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1.

2 Definition of Culture

Culture is a contested phenomenon which is understood to mean different


things by different groups. It is the integrated pattern of human knowledge, beliefs
and behavior. Culture embodies language, ideas, beliefs, customs, taboos, codes,
institutions, tools, techniques, and works of art and so on. Culture consists of shared
values, beliefs, knowledge, skills, and practices that underpin behavior by members
of a social group at a particular point in time. It is creative expression, skills,
traditional knowledge and resources. These include, craft and design, oral and
written history and literature, music, drama, dance, visual arts, celebrations,
indigenous knowledge of botanical properties and medicinal applications,
architectural forms, historic sites, and traditional technologies, traditional healing
method, traditional natural resource management, and patterns of social interaction
that contribute to group and individual welfare and identity. It is generally accepted
that culture embodies the way humans live with and treat others and how they
develop or react to changes in their environments.

That is to say, culture is a broad concept that embraces all the aspects of the
human life. It includes everything humans do or learn to do as members of society
and it shapes our thoughts and actions, and often does so with a ‘‘heavy hand ’’.
Furthermore, culture has several meanings and definitions, but two are the major
importance to both teachers and learners: Hearthstone or ‘‘little c culture’’ where
culture is defined as everything in human life, it is also called culture BBV 1, and
Olympian or ‘‘big C Culture’’ where culture is the best in human life restricted to
the elitists, it also called culture MLA2.

According to its complex nature, Nieto defines culture as a shape in meaning


term and it has not one stable definition, it can mean different things to different
people and in a different context. So it defined it by saying that culture is connected
to people with formal education and high social status like those who attend TV
shows with a high cultural format like The Oprah Winfrey Show. On the other side,

1
BBV: beliefs, behaviors, and values.
2
MLA : Music, literature, art.
some people reduced the meaning of the word culture to food, holidays, and
lifestyle. However, it is not restricted and limited to these meanings because culture
is a combination of beliefs, customs, shared values as well as history, geography,
religion and even language that a specific group of people in society share.

Other scholars in other fields like Yule defines it as a social knowledge that
unconsciously acquired by a group of individuals in the same society where they
share the same ideas, beliefs and even their way of life. In the same vein, Hinkel
claims that the term culture has many meanings that usually deal with forms of
speech acts, rhetorical structure of discourses, society rules and conventions and
knowledge constructs. Moreover, culture is highly required and important in our
daily life because of its big vitality and importance to understand the world’s view
of life. For this the US Senator Paul Simon said,

“Knowledge of the world’s languages and cultures is more vital than ever. In order
to compete in the global community, we must be able to communicate effectively
and to appreciate, understand, and be able to work in the framework of other
cultures”

In general, culture is not an easy issue to answer; it is a vast and a deep sea
according to the scene and the angle that we want to define culture through it.
However, due to our previous readings and researches, we can define it as a
framework of beliefs, expressive symbols, and values in term of which both
individuals and groups define and express their judgments and feelings in a
democratic and a free way.
1.3 Definition of Literature

Literature is understood in multiplicity of ways. It is a body of written and


oral works, like novels, poetry, or drama that use words to stimulate the imagination
of the reader and provide him with a unique vision of life. The underlying
assumption here is that a literature is a creative work, global form of expression that
addresses the spiritual, emotional, and intellectual humans concerns. However, this
idea is from the fourteenth century. In the eighteenth century literature was viewed
as “well-written books of an imaginative or creative kind”. Good literature is
believed to demonstrate artistry and to have the power to raise questions and
debates, provides new points of view, and let the reader expands his understanding
to himself and to the whole world and even refresh his spirit.

In addition, literature is any factual, imaginative, and creative work about


people’s life and what they have done in their lives as an achievement, what they
have believed, and what they have created or have thought to create. Moreover,
literature is a multitude of works that are written in; books, newspapers, or articles;
spoken, acted, filmed, sung, or drawn as cartoons on television. It should not
portray one view about the human life, for instance only the positive side of their
life, literature should portray different and real visions to the human life whether it
was positive or negative because this implies a balanced and a viable representation
of the human life realities and existence.

Furthermore, literature can be lived through different varieties of media;


audio, audiovisual, oral and so on. It is an expression of culture because it conveys
the human knowledge, beliefs and behaviors.

Now, after we defined literature as an art and as something creative, it is


vital define it in a linguistic method. Any method or approach towards using
literature in the classroom must take as a starting point the question: What is
literature?. The Macmillan English Dictionary and the Oxford Basic English
Documentary give the following definition:
Literature/noun
1. Stories, poems, and plays especially those that are considered to have value as art
and not just entrainment3.

2. Books, plays, novels, and every piece of art that defines special society4

Many authors, critics and linguists have puzzled over what literature is. One
broader explanation of literature says that literary texts are products that reflect
different aspects of society. They are cultural documents which offer a deeper
understanding of a country or countries. Other linguists like Eagleton argue that
there is no inherent quality to a literary text that makes a literary text; rather it is the
interpretation that the reader gives to the text. This brings us back to the above
definition in the sense that literature is only literature if it is considered as an art.

For us, we can define it using different perspective but it keeps it in the same
vein, literature simply means anything that is written: time tables, dialogues,
textbooks, magazines, articles and so on. For instance if you want to buy a car or a
washing machine, you will probably want to see the literature about it, if you are a
doctor and you are going to do a specific surgery to a person, you will certainly see
the literature about that surgery, even in advertisements and marketing, because you
will not buy a product without having an idea about its literature. Furthermore, we
can divide literature and this large mass of materials into two groups, “informative
literature” and “imaginative literature”. Informative literature basically deals with
informations, facts, explanations, history, etc. it tells us about the real word. For
instance a biography about a famous person like the Prophet Mohammed or Nelson
Mandela, its main purpose is to give an idea and to offer knowledge to the reader. In
the other hand, imaginative literature aims to arouse thoughts, imaginations, and

3
The Macmillan English Dictionary. (c) Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2003
3
Oxford Basic English Dictionary, 3rd edition. Oxford University Press
even feelings. Its author express hid ideas and feelings in an artistic way, he would
not convey facts but he basically try to communicate with the reader by his
emotions and feelings in a real artistic way and for the sake of the art in general.

1.4 Relationship Between Language and Culture

The phenomena of language and culture are deeply related by many ways.
Language, surely, is determined by culture, and culture, of course is determined by
language of course, this is based on the replicators that created both. So, we
obviously can claim that language and culture are bounded together by way or by
another.

1.4.1 Culture Determines Language

Words determine thought, starting from this point and the saying of Paul
Valerie “words are the tombs of meanings”, anthropologists viewed that language
and its entire structures were entirely dependent on the cultural context in which
they existed. This was a logical extension of what is termed the Standard Social
Science Model, which sees the human mind is an indefinitely easily managed
structure that is capable of grasping and absorbing any sort of culture without force
of genetic factors. In the same vein, Verne Ray who is an anthropologist made an
interesting study by giving color samples to different American Indians tribes and
asking them to give the names of the colors. As a consequence of this experiment he
concluded that the spectrum we know as “green”, “red”, etc, was an arbitrary
division and each culture divided the spectrum separately. Thus, the divisions seen
between colors are a consequence of the language that they learn, and do not base
on divisions in the natural words. Moreover, a similar study been upheld to Eskimo
words for “snow” where they have almost more than twelve different terms for
“snow”, which is not many more than English speakers and should be expected
since they live in a cold climate.

