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English Literature A level Feminist Critical Theory

Hello, I am currently do my coursework but do not know how to use critical theories or views into my work instead of just speaking on chosen texts. I am extremely worried as the teachers cannot give direct feedback and so I am left clueless to what they mean. Any help would be greatly appreciated<3
Original post by chailattes
Hello, I am currently do my coursework but do not know how to use critical theories or views into my work instead of just speaking on chosen texts. I am extremely worried as the teachers cannot give direct feedback and so I am left clueless to what they mean. Any help would be greatly appreciated<3


One way in which you can use them is by embedding their quotation in ur essay as a form of support or to acknowledge other views on the text whilst simultaneously strengthening ur own, for e.g u could say , so and so critic said " " , which despite being a valid point --give the evidence of why and how it relates to ur question and argument--ultimately (your point) is much stronger as....list the stronger evidence and continue to support with ur quotations etc so continue the line of argument. There are many ways of incorporating critics , just do so in places it truly fits and u don't need to have too many....hope this helps and u might want to check out YouTube on this as all Eng Lit students will have to learn this skill. It also depends on where and how ur using it...like usually the critics have stated something in regard to their perspective on the text in the lens of the theory etc and u just dispute or agree with it, according to ur needs but either way the critic needs to be used to strengthen ur line of debate.....i totally feel ur frustration, the minimal help is daunting and I am also in the process of doing my NEA...trying not to the think about the upcoming deadline...... 😅😭
(edited 10 months ago)
Reply 2
Original post by Chickenunicorn17
One way in which you can use them is by embedding their quotation in ur essay as a form of support or to acknowledge other views on the text whilst simultaneously strengthening ur own, for e.g u could say , so and so critic said " " , which despite being a valid point --give the evidence of why and how it relates to ur question and argument--ultimately (your point) is much stronger as....list the stronger evidence and continue to support with ur quotations etc so continue the line of argument. There are many ways of incorporating critics , just do so in places it truly fits and u don't need to have too many....hope this helps and u might want to check out YouTube on this as all Eng Lit students will have to learn this skill. It also depends on where and how ur using it...like usually the critics have stated something in regard to their perspective on the text in the lens of the theory etc and u just dispute or agree with it, according to ur needs but either way the critic needs to be used to strengthen ur line of debate.....i totally feel ur frustration, the minimal help is daunting and I am also in the process of doing my NEA...trying not to the think about the upcoming deadline...... 😅😭


Thank you so much for the help and the examples are super helpful thank you so much and good luck with your coursework 😭💖👍
Original post by chailattes
Thank you so much for the help and the examples are super helpful thank you so much and good luck with your coursework 😭💖👍


your welcome, happy i could help and thanks :smile:
Reply 4
Hi Chailattes.

The use of critical theory in your responses to what you read is intended to help you widen your own thinking, and realise that there are different lenses through which you can understand a text.

It would be helpful to know the texts you are studying, as some texts lend themselves more readily to eg feminist, Marxist, eco-critical, theories than others.

For example, many students consider such as 'The Handmaid's Tale' in terms of feminist views. As a novel, there is so much to say in those terms.

Where you should start, however, is with what you think. What are your interpretations of what you read? Formulate those, then read critical theory more widely. Can you find any critics with whose views your own opinions align? Perhaps more interestingly, once you're familiar and confident with a text, are there any lines of critical thinking you'd like to dispute? Often, essays where students don't agree with critics, but - crucially - have the skills to counter-argue, with evidence, score more highly. Find texts you engage with, and have a reaction to. Don't just tick boxes to get the essay done. It should be more personal than that. After all, you are an A level student.

As Chickenunicorn says, embedding of relevant quotations shows the confidence and familiarity I'm alluding to. Some students tend to grab a quotation they think sounds good, drop it in the middle of their essay, and then leave it alone. Not good. Always discuss the quotations you use; this is your opportunity to agree/disagree.

What do you think?
Reply 5
Original post by Wilf G
Hi Chailattes.

The use of critical theory in your responses to what you read is intended to help you widen your own thinking, and realise that there are different lenses through which you can understand a text.

It would be helpful to know the texts you are studying, as some texts lend themselves more readily to eg feminist, Marxist, eco-critical, theories than others.

For example, many students consider such as 'The Handmaid's Tale' in terms of feminist views. As a novel, there is so much to say in those terms.

Where you should start, however, is with what you think. What are your interpretations of what you read? Formulate those, then read critical theory more widely. Can you find any critics with whose views your own opinions align? Perhaps more interestingly, once you're familiar and confident with a text, are there any lines of critical thinking you'd like to dispute? Often, essays where students don't agree with critics, but - crucially - have the skills to counter-argue, with evidence, score more highly. Find texts you engage with, and have a reaction to. Don't just tick boxes to get the essay done. It should be more personal than that. After all, you are an A level student.

As Chickenunicorn says, embedding of relevant quotations shows the confidence and familiarity I'm alluding to. Some students tend to grab a quotation they think sounds good, drop it in the middle of their essay, and then leave it alone. Not good. Always discuss the quotations you use; this is your opportunity to agree/disagree.

What do you think?

Hi Wilf G,
Apologies of my own for the slow reply. I am studying Duffy's Feminine Gospel series of poems and have selected, "Beautiful," and, "Work," for my focus paragraphs. Many great thanks for the feedback.

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