Summary Sentence or Two:

In “Resonance and Wonder,” Stephen Greenblatt critiques the dictionary’s definition of historicism while creating a new concept called New Historicism. He also pokes fun at New Criticism while making sense of objects being of display rather than possession.

Key terms:







Transmigrations significance:

This term meaning “passing into a different body after death” is used by Greenblatt to explain the not the passing of souls, but of objects, ideas, and literary texts. Material objects are used to further make sense of history rather than of quantitative representations of historical elements.

Agency significance:

If human beings display real agency, is agency affective? New historicists attempt to find where human will is present and where it is not present. Greenblatt finds that agency and will is indeed affective by referencing Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Nights Dream.

Wonder significance:

Greenblatt finds wonder to be a determining factor for peoples collections of objects. It is not the actual possession of the objects, rather the wonder mysterious objects portray. He finds that wonder transcends boundaries and extends beyond the artifact of contemplation.


Discussion questions:

Question 1: How does Oscar encounter wonder in his life? Could nerd fiction and fantasy display a possible wondrous experience?

Question 2: Will the museums (that hold these objects) themselves ever be an object of study? How or how not?


Summary Sentence or Two:

In “Graphs, Maps, and Trees,” Franco Moretti imagines what would happen if literary theorists shifted their attention from observing texts to observing a mass of literary facts. He terms his study as “a more rational literary history” by figuring data rather than interpretation.

Key terms:

Temporary Structures






Politics significance:

Moretti finds that the rise and fall of novels and publishing to be a direct result of political and social movements in history. Although not always the case, politics served to dictate when novels would be popular based on economic and social understandings in the state.

Oscillation significance:

Termed “the movement back and forth at a regular speed” while Moretti uses it to explain the constant back and  forthness of the novels eruption. This data was made available in the form of graphs, maps, and trees to gain a better understanding of the novels oscillation.

Quantification significance:

Moretti says “quantification poses the problem and form offers the solution.” The data Moretti studies is quantitative information which is typically math driven, something not typically studies by theorists. But, this is important because it draws needed historical information to better understand the rise of the novel.

Passage Paraphrase:

In ‘Planet Hollywood’, for instance, it turned out that absolutely all Italian box office hits of the sample decade were comedies; why that was so, however, was completely unclear. I felt I had to say something, so I presented an ‘explanation’, and nlr indulgently printed it; but it was silly of me, because the most interesting aspect of those data was that I had found a problem for which I had absolutely no solution. And problems without a solution are exactly what we need in a field like ours, where we are used to asking only those questions for which we already have an answer” (86).

Moretti gives an excellent analogy on literary theory. He explains that this field should be asking questions that don’t have an answer because much of life itself cannot prove a solution to be the correct one or even if there is an answer at all. Why would one study things that already have answers to them?

Discussion questions:

Question 1:Besides historical relevance, how can we use graphs, trees, and maps to document other elements of literature?

Question 2: How does Junot Diaz graph, map, and tree Oscar Wao? Could their geographical location be its own sort of historical map?



Summary Sentence or Two:

In “The Beast in the Closet,” Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick historicizes male homosexual panic. Sedgwick uses works by writers such as Barrie, Thackeray, George Du Maurier, and James to emphasize Europe’s historical homophobia.

Key terms:





Sexual anesthesia



Pseudo-opposition significance:

This term helps distinguish between oppositions such like heterosexual versus homosexual. Opposing the two sexualities created a binary that could be viewed as good versus bad, contributing to historical homophobia. The pseudo meaning fake or misleading- as it puts homosexual against the “normative,” rather than with it.

Gothic significance:

The Gothic genre typically held the most homophobic ideas. Gothic novels typically held a private versus public binary that uses paranoia to its advantage. Sedgwick uses Frankenstein as an example of the stripping of the public and private self as Victor splits himself as the creature awakens.

Bohemia significance:

Before the 1890s, Bohemia did not seem like a concept  only associated with homosexual men but as the years grew, bohemia became a discourse that described feminized men. Thackeray is rewarded for introducing the literary concept to Paris, becoming a somewhat bohemian city.


Passage Paraphrase:

But if, as I suggested in the first section of this chapter, men’s accession to heterosexual entitlement has, for these modern centuries, always been on the ground of a cultivated and compulsory denial of the know ability, of the arbitrariness and self contradictoriness, of homo/heterosexual definition, then the fearful or triumphant interpretive formula “We Know What That Means” seems to take on an odd centrality. First, it is a lie. But, second, it is the particular lie that animates and perpetuates the mechanism of homophobic male self ignorance and violence and manipulability (204).

