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Sarah Caskey (114)


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University of Toronto St. George
Sarah Caskey

1.17.12 5.16.12 #1 Close Reading & Analysing Literature  Louis Menon(sp?) on short fiction: a short story is the most single-minded of all literary forms, the reader expects an effect or to be effected --> think "whoa." o An experience without words. o A short story seems effortless (like golf) but it's far more complicated.  Elaine Showalter's definition of a close reading (on Blackboard - important for term): foundation of critical analysis - especially in relation to short stories. o Need to understand verbal, formal and structural elements of the words.  Close reading is a deliberate attempt to detach from plot/story & pay attention to imagery, allusion, intertextuality, syntax and form.  Ask: How does the verbal texture of this paragraph illuminate the theme of the story? #2 (Prairie) Realism  Under heading of "Realism:" used to designate a recurrent mode in various eras and literary forms of representing life in literature. o Opposed to romantic fiction.  Romance is for how life would be as we would have it.  Realism, is obviously, a more realistic representation. o Realism represents life and the social world as it seems to the reader.  Story & characters have to seem plausible.  Fredrick Grove was devoted to the idea of realism to convince the reader that the narrative was based in real life and objective and believable. o Portrayed an idealized realistic and unsentimental view of prairie life.  "Prairie realism:" exerted powerful influence on 20th century Canadian fiction. o His realism got him into trouble with readers of the time.  View one of his novels as pornographic when a farm woman induces abortion through physically strenuous activity.  Contemporary readers would/might be compassionate to her lonely lifestyle. o Sympathetic to the difficulties that prairie women struggle while cultivating their land. #3 Lazy Bones -- Fredrick Phillip Grove  FPG: devoted to literary realism - fiction that is using devices to convince the reader that it could take place IRL. o Reader's response is important.  Lazy Bones is about the price paid in human relationship and family life by trying to bring culture to a largely uninhabited space by cultivating land.  How is Elizabeth Hurst introduced? o "Strong and … boney"?  Grove wants us to immediately revise our initial impression of Elizabeth. o "Not a beauty."  Significant that she doesn't conform to the standard for women. o Described as a man?  Where her husband is passive, "still sleeping." --> alliteration drawing focus to this point.  Her energy and capability are portrayed as masculine traits and in that way, she betrays her femininity.  And Walt himself doesn't conform to male stereotypes.  Walt is coated throughout the story as being less sophisticated and articulate. o Unequal role in relationship with Elizabeth.  Real danger if the characters don't conform to their gendered stereotypes.  While Elizabeth appears to relish the farm lifestyle, Marta struggles with the role.  One other reference to a woman in the story, pg. 57: exchange between Walt and his friend, in the presence of Elizabeth - Walt telling his friend "[Elizabeth's] not a looker," also mentioning Irene - "yeah, she's a looker, alright; a high-stepper too." - sounds like they're describing a horse, and Elizabeth is described as a workhorse in contrast elsewhere (where - 58 maybe?) o Objectification
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