Critical Literary Studies

Critical Literary Studies

Critical Literary Studies, Vol 3, No 1, Autumn and Winter 2020-2021 (مقاله علمی وزارت علوم)



Quest in James Dashner’s The Maze Runner Trilogy(مقاله علمی وزارت علوم)

کلید واژه ها: Archetypal Hero Dystopia Identity Journey Speculative Fiction

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Myths, as part of human's life since ancient times, continue to be depicted in novels, movies, and TV series with the advent of technology. The dystopian theme much favored in the book market receiving international attention and appreciation is present in a large number of novels for the adult and the adolescent. Dystopia, as a sub-genre of science fiction, has strongly affected young adult (YA) literature. The Maze Runner trilogy (2009-2011), written by James Dashner, is a popular dystopian fiction with almost all-male supporting heroes. In the present paper, quest in Dashner’s trilogy is investigated in order to analyze the adventure in terms of Joseph Campbell’s views of hero’s journey, including the steps from the very first volume to the third in order to explore the archetype of journey in an adventure taking place in the future fictional world. Characters in this trilogy go through many difficulties to survive, and they pass through the rite of the passage each facing a crisis. A major conclusion the research arrives at is that there is more of an inner change in the young characters than an instant effect on their environment; however, they will be ready for the future. 

Subjective Violence and Objective Violence: Revolt as Emancipation of Others in LeRoi Jones’The Slave(مقاله علمی وزارت علوم)

کلید واژه ها: The Other Psycho-ideology Revolutionary Others Subjective Violence Objective Violence

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This article postulates the concepts of subjective violence and objective violence in constructing the revolutionary others in The Slave (1964), the ideological play by Amiri Baraka (1934-2004), also known as LeRoi Jones. The blacks are identified as the others in the white dominant societies, and the inconvenience of their livings under no effective ‘Civil Rights’ has faded their legitimated targets. They have detached themselves from their origins and experienced numerous troubles in the dominant imperialist world. Jones’ The Slave focuses on the revolt of a black man against the whites’ subjective and objective violence. The paper has centralized Jones’ concepts of black art and identity related to American ‘Social Movements’. Baraka’s The Slave revolutionarily fights back the whites’ violence. To develop the purpose of this study, Žižek’s concept of violence and his psycho-ideological impacts through the lens of Lacan are to be analyzed. The Slave indicates the centrality of a black massive movement toward the achievement of self-rule, self-confidence, self-reliance, and self-realization. LeRoi Jones, as the leader of the ‘Black Arts Movement’ and founder of ‘Black Power’ of the 1960s, attempts to re-define and support blacks’ literature, art, and culture as the operational mission.

The Neoliberal Nostrum: Spatial Fix in Ian McEwan’s Solar(مقاله علمی وزارت علوم)

کلید واژه ها: built environment climate change Capitalism Spatial Fix Neo-liberalism

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Ian McEwan’s Solar has been the subject of many a debate, mostly due to its controversial representation of climate change’s cause and the solution offered for the global disaster. The paper explores the novel’s judgment over climate change’s fountainhead and the protagonist’s vain project to save the earth. The scope of the study encompasses the narrator’s accounts of the characters and events in the story. In the light of David Harvey’s notion of ‘spatial fix,’ the study, through a close reading of the novel, focuses on the context within which the story unfolds in order to elaborate on the transformation of the earth into a globalized monolithic built environment called ‘the planet’ for the sake of efficiency and free flow of capital and commodities. It also argues that the protagonist’s solar energy generation project is a neo-liberal initiative to replace a less lucrative production mode and tackle the system’s critical spell of overaccumulation, rather than global warming.

