Lite rary Writi ng the w to Avoid s i s (or Ho A naly ress Your and Imp Fs Teac her)Paine College, Augusta, GA Mack Gipson, Jr. Tutorial & Enrichment Center rev. 9/2006
An analysis explains whata work of literature means,and how it means it.
How is a literary analysis an argument?When writing a literary analysis, you will focus onspecific elements of the text (small parts)When discussing these attributes, you will want tomake sure that you are making a specific,arguable point (thesis) about these attributes.You will defend this point with reasons andevidence drawn from the text.
Interpret: what does “x”mean to you? Ask yourself “WHY?” Why do I think this? What gave me that idea? Where in the story does this appear most often? Essays should be your opinion on a part of the novel.
Do not…Summarize: …you don’t need to prove the plot – we know the book has a plot. Assume the reader has read your novel. …you don’t have to prove that the main character is the main character. Avoid the obvious facts.
How to Analyze a StoryMeaning of the Story (Interpretation) Identify the theme and how the author announces it. Explain how the story elements contribute to the theme.
Theme (expressed ina full sentence) 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
Characterization Round Protagonist Three-dimensional personality Main character Flat Antagonist Only one or two striking qualities—all Character or force that bad or all good opposes the main Dynamic character Foil Grows and progress to a higher level of understanding Character that provides a Static contrast to the protagonist Remains unchanged throughout the story
Thesis – must have 2components Subject Opinion character, what you think setting, theme, about that etc element Juliet sympathetic/d ynamic character
Creating a Thesis The thesis should state the basic point you want to communicate. Includes your three pieces of evidence. It should be deep - something that not everyone would think of It should be new and original
Creating a Thesis Spend the body of your paper arguing that your thesis provides an interpretation which is clearly supported by the text. Do not deviate from discussion related to your thesis
How do I support a thesisstatement? Examples from the text Direct quotations Summaries of scenes/action Paraphrases Use only examples that directly relate to your thesis.
Tips for Writing the Body Make sure that each paragraph centers on one specific idea (character’s emotions, the lesson the character learned, the significance of the setting) The topic sentence of each paragraph shows a link between the content of the paragraph and your thesis statement
Topic Sentence – the one element youwill discuss and how it relates to yourthesis. “Juliet is a dynamic protagonistin Romeo and Juliet because shedisplays a spectrum of humanemotions, from love to hate.”Introduce a moment that proves yourargument. “During the balcony sceneof Romeo and Juliet, the readerwitnesses the conflicting emotions inthe female protagonist.”
Quote or paraphrase a specificexample. “Juliet is confusedabout her feelings for Romeo,claiming that ‘her only lovesprung from her only hate’”Analyze the example. “Havingbeen brought up to hate theMontagues, told that they are vileand untrustworthy, she cannot atfirst explain her attraction toRomeo and believes that he hasimpure intentions towards her.”
Conclusion Remember to strive for depth and significance Don’t repeat the intro – instead, try to connect the theme to the real world. Tell the reader what implications the novel has for readers today. Why is it important to read this book.