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Writing about Literature: Understanding Literary Analysis

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Susan Cook

on 22 August 2016

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Transcript of Writing about Literature: Understanding Literary Analysis

Broad Literature Definition: Any compositions that tell stories, dramatize situations, express emotions, and analyze and advocate ideas.
What Is Literature? Why Do We Study It?
What Is Literary Analysis?
A Literary Analysis Essay makes an
interpretive claim
about a story, poem, or play that meets the following criteria:
The Interpretive Claim
Characterizes how a story, poem, or play (or elements of a text working together) communicates a particular idea or meaning.
Why Study Literature in a College Writing Course?
Writing about Literature: Understanding Literary Analysis
Literature can help us grow both as a person and intellectually speaking.
Reading and analyzing literature invites us to "read" and analyze ourselves as we try to understand the characters, their choices, and the various plots and scenarios presented in the texts.
Reading and analyzing literature broadens our horizons by connecting us to types of individuals, cultures, and worlds perhaps vastly different from our own.
Literary texts tend to show certain characteristics more than other texts do
For example, literature calls attention to its form, explores multiple meanings of words and ideas, offers psychological complexity, and require interpretation to fully understand.
Reading, analyzing, and writing about literature allows you to develop your skills of interpretation and evaluation that many other courses demand.
The claim is debatable and offers an argument
The claim is supported with evidence from the text in the body paragraphs
Interpretive Claims seek to answer the following questions:
What does the text mean?
What messages or ideas does the text communicate?
What do the patterns or repetitions in the text indicate?
The claim DOES NOT offer a statement of fact or simply summarize the story.
Summary Claims VS Debatable Claims
Debatable Claims offer an argument that stems from your close analysis and interpretation of the chosen text
Assume that a reader is familiar with Lewis Carroll's novel
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
. Consider which of the following claims the reader would find debatable:
1. Alice is about a young girl who follows a rabbit down a hole and discovers a strange, new world.
2. Alice's decision to follow the rabbit down the hole symbolizes her desire to escape from responsibility as she transitions from a child to an adult.
3. The Queen of Hearts is typically considered the antagonist of the story.
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