Villain-Becoming and Body without Organs: A Deleuze-Guattarian Rhizoanalysis of Paul Auster’s Invisible(مقاله علمی وزارت علوم)

کلید واژه ها: Deleuze Guattari Rhizome de-territorialization Paul Auster Invisible

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The present paper seeks to argue that the opposing roles Paul Auster has devised for his protagonists in Invisible (2010) evolve around metamorphosic changes in their behaviors in terms of Deleuze and Guattari’s rhizome theory. While the protagonist undertakes a Deleuzian Bocoming to be a villain, the antagonist possesses a radical form of a Body without Organ. This study thus defines its main assignment to find the relevant Deleuze-Guattarian flickers within the novel. Deleuze and Guattari launch their notions of Becoming and BwO within their theory of Rhizome. To substantiate this, six principles of the rhizomatic expansion (including connection, heterogeneity, multiplicity, a signifying rupture, cartography, and decalcomania) are examined vis-à-vis Invisible. The story’s main characters would thus exhibit their rhizomatic and nomadic inclinations while the novel’s narration and setting would add to the multiplicitous dimension of the story. Ultimately, through such rhizomatic praxis, this paper identifies radical de-territorialization – or breaking free from social norms – as a major Austrian technique to portray the predicaments of contemporary American lifestyle.

A Study of the Metatheatrical Aspects of Peter Shaffer’s Equus(مقاله علمی وزارت علوم)

کلید واژه ها: Metatheatre Play within a Play Breaking the Fourth Wall Direct Address Peter Shaffer

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The present article aims to analyze the notion of metatheatricality in Peter Shaffer’s Equus and to investigate the functions of such metatheatrical notions as self-reflexivity and fictionality in the overall structure and theme of the play. The central questions of this survey include: In what ways are typical metatheatrical techniques employed in Peter Shaffer’s Equus, and what are the structural and thematic functions of these elements? The present dramaturgical study first reviews the basic tenets of the concept of metatheatre as a postmodern genre in the theatre and then contextualizes them in the structural fabric of the play, focusing on two important metatheatrical elements, namely, play within a play and breaking the fourth wall. The present research shows that there are inner plays in the narrative structure of Equus, which are aligned with the characteristic features of metatheatricality as delineated by Richard Hornby in Drama, Metadrama, and Perception (1986). These plays within a play, which belong to the so-called “the inset type,” construct two sharply distinguishable structural layers. As metatheatrical plays within a play, they self-reflexively call attention to the fictional nature of the play as well as to the possibilities of narrative diversity. Equus breaks the fourth wall of the realistic drama when its lead character directly addresses the spectators, thereby getting them physically and mentally involved in the action. The spectators, as a result, step into the fictional world of the play and start to interact with the characters as the characters start to interact with them. Judgment and interpretation become reciprocal as both the audience and the performers take part in the process of narration and meaning-creation.  

Christian Images in Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth (2015)(مقاله علمی وزارت علوم)

کلید واژه ها: Socio-Cultural Context Protestantism dominant discourse subversion intertextual dialogism

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Justin Kurzel’s film, Macbeth (2015) demonstrates a large number of Christian symbols and images. This comparative study seeks the relation between the Protestantism discourse of the Elizabethan era, and the religious visualizations and images used in Kurzel’s movie including the Cross, paintings, costumes and mise-en-scene. By applying Linda Hutcheon’s theory of adaptation to exploring the film, the meaning of these images can be found through contextualization. How Kurzel creates a new way to visualize the main socio-historical ideas of the original text will be examined. Stam’s model of intertextual dialogism helps a better understanding of how these images relate to the original setting. While Kurzel features an authentic medieval Scottish setting, he employs new visual ways to convey the socio-cultura context of the Shakespearean Macbeth. Concerning Macbeth (2015), it could be argued that there are still similar examples of the justification of violence and war in our contemporary era. By voicing the marginalized Macbeths, Justin Kurzel relates to similar unjust conditions in the contemporary time and place.

