions. I am definately still open to other approaches as I wouldn’t want to be pigeon-holed as perscribing to only one specific theory.
    Great blog, Heather

  4. cosmoqueen24 Says:

    Meaghan, I too enjoyed the yellow wallpaper and wrote my english paper on it also. However, I took a psychological approach. I tend to do that; however, last year I did a second degree in Sociology and it allowed me to open up my mind to different approaches. I use feminist approach a lot and I find the historical context useful in helping to understand the time line of the story and the story itself.

  5. katiedesro Says:

    Hi Meaghan. Excellent first blog! I know what you mean about wanting to examine literature from the same approach over and over. For me, the first approaches that jump into my head are Marxism and the psychoanalytical approach (often I use Marxism for examining social situations in literature, while I use the psychological approaches to study individual characters). I find it takes a lot of discipline to try new critical approaches. Though I have found that taking this course has given me a better understanding of them and made other approaches less intimidating to practise.

    I find that some literature seems to attach itself more to some approaches over others. For instance, “The Yellow Wallpaper” is an excellent example of a writing that can be approached from a feminist perspective as it strongly addresses the oppression of women. Also, I too find it important to examine the historical context of when the work was written in order to develope a deeper understanding of it.

    Great blog 🙂

    -Katie Desroches

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