Intro.Lit Analysis

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Overview of literary analysis process for work of fiction. Includes overview of story elements and rhetorical devices

Overview of literary analysis process for work of fiction. Includes overview of story elements and rhetorical devices

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  • 1. Literary Analysis Mack Gipson, Jr. Tutorial and Enrichment Center Gayla S. Keesee Education Specialist
  • 2. Literature focuses on the search for reasons , values , and interpretations in all areas of human interest and experience. Because literature presents us with more than one possible meaning , interpreting literature requires more care and attention than does responding to an essay.
  • 3.
    • Read slowly and carefully.
    • Plan on reading the work several times.
    • Ask questions to establish the literal meaning first; then work on interpretation.
    • Annotate as you read.
    • Identify themes and patterns.
    How to proceed
  • 4. An analysis explains what a work of literature means, and how it means it.
  • 5. Critical Thinking and Reading
    • Responding to literature with a critical temperament means always being willing to analyze , interpret , question , synthesize , and evaluate .
  • 6. Critical Thinking and Reading
    • ANALYZE
      • What does the passage mean, literally ?
    • INTERPRET :
      • What does it mean figuratively?
      • Are there symbolic overtones?
      • Can it mean more than one thing?
      • What passages in the text lead you to believe this is a valid interpretation?
  • 7. Critical Thinking and Reading
    • QUESTION :
      • What problems are suggested by the reading?
      • What's confusing?
      • If you had the author here, what would you ask?
      • What philosophical question(s) does the reading inspire?
  • 8. Critical Thinking and Reading
    • SYNTHESIZE :
      • How does this reading compare or contrast what you’ve read previously?
      • How does it fit into your scheme, either thematically or formally?
  • 9. Critical Thinking and Reading
    • EVALUATE :
      • Is it a first rate piece of writing or fifth rate piece of writing?
      • What criteria do you use to establish this judgment?
      • If you are evaluating a poem, for instance, what defines a first rate poem?
      • How does this particular poem match up to that standard?
      • Can you point to the exact places in the text to support your reading?
  • 10. What is Literary Analysis?
    • It’s literary
    • It’s an analysis
    • It’s—
    • An Argument!
    • Uses evidence from the text
    • May also involve research on and analysis of secondary sources
  • 11. How is it “literary”?
    • Usually, a literary analysis will involve a discussion of a text as writing , thus the term literary, which means “having to do with letters”
    • This will involve the use of certain concepts that are very specifically associated with literature
  • 12. How to Analyze a Story
    • Essential Elements of the Story
    • Structure of the Story
    • Rhetorical Elements
    • Meaning of the Story
  • 13. How to Analyze a Story
    • Essential Elements of the Story
      • Plot: Relationship and patterns of events
      • Characters: people the author creates
        • Including the narrator of a story or the speaker of a poem
      • Setting: when and where the action happens
      • Point of View: perspective or attitude of the narrator or speaker
      • Theme: main idea—what the work adds up to
  • 14. Plot
    • Exposition: Introductory material giving setting, tone, characters
    • Rising Action: series of complications leading up to the climax
    • Conflict: Person vs…Person, Nature, Society, Supernatural, Self
    • Crisis/Climax: Turning point in the conflict—moment of highest interest and/or emotion
    • Falling Action: Events after the climax which close the story.
    • Resolution (Denouement): Concludes the action
  • 15. Plot Sequence Introduction Rising Action Crisis/Climax Falling Action Resolution Complications leading to Conflict(s)
  • 16. Characterization
    • Protagonist
      • Main character
    • Antagonist
      • Character or force that opposes the main character
    • Foil
      • Character that provides a contrast to the protagonist
    • Round
      • Three-dimensional personality
    • Flat
      • Only one or two striking qualities—all bad or all good
    • Dynamic
      • Grows and progress to a higher level of understanding
    • Static
      • Remain unchanged throughout the story
  • 17. Point of View
    • First Person
      • Narrator is a character within the story—reveals own thoughts and feelings but not those of others
    • Third Person
      • Objective : narrator outside the story acts as a reporter—cannot tell what characters are thinking
      • Limited : narrator outside the story but can see into the mind of one of the characters
      • Omniscient : narrator is all-knowing outsider who can enter the mind of more than one character.
  • 18. Setting
    • Time period
    • Geographical location
    • Historical and cultural context
      • Social
      • Political
      • Spiritual
    • Instrumental in establishing mood
    • May symbolizes the emotional state of characters
    • Impact on characters’ motivations and options
  • 19. Theme
    • Main idea or underlying meaning of the literary work.
      • What the author wants the reader to understand about the subject
      • In fables, this may also be the moral of the story
  • 20. Common Themes in Literature
    • Questions, issues or problems: what is right or wrong; good or bad; worthwhile or unimportant
    • Abstract ideas: love, death, honor
    • Conflicts: freedom vs. restraint, poverty vs. wealth
    • Common topics: self-realization, mortality, fall from innocence, search for the meaning of life.
  • 21. How to Analyze a Story
    • Structure of the Story: design or form of the completed action
      • May philosophically mirror the author’s intentions
      • How the author uses the elements of the story to reveal his/her theme
      • Look for repeated elements in action, gestures, dialogue, description as well as shifts in direction, focus, time, place, etc.
  • 22. How to Analyze a Story
    • Rhetorical Elements: Identify the author’s use and explain their importance
      • Foreshadowing
        • Use of hints or clues to suggest event that will occur later in the story
        • Builds suspense —means of making the narrative more believable
      • Tone
        • Author’s attitude —stated or implied—toward the subject
        • Revealed through word choice and details
  • 23. Rhetorical Elements
    • Mood
      • Climate of feeling in a literary work
      • Choice of setting, objects, details, images, words
    • Symbolism
      • Person, place, object which stand for larger and more abstract ideas
        • American flag = freedom
        • Dove = peace
  • 24. Rhetorical Elements
    • Irony: contrast between what is expected or what appears to be and what actually is
      • Verbal Irony —contrast between what is said and what is actually meant
      • Irony of Situation —an event that is the opposite of what is expected or intended
      • Dramatic Irony —Audience or reader knows more than the characters know
  • 25. Rhetorical Elements
    • Figurative Language: language that goes beyond the literal meaning of words
      • Simile
      • Metaphor
      • Personification
      • Oxymoron
      • Hyperbole
  • 26. How to Analyze a Story
    • Meaning of the Story (Interpretation)
      • Identify the theme(s) and how the author announces it.
      • Explain how the story elements contribute to the theme.
      • Identify contextual elements (allusions, symbols, other devices) that point beyond the story to the author’s life/experience, history or to other writings.
  • 27. How do I support a thesis statement?
    • Examples from the text
      • Direct quotations
      • Summaries of scenes/action
      • Paraphrases
    • Other critics’ opinions
    • Historical and social context
  • 28. Supporting Your Thesis
    • The Text (Primary Source)
      • As you write, consistently refer to the text to support your purpose.
      • Use the author’s own words—quotes.
      • No right or wrong interpretation as long as you can support it from the text.
    • Secondary Sources
      • Literary Criticism