• March 8th, 2016

New Historicist

Paper, Order, or Assignment Requirements

The first section is paragraph length answers and no longer than 4 sentences each.
Section I: The questions and quotes below focus on an important or central theme or idea within a text. Examine each question or quote carefully and then write NO MORE THAN 4 sentences answering the question.

1. New Historicism: (Subjectification, Historical Context, Author’s Influence)
(Explain, in your own words, the three basic components of New Historical Literary Theory.
Give an example of one component by applying it to one of the texts below.)

2. From “Men of England” by Percy Bysshe Shelley”
Sow seed, –but let no tyrant reep;
Find wealth, –let no imposter heap;
Weave robes, –let not the idle wear;
Forge arms, in your defence to bear.”

(How do these lines from Shelley’s poem
connect to his theme of social revolution?)

3. From “Dulce Et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen
“In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face …”

(What lie is Owen attempting to expose with these lines? Explain answer by reflecting on the language of the quote above.)

4. From The Garden of Forking Paths by Jorge Luis Borges
“I leave to various future times, but not to all, my garden of forking paths.”
(Explain, in alternate reality theory and how it connects to the novel Ts’ui Pen wrote.)

5. From A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury
“Destroy this one man, and you destroy a race, a people, an entire history of life. It is comparable to slaying some of Adam’s grandchildren. The stomp of your foot, on one mouse, could start an earthquake, the effects of which could shake our earth and destinies down through Time, to their very foundations.”
(Explain the theory of alternate history and how Bradbury connects it to Bio-diversity.)

6. From Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams
(Explain how the play conforms to Aristotle’s unities.)

7. From Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams
“What is the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof? –
I wish I knew… Just staying on it
I guess, as long as she can.”
(How does this quote reflect Maggie’s position in her marriage and in the family? Why do you think she is trying so hard to make her marriage to Brick work?)

8. From
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
by Tennessee Williams
When Big Daddy asks Brick about his relationship with Skipper and if Brick had any kind of romantic relationship with Skipper, Brick becomes outraged. The two talk about the word mendacity. Here is a part of that conversation:
Big Daddy: I’ve lived with mendacity! –
Why can’t you live with it? Hell, you gotto live with it, there’s nothing else to
live with except mendacity, is there?

(How much lying is going on in this play? What are the lies that Brick is living with?
Brick and his relationship with Skipper…)

Section II: (Write an organized paragraph/essay that responds to the prompt succinctly and clearly.
Choose 1key concept and write a New Historicist critique using from above 1poem, 1 short story and the play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.)
An easy way to organize is to devote a small paragraph on the same key concept to each text. Provide a quote from each text to support answer.


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