Surely, there are ways in which culture does really determine language.
Obviously, the ancient Egyptians did not have words and names for televisions,
airplanes, phones, or laptops because simply they were not a part of their culture.
Also, uncivilized tribes in Latin America did not have knowledge to certain Roman
laws such tribunes or praetors because simply it was not a part of their cultural
context.

Our culture does, sometimes, restrict what we can think about efficiently in
our own language. For example, some languages have only three color terms
equivalent to black, white and red; a native speaker of this language would have a
difficult time expressing the concept of “purple” efficiently. Some languages are
also more expressive about certain topics. For examples, it is commonly
acknowledged that Yiddish is a linguistic champion, with an amazing number of
words referring to the simpleminded5.

1.4.2 Language as a Part of Culture

Language is not just a medium for showing and introducing culture, but it is
surely a part of culture. And this is quite spread between immigrants in foreign
countries where they tend to speak their first language between each other even if
they feel comfortable using the foreign country’s language, because they always
tend to preserve their own legacy which includes customs, traditions and even
language.

Linguistic differences are also seen as the mark of another culture, and may
create divisiveness among neighboring peoples or between different groups in the
same area. For instance, an issue is rising in America as speakers of standard
American English - which spoken by the whites and the educated category –
observe the growing number of speakers of Black English colloquial. Such issue
raised a debate of the necessity of teaching black English language in schools as
soon as it reflects a part of their “black culture”, In the same vein, in some African
countries there is a serious issue where we find the mother tongue which is
completely different from their official first language because their cultural life
enforces them to stick to their native mother tongue language. This issue is
presented in almost all over the world, where we find two or more groups live in the
5
Steven Pinker, ‘’The Language Instinct’’, p.260.
same country for centuries and emanate from the same origins but they speak as
different because of their cultural context.

Generally, we can claim that language and culture are related in the way they
affect each other, that is to say, language and culture are two different sides for the
same coin and they both embody each other.

1.5 Relationship Between Literature and Culture

For centuries, people have felt the need to express their opinion on things and
events happening around them and to them. The necessity to demonstrate and locate
their own position in the spatial and temporal dimension naturally led to the process
of documenting these events in various forms and by various media. Such as
Imaginative literature, where it proved to be one of the most vital tools to reflect the
happenings around us. In the words of Philip Tew,

“[n]ovels both rationalize


and engage dialectically with our historical presence, playing their part,
however provisionally at times, in our understanding of and reflection upon
our lives”6

Moreover, as Tew argues,


“[t]o cite history and critical
longevity as offering the only correct or worthwhile arbitration of literary
worth […] is at best questionable and certainly naïve”7

Moreover, literature is seen as a reflection of culture and society, portraying


people’s ideas and dreams set in certain time and space frameworks in the most
creative and imaginary way. It both depicts and inspires social changes and is often
treated as a credible source of culture representation. Following Hanauer (2001)
who argues that literature is a valuable source of cultural knowledge precisely

6
Phillip Tew 2007. “The Contemporary British Novel”. p 07. London/New York: continuum.
7
Ibid. p15
because it does present a personal interpretation of the life and values as the author
of the literary work experiences them. Thus, Cruz argued that the study of literature
allows people to develop new ideas and ethical standpoints, and can help
individuals to present themselves as educated members of society, and he focused
also on that studying literature can be an enriching eye-opening experience.

Literature and culture are deeply interrelated and both have a strong
relationship with each other, because during years and from the oldest of time,
literature embodied culture; The first literary work in English language that conveys
cultural context about life is written in Old English which appeared in the early
Middle Age, and here we mean “Beowulf” from Anglo-Saxon literature, which is a
heroic epic poem. Usually, many writers would like to write about heroine epic
poem or stories in the Old English, telling the story of how the heroes destroyed the
evil and restored their glories. In the poem of Beowulf, the hero Beowulf himself
had to face many battles against the devils called Grendel, Grendel‟s mother, sea
serpents, and the dragon. Generally, this poem of Beowulf in Old English Literature
displays the actual history of ancient Old English period in which the heroes went to
campaigns, fighting against the devils or bad things and finally they returned home
with glories. In the 12th century, the new form of English known as Middle English
evolved which started the Middle English literature. There were three main
categories of Middle English literature: Religious, Courtly love, and Arthurian.

Moreover, the literature written in England during the Middle English period
reflects fairly accurately the changing fortunes of English. French language was
best understood by the upper classes, the books they read or listened to were in
French. The most significant Middle English writer was Geoffrey Chaucer who was
also called as the Father of English literature, and was widely considered as the
greatest English poet of the Middle ages, and wrote “The Canterbury Tales”, a
collection of stories in a frame story between1387 and 1400, giving the general
prologue a matchless portrait gallery of contemporary types, and constituting in the
variety of the tales a veritable anthology of medieval literature. In The Canterbury
Tales, it reflected diverse views of the church in England. After the Black Death,
many people began to question the Church of England and even to start new
monastic orders. Several characters in the Canterbury Tales are religious figures,
and the very setting of the pilgrimage to Canterbury shows the religious and
significant theme of the cultural context in England.

Later in 1476, William Caxton introduced a printing press into England


which flourished the Renaissance literatures such as poetry, drama, and prose8.
Furthermore, English literature was spread by various writers in the early modern
period of England such as William Shakespeare who wrote “Hamlet”. Despite there
were various writers of English literature, the works of William Shakespeare
influence throughout the English-speaking world. Where this play conveyed many
political issues between nations that took place in Europe in that era, and this was a
part of culture about that era which is presented in a piece of literature.

In conclusion, literature stands as a voice that expresses values and beliefs,


and shows how people live as individual or as group with this perspective and how
their cultural life was and how their culture and traditions used to be; literature
becomes the ideal tool to show the learners the English speaking world and to lead
them to discover English culture. It gives a great opportunity for the learners to
increase their world knowledge as they will have access to a variety of contexts and,
which is undoubtly related to the target culture. By developing a literary knowledge
of the English language, learners will also understand and interact effectively with
the English people. They acquire effective linguistic and cultural competences
because the study of the target language is bound to its literature and fine arts.

8
William Caxton, “Baugh & Cable”, 2000, p. 195
1.6 Interrelationship Between Culture and Language

Since 1990, different scholars have dealt with the relationship existing
between language and culture, Risarger (2006) considers culture as a component
and a part that cannot be separated from the language. She adds that linguistic
production and practice is a way of cultural practice since language is always
embedded in culture. Furthermore, Kramsch (1998) relates language to identity and
culture. She believes that there is a natural connection between speakers’ language
and their identity, in other words, by their accent and vocabulary, speakers are
identified to a given speech community. Speakers draw a social importance, pride,
historical, and cultural unity by using the same language as the group they belong
to.

