Literary Theories and Pleasure??

I have been attempting to read a chapter on literary analysis as it pertains to children’s literature.  YAWN!  I know for certain I never would have made it as a scholar in literature.  I find the Freudian interpretations ludicrous whether looking at Bettelheim’s more conventional interpretation or Lacan’s more linguistic interpretation.  I just don’t look at my word in terms of phalluses or phalli or however one puts that.  I’m not interested in Jung’s archetypes or Propp’s functions.  It seems pointless and does not add to my enjoyment at all.

I think there are people for whom literary analysis adds pleasure to the reading but not  for me.  I can enjoy a book and not look for deep layers of meaning.  If the theme is transparent but not a hammer, I can enjoy that.  If the plot and characters have some complexity, I can enjoy that.  If I learn something new about a particular place or time and see something through someone else’s eyes, I enjoy that.  But I don’t need to read Charlotte’s Web and look for an Oedipal complex.  Not my cup of tea thanks.

On the other hand, I do like to look at books and imagine how I might interpret it as a person from a minority group, as a woman, as a person of colour, as a person with same sex parents.  I don’t know that I need a particular theory to do that kind of interpretation. Do I?  Honestly I find the text on this so boring I can’t even go there.

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Filed under children's lit, curriculum, learning, literacy

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