Four Critical Lenses or The Four Faces of Cinderella
Literary Theories and Snow White Feminist Criticism Exploring womens redefinition of their identity in writing. - Snow Whites life with the dwarves as important to her education as a submissive female who learns lessons of service, selflessness, and domesticity. Literary Theories and Snow White Marxist Theory Seeing society as a class struggle.
The role of the dwarves is similar to that of the peasant classes in that it echoes the value of hard work and solidarity needed for survival. These dwarves support the fairytales social order. Four Critical Lenses or The Four Faces of Cinderella Marxist Feminist Deconstructio nist Psychoanalyti cal
Edward Said 1. 2. 3. 4. In Saids famous critical work The World, The Critic, and the Text he claimed there were four ways to read a text: Literally: By analyzing the words on the page. Critically: Through the interpretation of literary scholars. Authorial: Through the biography of an author.
Worldly: Through the way the public has responded to the text. The Four Faces of Cinderella The four most popular critical lenses used in literary criticism are: a Marxist lens, a Feminist lens, a Deconstructionist lens, and a Psychoanalytical lens . We will be using the fairy tale of Cinderella to demonstrate how these lenses can unpack a text.
Karl Marx and Marxism Origins: Karl Marx: 1818 -1883 Founder of Marxism and famous work called Das Kapital which critiqued the economic system of Capitalism. The Marxist Literary Lens Thesis: A group of elite people control most of the wealth of the world, leaving everyone else poor and powerless. Characteristics: Sympathy for the working class and hatred of the middle and wealthy classes. Attention to how much material
wealth one has. Class structure in a text. Characters in opposition to each other because of a power struggle. Inequalities in society. Characters who dream of a better life. Class warfare between the rich and the poor. A Marxist reading of Cinderella Cinderella is exploited by her rich relatives. She exploits the mice, birds, and
fairy godmother who help her for no pay. Cinderella has no wealth and her only hope is to marry the prince. Class structure with Cinderella (poor) who does all the work, Step Sisters (middle class) who yearn to marry the rich prince, prince (wealthy) who controls the power in the kingdom decides who he will marry. In the original fable, the animals gouge out the eyes of the step sisters and drive them out of town symbolizing the violent clashes between the rich and the poor. Feminism Origins: originated in the Womens Suffrage Movement of the late
nineteenth century that fought for the rights for women to vote. In the 1970s, the movement shifted to having legal rights for women such as legal abortions, legal birth control, and laws ensuring women had the same rights in the work force as men. The Feminist Literary Lens Thesis: Women are dominated by men and thus are stereotyped. Typically male authors include a gender bias in their writing that demeans women. Characteristics: Male characters are strong/dominant and female characters are weak/passive.
Negative stereotypes regarding women and sexuality. Women striving to survive in a male-dominated society. Power struggle between men and women. A Feminist Reading of Cinderella Cinderellas happiness
depends on men. After Cinderellas father dies, she is forced to live with the evil step-sisters. She becomes happy after she marries the prince. In order to attract the prince, she must impress him with her looks. The prince only knows her by her beauty and the missing glass slipper. Without men, Cinderella has no control over her life. Jacques Derrida and Deconstructionism Origins: Jacques Derrida : 1930 1944. Jacques Derrida was a
French philosopher and literary critic who wrote extensively that texts need to be deconstructed, or torn apart, like a dissection to determine their underlying flaws in logic and structure. The Deconstructionist Literary Lens Thesis: We can challenge traditional
assumptions by unraveling the ideas that ground those traditions. Furthermore, life is multifaceted and includes many viewpoints to exist. Characteristics: The world follows a binary, or oppositional structure: good/evil, rich/poor, male/female, smart/stupid, etc. Reversal of values approved by society: Batman is evil because he works outside the law, while the Joker is good because he is creative, intelligent, and funny. Unravel Traditional Beliefs: The Declaration of Independence espouses freedoms like freedom of speech and to assemble, however, these were used in opposition to England so the colonist could rebel. Multifaceted Viewpoints: Howard Zinn writes from the Arawaks perspective in The Peoples History of the United States to give a voice to a society that had no voice in American history. A Deconstructionists Reading of
Cinderella Cinderella is not an innocent heroine, but a daydreamer who disobeyed those who had authority over her. Cinderella is obsessed with appearance, over substance. The step-sisters had more rights than Cinderella, and with the fairy godmother as an accomplice, disrupted the order in society. The glass slipper represents Cinderellas vanity and how her looks superseded everything and
everyone else. Cinderella is portrayed as a positive person, but in reality, is vain, selfish, immature, and power hungry. Sigmund Freud and Psychoanalysis Origins: Sigmund Freud: 1856 1939. Sigmund Freud is known as the founder of psychology which is the study of human behavior. In his famous work The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud argues that humans have a sub-consciousness that controls our desires. Our subconscious is divided into the Id or uncontrolled desires, the Ego the realistic desires or the part of our personality we share with the world, and the Super Ego or our critical and moralistic selves. The common metaphor used to represent this is a person going
through a conflict with an angel and devil sitting on each shoulder. The Psychoanalytical Literary Lens Thesis: Our sub-conscious desires controls our actions. Characteristics: ID: involves basic desires such as food, aggression, and sex. Its prime motive is survival. Someone influenced by his/ her Id is considered less developed. SUPEREGO: involves morality and is opposed to the Id. It is formed from standards acquired from your upbringing and society. Someone who is acting primarily under the influence of the Superego denies him/herself of pleasure and develops obsessive/compulsive disorders. EGO: is a healthy balance of the Id and Superego. Someone who is acting primarily on his ego will have his/her desires fulfilled in a manner acceptable to society.
When a psychoanalytical lens is applied to literature, it follows a characters development throughout a story. A Psychoanalytical Reading of Cinderella Cinderella initially is driven by her Superego because she denies her desires in order to please her stepmother and stepsisters. However, her dreams reflect the Id waiting to come out. When her fairy godmother grants her wishes, she breaks out of the
Superego dominance. Cinderella gives in to her Id by leaving her job and going to the party, something she was forbidden to do. Because she fell in love with the prince and got married, this exemplifies the emergence of her Ego because marriage is a socially acceptable relationship.
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