“Language pre-eminently embodies the values of

meaning of a culture, refers to cultural artifacts,

and signals people's cultural identity. Because of its

symbolic and transparent nature; language can

Stand alone and represents the rest of cultures phenomena”9

Moreover, Byram (1989) believes that language is a tool to express speakers’


knowledge and perception of the real world. Thus, it reflects their cultural concepts
and values. He goes on saying that one cannot learn a language and neglect its
culture because speaking a language means expressing its culture, exchanging a
language represents a particular way of thinking and living. Language is bound up
with culture in different ways. First, language expresses speakers’ beliefs, point of
view, and assumptions about the real world. People of the same social group utter
words which express common experiences. That’s why we can say they refer to
facts, events, and ideas that are shared and known among the same social group. In
addition, the languages people speak reflect their authors’ attitudes and beliefs.

9
Byram. Internet article, Teaching Culture in Second Language English Classroom, E-book of Intercultural
Competence 1989:41
Second, members of the same social group create experience through language.
They give meaning to it through the way they interact with each other either with
verbal aspects like «face-to-face conversations”, speaking on the phone or non
verbal ones such us gestures. For instance, the way of sending an e-mail or message
creates meaning that members of the same society understand. Because language
always embodies cultural reality. Thirdly, language itself is seen as cultural value.
In fact, it is through language that speakers identify themselves as members of the
same social group having the same culture. Simply and conventionally, language is
the mirror of any society which reflects all the different characteristics such: social,
political…etc. All in all, Kramsh puts three links between language and culture
which can be summarized as follows:

1. Language expresses cultural reality.


2. Language embodies cultural reality.
3. Language symbolizes cultural reality.

In the same vein, Fishman (1985) is the sociolinguistic who has dealt most with this
issue. He, as Kramsh, identifies three links between language and culture. First
language is an inseparable part of culture because it is impossible to ignore the
place of language in a given culture. Therefore, in order to understand a given
culture, it is crucial to study its language. The second links that he puts is that
language reveals the ways of thinking and norms which are common in the culture.
Finally, he considers “language as a symbolic” of culture. That is, language can be
considered as symbol to defend or attack, encourage or reject the culture associated
with it. Fishman summarizes the relationship between language and culture as
follows:

a. Language as a part of culture.


b. Language as an index of culture.
c. Language as symbolic of culture10.

10
Risarger, “Language and Global Flow and Local Complexity”. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters
However, the most influential scholars dealing with this issue are Edward Sapir and
Benjamin Worlf. Their theory is known as “Sapir & Worlf theory”. According to
them, people from different cultures think differently and so they perceive the world
in a different way. Let’s back again to the Eskimo as an example. Their speakers’
view of the world is different from that of the English one because the word “snow”
has different meanings in their language.. For instance, snow on the grounds, snow
in the air…etc. However, there is only one meaning for the word “snow” in the
English language. So, language obliges the speech community to a restricted view
of the world.

1.7 Language, culture and thoughts. Language shapes the way we think

Is it true that the language I speak shapes our thoughts? People have been
asking this question for decades and decades. Linguists have been focusing and
paying special attention to it since the beginning of the 1940s, when Benjamin Lee
Whorf studied Hopi, a Native American language spoken in northeastern Arizona.
According to his studies, Whorf claimed that speakers of Hopi and speakers of
English see the world differently because of their language differences. What we
have learned is that the answer to this question is complicated. Somehow, it’s a
chicken and- egg question: Are you unable to think about things you don’t have
words for, or do you cannot find words for them because you don’t think about
them? Part of the problem is that there is more involved than just language and
thought; there is also culture. Our culture ,that is to say the beliefs, the traditions,
lifestyle, habits, actions and so on that we grasp from the people we live and interact
with, shapes the way we think, and also shapes the way we talk.
There’s a language called Guugu Yimithirr in Australia (spoken in North
Queensland Australia) that doesn’t have words like left and right or front and back.
They always describe directions using the Guugu Yimithirr words like east, west,
north and south. So, they would never say that a girl is playing in front of her home,
or that the school located in the left of the hospital; instead, they’d say the girl is
playing (for example) east of her home, and the school is located west of the
hospital. Undoubtly, they’d also think of the girl as standing east of the house, while
an English speaker would think of her as playing in front of the house. Has our
language affected our way of thinking? Or has a difference in cultural habits
affected both our thoughts and our language? Thus, most likely, the culture, the
thought habits, and the language have all grown up together. The problem isn’t
restricted to individual words, either. In English, the grammatical form of the verb
in a sentence shows whether it describes a past or present event (Lisa plays vs. Lisa
played). Hopi doesn’t require that; instead, the forms of its verbs tell how the
speaker came to know the information — so you would use different forms for first-
hand knowledge like (I’m thirsty) and generally common information like (the sky
is blue). English speakers might choose to include information such as (I hear Lisa
passed the test), but it’s not required. Whorf believed that due to this difference,
Hopi speakers and English speakers think about events differently, with Hopi
speakers focusing more on the source of the information and English speakers
focusing more on the time of the event.
Objects also are treated differently by the syntax of different languages. In
English, some nouns like (potato) are ‘countable’ and can be made in plural
(potatoes), while others are ‘mass’ and uncountable and can’t be made in plural like
the word rice, for instance you can say two cups of rice but you cannot say two
rices). Other languages, like Chinese, don’t make this distinction; instead,
classifiers like cup of are used for all nouns. Researchers are studying whether this
property of the language makes English speakers more aware of the distinction
between individual objects and substances11. So, it seems likely that language,
thought, and culture form three channels of a chain, with each one affecting the
others.
Furthermore, it is possible to think about something even if we don’t have a
word for it. Take colors for example, there are an infinite number of different
colors, and we cannot find names for all of them. If you have a T-shirt painted by
red and slowly add yellow to it, drop by drop, it will very slowly change to a
reddish orange, then completely orange, then yellowish orange. Each drop will

Betty Birner, edited. “Does the Language I Speak Influence the Way I think”. Linguistic Society of America,
11

Washington DC 20036-6501
change the color very slightly, but there is no one moment when it will stop being
red and becoming orange. The color spectrum is continuous. Our language,
however, isn’t continuous. Our language makes us break the color spectrum up into
‘red’, ‘orange’, and so on.
Moreover, the people of New Guinea have only two basic color terms in their
language — one for ‘dark’ colors including blue and green, and one for ‘light’
colors including yellow and red. Their language breaks up the color spectrum
differently from ours. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they cannot see the
difference between yellow and blue or the difference between red and yellow;
studies have shown that they can see different colors just as English speakers can
and as we can.
So our language does not force us to see only what it gives us words for, but
it can affect how we put things into groups. One of the jobs of a child learning
language is to figure out which things are called by the same word. After learning
that the family’s St. Bernard is a dog, the child may see a cow and say dog, thinking
that the two things count as the same. Or the child may not realize that the
neighbor’s Dalmatian also counts as a dog. The child has to learn what range of
objects is covered by the word dog. We learn to group things that are similar and
give them the same label, but what counts as being similar enough to fall under a
single label may vary from language to language. That is to say, the influence of
language isn’t so much on what we can think about, but rather on how we break up
reality into categories and label them. And in this, our language and our thoughts
are probably both greatly influenced by our culture12.