Sedgwick finds that historically, the approach that heterosexuality was to be the normative accession but rather, the normativity of heterosexuality mostly just perpetuated a homophobic environment.


Discussion questions:

Question 1: How could we apply this conceptual thinking to Oscar Wao or other modern narratives?

Question 2: How could we change the normative discourse to maintain hetero and homosexual desires? Can they be categorized together or do we need to create new terminology?



Summary Sentence or Two:

In “Queer Temporality and Postmodern Geographies,” Judith Halberstam argues that “queer time” and “queer space” are absolute real concepts. Halberstam finds through works of Foucault that homosexuality threatens peoples “way of life” rather than “a way of having sex.”

Key terms:

Queer time

Queer space

Gender flexibility

Epistemology of youth


Queer time significance:

Emerging out of the aids epidemic, this concept created an urgency to live in the “now” moment due to possible annihilation. But, this concept also created a potentiality of future family – a reality that historically was not considered conventional.

Queer space significance:

This social concept engages in place-making practices regarding continual areas of counter publics. Halberstam uses “nonnormative” geography as representing queer space. Queer space is only present after recognizing queer time. Harvey claims that postmodern space is racialized and gendered.

Gender flexibility significance:

In regards to postmodernism, this term is a means to the model of gender inversion. Gender flexibility complicates the queer space and time though, conceptualizes a new global elite. This flexibility has increased possibilities and understandings of transgendered, hetero, and homosexual people.

Passage Paraphrase:

And so, I look at Brandon as a figure who represents both anachronism (an earlier model of gay identity as gender inversion) and dislocatedness (a person who chooses the rural over the urban as his theater for staging his gender); Brandon is literally and figuratively out of time and out of place.”

Halerstam uses this passage to explain why she studied Brandon’s case in queer theory and time in relation to queer studies, rather than contribute to the growing fascination of his story. Brandon, as a transgender, is out of time due to his identity, and out of place due to his living location in the rural which was traditionally not a “safe” place for a “nonnormative.”

Discussion questions:

Question 1:How does Oscar fit into the model of queer time and space? could Yunior fit more into these ideas?

Question 2: Can one have queer time without queer space or vice versa? How?



Summary Sentence or Two:

In Gender Trouble, Judith Butler focuses on the construction of the female identity and challenges the idea that sex is only biological.

Key terms:




Feminist genealogy



Trouble significance:

Butler finds this term to be problematic and ambiguous. Trouble is typically termed as pejorative but it could also construe a positive meaning through the female mystique.

Phallogocentrism significance:

Coined by Derrida, Butler uses this term as a determining factor for feminism. Although Butler may not agree, this term creates a binary to feminism. This neologism priviledges masquline discourse in the construction of meaning.

Heterosexualization significance:

This idea proposes that individuals are conditioned to adopt heterosexual practices. This is relevant in this chapter as Butler argues against any sort of sexualization.


Passage Paraphrase:

“The heterosexualization of desire requires and institutes the production of discrete and asymmetrical oppositions between ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ where these are understood as expressive attributes of ‘male’ and ‘female'” (17).

Butler argues that heterosexualization simply cannot exist under the binaries of male and female and that it is much more complex.


Discussion questions:

Question 1: Can one define “gender”? Butler complicates this idea but, putting “sex” aside, how does one understand this terminology?

Question 2: Does Oscar Wao favor this sort of gender politics?  If so, which character engages in this construction the most and how?


Summary Sentence or Two:

In “Can the Subaltern Speak?” Spivak argues that there is a group of people without a voice, but giving them a voice by scholars is often marginalized and misrepresented. Spivak finds issue with the idea that the imperialistic version of history is as the normative version.


Key terms:

The Other

Epistemic Violence






The Other significance:

Spivak makes use of The Other as ones self-shadow or the colonial subject. This term is important because this essay makes point to find the Other’s subjectivity. This Other would not have access to theory of say, Foucault or understandings of certain academics. The Other is people of non academia and a non-specialist.

Subaltern significance:

The subaltern are those of lower status. Often ones who have no canon to tell their story due to literacy or money problems. This term came from the British army, referencing a position in standing lower than that of captain.

