Ms. Joan Richmond
17 Feb. 2013
New Criticism: A Focused Summary
New criticism is a type of literary theory that focuses on the close reading of literature and how the literature functions as the object it’s meant to be. No external influences are to be taken into consideration, strictly the writing itself. This movement emphasizes the text in literature and explains the writers meaning to the reader. The author’s intention, excluding historical and cultural context is taken into consideration for analysis. When reading as a “New Critic” it’s important to separate emotion and the literal text used by the author, which can be hard to do. Close reading is something used by New Critics to bring out the straightforward and uncontroversial approach to understanding literature. Terms like paradox, ambiguity, irony, and tension help break down the story in different ways to understand the meaning new critics expect. These terms also show a conservative side to New Criticism taking away the controversial, external, social issues like race, gender and class. New criticism is sometimes looked at as the scientific approach to reading literature compared to other theories.
In order to analyze in a new critic way its important to take notice of the terms above and the literal meaning of the setting, plot and theme. The subject and the object of the story should be separated and stable in mind while readers analyze in this type of theory. The focus should be literal not emotional and bring out the social function and effect of the literature the writer makes.
The application of this theory, New Criticism can be shown through the story “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner. The title “A Rose for Emily” could symbolize death. This also could also symbolize her oppressed, sad life due to her father, possibly meaning she was dead before she actually died (437). “The man himself lay in the bed...what was left of him, rotted beneath what was...
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