1.8 Role of Literature in English Language Teaching

Literature is considered as a rich source of ‘authentic material’ because it


transfers two features in its written text: first one is ‘language in use,’ that is to say,
the use of linguistics by those who have mastered it into a fashion intended for

12
Nunberg, Geoffrey. 1996. “Snowblind.” Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 14: p. 205–213.
native speakers; and the second is an aesthetic representation of the spoken
language which is meant to represent language within a certain cultural context.
‘Language in use’ breaks through the stable nature that is established by the
textbooks grammar of a classroom. There is a common question that sooner or later
a student will ask: “where does the English we are learning come from?” Well,
many teachers will remain unsure in providing an answer. Though the textbook may
contain vocabulary structures that could lead the reader to think it is a British or an
American English, class instructors know better. Usually the object of study is a
mixture of American and British English that is why it is better to answer that it is
“random English”, that is standardized artificially, and surely this is the origin of the
conflict; this random English (or nowhere English) is as neutral as it is primary
situation. It helps students to communicate with a native speaker but only at a
‘survival’ level that is necessary to all this kind of students. Furthermore, it provides
students with an approach to the language fed by different linguistic uses of the
language as well as “forms and conventions of the written mode: […] irony,
exposition, argument, narration and so on” (Collie and Slater).
Literary works of some authors like Joseph Conrad or Mark Twain convey
the way language is spoken in certain geopolitical context. This provides students
with a good idea of how language is used for instance by Mississippi shore
inhabitant in the late nineteenth century13. It is necessary “to remind English
students that these reconstructions are no more than aesthetic recreations that in
some cases include a critical reflection about the use of language, and not direct
samples of language from those contexts”14. Paradoxically, literature as being
something artificial and aesthetic can be treated as a more authentic source and can
inspire more authority both in the use of language and in its enrichment than any
other source or material like English textbooks. Thus, this shall make students more
eager to create and develop a relationship with language since they are
reconstructing it by themselves and for their own learning purposes. However,
according to Collie & Slater, language enrichment is not limited to just this sort,

13
Huck the protagonist of Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”
14
José Hérnandez Riwes Cruz, “The Role of Literature and Culture in English Language Teaching”.
http://relinguistica.azc.uam.mx/no007/no07_art09.htm
because whether it is through an aesthetic reading or through reading for the sake of
getting information (efferent reading), it does provide a rich context in which both
individual and lexical items are made more memorable. A literary text provides
students with a clear idea about the syntactic structure of a written text and how far
the written language differs and shapes from the spoken one. By getting used of the
sentence function, the structure of a paragraph, and the section or a chapter, their
writing skill develops and their speech skill acquires fluency. For sure, students
expand their vocabulary and grammar base by being exposed and attached to a
literary text. That is to say, the process of “language enrichments” automatically
leads to the process cultural enrichments, because looking up for words in a literary
text leads for the looking up for cultural context.
In an efferent reading, the literary text provides a diversity of information
regarding the geographical location of the portrayed culture. Students, while reading
get an idea about the story and its historical background and even the way of life
that took place at that time. So they develop insight into the country that speaks the
target language they are learning. Moreover, an efferent reading emphasizes on the
descriptions of architecture, weather, dress, decoration, customs and traditions, and
other things, in which it helps the learners to enhance vocabulary, language, and a
cultural insight. This approach, however, presents two major disadvantages. First,
an efferent reading keeps the students alienated and separated from the text and
language, as it prevents what Robert Scholes described as an active environment of
creative experimentation at a personal and collective level15.

Second, cultural insight is very superficial according to the nature of the


efferent reading, since readers only follow the steps provided by the text itself, so
missing the intertextual references and sources that are provided by the literary
work. Well, in order to avoid this lack in the classroom, the efferent reading must be

15
Translated. ZOREDA, Margaret Lee. 1999 “La lectura literaria como arte de performance: La teoría
transactional de Louise Rosenblatt y sus implicaciones pedagógicas” en Zavala, Lauro, comp. Y pres. Lecturas
simultáneas: la enseñanza de lengua y literatura con especial atención al cuento ultracorto. México:
Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Xochimilco.
connected and must have a relationship, and even supported by the virtues that are
offered by an aesthetic reading. Another institutional perspective, in the efferent
reading the text is viewed as a finished and closed object that a student can only
contemplate passively from the perspective established by the teacher. An aesthetic
reading helps the students make connection between the culture implied in the
literary text that they are dealing with and their own cultural context, and make
them recognize the influence that occurred to their identity due to the literary work
and the target language.

1.9 Role of Culture in English Language Teaching

The debate about the necessity of teaching culture in English classroom and
whether or not it shall be included in a language classroom is from a long past; now
the discussion points to a matter of method16. Claire Kramsch argues that it is vital
to be aware that culture in language learning is not an expendable fifth skill; it is
present within the four language skills (writing, speaking, listening, and reading).
She focuses on the role of context and the circumstances about the right and the
accurate use of language. Culture offers ELT a vast view of perspectives that can be
employed to enhance and develop the dynamics of a class; even more
undergraduate students, who have already chosen a specific and a certain area of
study and tackle specific case in the field and may show hatred and ignorance to a
teacher’s ambitious lesson plan if they do not take it as relevant or important. So, it
is important to know the methods that a teacher might employ in order to avoid
teaching meaningless symbols or symbols to which the student gets the wrong
meaning.

16
We will use Claire Kramsh’s definition and observation as a starting point:
“Culture constitutes itself along three axes: the diachronic axis of time, the synchronic axis
of space, and the metaphoric axis of the imagination […]. Teaching culture means therefore
teaching not only how things are and have been, but how they could have been or how else
they could be. Neither history nor ethnography provide this imaginative leap that will
enable learners to imagine cultures different from their own […] culture is arbitrary, which
doesn't mean it is gratuitous, only that different events could have been recorded if other
people had had the power to record them, different patterns could have been identified,
these patterns in turn could have been differently enunciated; which is why culture, in order
to be legitimate, has always had to justify itself and cloak its laws in the mantle of what is
"right and just" rather than appear in the naked power of its arbitrariness.”
According to Dimitrios Thanasoulas, there exist two perspectives about
culture teaching and that have influenced and served as a model for integrating it to
language teaching:
One pertains to the transmission of factual, cultural information, Which
consists in statistical information, that is, institutional structures and other
aspects of the target civilization, highbrow information, i.e., immersion in
literature and the arts, and lowbrow information, which may focus on the
customs, habits, and folklore of everyday life.

