New Historicism In The Awakeni Essay Research

New Historicism In The Awakeni Essay, Research Paper

Summary and Analysis to New Historicism in The Awakening

The term New Historicism is not a well stated expression due to the word

new. What is new today may be old tomorrow. New historicism is actually old,

and the best adjective to describe it is historical. New historic critics are less

fact-oriented than critics used to be because they wonder whether the truth about

what actually happened can ever be proved. Therefore, they are unlikely to

suggest that a literary text has a single or easily identifiable context. When new

historicist critics describe a historical change, they often discuss the theory of

historical change that informs their account. Michael Foucault, a well-known new

historicist, says that no historical event has a single cause; rather it is connected

with a vast web of economic, social, and political factors. The name Greenblatt is

more synonymous with new historicism than anyone else. His essay entitled

Invisible Bullets is said to be more frequently cited than any new historicst work.

Greenblatt believes that history is driven by economics. Many critics do not

consider Foucault one of the central influences of new historicism. These critics

do not like his method of work or his critiques on old-style historicism. However,

the boundary around new historicism remains fuzzy because it is always changing

on account of the word new. One thing agreed upon by all historicists is that a

critic must study the author, his or her work, and the period which it was written

in. I believe that this lesson on new historicism is very beneficial. It helped me

learn a lot more about the subject I was assigned to and gave me important

knowledge that is useful for everyday reading. This section about new historicism

is a great topic to learn about.

Margit Stange gives an example of new historicism in her essay entitled

Personal Property: Exchange Value and the Female Self in The Awakening.

Stange describes how Leonce looks at Edna as his property. Edna left the house,

and she made the statement she will never belong to another than herself.

Self-ownership, in the second half of the nineteenth century, signified a wife s

right to refuse marital sex and control her own person, independent of the desires

of the husband. Edna s bare, naked hands show she is not the property of anyone.

Kate Chopin connects Edna to the feminist drive for women s property rights. The

freedom to withhold oneself sexually has its complement in the freedom to give

oneself. Edna not giving herself to her children makes her not a motherly figure.

Edna s death in the ocean dramatizes the self-ownership theory. Elizabeth Cady

Stanton says that when single women die they go to the gates of death to give life

to every man that is born. I think that Margit Stange s example of new historicism

is very well written. It gives me a much better insight to the true meaning of new

historicism. I believe this essay on personal property will help me out as I write my

term paper and as I read in the future.


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