Notes for teachers by lsy121925


									Teacher resources – A Dylan Affect

Popular culture
Is that which prevails in a given society; it encompasses daily interactions, cultural events that make
up the day-to-day lives of the mainstream and various practices pertaining to, for example, clothing,
cooking, mass media, entertainment and leisure.

High Culture
Idealises the broad and deep life understanding traditionally harboured in the milieu of arts and
sciences of the European Renaissance. Much of the traditional Western public education system is
based on high culture and its doctrines, virtues and value systems. Texts, or literature, fostered
under high culture form part of the Western canon; that is, the canon of books, music and art that is
thought to have been highly influential in shaping Western culture and that have significant literary
and artistic merit.

Going Some Way To Defining The ‘Literary’

There are three genres the literary has traditionally focussed upon: drama, prose fiction and poetry.
Literature came into the university curricula in much of the Western world in the 19th Century, and
became a central part of primary and secondary school education. It was designed to foster a
national culture and as such, it incorporated national history and national language. In Britain,
Europe and America, early literary study was concerned with aesthetics, and students would
investigate the qualities that made ‘good’ literature; the manner in which literature illuminated the
human condition, and; how the texts fit into traditions, or developed previous forms.

In the mid-20th Century, focus was on the text itself in isolation from its background; by the late 20th
Century however, the focus had shifted to the influence of philosophy, politics, anthropology,
psychology and sociology upon texts, under the heading ‘literary theory’. The definition of a text
broadened to include television, media, film, etc. although much focus was still directed at
traditional literary forms.

Theoretical approaches to the literary will investigate whether the text in some way structures
humanity’s perceptions of reality. Texts are the means by which we apprehend the real, everyday
(our culture) and the ways and quality by which they do this is central to their study.

Critical reading therefore involves paying close attention to the formal features and the intrinsic
elements of the text, and relating these to extrinsic elements in a manner which relates to the world,
or universal. A literary text will provoke questions and will not be too quick to offer solutions, if at
all. Literary texts will often question formal conceptual frameworks within which the reader is
operating to read and understand the text. In turn, the reader is empowered to question frameworks
themselves. Thus, readers may become aware of how they are socially constructed and how their
lives are mediated by texts. They may come to read their lives as closely as they would a literary
Teacher resources – A Dylan Affect

Thus, A Literary Text:

   Is aesthetic – contains the imagined or created. This is the art of the text
   Provokes identification with the text, which has some kind of personal affect
   Provides context, that is, it constructs universal concepts in light of the personal, or vice versa.
   Raises awareness of relevant issues / concerns / experience
   Encourages cultural understanding and awareness
   Offers solutions to or makes sense of daily life and wider experiences

The literary text recalls experiences relevant to humanity. These experiences are interesting and are
revealing of new worlds, ideas and possibilities. Due to the timeless nature of their topics, the
literary text is successful in its use of past, present or future settings. The experiences offered by the
literary text engage the audience on an affective level, which results in thought, stimulation and

Although there is no clear-cut definition of ‘quality’, ideas about the notion of quality arise from
description and discussion. ‘Quality’ emerges from originality of the text, coupled with important
ideas, imaginative language, literary ‘beauty’ and artistic style. Value is attached to work that is
interesting and of such meaning that its concepts and ideas remain of significance for a long period
of time. Having said this, fun and easily predictable readings, which simply promote further and
more challenging readings, must also have credibility.

The literary text must be effective, as well as affective, in its communication with its audience. It
must be as announcing as the mirror, whose communication is automatic upon being peered into.
This interaction is essential; it forms the basis for engagement and response communication from
the audience.

                 Brief Notes on the Pop Hero / Icon Phenomenon & Dylan

Bob Dylan’s influence on American popular culture has been wide-reaching and long-lasting. He
has a plethora of essays and books dedicated to his work, written by scholars and music critics,
which offer a myriad of perspectives and commentary on this multifaceted musical legend.