All this perspective offers data unable to provoke a deep reflection in the
class and that restricts teachers and students to a mere awareness of the way of life
of the country where the information has been taken from, just like an efferent
reading. Since there is no other lead around this information that could direct
students to contextualize it, their idea of the culture of the country that produces this
“amounts to facts,” and could remain as sterile as if it came from a printed travel
brochure. The other perspective, which draws upon cross-cultural psychology or
anthropology, “has been to embed culture within an interpretive framework and
establish connections, namely, points of reference or departure, between one’s own
and the target country” (Thanasoulas). According to him, the boundaries of this
approach are that it shall only give learners cultural knowledge and it is up to them
to integrate it with the assumptions, beliefs, values and traditions of their own
society. However, at this point the role of the teacher can make a difference. As in
an aesthetic reading, the teacher needs to guide the students so that they can build
their own interpretation using their own experience, by their use of critical thinking
and then comparing and contrasting the two different cultures.
In order to avoid a similar approach to the application of Eco’s theory about
the open work, the teacher must Supply guidelines to prevent over interpretation
and make sure that their critical thinking is grounded. The students after they find
the influence of the target language culture by their own, they will develop a critical
reaction about how this culture has been transformed and adapted by their own, and
what their culture’s response has been. Afterward, the teaching of culture is seen as
a mean of ‘developing an awareness of the values and traditions of the people
whose language is being studied’17. Similarly, it empowers the values and traditions
of the students’ own culture, and so makes them more involved human beings in the
society and in the world. This can be viewed as an international cultural
communication or called as an intercultural communication, just what Byram
emphasized on. According to Michael Byram, the process of intercultural
communication is a function of the skills that are brought by the student to the
interaction and to the field. These skills can be divided into two categories: the first
one is called Skills of interpretation and establishing relationships between aspects
of the two cultures, which is about analyzing data from both local and foreign and
test the relationship between them. While the second is called Skills of discovery
and interaction. This basically is about the discovery of new data and the interaction
with other speakers. Most generally these skills are gathered in the same category
because most of the times the skills of discovery come with the skills of interaction.
However, in some cases and circumstances Skills of discovery can be treated
separately and independently from skills of interaction.
At the end, the role of culture in ELT is considered as vital and crucial, since
it means the difference between occasional speakers who remain outsiders and
speakers who understand the meaning behind the words and the world that is
constructed by them. As Samovar, Porter, and Jain observe:
Culture and communication are inseparable because culture not only
dictates who talks to whom, about what, and how the communication
proceeds, it also helps to determine how people encode messages, the
meanings they have for messages, and the conditions and circumstances
under which various messages may or may not be sent, noticed, or
interpreted... Culture...is the foundation of communication.

So, they emphasized on the importance and the necessity of integrating


culture with communication and vice versa because they represent an inseparable

17
Adopted from Byram’s “Teaching and Assessing Intercultural Communicative Competence”. 1997
chain that bound each other, and they help people to encode and understand
universal messages and meanings under any circumstances and situations.

1.10 Aims & Importance of Teaching Literature in EFL classrooms18

Most people see literature as an important part of education. But not everyone
truly thinks why that is. The importance of teaching literature lies in its ability to
make students acquire many abilities and talents; in encouraging their critical
reading, growing analytical thinking, building valuable skills and raising the
students' view to the whole worlds. Nowadays, the importance of teaching literature
in classrooms is sometimes and somehow questioned. For instance anybody can
wonder why bother students read stories and spend their time reading books about
events that are not even true or real instead of just teaching them what they need to
learn and push them to the world. Surely, such questions may seem ridiculous to
many educators and scholars. Without any doubt literature is important, and for this
it plays a crucial and a central place in the curriculum. But we can’t imagine how
literature has many ways to contribute in the education of learners with different
ages. Because education is something than should be above and beyond passing just
flat information; it’s also about raising critical thinking skills and fostering our
understanding of the world around us.

Cultural Value
Stories were and still having massive and central importance to humans since its
beginning, as far as we can tell. Undisputedly, cultures were built on stories, tales,
histories, myths, legends, religious stories and so on. Before the students understand
and participate in the culture in which they belong and even grasp it, they first are
invited to read about the stories that consist many cultural aspects and hide plenty of
cultural contexts within them. However, not only books provide these kinds of
“culture-providing” stories. Even religious books and stories do, let’s take the Bible

18
For further information. Read more : http://www.ehow.com/info_12020375_objectives-teaching-
literature.html
as an example, many biblical words and terms are transformed and got involved
within literary works that have references and allusions to the Bible itself.

Expanding Horizons and overcoming the boundaries


Everyone and particularly students have a desire to go over the limit and know
what’s going on in the whole world. Hence, the ultimate goal behind teaching and
educating literature is to expose and show them ideas from other cultures, and to
teach them and give them illustrations about histories and peoples of other times
and places because literature is considered as an idealistic way to do this. Mark
Twain’s marvelous piece of literature “Huckleberry Finn”, for example, puts the students

into the mind of a boy (Huck) living in the south of the Mississippi during the
1800s, letting them experience his life’s event and knowing the mentality that took
place during that era. Through this experience they learn what it was like to live in
that time period, and how the people talked and thought and acted. This shall make
them experience more events and live them inside their minds, thus they will
acquire the ability and the desire of knowing more, and even they will find
themselves eager to go beyond the limits and the boundaries in order to feed their
greediness.

Vocabulary Building and Enhancing


Having a large amount of vocabulary is vital for several reasons. It enhances both
writing and reading abilities, but it also push the way for certain complex discourse.
Because the larger your vocabulary range is, the more deep discussions and
important topics you face and both inside and outside of the classroom.
Furthermore, in their speech, people tend to use a limited range of vocabulary, so
the best way to become exposed to new words is to read more and more.
Thus, reading and tackling literature is considered as important due to its necessity
to construct and enhance vocabulary. Because any novel automatically contains
diversity of words that students almost never seen or heard before, and through this
they will acquire them and grasp their meanings and add them to their dictionary.

Enhancing Writing Skills


Writing skills is one of the toughest skills in the language because it requires more
than linking words and sentences together, it needs a high level of grammar and
vocabulary and a professional mind to master the rules and apply them. However,
the best way to become a good writer is through reading. When you read you are
being deep inside the language. Students who tend to read seem to have more
knowledge of how language works, and consequently they will have an advantage
when they start to write a piece of writing. And this can be happen by reading
literary works and books because many old literary works teach and convey their
writers’ way of writing and their method of dealing with language. For instance
when you read a work of Charles Dickens like “Oliver Twist” or “Hard Times” you
will have an idea about how Dickens’ language and writing style is elegant and
remarkably artistic, and this let the student eager to write like him and use his
writing style because he is motivated by Dickens’ creativity and uniqueness of the
language. As can be seen, literature serves as valuable teachers where it teach
students how to use a previous written language to make a new own one in order to
improve their writing skills and communicate with the world.

Growing Critical Thinking


Education make the students a critical and a communicative part due to its means
and tools to make them valuable elements in the society, and one of these tools is
the ability to think critically through analyzing and criticizing everything around
them. Literature as a part of education serves this goal as well as many novels
encourage critical thinking and require an analytical way of thinking in order to
understand and grasp the hidden meaning within them, that is why teachers tend to
select such novels to be taught in the classroom in order to grow the critical thinking
of their students and make them a critical minds in the society because literature
promote this kind of activity where it teaches the students how to read a passage and
then it makes him wonder how and why it was written like that and in this way.
Building Reading Skills

Students must practice reading regularly to build and enhance their reading skills,
because reading literature provides another path for this simple practice. Particularly
during early-reading instruction, teachers who read literature in their class often aim
to help students hone these all-important skills.

Create Connections

Reading literature is not just learning about the literary works themselves, but also
about learning how the world works and runs. Through exploration of literature,
learners will have the chance to put themselves in others people’s life, giving them
the chance to see how people are connected and to make them better understand the
structural complex of the human relationship.

