Up to Snuff #127: Extracting Meaning, Creation of Knowledge, Consequent Value

Extracting Meaning, Creation of Knowledge, Consequent Value

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

I am Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu. A short version or nickname would be FaFa Bonsu.  A Ghanaian American who, resides in Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA. I am a Creative Writing English and Poetry major (CWE.POE).  I have been reading about ideological writing and Marx and recently reading Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, Dorothy Parker, Sophocles-however I would like to get into some new areas.  I have been collecting spiritual literature.  I recently assembled a list of what is included in my spiritual library.  I will for this opportunity select Confucius from a Harvard Classic Reader.  I am aiming to get into some new areas and perhaps look at sacred or religious or sage writings.

What do I know about literary theory?  I am intrigued by the word theory alone.  I wonder what the word theory can imply.  Does it require proof like “justified true belief” or JTB or is it the un-established? Is it to perpetually establish?  If one says art theory versus literary theory, I suppose I want to be more- clear about what is suggested by that terminology.  I would love to write theory but feel still naïve.  If I were to write art theory, what is its approach, or have I already?  Is theory a scaffolding of ideas upon which or with its guidance one may arrive or question or analyze or create? If one may arrive, is it then theory? Theory may be some kind of wise guide. Theory may answer a kind of question, perhaps even how or why? A theory may result in a kind of questioning.  Or does it mean that there are established theories and one’s work becomes the analysis in response to the theories or the work that is derivative of the theories?  So, I guess there are two products, theories, and something else? Both can be written, the theory and the theories subsequent writing.  I enjoy both of those.  Or the art theory and the arts subsequent product and the products criticism.  Then there are three products. Perhaps you have the piece of literature as product one, then the theory laid upon it, then the resulting criticism and even the analysis of the variety of criticism. So, theory may have a trajectory, art and or literary.

What is my understanding of literary theory at this time?  It has to do with value, with the creation and manufacture of meaning itself.  There is at once the literature, whose secondary function may be its interpretation or its context and ultimately its meaning.  The extension of writing is the thought around it-its secondary, and that secondaries building blocks.  But then theory leads you not to take a sip, but a full drink.  Theory then becomes the octopus, the world view, the connecting points that make a defined way of thinking, a kind of enlightenment.   Theory helps you to extract meaning, look at purpose and reasoning or variations. (Klages)  Theory helps a writer to achieve a close reading.  Theory may guide one to look first at emergence, then at context, then conclude with results or relationships (Klages 5).  It can be like a scaffolding that becomes a boilerplate.  What can be impressive is when you extract meaning that becomes world view as in the example of “language, gender, and consciousness” (Klages 5).  Meanings extracted from literature can define movements or be existential.  Literature has left a trail, as if it were archeology or anthropological.  Literary theory then provides one a tool.

Literary Theory is perhaps the most significant factor in giving literature or the field of writing its value.  Extraction of meaning transforms writing into knowledge.  It transforms the entire field into knowledge.

I think you are correct in your estimation about the value behind “how does it mean, what does it produce and what effect does it have on us and the world? ”  It is as if it is one’s duty or task to ascertain the quality, value, meaning, the giving of a piece of literature.  The reasoning is interesting and the desire to learn from it, to grow from it and arrive at a knowledge juncture.  Perhaps certain techniques get you there, then get you there every time.  I suppose it is the scholar that wants to get there at all.

I am intrigued by when you wrote literary theory is whether it is or is not literature. Is that a prize, or bar or distinction, or quality?  Are you protesting that this fine Dystopian novel may for you have equal value? I have writings that I wonder how they will be classified, who is the classifier and what are the terms? What makes up the literary theory that classifies it?

Works Cited:

Klages, Mary. “Literary Theory: A Guide for the Perplexed” Edition 1.  Bloomsbury Publishing 2007-01-23, pp. 1-9

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