Discussion 8: Criticisms in Stories vs. Literary Criticism
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This discussion is based on writings by Adichie, Anzaldua, Atwood, Borowski, Brecht, and Valenzuela, and examines the ways in which writers and poets weave in criticisms into their texts. That is, we consider whether and how writers use their stories, poems, or other creative works to present issues of concern to them.
Criticisms in stories differs from literary criticism. Criticism in stories is implied and communicated indirectly. Literary criticism typically examines not so much what issues may be found in stories, but how well the writers do their jobs telling their stories and communicating with their audiences.
Choose and discuss two questions below. Continue to include a quotation with correct citation in each of your answers, and add a reference at the end of your discussion post. We are gearing up to write Essay 2, and with more practice, the technical requirements for that essay will become easier to handle.
Question 1: What do you think motivated Borowski to write “Silence”? What makes you think so? What responses did he elicit from you with his “This Way to the Gas Chamber”? Try to put yourself into the shoes of readers in the late 1940s and the 1950s, when his collection appeared and consider: Did Borowski succeed with his original audience? What forms of literary criticism do you find helpful in understanding Borowski’s work?
Question 4: How do Brecht and Atwood write against the versions of history and human conflicts most often propagated in textbooks and documentaries? Do they succeed in encouraging their readers or listeners to reconsider their views about history? About power? How did you respond to their approaches? What forms of literary criticism do you find helpful in understanding the work of either author?


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