Elitism significance:

The issues that Spivak has noted throughout history is the elitists termed groups of people as either “people” or “subaltern class.” Clearly, the “elite” were attempting to distinguish themselves as of higher power than those “subaltern.”


Passage Paraphrase:

“For the (gender-unspecified) “true” subaltern group, whose identity is its difference, there is no unrepresentable subaltern subject that can know and speak itself; the intellectual’s solution is not to abstain from representation. The problem is that the subjects itinerary has not been left traced so as to offer an object of seduction to the representing intellectual” (2202).

This passage seeks to understand issues with attempting to represent the subaltern. Finding one subaltern voice does not find all subaltern voices. This finds issue also with the lack of historical references to trace.

Discussion questions:

Question 1: How else could Bhudari have made herself visible? Did she succeed in her suicide?

Question 2: In what ways does Spivak’s understanding of the subaltern influence our understandings of Oscar Wao?



Summary Sentence or Two:

In “The World Republic of Letters,” Pascale Casanova argues that literature has its own value. Casanova finds this value to be moving toward a universally understood way of capital within various forms.

Key terms:

Radical monadology

Spiritual economy

Literary prestige





Literariness significance:

Since language is “another major component of literary capital” there is value in being able to utilize and exploit ones literacy. Casanova finds that certain languages are more literary than others but still hold value to the literature in which it presents.

Polyglots significance:

A polyglot is one that knows or uses several languages. This type of person allows themselves a broader understanding of experience and literature. Casanova finds that this person has power of “artistocracy” that only can be measure in literary terms.

Depoliticization significance:

This is the process in which literature has attempted to free itself from the hold of political and national authorities. This was a form of independence/freedom  that literature sought to find. This term is important as it helped literature cross boundaries that were previously held in a physical sense.


Passage Paraphrase:

“The amount of ‘credit’ that is extended to a space endowed with a great ‘immaterial wealth’ depends on ‘people’s opinion’ as Valery says that is, on the degree of recognition that is granted it on its legitimacy” (18).

This passage finds issue in finding a universal understanding of literary value as opinion plays a role on determination.


Discussion questions:

Question 1: Would physical boundaries play a role in how one perceives literary value? How?

Question 2: What do each of the De Leons find valuable in Oscar Wao?



Summary Sentence or Two:

In “Orientalism,” Edward Said presents his study of this discourse through perceptions and depictions of the East made by Westerners. Said finds that much of the perceptions of the East made by Westerners are inaccurate and contain prejudice.

Key terms:







Orientalism significance:

This “integral part of European material civilization and culture,” is designated in multiple ways. For one, anyone who studies the Orient, is a Orientalist, and they “do” is Orientalism. Basically, Orientalism is a mode of discourse in culture located in the East i.e. Middle Easterners, Asians, and Africans. This term also relates to a certain style of thought and authorizing views of the Orient.

Hegemony  significance:

This term meaning leadership or dominance is especially important in this article as Said makes clear of the hegemonic feelings that Britain and the U.S. had by even classifying the Orient. Said also relates European identity and ideas as previously and still thought to be superior in comparison is a major component  in Orientalism.

Imperialism significance:

As much of the world was at some point dominated by British rule, the struggle against imperialism in present in post-colonial countries including some of Orient. Said believes that Orientalism is political as there is still imperialistic thought in social, economic, and cultural practices through discrimination applied to non-European studies. He terms this as “European-identity.”


Passage Paraphrase:

“I doubt that it is controversial for example, to say that an Englishman in India or Egypt in the later nineteenth century took an interest in those countries that was never far from their status in his mind as British colonies. To say this may seem quite different from saying that all academic knowledge about India and Egypt is somehow tinged and impressed with, violated by, the gross political fact –and yet that is what I am saying in this study of Orientalism” (11).

Said confirms that much of studies made by Englishmen about the Orient are in fact, more so to benefit their own identity rather than morph those of the East.


Discussion questions:

Question 1: Is Oscar Wao a victim in Orientalism? How does Diaz represent discrimination of Dominicans through the United States historical relationship with the Dominican Republic?

Question 2: According to Said, are our (us as students) theories and arguments presenting in papers political?




Summary Sentence or Two:

In “How to Tame a Wild Tongue,” Gloria Anzaldua presents the idea that identity is made through language. She also discusses how English speakers have constantly pressure Spanish speakers to adopt the dominant language of English.


