I was assigned the poem, “this land is your land” which was also assigned to me for the previous discussion. I analyzed different literary critical theories and came up to the conclusion that Marxist criticism and readers-response theories could serve better to explain the poem. Following is a detailed overview of the two theories and how they help in critically analyzing the poem.
According to Marxist criticism, literature could be a source of expressing your feelings about a class struggle that might exist in the society. The poem also seems to stress on different social issues and then ask the question about whether this is our land. We could analyze the following lines from the poem.
“One bright sunny morning in the shadow of the steeple
By the Relief Office I saw my people —
As they stood hungry, I stood there wondering if
This land was made for you and me.”
The poet is talking about the poverty and hunger in the society and asking if this is why the country was founded. He is referring to hungry people who are a part of a lower income class and most probably cannot afford food. A country must provide basic necessity to all its people irrespective of their class, color or religion.
Reader-response criticism helps in how a literary piece can connect the reader and the writer. While reading the poem, I was able to connect to the patriotic views of the poet in the poem. I was able to see myself placed inside the poem and wanting my country to be great just like imagined by the poet. I was able to grasp the meaning of the text in my opening. The meaning that the poet wanted to convey to his readers. The poem took me at a journey, a journey that the poet wanted me to take.