About Me

Currently a senior at Emmanuel College hoping to have a better understanding in literary theory. Originally from Yarmouth, ME and resides in Boston, MA. Aspires to be a sports journalist in the next 5 years. Plays baseball and basketball for Emmanuel.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Final Post

I would like to take this opportunity to announce that this will be my last post on the site. Thank you for those who have viewed my shared theories and opinions on the numerous topics we discussed in Critical Theory class. This post serves as a wrap up to make sense of everything we have covered since day one.

The most important aspect I learned about theory is that it can really be applied to everyday life. I know when I encounter certain topics, symbols, and phrases I will be able to use the terminology learned and better make sense of what I see. The theory I will most take from this class is Marxism. It is very evident that a lot of literature in our history deals with things of the political matter, and focuses on social class status. Feminism was also a really important theory for me to learn and understand. From this segment I have learned that there is more to feminism than traditional stereotypes and judgments people place under the term. In theory feminism is all about equal rights between men and women, which we have yet to accomplish still today.

Lastly, although confusing I still took away important factors of Post Structuralism. I still do not have a full understanding of what it all means, but then again who really does? I do know from post structuralism ideals that even the smallest phrases and single words and can interpreted differently depending on the reader. There is really no ultimate truth in literature, as there is no one real truth in life. I will attempt to apply these theories learned whenever useful, and I’ll try to avoid deconstructing take out menus.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Thank you Dr. Krouse for your insights on feminism. I really took a lot from your ideas on what feminism truly represents for people in our society. In response to the question who can “do” feminist theory listed at the end, I believe that with proper understanding of the term everyone should support feminism. What it really represents is full equality between men and women, reflecting factors such as opportunities, pay amounts, looking over traditional stereotypes, etc.

Many associate feminist theory with numerous amounts of negative connotations. In class we learned that ten years ago more people would call themselves feminists compared to today. Dr. Krouse shared a quote from Susan J Douglas’s Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media, explaining some of the mistaken stereotypes relating to feminism. “We all know what feminists are. They are shrill, overly aggressive, man-hating, ball-busting, selfish, hairy, extremist, deliberately unattractive women with absolutely no sense of humor who see sexism at every turn”(7). Even though feminists methodology does not represent these ideas in actual theory, this is what people relate to sadly when they here the term.

There are examples of women who fit under the certain categories described above, but it is a shame our society groups everyone into all of these stereotypes. From this people are afraid to support feminist theory, even though its actual meaning represents none of these factors. Yesterday I learned that even though there has been a push to create a law for many years regarding equality between men and women in the workforce, it has still yet to be passed. Women are still under payed, and in some cases are not even offered jobs because of their gender. In this case I feel as though everyone should support feminism, and stop worrying about underlying stereotypes our society still holds.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Seeing Is Believing

First of all I would like to thank Ashley Sheldon for her post and helping us further understand Lacan and his works. There were a couple notable points from this post that I really took into thought, and I will take this opportunity to share these particular ideas with you.

Sheldon goes in to speaking of the mirror stage, emphasizing that symbolism and imagery are really the back bone to stability and understanding. The simple phrase “seeing is believing” sums up how one is to identify with the self and the world around him. This does not reach complete stability, but more the illusion of stability. People are constantly changing thus we are never really that stable. When Miles Green wakes up in Mantissa, he eventually is able to reach the idea of himself as stable. The muse serves as a distraction to him, tempting him and not really letting him keep his stability.

After imagery and symbolism comes language to help our understanding of ourselves and the world around us. Lacan believes that we are all constructed through language where meaning lies within the language itself. Without language there would really be know stability and meaning for people in the world to share. Language also corresponds with metonymy and desire, where stability is never reached. People are always wishing or dreaming of things they can’t have. Once the object is reached, it is natural to want more and create more desires. It never ends. If desire is never fulfilled, how are we able to reach complete stability?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Mirror Stage In Mantissa

It is evident that John Fowles draws a parallel to Lacan’s mirrors stage early on in Mantissa. Waking up from a coma in the very beginning, Miles Green refers to himself as “it.” Not remembering what happened, the mirror stage takes place again for him at square one. “It was conscious of a luminous and infinite haze, as if it were floating, godlike, alpha and omega, over a sea of vapor and looking down; then less happily, after an interval of obscure duration, off murmured sounds and peripheral shadows, which reduced the impression of boundless space and empire to something much more contracted and unaccommodating” (3).

