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Essay on Morgan, Morgan by Janette Turner Hospital

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This paper will explore the short story “Morgan, Morgan” by Janette Turner Hospital in a poststructuralist way using both New Historicism and Deconstruction. First, we will explore the tenants of New Historicism and apply it to the story, and then we will explore the tenants of Deconstruction and apply it to the story. The ideals of New Historicism were first outlined by Michel Foucault and later developed by Stephen Greenblatt. Foucault did not develop New Historicism; however, his philosophy and ideas formed the basis of the practice. As Warren Hedges has noted,
Foucault’s contribution to literary studies has been to encourage us to think about how no writer’s description or categorization is simply neutral. Instead we can think about how writers further, complicate, or challenge the discourses of their time.
He goes on to say that, these discourses “promote specific kinds of power relations, usually favoring the ‘neutral’ person or professional.”

New Historicism as a literary practice didn’t come into being until the 1980’s when the questions raised by Foucault developed into practice, led by Stephen Greenblatt. This process was not instantaneous; it took a long time to fully develop into a series of reading practices. “New Historicism,” Hunter Cadzow writes,
Never was and never should be a theory; it is an array of reading practices that investigate a series of issues that emerge when critics seek to chart the ways texts, in dialectical fashion, both represent a society’s behavior patterns and perpetuate, shape, or alter that culture’s dominant codes.

Grandpa Morgan challenged his culture’s dominant codes and the discourses of his time. We see this represented in the passage relating to Uncle Charlie’s...


... middle of paper ...


...ohn Hopkins University Press.
28 Nov 2004. http://www.press.jhu.edu/books/ hopkins_guide_to_literary_theory/ new_historicism.html

Hedges, Warren. Foucault: Key Concepts. Southern Oregon University. 28 Nov 2004. http://www.sou.edu/English/Hedges/Sodashop/Rcenter/ Theory/People/michel.htm

Kelly, J., Kelly, T. “Social History Update: Searching the Dark Alley: New Historicism and Social History.” Journal of Social History. 25.3 (1992) 677-695.

Lynn, Steven. Literature: Reading and Writing With Critical Strategies. New York: Pearson Longman, 2004.

---. Texts and Contexts: Writing about Literature with Critical Theory. New York: Longman, 2001.

Pieters, Jürgen. Past, Present and Future: New Historicism versus Cultural Materialism. University of Ghent, Belgium. 28 Nov 2004. http://www.iath.virginia.edu/pmc/ textonly/issue.100/ 10.2.r_pieters.txt


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