Literary Analysis Strategy -

Literary Analysis Strategy -

Literary Analysis Strategy Instructor: Yelena K. BaileyKirby The Purpose of a Literary Analysis: A literary analysis is not merely a summary of a literary work; instead, it is an argument about the work that expresses a writers personal perspective, interpretation, judgment, or critical evaluation of the work. This is accomplished by examining the literary devices, word choices, or writing structures the author uses within the work. The purpose of a literary analysis is to demonstrate why the author used specific ideas, word choices, or writing structures to convey his or her message. How to Create a Literary Analysis:

Read the text closely several times, and focus on the ideas that are being presented. Think about the characters development and the authors writing technique: What might be considered interesting, unusual, or important? Brainstorm a list of potential topics, highlight important passages in the text, and take notes on these passages, and later, when writing the paper, these notes should help a writer to remember which aspects of the story caught his/her attention. The topic chosen should always be based on a writers interpretation of the authors message: On the next slide, there are some things a writer may want to consider when brainstorming for a literary analysis. List of Literary Elements for Analysis Character (i.e. Round, Static, Dynamic, or Flat)

Setting (i.e. Place, Time, Mood) Plot (i.e. Conflict, Rising Action, Turning Point/Climax, Resolution) Theme (i.e. A common thread/pattern, central idea/meaning about human experience that the author wishes to express, etc.) Point of View (i.e. First Person, Third Person, etc.) Symbol (i.e. An object or word that represents another object or word) Irony (Verbal, dramatic, or situational irony is a term that refers to how a person, situation, statement, or circumstance is not as it would actually seem. (See my PowerPoint on Literary Terms for additional literary terms.) Think about what the author is trying to convey with some inquiry Ask yourself:

Why is this work important? What meaning is conveyed by the literary elements (i.e. characters, symbols, setting, etc.)? When viewing this work as a piece of art, what might a writers response be? What themes seem to stand out? What might a writers reactions be to the ideas presented in the work? Are these ideas truthful or relevant to today and how? If a writer were asked what they thought of this work how might they respond? What points might a writer make? Select a topic with sufficient supporting evidence A writer should make sure to include specific details to support the topic. Use highlighted sections of the text as evidence to support the topic that has been chosen.

Interpret the evidence. When writing a literary analysis, it is very important for writers to make sure they express their own personal interpretation of the work, so be careful that the literary analysis is not a summary. Write a working thesis that states a writers perspective but also allows it to be debated. The thesis should state a writers opinion, but it should also allow readers to arrive at their own conclusions. Example Thesis Statements Use a Debatable Thesis: Pride and Prejudice is about Elizabeth Bennets effort to overcome her own proud behavior and discrimination towards Mr.

Darcy, as well as how her family is affected by the haughtiness and preconceptions of the society around them. (This is a debatable thesis because it asks the reader, Does Elizabeth actually exhibit Haughtiness and preconceptions? Is this why she doesnt get along with Mr. Darcy? How is Elizabeths family affected by the haughtiness and preconceptions of the society around them?) Avoid a non-debatable thesis: Pride and Prejudice is about five sisters and their journey to find love. (This thesis is non-debatable because it is

undisputable. The paper is framed as a Summary rather than as a literary analysis.) Hence, you will want to refine your thesis: Make sure the thesis fits with the evidence that has been presented. Also, organize the evidence, and match the evidence to the order of the thesis. Delete any of the original textual supports that may no longer follow the thesis, and gather new evidence if needed.

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