hey! this is a kind of random question, but what made you get into critical analysis of literature? (i think you mentioned it in a post sometime, my memory's a bit shaky though so this may be wrong. after reading sticks and stones, i kind of want to see if it's the kind of thing i'd like- i was the one who left the Super Long Comment lol) hope you're having a great day, and hope this doesn't come off as too weird/creepy! *T
Ohhh hello!! Welcome to my little cyber corner of the world <3
My interest in critical theory started with a passion for reading. When I went to college, there was only one thing I knew I wanted to study.
I was very young when I learned to read, and I did so voraciously. I was always reading above my grade level and my parents encouraged me in almost every possible way: sending me to book fairs (I had to get at least one thing every time and it was never a chore), taking me to the public library (I had my own library card at age 6 or 7 I believe), reading me chapter books at bedtime (I have very fond memories of my father narrating this copy of The Hobbit). When I was younger, it was just all about how much I loved stories. I was captivated by that one good line in a book that hits you like a punch to the chest and stays with you. I’m actually a poetry specialist - what attracted me to poetry was the brevity, the sheer mastery of language you have to have to be able to arrange five ordinary words into an unforgettable line. How do they do that? Why do I feel like this when I read it? I just really admired poets because of how they made me feel.
My interest in critical theory itself actually came later. The more I read, the more I noticed that other people were also reading. Libraries exist everywhere. Whenever I return a book, someone else will pick it up. And then I wondered: if the stuff that I read sticks with me, then the stuff that other people read probably sticks with them.
But what if the wrong stuff sticks?
Words are vital. They’re the lifeblood of our world. Word choice is paramount to communication: words matter because different words with different contexts change how we feel when we hear them. The way we use language changes how we relate to other people. Words are internalized, and when a select few words are spread to so many we have to be responsible with them.
This undoubtedly has social and political implications. The stories that we choose to tell - how we frame them, what words we use when we tell them - communicate more than just the words themselves ever can. They serve purposes. It’s just an undeniable truth about writing: the way you tell a story affects the lesson your audience gets from it. And those lessons have far-reaching sociopolitical consequences, from empowering a single reader to teaching children how to relate to others.
Stories are tools. They’re a part of our history. And when we acknowledge what stories can do for us because of the ways that they are written, we can start to write new stories, better stories, for a new world we want to live in. We can start to teach new lessons. We can relate to other people better.
Critical analysis is a way to reclaim that power of change. It can be radical. It can be fun. It is always challenging, and I love a good challenge.
I will just never be as passionate about anything more than I am passionate about people and language and I just want to learn everything that I can about it. I want to write papers and give talks and shout in the streets about What This Essay Can Mean and Why It Might Be Dangerous and What Can We Learn From This and Where Do We Go From Here. It’s all I want to do all day long.
I think that’s why I’m in fandom. Because fan fiction is political and it’s also creative. It’s a connective medium and it makes me feel.