I decided that the best way to tackle AO5 was to use a similar format to the lesson that I did for a HE+ session on critical theory. Students would be given an overview of Marxist theory, Feminist theory, Postcolonial theory and Psychological – a couple of examples are below – this took at least 2 full lessons to cover as we had a series of questions on WSS to consider through each particular critical lens.
These critics view works through the lens of psychology. They look either at the psychological motivations of the characters or of the authors themselves, although the former is generally considered a more respectable approach.
Freudian Approach A Freudian approach often includes pinpointing the influences of a characters id: The instinctual pleasure seeking part of the mind), superego: the part of the mind that represses the id’s impulses) and the ego: the part of the mind that controls but does not repress the id’s impulses, releasing them in a healthy way).
Freudian critics like to point out the sexual implications of symbols and imagery, since Freud’s believed that all human behaviour is motivated by sexuality. They tend to see
concave images, such as ponds, flowers, cups, and caves as female symbols; whereas objects that are longer than they are wide are usually seen as phallic symbols. Dancing, riding, and flying are associated with sexual pleasure. Water is usually associated with birth, the female principle, the maternal, the womb, and the death wish. Freudian critics occasionally discern the presence of an Oedipus complex (a boy’s unconscious rivalry with his father for the love of his mother) in the male characters of certain works, such as Hamlet. So, with WSS in mind we consider the mirror imagery, the animal imagery, flower imagery and the significance of Antoinette’s dreams.
A feminist critic sees cultural and economic disabilities in a ―patriarchal society that have hindered or prevented women from realizing their creative possibilities and women‘s cultural identification as merely a negative object, or ―Other, to man as the defining and dominating ―Subject. There are several assumptions and concepts held in common by most feminist critics.
1.Our civilization is pervasively patriarchal.
2.The concepts of gender‖ are largely, if not entirely,cultural constructs, effected by the omnipresent patriarchal bias of our civilization.
3.This patriarchal ideology also pervades those writings that have been considered great literature. Such works lack autonomous female role models, are implicitly addressed
to male readers, and leave the alien outsider or else solicit her to identify against herself by assuming male values and ways of perceiving, feeling, and acting.Feminists often argue that male fears are portrayed through female characters. Under this theory you would focus on the relationships between genders by examining the patterns of thought, behaviour, values, enfranchisement, and power in relations between the sexes.
So, with WSS in mind we explored if the female characters met the typical conventions of femininity and more specifically if Christophine and Amelie could be viewed as feminist role models