Literary theory. Just the name sounds boring, ancient, and predictable. The concept may make you cringe or even hide behind an education filled with far less intimidating subject matter. As a student you picture some tenured teacher attempting to enlighten you with his or her knowledge of authors who have been long gone or nearly there. You think of endless hours slaving over an anthology of stories you have already read. You do not understand how all of this pertains to your life, your present, or your future. Therefore, you do not go to class, or when you do go you eagerly count down the minutes of torture, and when the semester ends and you get a grade that reflects your misery with literature, you swear off all English related subjects for life. You are just happy it’s over. As an individual who has been down your road, I encourage you to rethink this plan.
If you think about it, can you ever truly push English out of your life for good? In its very basic sense, English is communicating. You will always have a need for the language and you will always have a need for writing it down. English shapes your life more than you may think. I know I am repeating to you things you already know. So I will get back to the dreaded subject of literary theory. I will start by telling you I once had the same thought process as many of you as you begin your journey into the world of literature. I will also tell you to discard this negative notion of literature and prepare to begin a journey into the understanding of life. I bet you did not know it, but that is the essence of this concept students run away from in fear - life. When you begin to understand literary theory, you begin...
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...hard Sennett, “Autonomy, An Authority Without Love,” and Stephen Frosh, “Social Experience and the Constructed Self.” They describe the concept of self as formulated by literary theorist such as themselves. It is works such as theirs that force the mind to think differently and generate more questions than answers – a sign of intelligence, learning, and understanding at their best. Understanding the self in terms of modernist and post modernist viewpoints created through literary theory expand and solidify notions of Sennett and Frosh while at the same time bringing those very ideas into question. That is what you find the study of literary theory to be focused around, many answers, but even more questions. However, do not think of yourself as lacking when in fact you are ahead of the game, as most people never even dare to question what cannot be answered.
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