Methods of Literary Criticism

I have discovered some tools for the methodology of literary criticism. They are:
a) Philosophical Etymology
b) Cultural Anatomy
c) Psychological Pharmacology
d) Ontological Nebula

 
Philosophical Etymology
What is philosophical Etymology? Philosophical etymology is a cross examination of literary and cultural meanings in the light of Philosophy. It seeks to give newer shades of meaning to older thoughts. Let’s look at some examples. The school of structuralism coined that all language is made up of signs. A sign consists of the signifier and the signified. The signifier is a visual tangible thing and the signified is an idea. Let’s use an example: I blossomed in her garden. Here blossomed is figurative and an idea and hence it is the signified. Garden forms the signifier.

 
Postmodern Philosopher Derrida developed the idea of Binary Divide. A Binary Divide is a text that privileges some and marginalizes others. Let’s look at an example. It is said in an advert: Wanted only Native Speakers to Teach English. This narrative privileges Native Speakers over English spoken by the colonized people. Using the Binary Divide we can deconstruct texts.

 
From Derrida I have developed an idea called Binary Fusion. Binary fusion is a text that promotes equality. Let’s look at an advert. We do not discriminate people on the basis of gender, color or orientation. This text contains a Binary Fusion. Let’s look at another example. Black Culture, Black Gospel, Jazz and Blues are universally epitomized binary fusions of culture. A literary interpreter can analyze texts and bring out notions of marginalization and privilege and also write a narrative of Binary Fusion.

 
Then comes Kristeva’s texts of the semiotic and the symbolic. A semiotic text omits grammar and punctuation. Such a kind of text can be found in streams of consciousness narratives, in drama, film and music. A symbolic text on the other hand adheres to the strict conventions of language. Doing a literary analysis we can classify texts into semiotic and symbolic elements.

 
Form a Marxian point of view we can analyze texts by looking at class values like the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Do texts privilege the Blue Blood or monitor the interests of the working class. Does the text promote the interests of the Capitalist society? What is the dialectic materialism embedded in the text. This refers to political and historical problems created by Social tremors. The narrator can find out how various social institutions have contributed to the writing of literature.

 
Philosophical Etymology also takes a look at Feminist Theology. Do social, cultural, political and historical institutions promote gender equality and support Feminism. How are the roles of a working mother enacted in s society? Does the intrusion of masculinity affect the reading of texts? To what levels of subversion are meanings of the feminine in a text?

 
Psychological Pharmacology
Psychological Pharmacology looks at the theories of Freud, Lacan and Jung. From Freud we have the three states: ID (passion and the libido), Ego (language and culture assimilated from parents) and Super Ego (the laws of the society). While doing textual interpretation the author can find out how these mechanisms are working in a text. Texts can also be phallic and vaginal that is texts promoting the language of the feminine and the masculine. Is the language of the text phallic or vaginal?
Next I would like to take the theories of Lacan into consideration. Prominent are the Mirror Stage and the Gaze. The Mirror stage consists of the child’s entry into Language. Mirror stage can be a psychoanalytic tool to gauge level of subversion in a text. It’s an analysis of psychological symptoms in a work of literature. Gaze for Lacan has sexual connotations. What kind of gaze is present in a text? Gazes can be feminine, masculine and gay.
Next I would like to take Jung’s theories into account. Jung has classified the psyche into archetypes (personality types). Some archetypes are the Wizard, the Witch, the lover and many more. We can analyze how and why and for what these archetypes are created.

 
Ontological Nebula
Ontology a study of being comes from Existential Philosophy. Here I take the traditional ontology and the ontology created by me into consideration. Traditional Ontology, the one espoused by Sartre and Camus is destructive as it condemns life to be absurd and chaotic. Constructive Ontology created by me states that meaning of being lies in Valueblization (from Value and Realization). We can analyze texts and examine whether texts are favoring destructive ontology or constructive ontology.


Cultural Anatomy

What Cultural Functions does a text serve? For who is the narrative intended? Which cultural institutions are prominent? Is there a culture clash or a culture divide?

What is Literature

Probing into the meaning of literature is an interesting thing. I have classified the meaning of Literature as Art, Life, Culture and Philosophy.
Literature as Art

Literature as Art resembles a painting. The tropes or figures of speech used in the literary language ornament it. Literature as art belongs to the realm of aesthetic appreciation. Art of Literature uses various literary devices like Metaphors, Similes, Puns, Parables, Hyperboles, Allusions, Allegories, hyperbole, rhetorical question, Metonymy, Zeugma, Oxymoron, Fables and many more.

