New Criticism/ Formalism
traditional approach to understanding literature. analyze literary works as complete entities within themselves. meaning can be found by only analyzing the text. (plot, structure, characterization, tone, mood, etc.)
Archetypical or Mythic
approach that looks at the traditional meanings of in literature.
uses clues such as symbolism and imagery. relies on archetypes.
concerns the protrayal of social biases toward specific groups. forces readers to understand thematic content since many biases deal with issues such as independence, self-discovery, etc. zeroes in on biases and stereotypes.
concers the representation of social classes, socioeconomic distinctions and disparities, and the material conditions in which characters function.
Didactic or Moral
looks at the noble attempts literature makes to elevate readers above physical existence into the realm of moral goodness. asserts that good literature should strenghten us by teaching us what having integrity and values means for socitey as well as the individual
attempts to understand literary works through the author’s life ( including perceptions and beliefs)
attempts to explain how the author’s emotional history may have impacted a work.
Historical or New Historical
examines events surrounding the setting of a work and analyzes it within that context. emphasizes the age during which the author lived and wrote to construct meaning within a literary work
focuses on the intellectual and emotional connections readers make with a work. relies on the reader’s reaction to the literature.