Identify five key terms in the text:



Linguistic terrorism

Ethnic Identity



Anglicisms/Pochismos significance:

Both these terms mean words distorted/borrowed by English. This is significant to Anzaldua’s points because it represents the oppression that English speakers forced on native speakers. Spanish speakers were often times pressured to speak English while in the United States, sometimes allowing them to mix several languages into one form of thought or, forming an English word into a Spanish word.

Ethnic identity

Anzaldua argues that language coincides with identity, and one cannot define their identity without a personal language. Since Spanish is sometimes regarded as a shameful language to speak, one cannot be prideful of themselves without their native language held in high regards. Linguistic identity is one with ethnic identity.

Corridos significance:

Termed as songs of love in Spanish. Self identifying with this cultural significance would term important to the movement toward a recognized and un-speculated Spanish. Often these songs touched on Anglo oppressors which would have allowed a shared understanding of a diaspora movement.


Passage Paraphrase:

“Chicanas who grew up speaking Chicano Spanish have internalized the belief that we speak poor Spanish. It is illegitimate, a bastard language. And because we internalize how our language has been used against us by the dominant culture, we use our language differences against each other” (2950).

Basically, Spanish (and its dialects) have been oppressed by the dominant culture (being English speakers) and those of Spanish decent have trouble with identifying themselves as worthwhile individuals if their language they speak is illegitimate.


Discussion questions:

Question 1: If being a native Spanish speaker is still termed as “illegitimate” in a dominant English speaking country, how else can Spanish speakers not feel self deprecated? In other words, how can this problem be solved?

Question 2:Could Oscar Wao’s desire to stay indoors to play video games have anything to do with his Domitican heritage? How?




Summary Sentence or Two:

In “Playing in the Dark,” Toni Morrison adopts the belief of race being a cultural rather than biological agent. She also presents literature in ways that adopt the importance of African American presence in a historically racialized society through Willa Cather’s texts and other famous novelists.

Identify five key terms in the text:

Racial Codes

Literary Whiteness



Racial Unconsciousness


Racial Unconsciousness significance:

I think what Morrison means by racial unconsciousness is that a reader typically identifies a literary character as white, without thinking unless stated otherwise. This would conincide with the dominant “whiteness” literary culture.

Literary Whiteness

This term constructs itself into the initial mechanisms of what it means to be white. This term is significant as Morrison deconstructs whiteness and blackness present in historical literary texts.

Africanist significance:

As studies in ethnic culture become more prevalent in academia, this term bares importance. Morrison uses this to identify “invisible” Africanist presence in a “white” authored novel.


Passage Paraphrase:

“The fabrication of an Africanist persona is reflexive; an extraordinary meditation on the self; a powerful exploration of the fears and desires that reside in the writery conscious. It is an astonishing revelation of longing, of terror, of perplexity, of shame, of magnanimity” (17).

Much of Morrison’s work is on this idea that Africanist persona is reflective in the dominant historical culture and she finds this through investigating the text.


Discussion questions:

Question 1: How can presenting Africanist presence in a novel, help identify whiteness?

Question 2: Could we look at Oscar Wao in this way? Is there more “Africanist” in the DeLeon family after a second glance?


Summary Sentence or Two:

In Base and Superstructure, Raymond Williams argues against traditional Marxist doctrine through exploring the complicated relationship between the base and superstructure, productive forces and determination.

Key terms:




Productive Forces


Superstructure significance:

The superstructure includes everything that doesn’t have to do with production such as art, culture, religion, philosophy, law media, politics, and education. Williams argues that the superstructure influences the base but rather the base has more influence.

Base significance:

The base is the means of production such as tools, materials, factories, and land, and relations of production such as proletariats and bourgeoisie. The base is what shapes the superstructure.

Determination significance:

Williams explains “the root sense of ‘determine’ is ‘setting bounds’ or ‘setting limits.'” He goes onto explain that it is also a sense of putting a limit and an end to a problematic action. Determination has several sets of conditions that apply to the interpretations of Marxism.


Passage Paraphrase:

“A persistent dissatisfaction, within Marxism, about the proposition of ‘base and superstructure,’ has been most often expressed by an attempted refinement and reevaluation of the superstructure. Apologist have emphasized its complexity, substance, and autonomy or autonomous value” (81).

