Although it is not yet commonplace to include literary theory in middle and high school classrooms, research has revealed its positive influence on student participation and critical analysis skills. Using such theories as gender studies, cultural studies, Marxist (social class) theory, and new historicism, students are able to analyze literature through various lenses thus expanding their understanding of cultural, gender, social, and political issues. This can make the text more relevant to the real world and consequently attract those students into the class discussion who normally would not participate. It holds the potential to be transformative and liberating.
Critical Encounters in High School English: Teaching Literary Theory to Adolescents by Deborah Appleman