Literary Theories… Lets study

Formalism it is a deeper psychological study of literature through the lens of a critic. Studying literature and analyzing its purpose helps us discover the human condition.

Formalism or New Criticism is a literary study that focuses on the syntax and form of the text.

Genre, form, meter beats, and grammar are more important to understanding the meaning of a piece of literature.  This study critiques how the author uses words together to provide a meaning to the reader.

Unlike New Criticism theories, the Psychological theory is a literary study that focuses on the characters within a piece of literature. The characters behaviors, actions, reactions become the focus on the analysis. By stepping into the story or text, the psyche presents an understanding to the reader of the purpose of the piece. Both studies use literary techniques to provide insight to the overall meaning of a piece of literature.  Authors utilize literary elements to help a reader understand why something is written. Clugston (2014) explains,

“Reading unlocks your imagination and connection sets the stage for intellectual engagement.”

Reading literature is a fundamental step into understanding a purpose of a text. It is this that makes Reader-Response theory of literary studies the most useful. Without an audience, a piece of literature has little purpose and its meaning is lost or yet to be uncovered. It is the reader engagement that brings the text of a piece of literature to life and helps the reader gain insight into the human condition (Clugston, 2014).

Literature that I have read lately and discussed in this my recent Literature class has allowed me to explore human experiences and critically analyze each piece of literature. Describing our interpretation of the text and responding to literature is a personal activity that allows us to reflect on experiences within our own life (Clugston, 2014).

As we progressed through the course the diverse perceptions of my classmates allowed me to consider many different conflicts that arise through our human development.

It is because each of us relates to literature differently that motivate us to write about how the text makes us feel and what emotions are generated through the connection process.

For me,  I learned that literature has a purpose and responding to literature is a personal process that allows us to interpret the text and join the discussion on its literary meaning.  A discovery that explores the vast human ideologies and helps gain valuable insight into the human condition.

We Real Cool by Gwendolyn Brooks is a poem written with simple and direct figurative language that captures the very essence adolescent development through the theme of Identity. The stages of human development often times presents itself as a cross-culturally through processes of transformation. The conflicts presented inside this rhythmic literary poem helps the reader sense with the tone of and use of symbols that help articulate a perspective from a unique cultural, psychological and social mind frame.  

Through out the poem, we see the use of the word “We”, indicating a group identity and ideas the whole group rather than an individual identity. Furthermore, Voicu (2011) suggests, cultural identity is the identity of a group or culture, or how self-identity is influenced by peer interaction. Socialization into groups and identity politics can be considered in broad ideologies behind the rhyming, sing -song narrative flow. Which also may highlight a sense of ignorance because the pool player clearly is not a grammar- the following citizen.

Dropping out of school, presented in line 2, of “We Real Cool”, places these men at extreme disadvantages, limiting opportunities for sustainability and economic growth.

Lines 1-2

We real cool. We
Left school. We

The figurative language that supports the behaviors of the rebellion, “lurk”, “strike”, “die” are all action words that interconnected in meaning and symbol racial tension indicate segregation, and equality was hardly at bay.

Jazz is used to symbolize slavery, because of its deep rooted history and a form of original communication within African -American communities. The uneducated males of this era ultimately endure a young death.  

As poetry, often presents its meaning through a musically, enforced rhythm that deepens the tone of the overall piece. When recited aloud the words become a formulated flow that takes us into the writer’s world.




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Author Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s in Journalism
  • Bachelor’s Mass Communication
  • Minor in Writing
  • Specialization
    • Environmental Science
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