THEORIES OF LITERATURE
A theory is a statement with some set of rules through which something can be studied.
With theories an individual can study on other peoples beliefs, culture and their way of seeing and perceiving the world.
Also, through theories one can study and explain facts, events, opinions or people’s explanation.
Therefore in literature, the literary theories are lenses, principles or approaches through which a literate reads and comes to the point of knowing on what a certain literary work is all about.
These are methods which help the reader of a certain literary work to read and understand the text by observing it from different angles.
Thus, literary theories are works as guiding tools as one want to start analyzing literary texts.
There are many literary theories but some of the modern literary theories are:-
a). Marxist Criticism
This theory is influenced by the political and economic writings of Karl Marx. Marxist Literary Criticism is concerned with how a work is made of classes, how those classes relate,
How does the powerful class exercise its power and the way power structures of society like religion, army, mass media, political parties, courts and prisons influence the reading of a text, as well as how that text is commenting on the author’s or reader’s own culture or society.
b). Historical Criticism
This theory states that literature is important because it helps us understand a particular literary era.
That is to say the understanding of history is important in understanding any given text.
A critic employing the Historical Critical Lens would be concerned with the era’s shaping of the story and also what the story says about that era.
c). Feminist Criticism
This theory is developing from the Feminist movements of the Twentieth Century.
Feminist Criticism is concerned with the politics of women’s authorship and the representation of women’s condition within literature, as well as how genders interact with one another in a story.
The Feminist Critic is concerned with what the story has to say about power dynamics between the genders.
Feminist critics often approach a text as an artifact that tells the reader something about gender relations within their society.
d). Psychoanalytic Criticism
This theory is inspired by the work of Sigmund Freud.
The psychoanalytic critics believe that the author is central to the work, because one can derive information about the author from details in the text.
e). Biographical Criticism
This theory states that the author is central to the work because one can derive meaning about the work from the author’s background.
Other theories are formalism, structuralism, deconstruction, post-structuralism, new criticism, colonialism, post-colonialism etc.
Qn.11: Read the story given below then answer the questions that come after it.
One evening Malimwengu called his daughter and began saying, Thank you my daughter. I your father have seen your heart. Naomi, come close to me. Yes! My daughter i appreciate you the way you have helped me ins all these medication. It is my hope that you are going to bury me respectful.
My time has come to join my ancestors, I will be with you no more. Be careful with you brother. He is big eyed on my wealth. Naomi, my child you know well the piece of land allocated at Madege, you know well of my shops scattered in this village and you are not ignorant of my three houses including the recent car which I have bought; let them be on your hands.
Father how possible is this thing? It is against our tradition. My brother will be angry. Father, uncle Hadi your younger brother will kill me of this. No! No! No! No one will disturb you. Father you know well that in our society women does not own wealthy, even when their husbands dies their wealthy are distributed among the dead man family members as well as passing the left wife to another man. How will this be possible?
I know it is not easy for you to understand this. When I was a child I saw women restricted from owning land, eating some kinds of food even meet. Some were silent when their husbands misused the family wealth. Accept my daughter. Use them in caring grandchildren. One thing i insist, be strong! Be strong my daughter, be strong! Then, he took his last breath.
i): Suggest a theory which suits in analyzing this story.
ii): Give three reasons to explain on why you think the theory chosen is best.
INTERPRETING LITERARY WORKS
3.1: What do you understand by the term interpret?
“Think that you are walking home, on the way you meet a man walking while swaying and fails to stand and walk properly”. How will you consider this man?
May be one can say the man is drank.
“Also, think that you meet with a woman who is in hurry but she is provoking insults”.
How will you identify this woman?
One can say that this woman is angry.
Now, what does the term interpret mean?
Therefore the term interpret means giving meaning to something.
Also, one can say that to interpret is to decide on the meaning intended by something.
What can one interpret in life?
People can interpret things, events, situations as well as their daily deeds. For instance one can interpret a story, song, poem, saying, proverb, road sign, novel, facial expression as well as plays.
What can one real interpret in literary works?
In literary works the reader makes criticism of a text at hand by identify form and content used in it.
How can one interpret a literary work?
Usually, literary works are interpreted while relying on some theories; thus making the reader identify the way a particular text represent his or her personal and national life experience.
Qn.12: What does each picture below represent?
a). Love and marriage
b). Tanzania and Nationality
c). Student and Education
d). Agriculture and farming
e). Tourism and Richness (Natural resources)