Ways of analyzing a literary text
- relationships they have with other characters
- character development
- what genre(s) is the text part of
- what generic conventions does the text employ or disrupt?
Language of the Text
- Figurative language of the text – beyond the actual meaning — symbolic language
Theme / Motif – a reoccurring set of issues/ideas in the text
versions of the text
altered for mass-market appeal
- authorial intention — how do we know the author’s intention? should the author’s intention be privileged over other possible interpretations? —-> multiplicity of meaning. —> is interpretation of a text up for everyone to discuss or should the author have special privilege to adjudicate meanings?
- cf. movies –> director interpreting a book —-> adaptation
- is the author just another reader after the text is released? —>
- line between what is part of the text and what is interpretation?
- trying to assign motives to the author is problematic
- how do we know what an author intends? — ask him. What if author misleads? what if author is dead? —> read biographies. rea
- introduction to an edition
- look at records related to life
- analyze whole collection of books
- newspaper articles
- read authors who inspired that authork
- other authors in genre
- what beliefs were generally held about the topic of book? ex. robots 150 years ago
- social/racial/class issues at time
- laws, constitutions – what type of government in country
- economic issues – ex. industrialization of country
- technological advances/issues/development
- intellectual climate — what were people talking about, etc.
PRIMARY SOURCES — related to original publication. contemporaneous with it.
- book itself
- writings by the author — journals, letters, manuscripts, published books
- recordings of author speaking
- political documents — ex. presidential speech. text of a law
- media recordings from that time
SECONDARY SOURCES — comes second/afterwards. provides analysis or intepretation
- critics writing about the book — newspapers, magazines, academic journals, academic books
- online interpretation — blogs, etc.
DISCUSSION OF CAVES OF STEEL
- List 4-5 specific themes/motifs you see in the book
- List 2-3 moments in the book — specific passages — that seem to you worthy of extended discussion (perhaps because they relate to the themes you listed, perhaps because they are really complicated). Look for especially rich/complicated/interesting moments that we can unpack together. Rich mineral deposits of textual meaning that we can break apart and examine.
- Spacer/Human relations
- Human survival —
- Biblical references/allegories
- Socialism/communal living
- artificial / natural
- efficiency – streamlining/regulating human behavior
- earthmen/women viewed as primitives by spacers
- classification — social stratification
- conformity vs. individual expression (architecture/art)
- human/robot tensions — fear that robots will take over jobs, or that robots will become as human as humans, will eradicate life on earth.
- innocence of robots — r. sammy’s stupid smile (friendship circuit)
- earthbound robots (r.sammy) vs. spacer robtots (olivaw)
- fall of society on earth – Lije looking back at when it used to be better
- tolerance/xenophobia — earthpeople afraid of spacers. tensions — cf. immigration stances in US
- relation of spacer planets to earth — issues of power
- spacer disgust at earthpeople — fear of disease
- Foreignness/disease infection
- line between human and robot
- colonization – earth to space, space to earth
- social class / privilege
- urban space
- biblical allusions
- privacy / sexual issues
p. 91 — blood prick
— being treated like an animal — his consent doesn’t matter – because he’s a diseased earthman
— spacers treating humans as human colonizers used to treat colonized people
— issues of power
— themes — spacers/humans —
— spacers as GMO — selected for height, etc.
— spacers view earth as wild and untamed as earthpeople view life outside city walls
— trust — fear
— transgressiveness of pin prick/blood test
— fear of contamination
— border crossings