In this awakening he finds himself conscious, but is very unsure of what is happening. He then notices labels and images around him, formulating a setting. Soon after he sees a woman standing by his side reciting his name. She helps him realize that his name is Miles, and she is his wife, Claire. He then proceeds to answer a list of questions she asks him, including his eye color, hair, complexion, and age. He knew all of the answers even though he could not put together how.

This section directly relates to Lacan’s ideas of the mirror stage. When newborns enter the world, they only are able to identify themselves. From this everything around them revolves around their needs. Once they grow older it is realized that they are around others with needs. They are no longer the center. Fowles makes a great connection to this theory in the opening of Mantissa. Miles goes through the mirror stage for the second time around when he wakes and starts to identify the world around him.

Friday, October 31, 2008


Thank you Ken Rufo for sharing with us your understanding of Baudrillard and his theories. I wanted to take this opportunity in my blog to point out a couple of things that stuck with me while reading the entry. First of all, I found it rather interesting that Baudrillard could not really be categorized under one title. John Armitage looks at his work as a “tired form of post modernism.” Doug Kellner says he should have used his theories to more advance Marxist thought, because these ideas are the only thing worth while out of all of his contributions. From this we can take into account that Baudrillard is a difficult read, and it is hard to place his works under one specific title.

One idea from Baudillard often seen in American culture is the term sign value. Ken Rufo breaks it down very nicely for us in his post, using an example of the brand Tommy Hilfiger. This clothing line is very popular in our culture, which allows their prices to be sky high. Their merchandise is very similar to other brands, but it has that logo that makes it the best. Baudrillard had this notion early when he was more of a Marxists thinker. Sign value breaks more limitations of Marxism, explaining why these certain symbols have an effect on us. It is important to some to own certain types of products to show their style and class status as accepted.

The last concept that really struck me as interesting is the idea of television and media producing a simulation of insight instead of reality. Television has the power to speed up, slow down, pause actions for more dramatic effect. These events seen on film give us the viewers the sense of the emotions we see represented on television. When people are in a movie theater, reality seems far away once they are hooked and involved in what is being shown. Movies are great examples of simulations, because we receive artificial emotions, and translate these emotions to our own reality.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Death of the Author

Roland Barthes’s The Death of the Author mainly addresses the idea of the reader stepping outside of the barriers created by authors. If we relate so much to the authors specific thoughts and beliefs, we are only able to find one meaning. In the past literature has been known to most represent the authors emotions and beliefs. Aside from these traditional ideals, he encourages us to relate more to ourselves individually, identifying what the text means to us rather than comparing and contrasting to the author alone.

With this notion in place we are more apt to disregard the time it was written and look less into its historical meaning. It is more important that we come up with our own meanings from text in order to grow as readers and writers. It is better to be able to identify multiple themes because from this we are able to develop more theories, furthering our understanding of the study of literature.

Shakespeare’s Life and Times is a prime example how people can relate to his works centuries after the time it was written. We find meaning through the time period and language to receive a better understanding of this type of literature.

I do see Barthes’s points when looking into Shakespeare because in his writing we can take away many common themes. Shakespeare often brings up aspects of love, betrayal, humor; meanings we can relate to in everyday life. Although we can keep other ideals learned when studying literature, it is very important at some point to reflect on what the text simply means to us alone with less regard for the authors intentions.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Derrida on Love

Derrida addresses the concept of love in his documentary, debating its true significance. Do we fall in love with someone based on the person or their qualities? People are to find love often based on finding someone with similar qualities to them. This relates to Derrida stating love as ‘narcissistic.’ This term is the idea of how we see reflections of others in ourselves, resulting in certain attachments.

Derrida raises a great point here saying that narcissism is the cause of many relationships. Although we all want to believe in fairy tale romances from movies and literature, there are still other factors playing into it. Sadly enough love can be based not only from personality qualities, but also from factors such as power, beauty, and financial stability. Derrida explains love as one of the most important qualities of life. How we find this love is the underlying question.

The opposing idea of where love comes from directly relates to his theories of deconstruction. Do we love someone for who they are? Do we love someone based on their qualities that enhance our own lives? In class we discussed new born babies, and how they are the center and everything revolves around them. After growing to understand what is around them, they realize that aside from themselves others have needs too. We never lose the attachment from other people, staying closer to the ones that benefit our own lives. It is simply human nature. I do believe that love is pure, but the many factors going along with it question how true love really is.