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Cultural Study Theory

Essay by   •  February 6, 2011  •  Essay  •  588 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,244 Views

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Cultural Studies Theory

Cultural criticism is a literary theory, which focuses not only on the historical origin of a piece of literature, but on its obvious social, political, and economic influences as well (Meyer 2034). When the culture or context is studied, the motives or tensions, which drive characters' behaviors, may be accounted for and studied (Crawford).

Cultural critics use strategies such as deconstructionism, gender studies, new historicism, and psychology to analyze and evaluate pieces of work (Meyer 2128). Literary texts are not the only thing which cultural critics critique; in fact, they analyze a wide range of items from comic strips, to commercials, to radio talk shows (Meyer 2128). The term culture has been stretched and redefined to include the popular culture of today's modern day society, as well as the culture we associate with the so-called classics (Smith). Almost all-human activity is defined and influenced by culture, nothing is too minor or major, obscure or pervasive, to escape the range of its analytic vision (Meyer 2035).

A well-renowned theorist, Diana Trilling, was a cultural and social critic for over 50 years (Norman). She lived through the Great Depression, the rise and fall of Fascism and Communism, World War II, and Prohibition; Trilling clung to her old-fashion values (Norman). Her writing expressed her interest in esthetics, society, moral values, and the political issues of her day (Norman). Her work, which was published in many journals and magazines, displayed that she was a rationalist who believed all ideas should be grounded in not only rationality, but also morality (Norman). Unlike Diana Trilling, Marshall McLuhan was a famous cultural critic who enjoyed commenting on the more radical and obscure side of society (Skinner). He often commented on the effect television had on children, and how "bookworms" were merely a thing of the past (Skinner).

Walt Disney's version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was influenced a great deal by pop-culture in America, but, more importantly, the original story was influenced by the Germanic culture of the 1800's and 1900's. The pure fact that Snow White was the underdog who came out on top proves that this tale is of Germanic origin (O'Neil). The original story, and many others such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and the Little Red Riding Hood,

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