Create Students’ Enjoyment

Students can find enjoyment in reading literature and its works, that’s why the
teachers carefully select their literary works that will be taught in the classroom, to
show how these works are enjoyable for reading them. Because students don’t need
to read words that fill the pages in books, they need to live events and experience
facts through imagining and enjoying those works because this is the only way to
make them motivated to understand and continue reading these literary writings.

In a word, through the discovering of literature, students can immerse


themselves in the world more than any they have seen before, because literature
provides multiplicity of benefits for them, through conveying cultural context,
building their grammatical rules, enhancing their critical thinking, blending them in
the world and connecting them with societies. That is why the teaching of literature
in the EFL classes is considered as a high priority and with vital necessity.
2.3 Literature in T.E.S.L Programs

Literature was at first the principle vein of info for guiding in dialect classes
in the period of Grammar Translation Technique. Yet from that point forward it has
been dropped down the platform. Actually with the appearance of structuralism and
audio-lingual system, literature has been minimized and thusly dropped to the
margin. (Collie and Slater, 1987, p.2). Likewise in the period of Communicative
Language Teaching, literature was ignored and more consideration was given to
dialogs and discussions which were more functional and unmistakable in this
present reality circumstance. Maley (2001) contends that this state of mind toward
literature is because of a lack of observational examination affirming the criticalness
of abstract data for dialect classes. Maley asserts that what exists as of now as
observational examination on composing and tongue instructing are certain to
movement research in little balances.

Taking regard of every one of these disapprovals, amidst the 1980s a few
professionals and dialect researchers revived literature as a dialect learning material
after a long extent of being disregarded. This can be affirmed by seeing such a
variety of distributions proclaiming the returning of literature in dialect classes
(Maley, 1989). Moreover, connected etymology filled the arrival of literature for
dialect instructing. Publications which laid the red carpet for the arrival of literature
were productive right now including:

 Carter & Burton, 1982


 Maley & Mouldings, 1985
 Collie & Slater, 1987
 Bassnett & Grundy, 1993

2.3.1 For Literature in ESL

Literature is regarded as a crucial tool in language learning, scholars and researchers


in this field have cited many advantages for the use of literature in ESL programs.
What follows is a brief outline of what we can say the benefits and merits of
literature in ESL.
Authenticity
Literature is inherently authentic and provides authentic input for language learning
(Ghosn, 2002; Shrestha, 2008). According to Maley (1989) literature manages non-
trivial and serious things which are relevant. Authenticity is viewed as very
important in the literature in the ESL classes which naturally exist in the literary
texts. In drama for instance, authenticity can be seen in conversations, dialogues,
feelings and expressions that take place between the participants.

Motivations
Literary texts provide motivation for their authenticity and the meaningful context
that they offer to learners. Literature handles things that are fascinating in nature
and incorporates little of any uninteresting things (Maley, 1989a). Motivation is one
of the elements which guide learner to process. Motivation can be achieved if
learners are exposed to what they really want and what they really find their
enjoyment in. Studies revealed that students find their motivation and feel enjoyed
when they are exposed to literary texts for learning purposes.

Cultural Awareness
Literature was and still providing cultural and intercultural awareness (Van, 2009)
especially in the era of imperialism, industrialization and globalization). Nowadays,
since literature deals with universal concerns rather than individual ones, there is a
growing need to grab on literature as an input source in developing learners’
abilities. Literature deals with universal concepts such as love, hatred, death, nature,
traditions, values and other elements that are common to all languages and cultures,
where the difference, similarity, and even the relationship between cultures and
languages can expand our understanding for life and enrich our vision to the whole
world.

Intensive & Extensive Reading


Literature is considered as beneficial for both extensive and intensive reading
processes due to its diverse content, where novels and books are one of these.
Learners can be given a week just to experience a novel without broad use of word
reference or dictionary. A test like this shall increase their reading speed and help
them improving their meaning guessing in reading any literary text. Consequently
students will learn and get used of how to read a lot in a short period of time. For
instance some of us can enjoy their experience of reading his/her favorite book in a
short period of time and will see how this process is helpful for increasing self
extensive reading.
On the other hand, poetry can be the suitable literary genre for intensive reading,
because poetry requires deep and close analysis. Thus, the students are invited to
read carefully and dig for hidden meanings in each stanza of a particular poem such
as allegories and metaphors in order to grasp the real meaning of that literary text.

Enhancing Language Skills

Similarly with the standards of CLT19 (Van, 2009), literature is rich of many
unlimited genres that can help in the development of the language four skills:
writing, speaking, listening and reading (Erkaya, 2005, Fitzgerald, 1993, Knight,
1993, Latosi-Sawin, 1993, Nasr, 2001, Spack, 1985).
For writing purposes, literature provides a good floor for the practicing of writing.
For instance, us as Master students that literature is our field of study, having
complete a short story or a poem is very encouraging because we can make the end
of the story in our own words or even narrate it with a different point of view
according to our understanding and critical thinking, and this is a similar activity for
practicing writing fluently.
For speaking purposes, many events and occasions that take place in a poem, a
book, or a short story can be associated with our real life because many literary
texts reveal and depict social issues in their context. This helps the learners to
practice warm discussions about those raw topics in their foreign language classes.

19
Abb : Communicative Language Teaching
Let’s take the example of our experience as 2nd Master students, we dealt with many
Post Colonial African novels that depict the issue of Colonialism and Imperialism
of the Europeans toward the native Africans, this helped us in creating debates,
conversations, and even intellectual discussions about the effect of colonization in
the real life, thus it was useful for growing our speaking abilities and for increasing
our critical thinking competence.
For listening purposes, students can be exposed to the audio extracts of stories and
poems or novels. Even the musical elements in poetry help the learners to hear and
focus on the rhythm and the intonation of native speakers that is provided within
these literary genres, and this will help them to develop their listening ability and
make them ready to indulge these new elements in their other skills.
For reading purposes, as it is mentioned before, novel and poetry provide vital
opportunities for extensive and intensive reading, it help the students to practice
their skills of scanning, skimming, and digging in texts in order to find new ideas.
In general, reading in literature is a combination of reading for enjoyment and
reading for getting information.
All in all, literature fills the lacks in non-literary texts. In matter of fact, it is not
only helpful for language learning purposes in general, but it is useful also to
accelerate language learning in content-based instruction (Shang, 2006).

