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Literary Analysis HOT!

Literary analysis means closely studying a text, interpreting its meanings, and exploring why the author made certain choices. It can be applied to novels, short stories, plays, poems, or any other form of literary writing.

Literary Analysis


A literary analysis essay is not a rhetorical analysis, nor is it just a summary of the plot or a book review. Instead, it is a type of argumentative essay where you need to analyze elements such as the language, perspective, and structure of the text, and explain how the author uses literary devices to create effects and convey ideas.

  • Table of contentsStep 1: Reading the text and identifying literary devices

  • Step 2: Coming up with a thesis

  • Step 3: Writing a title and introduction

  • Step 4: Writing the body of the essay

  • Step 5: Writing a conclusion

To get started with your analysis, there are several key areas that you can focus on. As you analyze each aspect of the text, try to think about how they all relate to each other. You can use highlights or notes to keep track of important passages and quotes.

Literary analysis is a vital stage in the development of students' critical thinking skills. Bloom's Taxonomy illustrates that analysis should come at the fourth level, right after comprehension and application. What this means is that students must be able to understand and describe the text before they are able to analyze its elements.

To guide students toward discovering literature all on their own, the steps of this process need to be introduced in a simplified form. It's very important for the student to understand that literary analysis is indeed a process where there is no right or wrong answer. This empowers students to be passionate about their topics and, most importantly, encourages them to look beyond the words on the page.

Learning through writing and literary analysis happens through stages (see Bloom's Taxonomy). At this stage of writing, students have already accomplished remembering, understanding, and applying. Next comes analysis.

A strong conclusion outlines the main ideas of the essay, but it also works to provide a solution to a real-life problem. Students can focus on concluding with what they hope to get out of their analysis, or provide closure to the topic. Most importantly, students should seize the conclusion as an opportunity to provide their own opinion and reflection about their process of analyzing the text. The self-reflection here would be a vital key for teachers to assess the writing process and a great opportunity to provide essential feedback to the student.

Literary criticism (or literary studies) is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often influenced by literary theory, which is the philosophical discussion of literature's goals and methods. Though the two activities are closely related, literary critics are not always, and have not always been, theorists.

Whether or not literary criticism should be considered a separate field of inquiry from literary theory is a matter of some controversy. For example, the Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism[1] draws no distinction between literary theory and literary criticism, and almost always uses the terms together to describe the same concept. Some critics consider literary criticism a practical application of literary theory, because criticism always deals directly with particular literary works, while theory may be more general or abstract.

Literary criticism is often published in essay or book form. Academic literary critics teach in literature departments and publish in academic journals, and more popular critics publish their reviews in broadly circulating periodicals such as The Times Literary Supplement, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Review of Books, the London Review of Books, the Dublin Review of Books, The Nation, Bookforum, and The New Yorker.

Literary criticism is thought to have existed as far back as the classical period.[2] In the 4th century BC Aristotle wrote the Poetics, a typology and description of literary forms with many specific criticisms of contemporary works of art. Poetics developed for the first time the concepts of mimesis and catharsis, which are still crucial in literary studies. Plato's attacks on poetry as imitative, secondary, and false were formative as well. The Sanskrit Natya Shastra includes literary criticism on ancient Indian literature and Sanskrit drama.

Later classical and medieval criticism often focused on religious texts, and the several long religious traditions of hermeneutics and textual exegesis have had a profound influence on the study of secular texts. This was particularly the case for the literary traditions of the three Abrahamic religions: Jewish literature, Christian literature and Islamic literature.

The literary criticism of the Renaissance developed classical ideas of unity of form and content into literary neoclassicism, proclaiming literature as central to culture, entrusting the poet and the author with preservation of a long literary tradition. The birth of Renaissance criticism was in 1498, with the recovery of classic texts, most notably, Giorgio Valla's Latin translation of Aristotle's Poetics. The work of Aristotle, especially Poetics, was the most important influence upon literary criticism until the late eighteenth century. Lodovico Castelvetro was one of the most influential Renaissance critics who wrote commentaries on Aristotle's Poetics in 1570.

However important all of these aesthetic movements were as antecedents, current ideas about literary criticism derive almost entirely from the new direction taken in the early twentieth century. Early in the century the school of criticism known as Russian Formalism, and slightly later the New Criticism in Britain and in the United States, came to dominate the study and discussion of literature in the English-speaking world. Both schools emphasized the close reading of texts, elevating it far above generalizing discussion and speculation about either authorial intention (to say nothing of the author's psychology or biography, which became almost taboo subjects) or reader response. This emphasis on form and precise attention to "the words themselves" has persisted, after the decline of these critical doctrines themselves.

In the British and American literary establishment, the New Criticism was more or less dominant until the late 1960s. Around that time Anglo-American university literature departments began to witness a rise of a more explicitly philosophical literary theory, influenced by structuralism, then post-structuralism, and other kinds of Continental philosophy. It continued until the mid-1980s, when interest in "theory" peaked. Many later critics, though undoubtedly still influenced by theoretical work, have been comfortable simply interpreting literature rather than writing explicitly about methodology and philosophical presumptions.

Related to other forms of literary criticism, the history of the book is a field of interdisciplinary inquiry drawing on the methods of bibliography, cultural history, history of literature, and media theory. Principally concerned with the production, circulation, and reception of texts and their material forms, book history seeks to connect forms of textuality with their material aspects.

Among the issues within the history of literature with which book history can be seen to intersect are: the development of authorship as a profession, the formation of reading audiences, the constraints of censorship and copyright, and the economics of literary form.

Today, approaches based in literary theory and continental philosophy largely coexist in university literature departments, while conventional methods, some informed by the New Critics, also remain active. Disagreements over the goals and methods of literary criticism, which characterized both sides taken by critics during the "rise" of theory, have declined. Many critics feel that they now have a great plurality of methods and approaches from which to choose.[citation needed]

Some critics work largely with theoretical texts, while others read traditional literature; interest in the literary canon is still great, but many critics are also interested in nontraditional texts and women's literature, as elaborated on by certain academic journals such as Contemporary Women's Writing,[11] while some critics influenced by cultural studies read popular texts like comic books or pulp/genre fiction. Ecocritics have drawn connections between literature and the natural sciences. Darwinian literary studies studies literature in the context of evolutionary influences on human nature. And postcritique has sought to develop new ways of reading and responding to literary texts that go beyond the interpretive methods of critique. Many literary critics also work in film criticism or media studies. Some write intellectual history; others bring the results and methods of social history to bear on reading literature.[citation needed]

Provides a basic skills course designed to equip students to handle the English major. Emphasizes critical writing and the acquisition of basic techniques and vocabulary of literary criticism through close attention to poetry and prose.

This course treats analysis as a creative act. It assumes that analysis makes it possible to enjoy literature in unexpected ways and that worthwhile analysis stems from creative excitement and enjoyment.

This course provides students with a broad familiarity with literary genres and literary terms, and it trains students in the practices of literary criticism and research. Students will learn to analyze prose and poetry with appropriate strategies, including close reading. The primary application for these newly acquired skills will be classroom discussion and written assignments, both informal and formal, and students will leave the course prepared to join the ranks of English majors. 041b061a72

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