Literary Frameworks, in General

Academics have lots of frameworks.  This makes sense as academics are human, and human being naturally like to categorize things.  (Adam, for example, names the animals in the Bible — as much an act of categorization as of simple dubbing.  Or witness the phenomenon of Pokemon.)   Literary scholars, especially, have lots of frameworks, since frameworks are good methods for quickly teasing out meaning of a work, and are a good way for seeing the connections between works.

The test (or, rather, my test) of a literary framework — the litmus as to whether it is useful and usable as opposed to inapplicable or irrelevant — is if it can give new understanding to works not included in the original formulation of the framework.

(I should note here that there is no such thing as an end-all-be-all literary framework.  Different framework are needed in different situations: it may not be relevant to apply a theory about panel layout in comics to a romance movie or a horror novel.  Different frameworks are also useful for seeing different things: sometimes you want to understand the class structure exhibited in Harry Potter and sometimes you want to understand the depiction of romance.  Frameworks are tools, and it helps to have a box of them when examining a work of art.)

The ability to reveal new information is the reason that Marxism has survived in the West as a literary theory more than it has as a political endeavor.  When viewed through the lens of class struggle, new aspects of many books becomes apparent — books such as Dracula, Wuthering Heights, and, yes the Harry Potter series.  Of course, Harry Potterincludes class struggle explicitly, but there’s more there than just Hermione and Dobby’s ill-conceived attempts at socialism.  But Marxism isn’t my literary theory, and I doubt I need to write more on the fact that is a one.

So, yeah — later, I’ll post my theories.  Probably slowly.


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