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How should I apply a modern theory to a text which was written before the theory came into being. What factors should be considered when writing a paper on this topic? How can structure help to form a coherent argument out of many seperate issues?

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It can be a daunting task to take a text which is pre-feminism and reflect on it in the light of such a demanding theory.

First: the history of the time has to be looked at. Examine the writing in context. In the case of "Pearl", medieval culture has to be explored. Look closely at how women were defined at the time the piece was written.

Also look at the piece as a whole, are there unusual features, does the writer have a particular point to make [Almost always YES - what is the point, and how does it reflect on your arguments?]. How does the piece work with, and ...

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