When it comes to life, what is literature? What does literature do? Life of Literature is a character sketch. Character is the revelation of biography and autobiography. Character also includes the plot of the novel or the mystery hidden in the novel.

How can literature become culture? Looking at literature from the cultural point of view, we have to take a plunge into structuralism. Structuralist thought divides all language into signs. A sign consists of the signifier (a visual tangible element) and the signified (an idea). When we say Rose is love, we mean that Rose is the signifier and love the signified. A writer will write culture into signs. As culture, literature also dwells on the socio-cultural institutions.

How can we look at literature from the philosophical point of view? Philosophy of the novel contains ideas in the novel. For example: in Camus’ Myth of the Sisyphus, we find that Sisyphus is condemned by the Gods to roll a boulder all the uphill, only to find it rolls down again. What Camus meant was life is chaotic and absurd. The literature of Camus paved the way for the philosophy of existentialism.

Looking at Foucault from Apologetics

foucault,

 

Foucault is the most widely read Philosopher belonging to the school of post structuralism. Notorious is his path breaking views known for his inter-disciplinary approach. Sad to say fate got hold of him lock stock and barrel and he became an innocent victim of the dreaded aids.
Here I would like to analyze the thoughts of Foucault from an apologetic point of view.
Foucault makes the assertion that the study of truth is inseparable from History. Let’s look at the statement from a Christian ontological point of view. Jesus is the most famous historical personality known in civilization for his ideologies of love, peace, tolerance and compassion. Jesus as a historical personality forms a realist paradigm of being a referential historical model. His ideology has been abundantly revealed in the gospels. However Christianity goes afar from Historical validation when we come across the divine nature of Christ. The divine nature of Christ is an inseparable mystery. The Philosophy of Christ is enmeshed in CHRISTABILIZATION, a new way of looking at Globalization. So far Globalization has a historicity of being that of economy driven countries. Globalization viewed as CHRISTABILIZATION (Christ and Able) is compassionate theology. There is a dialogic and creative intercourse between nations, a better love of the neighbor, a Greenomics (Green and Economics) for a compassionate and caring environment. The humanity of Christ merges with the divinity and that makes poignant part of History.
The next Foucault perspective calls into an issue the binary divide of madness and sanity. Foucault described madness as alienation produced by the capitalist society. Sanity (reason) is privileged over madness (unreason). Let’s view the life of Christ and his way of looking at madness. Christian approach to madness was one of compassion. It is borne out of the theology of love. When the madman at Gadarene encountered Christ: the legion in him cried out: Son of God why have you come before the appointed time? Jesus admonished the demons and they entered a herd of swine which rushed headlong and plunged into the sea. I would like to ask Foucault whether Madness is a psychiatric symptom. A Christian view holds that madness is cause by malignant demons. A medicinal cure is only partial. A cure of madness made through Christian prayer can be total in healing madness. Asylums now like regimented Prisons should become reservoirs of love and compassion.
Foucault again expounds a compassionate theology in Discipline and Punish wanting prisons to change to institutions of love and tolerance. Foucault criticizes Prisons which renege prisoners into recidivism. Prisoners can be made to do Socially Productive Work and also get their jail spans reduced.
Foucault makes a discourse on knowledge and power. In a postmodern society knowledge is the key to power. Power is both an institution and a concept. As an institution it lies with the government, the police and the big Moguls of industry. As a concept it lies with thinkers and scientists. Power has to become an organism for benefiting all citizens. With increasing surveillance made by the employers on the employees we find a democracy being infiltrated with the pandemic of suspicion.
Foucault’s view on Sexuality is rather idiosyncratic. Foucault claims that we are sexually repressed. This can be called the Foucault complex. Sex is a natural instinct of the body hence it is a valuable artifact. Sex lies beyond the oedipal complex. All come to a knowing of sexuality at puberty. I think that Foucault was confused about his own homosexuality. What does the Bible say about it? ‘They gave over to their lusts: men lying with men and women with women: God gave them over to their reprobate ways.’ Biblically speaking homosexuality is a sin. But again God is compassionate and he is there to forgive and all we need to do is to repent.
Foucault deals with the epistemic rupture that occurred in the 20th century. The major shifts in epistemology were the Darwinian Evolution, the mechanization of medicine, the Big Bang and changes in the structure of language. Does the development of knowledge change our worldviews on Christ? No, not at all! The historicity of Christ is epistemology and the divinity of Christ is biblical.
Foucault in dealing with language develops a fourfold explication of a statement. The statement is Philosophical (Socrates said Know thy self), cultural (Palestine is a hot volcano), and linguistic (all language is made up of signs).

