• Textual analysis just means analysing or looking closely at a text to see how the writer conveys or gets across a message to you. Writer’s choose every single word carefully. They use a number of language techniques, which are the tricks or skills of the writer’s trade. These techniques are sometimes also called features or aspects.
You will learn to look carefully at:• Word choice: the words the writer chooses to use.• Structure: the way the writer constructs or builds up his sentences, or paragraphs, or the whole poem or story.
• Imagery: for example simile, metaphor and personification in which the writer describes something by comparing it to something else, giving you a vivid image or picture in your mind.• Alliteration and onomatopoeia: and some other techniques in which sound of the words chosen is important.
Imagery: figures of speech using comparison• Simile: is a figure of speech in which one thing is compared to another using the words like or as. This gives a more vivid picture because of the similarity between the two things compared.• For example ‘The parrots shriek as if they were on fire…’ This suggests the noise the parrots are making,which is so loud that it is as if they were in a fire. Itmight also suggest that the bright colours of theparrots, the red and orange, are like the brightcolours of a fire.
Now Try This…’strut like cheap tarts to attract the strollerwith the nut.’• What image does this suggest in your mind about the way the parrots walk? Write your own sentence(s) using the words:The simile ‘strut like cheap tarts to attract thestroller with the nut’ suggests…
• Metaphor: is another figure of speech in which one thing is compared to another because of some point(s) of comparison between them. This time the words like and as are not used.• For example ‘The boa-constrictor’s coil is a fossil.’ The boa-constrictor is a snake that coils itself up in a spiral shape. A fossil is the imprint in stone of a creature that has been dead for millions of years. The most common type of a fossil is shellfish which are a spiral shape.
• Can you see what is suggested here? The shape of the snake is being compared tot the shape of the fossil, but it is also suggested that the snake is so still it looks as if it has been lying there for millions of years.• Did you notice that I have used as if to help explain the metaphor?
Now Try This‘His stride is wilderness of freedom:The world rolls under the long thrust of his heel.Over the cage floor the horizons come.’ Each of these lines is a metaphor.• Choose one of these lines and try to explain the picture or image suggested by it. Write your own sentence starting: – The metaphor (quote) suggests…
• Personification: can be thought of as a special kind of metaphor. In personification, an inanimate object, non-living object is written about as if it was a person or a living creature.• For example ‘Cage after cage… stinks of sleepers from the breathing straw.’ Straw cannot breath- it is not a living creature. It is suggested the straw seems alive because of the smell and breathing of the creature hidden in it.
• Onomatopoeia: is when a word sounds like what it is describing.• For example: ‘The apes yawn...’Onomatopoeia is used to make the writingsound more realistic and dramatic. Yawn makesthe reader slow down because of the longvowel sounds, and the way you have to openyour mouth wide just to say it. In the poem itsuggests the tiredness or boredom of theanimals in the zoo.
Now Try This‘The parrots shriek…’ How does shriek suggest the sound theparrots are making? Write your own sentence(s)starting:The word ‘shriek’ suggests…
• Alliteration: is when letters or sounds are repeated, usually at the beginning of words.• For example: ‘By the bang of blood in the brain…’Sometimes alliteration acts like a tongue-twister, and forces you to slow down topronounce the words properly. This makes younotice them more and draws your attention towhat the writer is saying. Here, all the stressedwords begin with b and suggest one of thosepounding headaches it’s so difficult to get rid of.
Now Try This• ‘Stinks of sleepers from the breathing straw.’What effect does the alliteration in this linehave? What does it make you think of? Writeyour own sentence starting:The alliteration in ‘stinks of sleepers from thebreathing straw’ suggests…