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Intro.Lit Analysis


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

Published in: Education, Technology

Intro.Lit Analysis

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