Textual Analysis:What to look for when analyzing a text.
What is textual analysis?• Analyzing or looking closely at a text to see HOW the writer conveys or gets across a message.• Writers choose every single word carefully.• Writers use a number of LANGUAGE TECHNIQUES, also called FEATURES or ASPECTS.
When analyzing a text, 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.
Also look carefully at . . .• Imagery: figurative language 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: sound devices in which the sound of the words chosen is important to the writing
Imagery Figures of speech using comparisonSimile: figure of speech that compares two unlike things using like or as For example: In Act I, Scene V of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth tells her husband to “Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under’t” In this simile Lady Macbeth is comparing the Macbeth to a serpent when she tells him to look and act innocent in front of the King despite the vile feelings he truly has toward the King.
Now try this . . .From Hound of the Baskervilles: “He hadlong, quivering fingers as agile and restless as theantennae of an insect.”What image does this suggest in your mind about theway the man’s fingers look? Try to put it in your ownwords.The simile “long, quivering fingers as agile and restlessas the antennae of an insect” suggests that the man’sfingers were skinny and thin and moved or twitchedquickly.
MetaphorFigure of speech in which one thing is compared toanother to help create a picture in the reader’s mind.The words like and as are NOT used in a metaphor.For example: From Macbeth: “Your face, my thane, isa book where men may read strange matters.”Here Lady Macbeth compares the expression onMacbeth’s face to a book meaning that everyonearound them can tell exactly what he is thinking andfeeling.
Now try this . . . Example: “Her home was a prison.”In the metaphor above, the woman’s home is compared to a prison. What image does this metaphor convey?The metaphor “Her home was a prison”suggests that the woman was trapped in herhome in some way – physically or emotionally.
Personification In personification, an inanimate object (non-living object) is written about as if it were a person or a living creature.For example: In Macbeth, Macbeth says, “Stones have been known to move, and trees to speak” when he is explaining that the dead will get their revenge and bring guilty men to justice. This quotation is an example of personification because stones and trees are inanimate objects and cannot really move or speak. Shakespeare uses personification here to show how something considered impossible can actually happen.
Onomatopoeia Onomatopoeia is when a word sounds like what it is describing.For example: In Macbeth, the witches say “Double, double, toil and trouble; / Fire burn and cauldron bubble.” The words mimic the sound of a boiling cauldron. “Double, double” mimics the sound that boiling water makes.
AlliterationAlliteration is when letters or sounds arerepeated at the beginning of words.In the same example from Macbeth, “Double, double, toil and trouble;” the repetition of the “d” sound and the “t” sound mimic the sound of the constant bubbling of the liquid in the cauldron.