African Feminism in the Nigerian Context: A House of Affirmations and Denials(مقاله علمی وزارت علوم)


کلید واژه ها: African Feminism Nigerian Female Writers A House Divided A House Integrated A House of Affirmations and Denials

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Theorizing the roots of feminism in the specific African experience has been a quest by a number of prominent African female writers. They have avidly reflected on it in their various creative and critical outputs. The inherent ideological differences among these writers in their quest for an African variant of feminism, owing to the peculiarities of their respective sociocultural settings, has led to what critics have contentiously regarded as ‘voices’ in African feminism. Against this backdrop, on the one hand, Charles Nnolim (1994) [2010] argues that feminism in African literature is “a house divided”. On the other hand, Chioma Opara (2013), in contention with the former, posits that it is rather “a house integrated”. The present study thus establishes the two critical poles as wherein the entire gamut of critical and theoretical points of contentions in African feminism is largely subsumed. Neither of the two paradigms is discredited in favor or defense of the other, noting their huge critical substances. This paper rather attempts to strike a balance in-between, ultimately with a view to delineating its own critical perspective. By drawing instances from three prominent Nigerian female writings, the study moves away from the aforementioned established critical patterns to a novel paradigm which conceives feminism in African literature, with specific reference to the Nigerian context, as rather ‘a house of affirmations and denials.’.

Speaking Muslim Subaltern through the Ethical Agent in Shakespeare and the Holy Quran(مقاله علمی وزارت علوم)

کلید واژه ها: Islamic Feminism Ethical responsibility Agent Muslim Speaking Subaltern Limited Access

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William Shakespeare, the English bard of Avon, inaugurates a Feminist approach in Love’s labour’s Lost which is comparable with the Holy Quran’s mandate and Hadith. He reminisces Muslim association through deeply-seated words of the Elizabethan era including Ethiop, black, moors, Africans and so on in order to signify in his work the Islamic concern for the Muslim women in terms of respect, love, and revival of rights. Riffat Hassan’s theology of honor killing and progressive Islam could be argued to be in thematic affinity with Gayatri Spivak’s concepts of ethical responsibility of the agents and subalterns. The area of concern in Shakespeare’s encompasses men’s sanction in shunning women, intellectual men vs. slave, black and inferior women, and love, marriage and infatuation with women. This is in line with Quranic principles namely poor Muslim lifestyle vs. the affluent pagan hegemony, Muslim’s faith, migration to from Ommat, reception by the hegemonic pagans, Muslims’ conquests and Islamic enhancement. The area of concern in Shakespeare’s play includes men’s sanction in shunning women, intellectual men versus the black and inferior women, love, marriage, and infatuation with women. This approach is in line with the life style of the poor Muslims as opposed to the affluent pagan hegemony, and includes faith, migration, and toleration for the sake of Muslims’ conquests.

Globalization of Local Lives: Performing Self-Authenticity as Personal, Local and Social Process in Zadie Smith’s NW(مقاله علمی وزارت علوم)

کلید واژه ها: Critical Cosmopolitanism Community Globalization Locality Racial Segregation Self-Authenticity Zadie Smith

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The present research aims at investigating the social and local relevance of the process of self-authenticity in Zadie Smith’s NW. The novel imagines a complex network of relationships ranging from individual association with occupation to friendships and families, and to participation in local and public oriented interactions, all bring individuals to experience  multiplicity of identifications with others in yet more complex ways.With regard to density and complexity of overlapping social relations this essay  indicates how self-authenticity is a social process determined by confirmation with and from other’s as well as one’s own experiment as means and results of social interactions while, also, acting as a local process operating in practice and in relation to local relevance.The study interrogates to what extent locality acts as a firm framework of reference in construction and maintenance of self-authenticity and identity formation in the current context of increasing global dynamics. It follows the concept of critical cosmopolitanism that assumes individual’s capacity for self-reflexivity as integral to formation of self-authenticity  and necessitates the emergence of a cosmopolitan consciousness that views self-authenticity as dependent on situationally-relevant conditions of time and place rather than on pre-give social patterns viewed as  absolute entities of specific authority and autonomy.

