Norton Field Guide to Writing, 3rd edition – with Readings & Handbook
Analysis and Literary Analysis
with Literary Analysis
WHAT IS ANALYSIS?
An interpretation of a text
Understanding not only what the text says, but also how it tries to
persuade its readers and influence them
SUMMARIZE THE TEXT
Tell the reader about the main ideas of the text.
If it is a well-known text, you do not have to have a lot of summary.
ATTENTION TO CONTEXT
What else is being said about the topic? Is the text itself a response to a
Lead your readers through a “careful examination” of the text to show your
interpretation of the content.
Interpret – Explain what you think the text means.
REASONABLE SUPPORT FOR CONCLUSIONS
Using the text to back up your claims/ideas.
Your goal is to understand what the text says, how it works, and what it
Read the text carefully
Annotate and take notes for yourself on the content.
Decide what to analyze
Don’t try to analyze the entire text. Look at one or two specific ideas that connect.
Think about the larger context (next slide)
Consider what you know about the writer/artist
Do research on the author.
Study how the text works
How is it structured?
Analyze the argument (next slide)
Come up with a thesis (next slide)
THE LARGER CONTEXT
To consider the larger context, think about these things:
Who else cares about the topic?
Who is the text written for? Why should the reader care?
What ideas does the author present? What ideas do you have based on the
Are there any terms that you are unfamiliar with? Do the terms used show a
Who has the author referenced?
ANALYZE THE ARGUMENT
What is the claim?
What is the paper’s thesis? What is the stance of the author?
What support does the writer offer for the claim?
What reason and evidence does the author supply for their argument?
How does the writer appeal to readers?
Appeals to emotions, logic, and character
How evenhandedly does the writer present the argument?
Does the writer use any logical fallacies?
What authorities or other sources of outside information does the
How does the writer address you as the reader?
COMING UP WITH A THESIS
In an analysis, you are arguing that a text should be read in a
Identify your analytical goal: how do you want the reader to
interpret the original text?
A thesis is NOT a summary of the text.
We will discuss this in class.
However, prepare yourselves by
looking over the chart on page 76 in
Beginnings – pg. 77
Endings – pg. 78
TAKING STOCK OF YOUR WORK
For a “checklist” to go over before handing in a final draft, review
page 81 in your textbook.
For an understanding how how an
analysis works, please read William
Safire’s “A Spirit Reborn” on pages
62-64 in your textbook.
A LITERARY ANALYSIS…
…studies a literary text closely to understand messages, interpret
meanings, and appreciate the writer’s techniques.
Argue for your interpretation of the text’s meaning
CAREFUL ATTENTION TO THE LANGUAGE
What language does the author use? How does it affect the text?
ATTENTION TO PATTERNS OR THEMES
Support your thesis/claim by using evidence from the text itself
Show readers one way the text may be read and understand (as you
ELEMENTS OF LITERARY
The “people” of the story. Who the plot happens to.
The action of the story. What events happen to drive it forward.
Where the story takes place; When the story takes place.