Date of Completion

Spring 5-24-2018

Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Peter J. Taylor


I believe in literature. I believe it is something more than just text, plot, and fictional characters. I believe literature and our lives are completely entwined and that we must use our lives and who we are to figure out literature, or we must use literature to understand our lives and who we are. My intentions for this paper was to establish a set of ideas that readers can use to make a connection to a text when a connection is not easily identified and from there, find meaning that could potentially change their life.

This paper chronicles my development as both a reader and a seeker, as both a student of the UMasss Boston Critical and Creative Thinking Program and a reflector of life.

I wanted to create my very own “Theory.” What I was able to produce is a concept composed of various parts and techniques used to come together in search for connection, meaning, and action. My research began with reflection of my past experiences with literature from early childhood to college, what it means to me, and how I have connected to it. Included in this narrative is when I began to develop a distance between myself and the text I was reading, mostly out of frustration of not being able to find greater meaning in it. My experience with literary theory introduced a systematic approach to analyzing a text that I saw as a helpful, yet flawed tool, establishing a system to study the text, while keeping myself from connecting to it. The “method” in method theory involves techniques used in Method Acting, a technique of acting in which the actor strives for an emotional connection to the role, an idea that I have adapted for a reader and literature. Metacognition becomes a way for the reader to be able to identify the connection they make. Action will allow the reader to transition the meaning in the book to meaning in their life; to create a way to learn or do something new based on the meaning they find.

I made several discoveries about what it means to truly connect with a text, most notably the idea of taking action based on the discoveries, that literature does not belong on the shelf, but alongside us like a map. My greatest finding though may be my own voice. Method theory is about the individual becoming confident and honest in telling their story. I was able to understand more about how I use literature to change my life and am hoping others find their owns ways.

Ultimately, method theory is part Literary Theory, part Method Acting, part Metacognition, and part Action, all in the hands of an individual reader and seeker. It is a process of identifying and applying the meaning in literature to even greater heights. All these parts can be a valuable resource on an individual level, but when it comes to finding a connection in literature, my hope is that the sum of the parts of method theory becomes a useful tool for individuals who want more out of literature.