Sociological Criticism

Sociological criticism examines literature in the political, economic and cultural context in which it can be either written or received. It looks at the sociological status of the author to evaluate how the profession of the writer in a milieu affected what was written. It analyzes the social content of literary works culturally, economically and politically. Sociological criticism also examines the role the audience has in shaping literature. A view of Shakespeare might look at the economic position of Elizabethan playwrights and actors. It also might study the political ideas in the plays or discuss how the nature of a theatrical audience.

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Marxist criticism explores the ideological content of literature. It is frequently evaluative and judges literary work better than others on an ideological basis. There is a danger in sociological criticism of imposing the critic’s personal politics on the work in question and evaluating it according to how closely it endorses that ideology. Content determines form. The writer’s ideology of the world is what determines the style and intention. Style ceases to be a formalistic category. It is the view of the world, the ideology underlying a writer’s work.

It is the writers attempt to reproduce this view of the world, which constitutes his intention. Ones pure existence cannot be distinguished from their social environment. Watkins discusses about the devastating effect that money can have on a family. Work is not a means of meeting basic human needs, but a way of producing greater sums of money. “ People set a tone of need in their world that generates intense and pervasive anxiety, which then is passed down to their children, who interiorize the values and attitudes of the adult world and set about to satisfy the demands of that world. In other words, what the parents do have big impacts on their kid’s lives. Paul is a laborer for his mother whom he gives all of his money to. As a handicapper he invests money, betting on a profitable return on his investment. As his mother touches the money he earns, she doesn’t use it to satisfy family needs, but to extend her social position and power. This passage focuses on the priority of money over commodity and the power associated with money controls the personal dimension of life. Alfred Kazin talks Walt Whitman and Abraham Lincoln. Whitman describes his love and support for Abraham Lincoln.

He wrote on his admiration of Lincoln for uniting the country after the civil war even though most of the country despised him. His writing reflected his political views and aimed to inspire the country to join together and progress towards equality. Whitman got a lot out of the war because he understands what people were feeling. My outside source is Georg Lukacs from the critical survey of literary theory. Lukacs approached literature philosophically and Marxist influenced his views of history. He was interested in political, historical and social dynamics of literature.

Georg discusses that literature as a form of art has the functions of seeing, hearing and feelings of humanity in human beings. He also explains that literature is key to the development of ones consciousness of humanity In the end, Daniel p Watkins has a very good point stating that money is important and has a huge affect on a family. How much money the parents make will have an impact on the kids lives for the future. Kids that have money are more driven and successful most of the time while kids in poverty don’t have much motivation to do well. The heroes are the ones that come from poor families and become very successful for themselves.

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