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How to Write a Literary Analysis

Achieving Success with the Independent Reading Project

Katie Wood

on 11 December 2012

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Transcript of How to Write a Literary Analysis

Determining Your Focus Crafting Your Thesis Creating Your Presentation Writing the Essay Brainstorm Characters Setting Cultural / Historical Context Figurative Language Determine your argument Theme + technique Examples Get some support! Figure out how to organize it! Elements of an Effective Essay How to Write a Literary Analysis
What observations might a writer make about the characters?
Are there discrepancies in what they think, say, or do?
Are the observations a writer makes different from what other characters say? How does the author describe the characters?
Are the characters “dynamic” (a dynamic character is a character that undergoes important changes throughout the work)?
Are the characters “static” characters (a static character is a character that stays the same throughout the work)? Are the characters symbolic or representative of some universal quality?
Is it possible that two characters in the text might be compared or contrasted? How are literary such as similes, metaphors, imagery, juxtaposition and hyperbole used throughout the text?
How are these figures of speech important in relation to the meaning of the text?
Are figures of speech interrelated between other literary elements?
What allusions are made throughout the work?
Are there repeating patterns, symbols, or motifs? Plot How might the beginning of the work be interpreted?
How does the plot build suspense?
Does the author use techniques such as foreshadowing or flashback?
Are there patterns of cause-effect relationships? Are there influences from any particular social, racial, ethnic, or religious groups?
What is valued or frowned upon in the culture?
How do these influences impact characters or the plot?
What are the attitudes of the society in which the novel is set?
How do those attitudes shape the novel? Is there a relationship between the work’s setting, culture, context and its mood?
Does the setting reflect the work’s theme? How does the setting impact the characters?
Does a change in the setting affect the mood, characters, or conflict?
In what time period is the novel set?
How does the time period influence the plot or characters? Theme What is the major idea or theme of the work?
How does the author relay this theme?
Is there a greater meaning to the details given?
How do the characters’ moods affect the theme?
What does the title say about the theme? Gwendolyn Brooks' 1960 poem "The Ballad of Rudolph Reed" demonstrates how the poet uses the convential poetic form of the ballad to treat the unconventional poetic subject of racial intolerance. The fate of the main characters in "Antigone" illustrated the danger of excessive pride. The imagery in Dylan Thomas' poem "Fern Hill" reveals the ambiguity of humans' relationship with nature. In the short story "Old Man at the Bridge," Ernest Hemingway explores the tragedy of war and how it destroys the lives of the innocent as he dramatizes the helplessness and downfall of the old man. What is my thesis? How is the plot structured? Does it rely on foreshadowing? Flashbacks? Suspense? Is it linear / chronological? Circular? -Direct quotes
-Examples of your device
-Thematic connections
-Must include parenthetical citations (Wood 23).
-Follow proper MLA format From your novel AND articles... Standard Outline Format

Thesis: typed at top of page
I. Follow Roman numeral format
A. Use capital letters for subpoints
B. Every A must have a B
1. Every 1 must have a 2
2. Phrases only - no sentences
II. General requirements
A. Times New Roman, 12 point font
B. Double spaced
C. Proper heading at top left
D. Intro, body, and conclusion Introduction
Attention getter +
Background information +

Topic sentence +
Contextual information +
Evidence (direct quote, specific detail, etc.) +
Connect to thesis

Restate thesis
"Higher conclusion" - so what? Implications, applications, questions for further consideration, etc.
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