This passage divulges into arguments against traditional Marxism’s base and superstructure by revealing its complexities.




Summary Sentence or Two:

In “Categories for a Materialist Criticism,” Eagleton criticizes Raymond Williams’ work through exploring a materialist and Marxist view of literature and texts.

Key terms:


General Mode of Production

Literary Mode of Production

General Ideology

Aesthetic Ideology

Text significance:

Eagleton explains that the text is an object rather than a constituent of literary theory. This term is significant as the task of criticism is to analyze the structures which produce the text. Without text, structures would therefore be counterproductive.

LMP + GMP significance:

The LMP is a substructure provided by the GMP, important to understand from the Williams article. This term gives me significance from the other article, allowing myself a better understanding. “The social relations of the LMP are in general determined by the social relations of the GMP,” resulting in a base and superstructure.

Aesthetic Ideology significance:

This term is constituted by a set of discourses, values, and beliefs which could be understood as a core understanding of Marxism. This ideology is linked to dominant social relations in material production. This term can be subjected within the other terms.


Passage Paraphrase:

“Literature is an agent as well as effect of such struggles, a crucial mechanism by which the language and ideology of an imperialist class establishes its hegemony, or by which a subordinated state, class, or region preserves and perpetuates at the ideological level an historical identity shattered or eroded at the political (55).

This passage explains the political effect of literature through the ruling and working classes. Both classes can perpetuate their outlet of expression through the text.


Discussion questions:

Question 1:What is the base and the superstructure in Oscar Wao? How is it presented in a social category?

Question 2:Within Eagleton’s article, how do the ideologies counteract the traditional Marxism ideology?



Summary Sentence or Two:

In “Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences,” Derrida develops the idea that language is arbitrary. Within this arbitrariness, Derrida believes language to be systematic but unlimited.

Key terms:



Incest prohibition



Supplementary significance:

This term is significant as it replaces the center. The sign acts as a surplus, therefore, supplementing the center’s absence. Levi-Strauss also mentions the supplement whereas Derrida further explains the two directions of meaning. Since this is an article interested in languages structure, the  “location” and meaning of the center of structure is vital for Derrida to explore.

Incest prohibition significance:

Derrida explains this scandal as something that predicates nature and culture and cannot be defined as such. This universal sense is nature but defined as a cultural signifier. Derrida’s work has focused on binaries and explains the nature/culture opposition as systematic within language. This idea is significant to the article as it helps explain complicated universal meaning in cultural language.

Totalization significance:

This term shows up briefly to explain the limited and unlimited use of language. Language cannot be totaled or come to terms with a certain number. The system of language is never-ending and unlimited. This is significant as structure and signs cannot be limited and language is never complete. The idea of totalization, being a completed language, is useless.


Passage Paraphrase:

“No longer is any truth value attributed to them; there is a readiness to abandon them, if necessary, should other instruments appear more useful. In the meantime, their relative efficacy is exploited, and they are employed to destroy the old machinery to which they belong and of which they themselves are pieces” (284).

This passage explains how social sciences criticizes itself through language. The need to be innovative toward language only loses the fundamental meaning as well as the universal understanding.



Summary Sentence or Two:

In “The Animal That Therefore I Am (More to Follow),” Derrida

Key terms:






Naked significance:

If I were to put this article into the software Voyant, the term naked would be the largest word with bold and outlined font. Derrida uses the term naked in a physical way but also in the terms of language. This term is significant because the signified meaning of naked is versatile. Derrida uses this single term for a better understanding of language and his own understanding of nudity.

Animal significance:

This term is significant because, according to Derrida, animals are a term to help describe us as humans and helps define what it means to be human. Animal would be another largely bolded word in a Voyant data visualization. Animal helps us define the opposite of us, therefore define us. He explains how difficult it is to define one thing without the other.

Linnaeus significance:

This classification, the point of view of animals, is a more technical term Derrida uses to make his point. In this taxonomy, Derrida is able to explain the nakedness in that the cat sees or doesn’t “see.”


Passage Paraphrase:

“Naked without knowing it, animals would not, in truth, be naked” (373).

In this passage, Derrida explains naked as not wearing clothing. But even if an animal is not wearing clothing, it is used to not wearing clothing, therefore, does not contain the feeling of being naked, therefore, it is not naked.


