Formalist Criticism

Tar Baby by Toni Morrison
Your analytical argument will use as a framework, one of the Literary Criticism approaches (Formalist, Psychological, Gender, Mythological, Sociological, Reader Response, Historical, Deconstruction) discussed in class and found in handout.

Some questions to help begin the investigation:

Formalist Criticism
1. What allusions are found in the text (for example, the tar baby story)? Trace these allusions to their source and explore how the origins of the allusions shed light on the meaning of the novel.
2. What are the prominent symbols, images, and figures of speech used in the novel? What are the relationships between the symbols, or images, or figures of speech? Between one symbol and an image etc?
3. What tensions, ambiguities, paradoxes or ironies arise in the novel? How do the elements of fiction support or develop the main tension, or ambiguities, or paradox or ironies within the novel?
Psychological Criticism
1. Analyze one of more of the main characters in the novel using Freudian or Jungian theories.



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