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Word Count: 1,962
An Investigation into the Structure of Gogols The Portrait Gogols The Portrait is a short story which examined through a formalistic approach can be understood beyond its obvious storyline and plot Formalism is the literary theory that literature is not simply a mass of words but comprised of individual words that each may possess a social stereotype a spiritual aspect or convey a physical response in the reader Formalism asserts that the world is full of codes that need to be decoded By investigating these codes one can understand the world or in this scenario the literary message better These codes in literature must appear as defamiliarzied or distorted in literature Everyday aspects of life outside of their average element still maintain their same definition but bring that very definition to a different context thus enabling one to see that original definition in a new light and indeed apply it to elucidate other situations similar or completely dislike to the primary one The Portrait can be completely and logically dissected by formalistic methods I will concentrate on Part I of this short story solely concerning Chartkov to produce a more concentrated and concise investigation of the story Formalists took the power of the word to the next level by seeing that the word can be used as a tool to educate and better the masses or for pure propagandist purposes Art according to the formalists not only bears meaning it forces an awareness upon the reader This awareness is dependent upon the accepted and expected produced images of the words in literature These images transcend time and place images change little from century to century they flow on without changing images belong to no one Thereby in making these familiar images seem strange the reader perceives it in an entirely new way A formalist approach to the opening of The Portrait entails
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