A Critical Investigation of Traditional Treatment of Literary Schools and Movements in Kurdish Literature(مقاله علمی وزارت علوم)


کلید واژه ها: Literary Schools Literary Movements Classicism Romanticism Modernism Renewal

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The present paper seeks to address and examine the literary movements, trends, and schools in Kurdish literature, and to account for their true representations in Kurdish literary works. According to contemporary Kurdish literary historians, Kurdish literature before the era of the Renewal is referred to as the classical literature; Romanticism appeared simultaneously with the Renewal, and realism was manifested afterwards. Is it appropriate to refer to these trends and periods in the Kurdish context as classicism, romanticism, and realism? The present research argues that these terms applied to Kurdish literature were introduced into Kurdish letters and culture as the immediate result of the influence of European letters and trends. The central argument of this study is that Kurdish literary movements and the historical epochs assigned to them by the scholars are not the same as what is observed in the history of French and English literature. This study considers the whole body of Kurdish written literature into three distinct periods and sections that are the ancient literature, also called ‘the literature of Diwan’, from the beginning to the early twentieth century, ‘the literature of the renewal period’, from the 1900s to the mid twentieth century, and ‘the modern and contemporary literature’, from the 1960s to the present.

ZPD Theory and Scaffolding Teaching Strategy: Iranian EFL Learners' Views and Reading Achievement of Short Stories as a Way of Literature Incorporation within Learning Procedure(مقاله علمی وزارت علوم)

کلید واژه ها: ZPD Theory Scaffolding Strategy EFL Learners Reading Achievement Short Story

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The present study, through considering Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) theory and scaffolding strategy, investigates the use of scaffolding strategy in a language institute and explores the effectiveness of this method on EFL learners' reading achievement of short stories. The researchers adopted a quasi-experimental research design, and the sample of the study consisted of 60 EFL learners.  Including 30 students, the experimental group benefited an implementation of scaffolding strategy and related techniques. The control group (including 30 students) benefited from no implementation of scaffolding strategy and related techniques. An interactive communicative language method of teaching was used for the control group. Moreover, a related questionnaire was used to explore the EFL learners' attitude of the experimental group on the mentioned strategy.  The reading achievement was measured using a pre-test and a post-test for both the experimental and control groups. The obtained results were analyzed descriptively, the statistical manifestation of which is presented in figures. Items are elaborated separately through tables, and two independent sample t-tests were carried out for the revelation of the result.  The data were analyzed using t-test, eta square, and one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). This study concluded that the employment of scaffolding teaching strategy had a significant impact on the improvement of Iranian EFL learners’ reading achievement of short stories and the students' attitude towards the mentioned strategy was completely positive. Also, the findings revealed that there was not a significant difference between the male and female students' performance.  

Self-assessment and Peer-assessment in EFL Context: An Investigation of Writing Performance and Writing Self-efficacy(مقاله علمی وزارت علوم)

کلید واژه ها: EFL Peer-assessment Self-assessment Writing Performance Writing Self-efficacy Alternative Assessment

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The significance of alternative assessment in second language (L2) has been widely acknowledged in the literature. However, the implementation of alternative assessment in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) context has not been much welcome by L2 educators and practitioners.  To contribute to this line of inquiry, the aim of the present research was set to explore the impact of implementing self-assessment and peer-assessment practices on writing performance and writing self-efficacy of EFL learners in Iran. To this end, a total number of 36 homogeneous intermediate learners were selected as the participants who were then randomly assigned to a self-assessment group (N= 17) and a peer-assessment group (N= 19). As for the treatment of the present study, the participants of the self-assessment group were taught to self-assess their writing tasks, whereas the participants of the peer-assessment group were taught to assess the writings of their peers.  Two timed-writing essays and the Writing Self-Efficacy Scale (WSES) wereadministered to collect the data. The results obtained from performing paired-samples t-tests and ANCOVA indicated that both self- and peer-assessment activities significantly contributed to improving writing performance and writing self-efficacy of the participants. Nevertheless, it was revealed that the participants of the peer-assessment group performed better than those in the self-assessment group in terms of both writing performance and writing self-efficacy, showing that peer-assessment activities were more effective than self-assessment activities in increasing writing competencies and self-efficacy of the participants. The findings of the study offer theoretical and pedagogical implications for L2 researchers and practitioners.