Critical Analysis

At present, I am just now wrapping up my junior year at Sacramento State. Previous to that, I spent a few years at Sacramento City College, interspersed with a few years "off," where I spent my time doing the stuff of life such as earning a living. Throughout all that time, I have kept reading constantly, always continuing to find new works to pour into my brain. In particular, I have always enjoyed reading great works and then reading literary criticism to deepen my understanding of what I had just read. In fact, I generally trace my interest in studying literature to reading a critical edition of James Joyce's Dubliners my first year out of highschool. I was blown away by reading a story, then reading the critical analysis in the back before delving back into the story with a new understanding of the text. Now, I would like to take a small step into the world of literary criticism by being an editor for Calaveras Station.

To my mind, the only point to studying literature is to widen our perspective on the world. At its best, literature asks us deep and difficult questions about the workings of world. It challenges us to consider new situations and new viewpoints. It questions basic assumptions and hazards new answers to old questions. And above all good literature embraces and explores the massive complexities of our lives. In doing all of these things, good literature and good writers do not offer up simple answers, or even answers at all. Instead, literature offers us a way for us to start a journey of our own and take a moment to see through the eyes of another. It becomes the job and pleasure of the reader to absorb what the writer gives and weave what they have read into the fabric of their own life.

Literary criticism and literary journals a portion of this process. As a collection of the works of literature and criticism about literature, journals offer a forum for the sharing of these ideas. In particular, I believe that literary criticism is a way for writers share how they understand literature and how it can be understood by others. It adds a new dimension to the dialogue already happening between writer and reader. Instead of a simple one on one relationship between writer and reader, we get a writer, a reader and a large group of interceptors, all trying to decode and understand a work find in it a new way to understand our collective experiences. For my part, I have had the great joy to be a reader of great works. I would now like to move a little, to being a part of the interpretation side of things, by helping to edit Calaveras Station.

Excerpt from "The Myth of Misogyny in Hemingway: Complex Female Sketches in Hemingway's Fiction":

Over the past 90 years, since Ernest Hemingway first began publishing, his work has inspired much love and criticism. One such criticism that been close to the forefront for much of this time is his treatment of women, and what many readers have seen as sexism and misogyny. Of course, practically all of Hemingway's works concentrate on male characters and are told from a male perspective. However, this perspective, or even misogyny within this perspective, does not necessarily point to sexism in the work itself. Because of the male centered perspective, most female characters are shown only as sketches, but these sketches have their own depth and complexities, just like their more fully fleshed out male counterparts. More to the point, these sketches do not rest upon stereotypes or caricatures of women, as we might expect from a sexist writer. Instead, these female characters are dynamic and complicated and rest upon a similar foundation as the male characters. They wrestle with how to handle past trauma, they are challenged by the changing times and sense of lost of the 20's and 30's, and their struggle is just as real as the male characters in Hemingway’s Lost Generation. In The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms and “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” the female characters of Brett Ashley, Catherine Barkley and Margot Macomber are all shown to the readers to be real and vital people behind the narration, even if this is not obvious from the top eighth of Hemingway’s iceberg.

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