Ontological Meanings

Ontology: the study of being has the following categories of Truth. They are Reason, Passion, Emotion and Belief.

How can reason be a category of truth? Reason is the application of the mind to an experience of knowing. In other words it contains what is fathomable to the mind. All of scientific laws, mathematical axioms, and literary theories form the content of reason. Philosophers of the past have bifurcated reason into deductive (reasoning from the general to the particular [example: All men are mortal: Socrates is a Man and there Socrates is mortal]) and inductive truths (reasoning the particular to the general (Sugar dissolves in water). The form of the law exists eternally and belongs to the sensate world and the meaning of the law belongs to sensible world. I have introduced a new term to merge the deductive and the inductive and it is called as the Coigna

Passion is a state of the mind where the body’s needs are gratified. It can also be a figurative one Passion is catharsis for the soul.

Emotion is also another state of knowing. Emotion is a way on which we share the world through our inner experience. Through emotion—we experience a catharsis. Emotion is a state of being, valuable state for the purpose of knowing.

Belief is another state of knowing. Belief belongs to the sensible world and the transcendental world. We know Christ as messiah as a historic figure and that’s a sensible world of belief. Knowing him as God the creator is transcendental belief.

Value Epistemology

The author has developed a new branch of Philosophy called Value Epistemology. Value epistemology belongs to the realm of Compassionate theology. There are four modes of existence for this Philosophy and they being: Philosophical Etymology, Ontological Valuebleization, Christablization, Dialectical Humanistic Materialism, and the last being psychic compassion.

Philosophical Etymology
Cultural Construction or Binary Fusion
What is Philosophical Etymology? It is the art and craft of giving newer meanings to older words. The change of meaning is cultural and Philosophical. It was from Derrida’s deconstructive theology of Binary Divide that I have developed this philosophy. Binary Divide shows how marginalization and privilege occur in texts. For example: White privileged over black, the occident is privileged over the occident. From Binary Divide I have introduced Cultural Construction or Binary Fusion. For Example: Black was once upon a time denigrated and dehumanized. Now Black has become a symbol of pride. Black theology, Black Music, Black Literature, Jazz and Blues all have become universalized as Binary Fusions. Indian English is globalized and hybridized as an accepted norm of being Binary Fusion.
Ontological Valuablelization
The next thought of Value Epistemology is Ontological Valublelization. Here I am make a detour from Sartre’s and Camus’ existential nihilism. Nihilism states that life is absurd and chaotic. Camus talks of the myth of the Sisyphus where the Gods condemn Sisyphus to roll a boulder uphill only to find that it rolls down and Sisyphus is forced to repeat this meaningless task. Ontological Valueblelization (from Value and Realization) on other hand states that each individual has a value and purpose and such an individual is called as a Purposeist. There are three states of ontological existence and they being Catharsis, Angst and Ecstasy. Even if the individual is facing angst s/he can have positive frame of mind.
ChristAbilization
ChristAbilization (Christ and Able) is a new term for Globalization. So far globalization has occurred only in the economic sphere. It should spread to other areas like culture and the environment. Christablization includes the absence of war, a dialogic diplomacy, equitable sharing of resources and a compassion to treat the environment with care
Dialectical Materialistic Humanism
Dialectical Materialistic Humanism refers to a dialogical value laden approach to society, culture and economy. Economies should be driven by the gospel of compassion. This philosophy encompasses the Kingdom of God on earth, society based on truth, justice and liberty. The poor should be given a chance to improve themselves. Trade rivalry should be settled amicably.
Psychic Compassion or Mother Teresa Complex
Psychic compassion or Mother Teresa complex involves a harmonious relationship with other, and also the desire to help the needy.

Cultural Construction

Cultural Construction is the opposite of Derrida’s Deconstruction. Deconstruction reads texts to reveal marginalization and privilege. For example Black is underprivileged and White is privileged. Cultural Construction belongs to the realm of Philosophical Epistemology where a term acquires a new Philosophical and Cultural meaning. For Example: Black which was denigrated once today is privileged. Black Culture, Black Gospel and Jazz and Blues are privileged as universalized elements of culture. Black culture is a catharsis of cultural construction.

April 13th

Morning woke me up with a song. The birds chirped happily. Clouds were gay with mirth. I kissed my wife going for exam invigilation. I thank Jehovah Jesus for all the mercies, love and affection.


