NOVEMBER, 24, 2013 INSTRUCTOR: RONALD SION
At its basic level, literary criticism, like all criticism, reflects personal preferences and emotional responses. It's an activity that requires looking back on a reading experience just as you would look back on a journey you've completed and analyzing what you gained from it. Your experience is the central focus. You are the one initiating this process; you are the critic. After you have absorbed a piece of literature (i.e., been open to it), you can no longer be neutral: you will either like or not like it. You will have an emotional response to it, since emotions are stimulated to some extent in every literary experience. Beyond that, you may sense that what you have read has value and application outside your own experience: its insight or knowledge, perhaps, should be broadly considered. So, to generalize, literary criticism is an informed response a person makes to literature after openly (imaginatively) experiencing it. The literary work I have chosen to analyze is “The Welcome Table” (Alice Walker, 1970). I have chosen the Formalist Approach in order to interpret, evaluate, and analyze this short story. What caught my interest in the setting is, it reminded me of a small white church my mother took us to when I was a child. It was an old country church on a dirt road. I remember as a child seeing women like “grandma” in our church. The only difference was our old black ladies never got escorted out into the cold. In our country church all were children of God. We did however have a few women like the “Leather bagged and shoed, with good calfskin gloves to keep out the cold” that perhaps looked as us the same way they looked at Grandma. I remember the look well, and we were white. This look should never be seem in the house of God, no matter the color of one’s skin. The description of their characters in the short story was vivid and I could picture what grandma looked like and what she was wearing “high shoes polished about the tops and toes, a long rusty dress adorned with an old corsage, long withered, and the remnants of an elegant silk scarf as head rag stained with grease from the many oily pigtails underneath”. I could also visualize what the church goers wore, “Leather bagged and shoed, with good calfskin gloves to keep out the cold, and what their expressions looked like, down to the sneers on their faces. I could literally see through the eyes of the crowd, “Some of them there at the church saw the age, the dotage, and the missing buttons down the front of her mildewed black dress. Others saw cooks, chauffeurs, maids, mistresses, children denied or smothered in the deferential way she held her cheek to the side, toward the ground. Many of them saw jungle orgies in an evil place, while others were reminded of riotous anarchists looting and raping in the streets. Those who knew the hesitant creeping up on them of the law, saw the beginning of the end of the sanctuary of Christian worship, saw the desecration of Holy Church, and saw an invasion of privacy, which they struggled to believe they still kept”. According to RÓNÁN MCDONALD, A LECTURER in literature at the University of Reading, has written a short, engaging book the theme of which is evident from the title: The Death of the Critic. Although there is plenty of both academic and journalistic writing about literature, less and less is well described by the term "literary criticism." The literary critics of the first two-thirds or so of the twentieth century, now dead, including poets and other creative writers, such as T. S. Eliot, journalists such as Edmund Wilson, and academic literary critics, as distinct from literary scholars, such as F. R. Leavis in England and Cleanth Brooks in the United States, have so few successors that the very genre, if not yet dead, is moribund.1 McDonald deplores the decline of literary criticism and seeks to explain its causes. Posner, R. A. (2008).
Posner, R. A. (2008). THE DECLINE OF LITERARY CRITICISM. Philosophy and Literature, 32(2), 385-392. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/220529996?accountid=32521 https://content.ashford.edu/books/AUENG125.10.2/sections/ch16