Literary Criticism and Critical Theory Essay
Subjectivity and Metaphor through the lens of Marxism in William Faulkner’s, As I Lay Dying
Bennett & Royle declare that, “literature is the space in which questions about the nature of personal identity are most provocatively articulated” (p.130). For the past three weeks as we have talked about figure, psychoanalysis, and language in As I Lay Dying, we have found much evidence of the truth of Bennett & Royle’s declaration. For the last few weeks, we explored what As I Lay Dying had to teach us about subjectivity as the result of internal forces interacting with external social structures. This week, we will add more layers to the ways we think about subjectivity by exploring Marxist theory, which frames subjectivity as the product of external economic and social forces. For this third writing assignment, I would like you to write an essay in which you make an argument about figure (metaphor, metonymy, or other figures) and the representation of subjectivity in William Faulkner’ s, As I Lay Dying. As long as you make and support a solid, interesting, and informed argument about the representation of subjectivity in this novel, I don’t care whether you adopt a psychoanalytic or Marxist approach, or a mix of the two. However, no matter what argument you make, you must insert a significant discussion of figure at some point. You can integrate the role of figure into your thesis and entire argument or use a discussion of figure (metaphor or metonymy) to support one or more of the points you make on the way to proving your thesis.
Your essay should be five full pages MLA style, including one page of Work cited, and contain the following:
1. An introduction with an arresting hook, the situating of your ideas about subjectivity from the novel, relative to other ideas about subjectivity (“They Say, I Say” -style), careful unpacking of your ideas, and a clear statement of your thesis.
2. A precise thesis that states a claim about subjectivity or some aspect of subjectivity in the novel that you are about to write.
3. Definition of any psychoanalytic or literary terms you are using.
4. Support and elaboration of, or challenges to your ideas by at least two scholarly sources.
5. Clear, careful, point-by-point analysis of your argument in paragraphs that 1) argue one idea and one idea only; 2) begin with a topic sentence that states argument of the paragraph; and 3) support point argued in paragraph with textual examples and careful explication of textual evidence and quotes to explain what point it makes and how it makes the point you say it does.
6. Discussion at some point of the essay or throughout the essay of the part figure plays in the picture of subjectivity you are painting.
7. A conclusion that reiterates your argument and opens up into a final pitch
for your argument.
8. Complete and correct documentation and citation
9. Please use these texts to analyze and conclude from:
Bennett, Andrew, and Nicholas Royle. An Introduction To Literature, Criticism And
Theory. 4th. Harlow: Longman Pub Group, 2010. Print.
Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying: The Corrected Text. New York: Vintage Books, 1990. Print.
Parker, Robert D. How to Interpret Literature: Critical Theory for Literary and Cultural Studies.
New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. Print.
• (This is for the Marxism Chapter in his book).
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