2.4 Aims & Importance of Teaching Culture in Literature

Language and culture are inextricably interrelated; the use of language is


meaningful only in a context, and culture is part of this context. One important
implication is that a language cannot be taught without its corresponding culture.
The relevance of culture to FL learning is highly put in evidence when it comes to
teaching literature. It has always been believed that literature offers an ideal means
to teach about people’s way of life. Literature can be studied for a better
understanding of culture as may culture be studied for a better understanding of
literature. An effective way to make foreign language literature accessible to
learners is, thus, to introduce them to the culture in which this literature was
conceived.
Culture features in literary texts, also named culture specific elements or
expressions, have been an area of interest for many researchers. Gillian Lazar
(1993) defined culture features as “objects or products that exist in one society but
not in another” (p. 63).That is, culture features are specific to one culture and stands
it out from another one. She also identified the following as being the culture
features that can be found in
literary texts: proverbs ;idioms; formulaic expressions which embody culture
values; social structures; role and relationship; customs ; rituals; traditions ;
festivals; beliefs; values; superstitions; political, historic, and economic
backgrounds; institutions; taboos; metaphorical and connotative meanings; humour;
representativeness to what slice of culture or a society does a text refer and status of
the written language in different cultures (ibid, p. 66). This suggests that the load of
culture specific elements in literary texts unravels for foreign learners the hidden
aspects of the target culture such as cultural values and connotative meanings.
These cultural aspects if well invested by teachers can open a window to better
insights on the target culture.
The study of culture features in literary texts promotes intercultural understanding.
Because classroom discussion about culture will be grounded in specific aspects
portrayed in particular literary contexts, using literary texts helps avoid culture
stereotyping that can occur when discussing cross–cultural differences (MacKay,
1986, p.193). Thinking critically about cross – cultural issues might increase
learners’ intercultural awareness and open their perceptions to different worlds.
The particular importance of literary texts in promoting intercultural understanding
lies in the possibilities of reflective analysis of the culturally informative classroom
discussions. According to Alred, Byram and Fleming (2003) having an intercultural
experience through a direct encounter with native speakers is not enough to develop
a culture skill. Rather there must be reflection, analysis and action (p.7). Specified
elements for discussion involving literary texts are deemed more effective via the
study of literature because culture specific elements in literary texts are well
organized. That way they for drawing analogies and contrasts between different
cultures (MacKay, 1986, P.193). Hence, narrow and superficial understanding of
the target culture might be safely avoided via target discussions of culture features
inside EFL classrooms.
Furthermore, the study of culture features in literary texts endorses learners’
intercultural understanding. Analysis of culture features, other than opening a
window to others’ ways, makes learners reflect on their own. Colby and Lyon
(2004) argued that reflections on literary texts help learners identify with their own
culture (p. 24). It is getting learners to think about different cultures what actually
pushes them to think more critically about their own culture. Reflecting on culture
features in literary texts enhances learners’ critical thinking and acceptance of
differences.
In general, teaching culture in literature considered as helpful to the learners
where its main aim is to provide them with aspects of life of certain societies in a
particular period of time, in the same vein it is beneficial for building their literary
skills and will make them eager to read more literary text due to the motivation that
provides for them.

2.5 Ways and Techniques of Teaching Culture in Literature

Culture is roughly defined as a set of values, beliefs, traditions and the lifestyle of
any society in the world. Hence, its relation to literature is very important as it is
mentioned before, where the teaching of literature would not be considered as
complete without the cultural aspect.

So, culture need to be taught in literature, and for this both teachers and learners are
invited to follow certain techniques, methods and approaches to teach it fluently and
effectively, each with his own style depending on the environmental structures that
surround him and his learners, some ones will base on some specific materials,
others will depend on their ability of making culture rightly reached by students,
and some others may base on the motivations that the students find in the literary
texts…etc

2.5.1 Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Process


Showing literature and culture in a remote dialect connection relies on upon the
status of dialects and societies in a given society (e.g. in people in general
instructive framework). There is a wide assortment of status relating to remote
dialects, extending from less generally utilized and lesser taught dialects up to all
the more customarily taught dialects, for example, French, German and Spanish
which will affect the formal instructing of literature as a major aspect of a dialect
learning program.

2.5.2 The Right Use of Knowledge and Skills

Teachers should find a way to use their cultural language and their literary skills to
plant the cultural aspects in the students’ minds, where they need to have language
about the historical, social, political and cultural factors that led to the writing of the
specific piece of literature that they are dealing with, also they need to understand
the principal concepts of the literary theory that is embedded in the literary text
itself without forgetting their ability of identifying, describing, and discussing the
others and their works and the main tendencies in a certain period of foreign
language literature and its culture. Moreover, identifying and distinguishing the
different functions of literature throughout the ages application of theoretical tools
for literary analysis and use of theoretical terminology for the analysis of literary
text are all essential for teachers to have in order to facilitate culture understanding
to learners from all ages.

2.5.3 Teachers’ Educating and Training


Teachers of foreign language should be skillful and talented to teach culture in
literature. However, some are not, especially in the 3rd World countries where
teachers lack the adequate training to teach such highly important genres and they
don’t have the needed information about the target culture that is to be given to
learners. So, it is very vital and crucial for their educational systems to contact
foreign and developed educational systems in Europe and America to enhance the
level of their teachers’ competence through attending seminars, organizing and
creating inter-cultural debates, and contacting other universities and exchanging
experience with them.

2.5.4 Use of Genuine Materials

Teachers are invited to use a set of genuine materials such as audio, visual, and even
audio visual ones to give more authenticity to the teaching of culture in literature.
That may help both learners to better receive cultural aspects and understand the
cultural factors of any given literature, and help the teachers to transfer the cultural
context to learners in a good work condition.

2.5.5 Proverbs

Discussions of common and famous proverbs in a foreign literary text could make
the learners focus on how the proverbs are different from or similar to proverbs in
students’ local literature and how their historical and cultural background are
different from those they are dealing with.

2.5.6 Using behavioral and disciplinary methods


Teaching culture is not an easy activity to perform, it requires for concentration and
a high level of professionalism from teachers, where they should urge the students
to act good in order to create the suitable atmosphere for the right process of
learning; through obligatory attendance of students, enhancement of students’
behavioral activities, and fixing their wrong disciplinary habits…etc

2.6 Role of Culture in Literature20

Greenblatt in his article managed the thought of "culture" itself. All things
considered, the article is named "culture" and in the event that it will be the
fundamental center, the initial step is characterizing what "culture" really is. He
calls attention to that culture has not generally been a piece of abstract support and
truth be told, the very "idea" of "society" is moderately new. He cites the

20
For more information on Greenblatt's article. Visit the link
(http://blogs.setonhill.edu/GretaCarroll/2009/04/defining_culture_and _its_role.html/
anthropologist Edward B. Taylor as characterizing society as, "that mind boggling
entire which incorporates learning, conviction, craftsmanship, ethics, law, custom,
and some other abilities and propensities obtained by man as an individual from
society" (437). Greenblatt, instantly in the wake of giving us this definition, giving
so as to characterize culture ‘a not insignificant rundown of different ideas’ (some
of which's own definitions are doubted) barely abandons us with anything valuable
by any stretch of the imagination.

According to him, the first thing that we should consider is that “the concept
gestures toward what appear to be opposite things” (437) that is to say that we
should consider the effect of post structuralism on the new historicism in a way that
we expect opposites to appear somewhere. These opposite things are “constraint
and mobility”.

He manages “constraint” first. He clarifies that the ensemble of beliefs and


practices that form a given culture function as a pervasive technology of control, a
set of limits within which social behavior must be contained, a repertoire of models
to which individuals must conform (437). He clarifies that these boundaries may be
substantial and are upheld in three ways: great ways like outcast, detainment in an
asylum shelter, reformatory bondage, or execution , more guiltless ways like a
deigning grin, giggling balanced between the pleasant and the wry, a little
measurement of liberal compassion bound with scorn, cool quiet, and ultimately
there is encouraging feedback through prizes for "good conduct" including "terrific"
prizes like fabulous respects, sparkling prizes and "the evidently humble" like a
look of appreciation, a deferential gesture, a couple expressions of appreciation.

