Permalink for this paragraph 2 For my 2nd self-designed project, I was torn between certain theories, authors, works, until settling on feminist theory, Sylvia Plath, and “Tulips.” I was going to do feminist theory on Seamus Heaney’s poem “The Skunk,” and I also think it would have been interesting, but quite the stretch. You all should read it anyway. I ultimately went with “Tulips” because in my poetry workshop course we discussed another classmate’s work that also took place in a hospital scene, as does “Tulips.” I think there is something very revealing about hospitals and the way people react to them, how on the one hand an investigation into the “medical,” the body, relates to an investigation into the soul.
Permalink for this paragraph 1 I have some trouble switching between close readings and the more personal theories, such as reader-response or feminist theory. In other words, the readings that rely on “you” and not the text for meaning. I’m still playing around with Plath’s work and how I personally respond to it, not just how the work itself defines what I believe but how I define what I believe. Added to that, when considering the status of women in the process of feminist critique, I think it is difficult to place myself and my thinking because “the status of women” goes beyond my own personal experience. For example, you can look at the status of women and how they are portrayed in relation to women being wives, or mothers. Certainly, I can project how I think I would act as a wife or mother, but it’s so much of a mind game and yet I have to be firm in exploring my views.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Another struggle is that in choosing Plath, my mind keeps wandering to New Historicism and the biographical aspect of analyzing the text. In high school I studied Plath and I have always had an interest in her, so I have background knowledge of what historically happened in Plath’s life which seems to directly relate to “Tulips,” much like John Cheever’s life readily influenced his work (as we read in Texts and Contexts). However, I am confused whether or not to incorporate this knowledge as part of my position, or whether it is unimportant…is this relying too much on the author and their intent and history? Probably. But once you “know” it is hard to reorient yourself to write in a different way.
Permalink for this paragraph 1 I like being able to see the brainstorming, crafting, and writingprocess by Steven Lynn in Texts and Contexts, but it is one thing to observe someone compiling the critical essay and another to write one for yourself. I guess no one ever said it would be easy! It’s a challenge, to be sure.