Varying Approaches to Literary Analysis Essay

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Formalist: The formalist strategy tends to focus on the formal aspects of a piece of work. A formalist critic views literature as a work of art rather than a reflection of the author. This strategy is helpful when analyzing drama and fiction because the words and images shape the work itself. When analyzing a more complex story, a formalist critic will raise questions about the complexities. Formalist strategies reveal meaning and reinforce the theme of a text.

Biographical: Biographical simply means of or pertaining to a person’s life. Various authors base their writings on the events that they have experienced in their own lives. Therefore, the use of biographical strategies, or knowledge of an author’s life, can result in a more
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However, this is not always the case. In order to determine a relationship between literature and history, one must occasionally study the history relative to the particular work. In studying the history relative to a text, the text’s language, ideas, and purposes can be better comprehended. Literary historians study the time in which a piece of literature took place and highlight the historical background of the text itself rather than making inferences based upon the authors background. Another historical approach to literature is New Historicism which stresses the interactions of a historical piece of literature and a modern reader. New Historicism offers more perspectives than does traditional historical approaches.

Marxist: Due to heightened radical reform in the 1930’s and the writings of Karl Marx, Marxist readings developed. The marxist strategy is a sociological strategy that has proved to be influential. Marxist critics fix their attention on specific ideals such as culture, race, class, and power. Their research is concentrated on illuminating ideological problems and dealing with social inequality. These critics also tend to focus on the themes of literature rather than on the specific forms of literature.

Feminist: Like the Marxist strategy, the feminist strategy is an influential sociological strategy. Feminist critics categorize literature in a social context, they also believe that literature demonstrates social forces which hinder

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