Analyzing Forms of Oppression
This lecture focuses on utilizing specific criteria for analysis-three
forms of oppression-to write about a text, in this case the film The
Milagro Beanfield War written by John Nichols and directed by Robert
Redford. It will help to prepare you to write an effective essay that
analyzes The Milagro Beanfield War for its perspective on the three forms
of oppression.
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You will be able to understand and identify the three forms of oppression
as they are expressed in a text and be able to
. Distinguish forms of external oppression:
1) racism
2) sexism
3) poverty
4) ethnocentrism.
. Recognize forms of internalized oppression:
1) internalized racism
2) sexism
3) classism.
. Pinpoint instances of horizontal oppression.
Lecture [pic]
Reading the Text
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|[pic] |Oftentimes, texts utilize various techniques to |
| |structure the elements of the plot, not always |
| |presenting them in sequential order. You will need |
| |to be able to identify the techniques: |
| |in medias res (beginning with complicating action |
| |flashback (to previous events) |
| |flash forward (to future events) |
| |You will also want to consider the way the text |
| |begins and ends: |
| |the title |
| |the first lines of the text (or the opening scene: |
| |abstract, orientation) |
| |the last lines of the text (or closing scenes: |
| |resolution, coda) |

Sometimes a text utilizes a structure that creates a circular closure, that
is, it circles back from an element present at the beginning of the story
or film (such as a description of a character, dialogue, or a setting or
place), to that same element at the end of the story or film.
Main Points and Supporting Detail. In order to identify main points or
ideological concepts that are presented in a text, one must first decide
upon the criteria for analysis he or she will use. Oftentimes in college,
an instructor will give an assignment that identifies these criteria, in
this case the three forms of oppression. However, you might be asked to
find main points on your own, which then involves identifying the thesis
(or abstract, in the case of a narrative, along with the evaluation and
resolution). You will use annotation and reading strategies to find the
main points and detail supporting them:
Annotation. When analyzing a text for any criteria for analysis, it is
important to first familiarize yourself with the text thoroughly, reading
or watching it several times; you must also annotate the text if it is in
print or digital form, highlighting and noting examples of the criteria you
are exploring; if it is a film, you'll need to take good notes and write
down examples of the criteria for analysis you identify. Most expressions
of oppression will occur through characterization, that is, the way in
which characters in a literary work or film are constructed, usually
? dialogue ? action ?description
Reading Strategies. Remember to follow these reading strategies:
1. Read the text (or watch the film) in its entirety to get an overview;
2. Re-read (or watch a second time), highlighting main points and writing
brief summaries in the margins (or summarizing the plot in your notes
for a film);
3. Re-read the text again (or watch the film again), this time
identifying characters who exemplify the criteria for analysis, in
this case the three forms of oppression;
4. Annotate the text by underlining examples and writing down quoted and
paraphrased material that connects to the three forms of oppression;
5. Review your notes and annotations, exploring for an overall argument
or point that the text is making about oppression.
Lecture [pic]
Definitions of Oppression
Many theorists have attempted to define oppression. Marilyn Frye, who
writes about sexist oppression in particular, explains an important element
of the word:
[pic]"[T]he root of the word 'oppression' is the element 'press.' The press
of the crowd; pressed into military service; to press a pair of pants;
printing press; press the button. Presses are used to mold things or
flatten them or reduce them . . . Something pressed is something caught
between or among forces and barriers which are so related to each other
that jointly they restrain, restrict or prevent the thing's motion or
mobility. Mold. Immobilize. Reduce."
? Misuse of the Term
For good reason, Frye contends that "oppression" is a strong word that "is
much misused, and sometimes not innocently." Indeed, many people use the
term "oppression" for experiences that do not really constitute