Discussion questions:

Question 1: Which of the terms, structure, sign, or play does Derrida find most important, or, are they all neccesarily interwoven?

Question 2: In what ways does the code switching and bilingualism  in Oscar Wao contribute to the signified and the signifier?



Summary Sentence:

In “What is an Author,” Michael Foucault evaluates the relationship between author and text. Foucault poses questions such as “what is a work?” and argues that one cannot evaluate a work without first figuring out what constitutes as a work, something that is difficult to answer without an authors presence.

Key terms:



Transcendental barriers

Author function



Foucault attempts to determine “what is a work” throughout the essay by relating it to its author and explains that a theory of work does not exist. This idea that critics should leave out the author while evaluating work is severely flawed when there would be no work without the author. Since this essay is about authors relationship to their work, what constitutes as a work is necessarily to clarify.

Author function

Since the title of this essay contains the term “author,” it is exemplary  to explore the significance. Foucault explores the author’s disappearance and asks “what is an author’s name and how does it function?” As the answers to these questions could be inexhaustible, Foucault contributes to the difficulties an authors disappearance presents. One difficulty relates to the reading from last week as the transcendental anonymity of an author contains a god-like view of a work. Without a known author, an unreliable narrator may conform. Foucault continues to explain that author’s did not necessarily have ownership to their works up until the end of the 18th century so their function as the author was not necessarily recognized.


Saint Jerome proposes four criteria to authors authenticity in relation to author function in that Foucault determines to be difficult to implement today, but necessary in the evolution of modern literary criticism.  Although not typically used in modern literary criticism, author authenticity provided a backbone to criticism today in defining what the author provides in a literary work.


Passage Paraphrase:

 “These differences may result from the fact that an author’s name is not simply an element in discourse (capable of being either subject or object, of being replaced by a pronoun, and the like); it performs a certain role with regard to narrative discourse, assuring a classificatory function. Such a name permits one to group together a certain number of texts, define them, differentiate them from and contrast them to others.” (210)

Foucault explains that the authors name is heavily related among texts and there is more meaning to an author than only it’s textualized name.




Summary Sentence:

In “Panopticism,” Foucault describes the function of power through the ultimate mode of surveillance: the Panopticon. This structure made it possible for one watchman to oversee a hundred prisoners almost simultaneously. Although it would seem for the power to be in the hands of the watchman, Foucault explores power in forms of a distribution of bodies.


Key terms:



Seeing Machine




Foucault demonstrates how constant surveillance is the essence of omnipresent and omniscient power. The plague gave ultimate power to leaders while organizing and placing people into categorized confinement. Surveillance is used in this essay in terms of overseeing, observing, experimenting, and conducting rule.

Seeing Machine

Foucault refers to the Panopticon as a “seeing machine” relating its powers as non-human although the observer would non-the-less be human. This person in the eyes of the machine ultimately holds the power in the institution. By relating the building to a non-human machine, the power construct changes. By no means does Foucault demonize this power, but sees its strengths as a salvation to a threatened society. This term is significant as it is a different way to look at the Panopticon.


Foucault explains discipline as a type of power reinforcing or reorganizing internal mechanisms. This term is especially significant to the essay as a discipline relates to the power structure described in the Panopticon. Foucault describes discipline as a” social quarantine” that forms the disciplinary society.


Passage Paraphrase:

“Hence the major effect of the Panopticon: to induce in the inmate a state of conscious and permanent visibility that assures the automatic functioning of power. So to arrange things that the surveillance is permanent in its effects, even if its discontinuous in its action; that the perfection of power should tend to render its actual exercise unnecessary; that this architectural apparatus should be a machine for creating and sustaining a power relation independent of the person who exercises it; in short, that the inmates should be caught up in a power situation of which they are themselves the bearers.” (201)

This passage explains a slight flaw in the ultimate authority of power. Whilst seeing power in action, it does not render the inmates weak rather than also implement its own hierarchy within the inmates.


Discussion questions:

Relating to the passage I paraphrased from Foucault, how could you categorize texts without it’s relation to the author? Could you even categorize texts without using authors names? How would that function in an academic setting?

Foucault focuses his “Panopticism” article on constant surveillance. In the digital age, how do we partake in this power philosophy?


In “Telling and Showing,” Booth argues the form in the narrative represents its artistic approach in either telling the reader the story, or showing the reader the story.

