Pplication of Critical Theory to a Play
Application of Critical Theory to a Play
To demonstrate the studentas ability to apply a critical approach to a dramatic text and to argue for the relevance of his/her findings.
This assignment asks students to apply one critical theory or approach that we have studied this semester to a play from our syllabus and to create a thesis-driven argument explaining what is learned or revealed by looking at the play in this way. You may pair any play from the syllabus with any critical approach, but be certain that you can get a rich and useful reading out of your pairing. Do not try to force a reading for the sake of originality or novelty; you will have a much more difficult time writing a strong essay that way. Instead, choose a pairing that will give you a lot to discuss and about which you can make a strong argument. It is best to select an approach you understand well so that you feel confident in your analysis.
1. This paper, unlike the summary and response of Paper #1, is a fully realized essay with an introduction and conclusion. Do not get hung up on trying to write in theoretical jargon if you do not feel comfortable with it yet; instead, use your own language (as long as its formal and academic) to make your argument. Be sure you use an adequate amount of support from the play, but your explanation should be the most significant portion of your essay.
2. The essay must be thesis-driven, that is, expressing an arguable opinion about what is revealed through your critical approach. I have uploaded to Beachboard a handy guide to writing thesis statements, which may help if you have trouble in this area.
3. To get started, refer to the questions at the end of the sections in Fortier. Look at the a?What _____ critics doa? in each chapter of Barry. Ask yourself why you paired your approach and your play. What does the approach reveal to you? Why is it important to look at the play this way? What can people learn through this pairing? What is at stake when we examine the play through this theoretical lens? Engage in the writing process to invent ideas, narrow your focus, organize your ideas, plan your thesis, and draft your argument. Be sure to leave plenty of time for revision, and donat even think about turning in a paper that has not been proofread several times.
4. You may not write Paper #2 on the same theory/approach you addressed in Paper #1. You may utilize any other approach, however, even one from the very beginning of the semester. Remember that Liberal Humanism is not an approach; it is a philosophy. Formalism is the approach associated with Liberal Humanism, and it is not covered in this course.
5. Your paper should be 3-4 pages long. You should not utilize any outside sources, but you may refer to Barry or Fortier if necessary. Avoid quoting from those sources extensively; paraphrasing is better. I am most interested in seeing your reading of the play through a critical lens and learning what you think is important about reading the play in this way. This is not a research paper.
Plays: (Pick on Play)
Anton Chekov. Uncle Vanya.
Caryl Churchill. Cloud Nine.
David Henry Hwang. M. Butterfly.
Tony Kushner. Angels in America.
David Mamet. Oleanna.
Sophocles. Oedipus Rex.
Tom Stoppard. The Real Thing.
Critical Approches: (Pick on Approach)
Reader Response and Reception Theory
Gay and Lesbian/Queer Theory