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Lecture 5

ENG 1120 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Queer Theory, Thesis Statement, Feminist Literary Criticism

Course Code
ENG 1120
Graham Lorrie

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Lecture 5 – “Mary and the Teenage Jesus”, “Fight Club” and Feminist and Marxist Criticism
One of the criticism approach definitions will be a definition on the exam
Literary criticism began in the 1970s
Feminist Criticism
The simplest form of feminist criticism examines images of women in literature
A feminist critic might look at Mrs. Mallard as a victim of her situation – a woman with
few options
A feminist critic might analyze Madeline in terms of her character being cast in the role
of temptress, and how this characterization by her brother Roderick leads to her death
Focus shifted to how women wrote about themselves and their world
There used to be an essentialist view that women and men write literature differently
Now, it has become more allied with new historicism and its notions of cultural creation
of identity
It is important for feminist critics to study non-Western literature
Queer theory also falls under this criticism
oIt is a skewed voyeuristic culture = it is okay to watch women behave sexually,
but not men
Do not use the words “chick lit” in your essay
Group discussion: “Fight Club” and “Mary and the Teenage Jesus”
1. What are two possible themes that these stories share?
o1) Manhood (masculinity) and 2) Love (absent fathers in “Fight Club” and Mary’s
love of Jesus and Jesus’ love of God in “Mary and the Teenage Jesus”)
oOther possible themes: daddy issues, sense of belonging, frustration, going
against the status quo and social norms, escapism, find themselves, independence,
family dynamics, and relationships
2. What are two literary criticisms that could be used for each story?
o1) Feminist criticism and 2) Psychoanalytic criticism
oCould also use new historicism and Marxist criticism
3. What is a thesis statement that would work for these stories when you look at them
oIn “Fight Club” and “Mary and the Teenage Jesus”, the male protagonists, Jesus
and the narrator, are expected to meet society’s expectations of manhood;
however, they “fight” the system through their membership to overt and secret
institutions of belonging.
“’fight’ the system through membership to … institutions.”
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