Taking a Look at the Formalist Theory

1241 Words5 Pages
The formalist approach of the four main types of literary criticisms, closely follow the idea of close reading and emphasis on the text itself. Formalists invest time on the work of the author to determine the meaning. They focus on structure, imagery, symbols, setting, and themes, completely disregarding all other types of ideologies. In the text, “To Build a Fire,” by Jack London, these literary elements flood the story, allowing it to be seen from a different perspective and giving it a whole new meaning. The formalist approach will make the reader take into account all the different factors such as: characters, situational irony, similes, and the use of symbolic vocabulary in relationship to tension and ambiguity. All of these literary elements are not to be looked at individually, but by being put together it will accurately describe the reader’s experience. London’s use of all the various elements such as: imagery, characters, symbols, setting, and theme allows the reader to believe that there is a different meaning behind the authors work. These literary elements may have also been used in numerous locations in his text to allow us to uncover these hidden messages and meanings. As London wrote, “To Build a Fire”, he didn’t want just a simple story about a man on a journey through the Yukon, but a journey with twists. He wanted to place a deeper meaning behind some items or objects that he used but didn’t mention in great detail. Formalists tend to pay close
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