Complete Name Of The Student Essay Sample

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Homosexuality, Literature, Species, Identity, Theory, Time, Orientation, Intercourse

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2020/11/04

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Complete Name of Professor

Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction Annotation
“One illustration of the way sex was made the secret of the individual’s being, a key source of the individual’s identity, is the creation in the nineteenth century of ‘the homosexual’ as a type, almost a ‘species’. Earlier periods had stigmatized acts of sexual intercourse between individuals of the same sex (such as sodomy), but now it became a question not of acts but of identity, not of whether someone had performed forbidden actions but of whether he ‘was’ a homosexual. Sodomy was an act, Foucault writes, but ‘the homosexual was now a species’. Previously there were homosexual acts in which people might engage; now it was a question, rather, of a sexual core or essence thought to determine the very being of the individual: Is he a homosexual?” (Culler 6)
One illustration of the way sex was made the secret of the individual’s being, a key source of the individual’s identity, is the creation in the nineteenth century of ‘the homosexual’ as a type, almost a ‘species’ (6). This is particularly important in the way literary theory has evolved with time. Historically, ‘homosexuality’ is considered a wrath, a disorder, or a disease. Culler here talks about the changes in the value of the word “homosexual” from being a moral issue of act to being a “type” or a “species”. What Culler is trying to imply is that literary theory has gone forward with the cultural and societal changes in the society. Today, being homosexual is prevalently considered as an oriental – a sexual orientation to be specific. But what could have been the driving force to the notion changes in the manner in which the word ‘homosexual’ is being understood in the literary world? Is it possible that literature is largely reliant on cultural influences? And is it feasible to have different options of how any word should be construed in so far as the time in which they have adopted their distinct meaning is concerned? For instance, homosexuality can be taken not just as a “species” or a “type” but also as a “disorder” depending on the context of time for which it is most applicable.
Earlier periods had stigmatized acts of sexual intercourse between individuals of the same sex (such as sodomy), but now it became a question not of acts but of identity, not of whether someone had performed forbidden actions but of whether he ‘was’ a homosexual. In this passage, Culler is clearly referring to the change in the value or connotation of the word. And remember that he specifically cited that this change has taken place in the onset of the nineteenth century. What about the years or decades before that? How is a ‘homosexual’ being considered? Essentially, the role of time and cultural innovation has influenced the way certain words are understood or applied in a particular era. For instance, in the ancient times, Culler argues that sex between “individuals of the same sex” is regarded or believed to be sodomy, which, from a biblical perspective, is a sinful act that is extremely abominable to the eyes of God. However, today, sodomy is no longer linked to moral standards – to whom sex is granted to be practiced – but is has become a question of gender orientation or sexual identity. Therefore, in a literary context, the word “homosexual” has rather embraced a more comprehensive meaning of its word by changing the concept of sexual intercourse – sex can happen to anybody, regardless of their sex, gender orientation, or any other categories.
Sodomy was an act, Foucault writes, but ‘the homosexual was now a species’. Previously there were homosexual acts in which people might engage; now it was a question, rather, of a sexual core or essence thought to determine the very being of the individual: Is he a homosexual? So the question now is instead of asking “Is his act or her act morally right or wrong?” it becomes “Is he homosexual or what?” “What is his sexual orientation?” It is rather difficult to infer if there are no reservations as to how fully people has accepted the changes in the literary context of every word; nevertheless, it is common among society’s that there will always be factions in terms of accepting a particular notion of the word especially if the new concept of the world is culturally incoherent particularly among very conservative individuals. Literary theory, therefore, does not take new concept of the word as its new and sole meaning but it introduces the changes and make variations in the way words should be expressed with respect to their corresponding contexts.

Work Cited Page

Culler, Jonathan. (2011). Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford, UK: Oxford

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