The “Politics of Interpretation”

I’m looking forward to Raph and Mandy’s prompts on our upcoming discussions of Marxist and feminist criticism on Tuesday night. Reading the assigned chapters in TYSON and APPLEMAN are important to all of our being able to work w/our facilitators on Tuesday.

I’m especially interested in how adopting new lenses and new languages (other than the language of New Criticism for example) for talking about texts offers you expanded insights into even familiar texts. Witness Appleman and Tyson’s readings of HAMLET and GATSBY. How are you using these lenses in your current lit classes? With what texts?

For a contemporary example of how Marxist criticism can inform adolescents’ taking a more critical position on their own consumption and classist assumptions about who is of value, read RETHINKING SCHOOL‘s editor, Linda Christensen’s piece, Can’t Buy Me Love in the current issue. Note how a skilled teacher can support adolescents’ developing a critical literacy with a very familiar (and, importantly, non-literary) text.

Note what Wilhelm and Smith say (p. 237 BEERS) about the relationship between our single-minded focus on the literary text and adolescents’ indifference to the forced reading of canonical texts in ELA classes. Listen to W/S when they note: “our boys were often cynical about the fact that what was read in school was not what they saw being read in life.”

Keep current readings in BEERS and the theory texts in mind as you plan your own sequence of instruction.

Do comment on this article and, of course, the readings for Tuesday here. A blog is only as interesting as the voices that make it up.

I would also like to see some discussion of books you are currently reading for book club chats. KES


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