The formalistic approach allows the reader to look at a literary piece, and critique it according to its form, point of view, style, imagery, atmosphere, theme, and word choice. The formalistic views on form, allow us to look at the essential structure of the story. Stories such as Corona by Samuel Ray Delany show the aspects of a formalistic literary piece.
The specific word choice that the author uses is very obvious right from the beginning. The choice of words that are used in the opening sentences imply that the narrator does not have a high level of education, if any education at all. Then as the story progresses and more characters come into play, the narrator’s language level became much more advanced. (English 102 L class lecture, January 24 2001) Words such as integration, trapezoid, and even the discussion of Lee’s work on an algebraic problem show that her side is much more educated then Buddy’s. (Stories, 344-345) Compared to the language at the beginning of the story when Buddy is introduced, Lee’s side shows a much more complex style. This allows the reader to lead into realizing what the comparisons of the two character’s lifestyles are.
A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature, page 89, states that “Failure to note point of view as an aspect of form will result in a misreading or in an inadequate reading of the work.” The way each of these characters are stated in the story is the narrators point of view. This is the author’s way of making the differences between the two seem very obvious to the reader. The points of view make the form of the literary work stay together, plus stay consistent. If the author does decide to shift points of view, it is to achieve different effects at a specific time. (HCAL, 89) Delany uses this effect starting on page 347. As Lee begins to talk of her latest struggle, the story line quickly switches to Buddy and then back to Lee. The switching also relates to the form of the story, which is the most important aspect of the Formalistic literary approach.
“Indeed, the fragmentation of story line and of time line in modern fiction and in some absurdist drama is a major formalistic device used not only to generate within the reader the sense of the immediacy and even the chaos of experience but also to present the philosophical notion of non-meaning and nihilism.
A Feminist Reading of Galatea 2.2
A Feminist Reading of Galatea 2.2
There is one common thread linking all novels written by males; their female characters are always depicted as the stereotypical female: weak, indecisive and emotionally unstable. The feminist approach to analyzing literature provides an explanation for this phenomenon. In this patriarchal society, women are viewed as the weaker sex, inferior. This can be the result of socialization or some negative interactions with women in the past. Richard Powers employs this standard for female characters in his novel, Galatea 2.2, made evident through the application of the feminist approach and the dialogical method; however, its semi-autobiographical nature blurs the reasoning behind Powers’ conformity.
One of the central female characters in Galatea 2.2 is C., a former student of Powers with whom he develops a long-term relationship. Obviously his depiction of C. is swayed by the resentment he feels towards her for ending their relationship and also by the typical qualifications for a female character in a novel. Traditionally, the female gender is viewed as submissive, inferior intellectually and physically, and emotionally unsound. Powers’ portrayal of C. is consistent with this model. Throughout the novel, she is referred to as being uncontrollable emotionally, possessing almost erratic behavior, and not having any definitive grasp on her wants and needs. For example, Powers writes, ” C. read Buddenbrooks and Anna Karenina. She reread Little Women. Everything made her weep. Everything.” (96). He also places C. into another characteristic of the stereotypical role of the female, a woman who is completely dependent on a male. He depicts C. as a woman who needs him in order to thrive and feel comfort…
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… Clearly, she is the rational male and Powers has become the hurt female.
By applying the feminist approach it is apparent that Powers himself is not a unique male author. He, like most of his colleagues, has been given by a male dominant society a mental image of a typical female, weak, indecisive, emotionally uncontrollable, in desperate need of a male to help her live her own life. This subconscious opinion of women is reflected in his portrayal of his female characters in Galatea 2.2. This opinion may be influenced by his placement into the female role in his relationship with A., which would cause him, in retrospect, to paint a negative picture of his female companions. Whatever his reasoning, it is evident through the feminist approach and enhanced by the dialogical method, that Powers, himself is a stereotypical male author writing for a patriarchal society.