Key Terms:

Authoritative rhetoric

Artificial authority/Point of view


Affective fallacy

Durational realism

Term One Significance: Artificial Authority/Point of view

This term is important to Booth’s article because it explains how the narrative is presented. Booth points out how readers automatically trust the omniscient narrators view but not always the “friend.” Readers react to this viewpoint with a like trust in God. This artificial authoritative point-of-view could be an unreliable narrator in how the narrative is presented.

Term Two Significance: Affective Fallacy

Since Booth is interested in the form of a narrative, this term applies well to the reaction of readers. Telling a story or showing a story affects the way a reader responds to the text.  Booth mentions this term in a footnote, explaining that affective fallacy is not necessarily the objective of telling/showing.

Term Three Significance: Durational Realism

This term is significant since it deals with the form of how information is presented in the narrative. Authors using durational realism try to make it known there is an author present. I believe Booth would term this into telling the reader what to think in a sort of manipulation.

Passage Paraphrase:

“Many authors and critics have been convinced that ‘objective’ or ‘impersonal’ or ‘dramatic’ modes of narration are naturally superior to any mode that allows for direct appearances by the author or his reliable spokesman. Sometimes… the complex issues involved in this shift have been reduced to a convenient distinction between ‘showing,’ which is artistic, and ‘telling,’ which is inartistic.”

This passage presents Booth’s idea that the general mode of narration that critics view as correct isn’t necessarily the only way to present ideas. Because showing the narrative seems the be more artistic, it doesn’t mean writers have to completely shut out telling the narrative.

In “Two Aspects of Language and Two Types of Aphasic Disturbances,” Jakobson argues that language is a system with phonemic patterns represented in literature. Comparing poetry and prose, Jakobson makes use of metonymy and metaphors within language and how it relates to linguistic disorders.

Key Terms:



Phrase Words


Free/Bound Forms

Term One Significance: Metaphor

This term is important as Jakobson refers to its alienation to one type of aphasic disorder. One with a similarity disorder would not be capable to understand the significance and meaning of a metaphor. These individuals with the disorder could only comprehend a direct linguistic reference.

Term Two Significance: Metonymy

An individual with continuity disorder would find it difficult to understand metonymy. This relationship between linguistics and literature is ever so present while studying the formation of thought through the literary text.

Term Three Significance: Phrase Words

Since the article is dealing with linguistics, how words are formed to make contextual sense should be a mode of importance. Jakobson explains that meaning is only formed through context in lexical constituent rather than individual words by themselves.

Paraphrase Passage:

“The varieties of aphasia are numerous and diverse, but all of them lie between the two polar types… Every form of aphasic disturbance consists in such impairment, more or less severe, of the faculty either for selection and substitution or for combination and contexture.” (129)

This passage explains that not every case of aphasia can be formulated into one structure or chart of characteristics. Although the study of aphasia is a general collection of symptoms, the cases can vary.

Discussion Questions

How does the unreliable narrator or artificial authority represent Oscar Wao? How do we trust this point of view?

How does the relationship of literature and linguistics represent the study of aphasia?


Intertextuality in ‘Oscar Wao’

I am especially interested in historical elements presented in novels and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao taught me much about the Dominican Republic. I first started my search in the library’s database of the title of the novel; and skimmed through journal article titles to find a topic of interest. Fortunately, it was all pretty interesting so I minimized my search to topics I do not know much about. I stumbled upon an article titled “Some Assembly Required: Intertextuality, Marginalization, and ‘The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.'” The title intrigued me as I have no prior knowledge of intertextuality or marginalization.

Google defined intertextuality as “the relationship between texts, especially literary ones.” Marginalization is defined as “a social disadvantage and relegation to the fringe of society.” O’Brien, the articles author, argues ” The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao forces readers to consciously deal with the challenges of intertextuality and the cultural knowledge it requires by prominently alluding to a variety of cultural knowledge bases and glossing them in very uneven ways” (77).

I think the purpose of intertextuality in this novel parallels the generations of the De Leons lives as each character experiences a mix of the previous generation. O’Brien also suggests “intertextual contexts supports the novel’s development of the theme of marginalization as it applies to Oscar’s personal history and interests and to common attitudes toward third-world history and culture” (78).

Works Cited

O’Brien, Sean. “Some Assembly Required: Intertextuality, Marginalization, and ‘The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao.'” The Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association. 2012. Web.