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Re: swear words and deaths

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  • jchristopher@tarleton.edu
    Let s complicate everything if we can. The major literary movements in the latter half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth were
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 25, 2002
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      Let's complicate everything if we can. The major literary movements in the
      latter half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth
      were realism and then naturalism. Naturalism, despite its theory of giving
      a cross-section of real life, actually chose mainly lower-class life (cf.
      _Sister Carrie_). The feminist critics of recent times have pointed out
      that the emphases on war and soldiers (and swear words and deaths), for
      example, was only true of half the population--amd the male critics who
      celebrated the macho writers were limited in their understanding of the
      human condition (Joanna Russ has a couple of anecdotes about this in _How
      to Suppress Women's Writing_). I draw two conclusions: (1) any teacher
      that just assigns stories with swear words and death is, even within the
      realistic tradition, a psychologically limited person who is ignoring part
      of his students; (2) any fantasies that are assigned--by most
      teachers--will be symbolic treatments of realistic or naturalistic themes
      (as in Latin American magic realism). The second conclusion draws on the
      prevailing critical attitudes--although post-modernist fiction has
      possibilities of enlarging the themes.

      --Joe
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