Next, instead of moving to “mobility” aspect, Greenblatt continues dealing


with constraint but in relation to literature. He describes that literature has been a
very powerful entity in constraining and urging people to respect cultural
boundaries. He tells us that,

“Works in these genres often seem immensely important when they first
appear, but their power begins quickly to fade when the individuals to whom the
works refer begin to fade, and the evaporation of literary power continues when the
models and limits that the works articulate and enforced have themselves
substantially changed. The footnotes in modern editions of these works can give us
the names and dates that have been lost, but they cannot in themselves enable us to
recover a sense of the stakes that once gave readers pleasure and pain”
(Greenblatt,437).

This is when culture comes in. Granted, we can never make ourselves completely
apart from our own position and even we cannot understand the position of
someone else, but the understanding of culture helps us to understand to some
extent the boundaries that existed before.

Greenblatt then provides us with a helpful arrangement of six questions


which he clarifies are the beginning stage for us to consider the culture behind a
work. The inquiries are the accompanying:

1. What sorts of behavior, what models of practice, does this work appear to uphold?
2. Why may readers at a specific time and place discover this work is convincing?
3. Are there any differences between the own values and the values implicit in the
work that you are reading?
4. On what social understanding does the work depend?
5. Whose freedom of thought or development may be obliged certainly or expressly by
this work?
6. What are the larger social structures with which these particular acts of
praise or blame might be connected?
However, Greenblatt likewise gives us a notice in the wake of giving us these starter
questions are very important and critical. In new historicism, we need to develop
past the work we are reading into the social connection and the cultural context,
“but these links cannot be a substitute for close reading” (438). So on the grounds
that we have to consider the above inquiries, does not mean we can disregard the
content or the suggestions that are embedded in the text.
Then he added that not just because culture influences literature means that
literature has no power, or that literature cannot influence culture back. He says that
cultural analysis then is not by definition an extrinsic analysis, as opposed to an
internal formal analysis of works of art. At the same time, cultural analysis must be
opposed on principle to the rigid distinction between that which is within a text and
that which lies outside. It is necessary to use whatever is available to construct a
vision of the ‘complex whole’ to which Tylor referred. And if an exploration of a
particular culture will lead to a heightened understanding of a work of literature
produced within that culture, so too a careful reading of a work of literature will
lead to a heightened understanding of the culture within which it was produced.
The organization of this volume makes it appear that the analysis of culture is the
servant of literary study, but in a liberal education broadly conceived it is literary
study that is the servant of cultural understanding (Greenblatt, 438).

Greenblatt now proceeds onward and utilizes Edmund Spenser's The Faerie
Queen as a segue in the middle of constraint and mobility. He takes note of the
imperatives present in it, as Spenser himself has said that the reason for his
incomprehensible sentiment epic… is to form a courteous fellow or honorable
individual in prudent and delicate control (439). Yet, in the meantime as Spenser
says this, his characters continually are "meandering a nonexistent scene" which
signs to mobility. Greenblatt clarifies this inconsistency in the middle of constraint
and mobility with the accompanying, and he argues that if society capacities as a
structure of points of confinement, it additionally works as the controller and
underwriter of development. For sure the breaking points are for all intents and
purposes unimportant without development; it is just through spontaneous creation,
analyze, and trade that social limits can be set up. Clearly, among distinctive
societies there will be incredible differing qualities in the proportion in the middle
of versatility and constraint. A few societies long for forcing a flat out request, an
immaculate stasis, yet even these, on the off chance that they are to duplicate
themselves starting with one era then onto the next, will need to submit themselves,
however likely or unwillingly, to some insignificant measure of development;
alternately, a few societies long for an outright mobility, a flawless flexibility, yet
these too have dependably been constrained, in light of a legitimate concern for
survival, to acknowledge a few cutoff points (439). This is likely one of Greenblatt's
most essential ideas. He clarifies the connection in the middle of constraint and
mobility, literature and culture. No matter how free people want to be, there will
still have to be some limits or general boundaries will ensue. Just as no matter how
many constraints some people may want, there will always have to be some
mobility, for it is impossible to completely eliminate it.

In another word, our cultures must find a ‘pleasant connection’ between constraint
and mobility, so that most people can be satisfactory committed. However, in spite
of the way that a kind of agreement has been made where the vast majority can deal
with their measure of freedom, works of art (in a particular literature) are still
composed about how the one deals with this compromise. Every individual may
wish for pretty much freedom, how does one deal with these cultural boundaries?
That is the thing that art investigates. At the end, he stated that the students need to
study the relationship between constraint and mobility and between history and
literature, and not to try to separate them21.

21
For more information about this idea. Visit the following link
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/EricaGearhart/2009/04/some_suprise.html
2.7 Teaching and Developing Cultural Awareness and Culture Skills through
Literature

Culture features in literature have been an area of interest for many scholars and
researchers. Gillian Lazar defined culture features as “objects or products that exist in
one society but not in another” (1993. P. 63). It implies that culture features are
particular to one culture and stands it out from another. She likewise recognized the
accompanying similar to culture features that can be found in literary texts: proverbs
;idioms are stereotyped expressions which embody the values of culture, and social
structures; role and relationship; customs ; rituals; traditions ; festivals; beliefs; values;
superstitions are political, historic, and economic backgrounds, while institutions;
taboos; metaphorical and connotative meanings; humor are representativeness to what
piece of culture or a community does a text refer and status of the composed language
in various cultures (ibid, p. 66). This suggests that the charge of culture features
explores for foreign learners the hidden aspects of the target culture like cultural
values and suggestive implications. These cultural aspects if they are well transformed
and invested by teachers can pave the way to better insights on the target culture.
The investigation of culture features in literary texts advances intercultural
understanding. Since classroom examination about culture will be grounded in
particular angles depicted specifically in literary texts, utilizing literature maintains a
strategic distance from cultural stereotyping that can happen while talking about
cross–cultural contrasts (MacKay, 1986, p.193). A critical thinking and contemplating
cross – cultural matters may build learners' intercultural awareness and open their
discernments to various areas and worlds.
The specific significance of literary texts in advancing intercultural
understanding lies in the potential outcomes of intelligent investigation of the
culturally informative classroom talks. By, Byram and Fleming (2003) having an
intercultural experience through an immediate experience with local speakers is
insufficient to build up a culture skill. Maybe there must be reflection, analyses and
action (p.7). Specified components for exchange including literature are considered
more powerful by means of the investigation of literature since culture particular
components in literary texts are very much well-organized. That path they for drawing
analogies and contrasts between various cultures (MacKay, 1986, P.193). Thus,
narrow and shallow comprehension of the target culture may be securely avoided
through target dialogs of culture features inside EFL classrooms.
Examination of culture aspects makes learners consider their own. Colby and
Lyon (2004) contended that reflections on literary texts make learners identify and
recognize their own culture (p. 24). It is motivating learners to consider different
cultures what really pushes them to think critically about their own particular culture.
All in all, reflecting on culture features and aspects in literature improves
learners' critical thinking and acknowledgment of the differences.

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