Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Emotions: To be or not to be?

The Affective Fallacy article written by Wimsatt and Beardsley explains (surprise, surprise) the theory of the Affective Fallacy. The theory, stemming from New Criticism, states that when it comes to reading, analyzing and evaluating literature, emotions must be left behind.  It is essential that emotion is left out of such a process in order to better get an understanding of the actual text and what it is saying, rather than let our emotions reason the literature. I thought the way Wimsatt and Beardsley described the Affective Fallacy was very interesting. Sticking with the poem analogy, the pair summed up the theory as “a confusion between the poem and its results (what it is and what it does)” (Wimsatt and Beardsley 31).  I think this definition is very simplistic and straight to the point.

So, just to start, I am not the best artist in the world so I am very thankful that I seem to be at least proficient in my writing and reading skills. For my piece of artwork submission I decided to draw a small picture of the biggest takeaway I learned from this article. This picture I so artistically created portrays a girl reading Hamlet (an exceptionally emotional novel) with a blank expression on her face. Beside her, I drew a sort of jar that holds your emotions for you so as to not dissuade or infer when analyzing such a piece. I think picture relates to the theory because it expresses that Idea of leaving emotions behind when analyzing, reading or interpreting a text.

I tried to see both sides. To expand on that, the sides I am talking about are leaving emotions out vs. using your emotions. I couldn’t really see the side Wimsatt and Beardsley were describing. The Affective Fallacy just seems a bit unrealistic to me. I honestly believe that in order to make good, sound, accurate, concrete interpretations and analyses about a work of literature there must be emotion from the reader or audience. It is a proven fact that when something makes a reader/audience have an emotional reaction, or any reaction, there is more discussion and through discussion comes great interpretations. Emotion can lead you to dig deep into the text and make connections to things that maybe don’t seem so obvious. So my question for this reading would be where do you stand? Do you think it is better to leave the emotions “at the door” per say or do emotions only help to benefit? 

1 comment:

  1. While this post could use a bit more detail in summarizing some of the arguments of the theorists, the artwork is really spot-on. I love the idea of the place where you can leave your emotions. W&B don't mind your emotional reactions--much--but they do want you to contain them so they don't corrupt your analysis. Good work, and a nice conclusion on your post here, especially!