Understanding the Trinity

The trinity—the Father, Son and Holy Ghost has baffled me for years. Is it a logical fallacy (wrong method of reasoning) of the text? The Trinity is a divine mystery and belongs to the realm of esoteric wisdom. I asked God in prayer for providing me with understanding. Here lies a humble answer. The trinity is one God having three identities. The Father is the Divine: The Son the Human (God made man in his own image) and the spirit being the third person. It was the identity of the Son that came on earth and was crucified for our sins. The mystery is an Enigma and has to be understood with Faith.


Parable of the Neighbor

I am still reading the Gospel of Luke and I came across the Parable of the Neighbor. Once upon a time there was a person. And to his house came guest. There was no food in the house. So the man went to the neighbor’s house and asked for some food. The neighbor said that all are sleeping and beckoned him off. But the man persisted in knocking and finally the reluctant neighbor got up and gave him a loaf of bread. What does Jesus mean by this parable? Be persistent in Prayer and ‘ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE’. Yes God is there to take care of all our material needs. Parable of the Neighbor as Idiom means God providing for all your material needs. Oh God Jehovah Jesus become the Parable of the Neighbor for me.

When Jesus was healing the afflicted: the Pharisees ridiculed him by saying what he is doing is ABRACADBRA, the work of the Devil. Then Jesus answered: Will God drive out God and Will Satan drive out Satan. Will God drive out God is an idiom for Spiritual Logic. We have to have faith that God will not drive out God.
When Jesus spoke among the crowd: a woman cried out: ‘blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts that nourished you.’ The Jesus replied that: ‘Blessed are the people who obey the word of God’. It is clear that you can’t worship God and Mary. Yes Jesus is condemning all forms of idolatry. Is Mariolatry a blasphemy? The answer is left to intelligence of the reader.

Philosophical Musings
Existential Nihilism adheres to the Philosophy that life is chaotic and absurd. And at the same time: the philosophers contradict by saying that: ‘you have to authenticate your existence’. For me life is neither chaotic nor absurd. Life and being are continually being processed. This processing of life is called processual ontology. For being a Postmodern Existentialist: Life for me lies in VALUBLELIZATION (from value and realization). Again we should live life with a purpose and such a life would be an ideal life and is called as being a life of a purposeist (purpose and ism)

Fictional Philosophy
Again I would like to Fictionalize and Philosophize the meaning of art on to existential ontology. Art has four states: Experiencesy, Catharsis, Angst and Ecstasy.
Experiencesy is the occurrence of daily: we cognize and we also respond to stimuli with our senses. For example: I can taste sugar and know that it is sweet.
Catharsis (For Aristotle meant purification of the soul) is a higher level of experience and involves, thinking feeling and willing. Catharsis is the VALUEBLIIZATION of feeling. For example I am cathartic when I enjoy the beauty and fragrance of a flower.
The Third form of art is angst (the feeling of nausea). Nausea can be physical (the pain of a cancer patient) or mental (like the bereavement of a loved one).
Ecstasy is a pure form of art and enjoys the poetry of the bed. Ecstasy is a pure surrender to the passions of love. Making love is a form of erotic poetry, a music sublime. God has willed that man and woman are one bodily fruit. Ecstasy is God’s Gift.

Philosophical Etymology

Philosophical etymology is the Aesthetization (Aesthetics and realization) of a word with cultural, philosophical and literary meanings. Philosophical Etymology belongs to the realm of Deconstructive Theology. The Guru of deconstruction Jacques Derrida introduced the term binary divide. Binary divide is a process of textual interpretation whereby we can find how texts marginalize and privilege meaning. For example: White is privileged over black and colored. Native English Speakers are privileged over non native speakers for teaching English. From Derrida I have developed a new sign for textuality called Binary Fusion. Binary fusion is inclusive texts. They do not privilege meaning for some people and marginalize meaning for others. Jazz, Blues and Gospel, the divine gift of black culture are a Binary Fusion of being globalized into the Universal culture of music. Indian English having the pride of 50 years of independence should become a Binary Fusion of being accepted as a global language.

Oedipalization/ Phallic Texts/ and Vaginal Texts/
Oedipalization refers to a harmonious personality and the one which not tinged with Freudian complexes, mainly the sexual attachment with father and the mother which is a blasphemy of the psyche. To acquire Oedipalization one must overcome one’s own cultural and social upbringing.
Phallic Texts are texts that dominate the man over the woman. The text which says: language is the domain of man is a phallic text.
Vaginal Texts are texts that balance the feminine with that of the masculine. Examples are s/he wo/man.
Colored psyche floating in the air—you are a copulating Jazz of rhythms—you are gentle loving passionate soul—you are canticle of verses from the bard’s mouth—you are voluptuous litany of prose in marvel.