Utopia: Section 3

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Utopia: Section 3

Post by Admin on Thu Sep 17, 2015 2:34 am

Following are some questions we can ask ourselves prior to reading Thomas More's "Utopia".

In "Utopia", More will identify problems in the European society of the 16th century.

- Consider what you already know about European society, and try to predict the problems the author might describe.

- In what ways do you think these problems might be similar to and different from problems in our contemporary world?

- If you were going to write a work of political satire, what problems in contemporary society would you target?

More uses literary conventions such as the frame narrative, perspective, and satire to critique society while avoiding political persecution.

- Is satire common in Chinese literature? Think of a work of satire you have read or heard of before. What makes it effective? What literary forms does the author use to get his/her point across?

- How can we tell when something is satire?

The frame narrative introduces multiple points of view. This style highlights multiple perspectives, which is thematically appropriate in a book that is challenging the ideological hegemony of European culture. The critic Mikhail Bakhtin described this as polyphony. "Polyphony" is a literary device which undermines the monolithic power of mainstream values by "giving a voice" to the narrative style, opinions, and worldview of differing characters. Narrative power is equally distributed amongst the characters, creating a text with many facets. You might want to briefly read about Bakhtin's concept of "polyphony" to help you understand the many ways authors can employ points of view.

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