Dylan affected American popular culture on and off the musical stage. From singer to actor, to
media personality and cultural trendsetter, the many contributions of Bob Dylan indeed acclaim him
a popular icon of particularly the 1960’s era.
Teacher resources – A Dylan Affect

Pop icon is a celebrity whose popularity remains constant or even increases as time goes on; their
work still has the capacity to affect whether it was written 30 years ago, or today. The public
usually have extensive access to a pop icon through the media.

The public relate to an icon; Dylan stood up for many humanitarian causes (although he denies this
as his intention) through his work; he thus became a voice of the 1960’s generation of change and
peace, his Blowin’ In The Wind became an anthem for the Civil Rights Movement and his protest
songs charged the ‘masters of war’ and set the trend for peace.

                                How Does the Media Influence?

The media spend millions on marketing geared to increase appeal to their target audiences every
year. There is no denying that the media is an extremely powerful and effective influence, otherwise
it would not have developed into such a huge, worldwide business. The media has an effect on
society as a whole; people want to belong and if media can penetrate the public and shape ‘trends’,
then general society will follow. The media effectively manipulate and create, or construct, public

Society is subject to prejudice / ideology by watching television, reading articles from newspapers
and magasines, reading books, listening to music and even studying school textbooks that often
present stereotypes of certain groups of people.

This infection is a complicated process. The media first affects mood, attitudes and emotions;
actions may then follow suit.

Representation in the Media
Media Representation is the construction in the media (and mass media) of aspects of ‘reality’, such
as people, places, events, objects, cultural identities and other concepts. It may be in writing, speech
and visual form.

Representation involves not only how identities are constructed and represented, but also how they
are constructed in the production process, and reception (reading) process of the target audiences.

A key factor in representation is that the representation, or construction, must be made to seem
natural or real. Representations often involve ideology (making their audiences want to believe) and
as such, these representations position their subjects, or construct their perceptions, ideologies and
The media often use photography and image to create certain representations. In studying image as
representation, consider the following:
Teacher resources – A Dylan Affect

   How are semiotics (signs and symbols) used to construct the image and its context?
   How is reality represented?
   Do you as a ‘reader’ of the image consider it to be a direct experience of reality? How?
   Can you as the ‘reader’ identify certain perceptual codes that ‘mediate’ the image between
    reality and reader?
   Is the image a constructed representation or a transparent reflection of reality?
   Does the image feel ‘natural’ to you as its reader?
   How do you interpret the image? What does it say to you? Do you like it?
   What judgements are you bringing to the image in your interpretation of it?
   What aspects of the image are foregrounded?
   Which aspects of the image are backgrounded?
   Realist approach: Which aspects of the image do you think are true / accurate? Which are
   Constructivist approach: Whose realities are being represented? Whose are being denied?
   Poststructuralist approach: The image’s reality and truth are products of certain systems of
    representation. What about the image may suggest that certain systems are being represented?

Reference sheet of famous war songs and poems:

Revolutionary War
Yankee Doodle

Civil War
Battle of the Republic                                Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!

When Johnny Comes Marching Home                       Dixie War Song

1812 War
Star Spangled Banner

World War I
America (My Country ‘Tis of Thee)             The Old Grey Mare
Over There                                    Hail! Hail! The Gangs All Here
Teacher resources – A Dylan Affect

World War II
God Bless America


Imagine                               Give Peace a Chance
Where Have All the Flowers Gone?      Star Spangled Banner (Hendrix rendition)
For What It’s Worth                   We Gotta Get Out of This Place
Fortunate Son

Iraq War

Whatever Happened to Peace on Earth   Independence Day
The Final Straw                       Have You Forgotten
In A World Gone Mad

Classic Dylan & General

A Hard Rains A-Gonna Fall             American Idiot
John Brown                            War (album U2)
Blowin’ In The Wind
Let Me Die In My Footsteps
Masters Of War
Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
Talkin’ World War III Blues
With God On Our Side

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