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More Than One Way to (Mis)Read a Mockingbird

More Than One Way to (Mis)Read a Mockingbird More Than One Way to (Mis)Read a Mockingbird by Jennifer Murray The task of criticism, then, is not to situate itself within the same space as the text, allowing it to speak or completing what it necessarily leaves unsaid. On the contrary, its function is to install itself in the very incompleteness of the work in order to theorise it — to explain the ideological necessity of those ‘not- saids’ which constitutes the very principle of its identity. — Terry Eagleton, Criticism and Ideology To Kill a Mockingbird has become the object of a recent renewal of critical interest, starting with Claudia D. Johnson’s To Kill a Mocking- bird: Threatening Boundaries (1994) and culminating in On Harper Lee: Essays and Reflections (2007). Reading through this critical corpus, one is struck by two things: the recurrence of a need to justify having spent one’s time on To Kill a Mockingbird in the first place ( Johnson, Jolley, Hovet & Hovet, and to a lesser degree, Rowe) and the repetitive insis- tence on the themes of racism, sexism, and the ‘coming of age’ typology of the novel. Secondary themes, such as the focus on gothic elements by Johnson, the emphasis on http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

More Than One Way to (Mis)Read a Mockingbird

The Southern Literary Journal , Volume 43 (1) – Mar 16, 2011

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 the Southern Literary Journal and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of English.
ISSN
1534-1461

Abstract

More Than One Way to (Mis)Read a Mockingbird by Jennifer Murray The task of criticism, then, is not to situate itself within the same space as the text, allowing it to speak or completing what it necessarily leaves unsaid. On the contrary, its function is to install itself in the very incompleteness of the work in order to theorise it — to explain the ideological necessity of those ‘not- saids’ which constitutes the very principle of its identity. — Terry Eagleton, Criticism and Ideology To Kill a Mockingbird has become the object of a recent renewal of critical interest, starting with Claudia D. Johnson’s To Kill a Mocking- bird: Threatening Boundaries (1994) and culminating in On Harper Lee: Essays and Reflections (2007). Reading through this critical corpus, one is struck by two things: the recurrence of a need to justify having spent one’s time on To Kill a Mockingbird in the first place ( Johnson, Jolley, Hovet & Hovet, and to a lesser degree, Rowe) and the repetitive insis- tence on the themes of racism, sexism, and the ‘coming of age’ typology of the novel. Secondary themes, such as the focus on gothic elements by Johnson, the emphasis on

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Mar 16, 2011

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