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Lesson 8: Writing about Literature

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1 Lesson 8: Writing about Literature
Topics Why Write about Literature? Angles for Literary Analysis Steps for Writing a Literary Analysis

2 Why Write about Literature?
Writing about literature is one of the most common applications of academic writing. Why write about literature? To provide the reader the opportunity to understand the work at a deeper level. To allow the reader to craft a thought out response to the work. To allow the reader a chance to share his or her own thoughts about the work with others.

3 Literary Analysis The goal of literary analysis is to analyze the meaning or effect of a work. The goal is not to summarize or retell the work. In literary analysis, the work itself serves as the primary source. When conducting a literary analysis, the reader should consider important literary elements like Plot Tone Appeal It is a good idea to keep a reading journal while reading literature that you will analyze.

4 Angles for Literary Analysis
Analyze a theme or plot in the work. Analyze a character. Analyze the author’s tone or attitude. Analyze the structure of the work. Analyze the imagery or symbolism in the work. Analyze the work in terms of cultural or gender differences.

5 Analyzing a Theme or Plot
When analyzing the theme or plot, consider What actions happen in the story? What are the conflicts involved in the work? Is there a lesson to be learned in the work? How do the elements of the story combine to develop the theme? How are the events connected together? The plot is what happens in the story. The theme is what the author is trying to get across through the plot and the characters—it is the central idea suggested by the work as a whole.

6 Analyzing a Character in the Work
When analyzing characters in a work, consider How do the characters interact in the work, and does this support the themes of the story? Does the character change? What does the character’s behaviors reveal about the character and the plot or theme of the story?

7 Analyzing the author’s tone or attitude
When analyzing tone or attitude in a work, consider What attitudes are present in the work? If there is a narrator, is there irony between the author’s attitude and the narrator’s attitude? Does the tone or attitude change throughout the story? How does the narrator’s point of view impact the narrative? Discuss the difference between an author and a narrator.

8 Analyzing the Structure of the Work
When analyzing the structure of the work, consider Is it chronological? Does the structure of the story skip around? If so, why? Does the author use the structure to reveal clues as to what will happen next?

9 Analyzing the Imagery or Symbolism in the Work
When analyzing the imagery or symbolism in a work, consider What images does the author use? How are they used in the work? What is significant about the imagery? What symbols are used throughout the work? How do the symbols used relate to the theme?

10 Analyzing the Work in Terms of Cultural or Gender Differences
When analyzing cultural or gender differences in a work, consider How does the work portray men and women? How does the work define gender roles in society? How does the work portray a specific culture?

11 Steps for Writing Literary Analysis
Follow these steps when writing a literary analysis: Read the work in its entirety. Determine your angle for your analysis. Develop a thesis statement or assertion based on your angle. Reread the entire work looking for evidence to support your thesis or assertion. Take good notes to document your evidence. Research other resources to find support for your thesis or assertion. Take notes to document your findings. Use your notes to write your literary analysis.

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