Writing About Literature

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					    Writing About Literature
Write a literary
analysis based on
reading literature
To share with readers
some insights about an
aspect of a poem, play,
story or novel. Or,
write to examine two
or more works.
  The Role of Good Reading
It is essential in good writing.
Underline, circle, or highlight passages that
strike you as particularly important.
Make notes in the margins as to why certain
points strike you.
Ask questions of the text.
Talk back to the text.
Look for unusual features of the language.
Develop your own system of shorthand.
  The Role of Good Reading
Keep a reading journal; include page numbers.
Write extensive notes on the text.
Record a list of unfamiliar words and their
Write your reflections on the text.
Write lengthy questions and save room for the
answers, when you find them.
  Questions about the text
  Questions about the author
  Questions about the cultural context
  Questions about the reader
    Writing About Literature
In a literary analysis,
your thesis and
supporting evidence
grow directly out of
reading the text
Select the textual
evidence that supports
your thesis.
Analysis of the text
requires close reading of
the text.
    Writing About Literature
Examine both what
the author says and
how he or she
expresses it
Close textual analysis
develops ones ability
to think critically and
independently as well
as strengthens your
own writing.
     Writing About Literature
To analyze literature, you
must know a plethora of
key literary elements and
terms such as: POV,
theme, irony, satire,
figure of speech imagery,
symbolism, motif, poetic
devices and other literary
terms and techniques.
    Ask Questions About the
Do you like the work?
What does the writer
seem to be saying?
Do you have a strong
reaction to the work?
Why or why not?
What overall
impression does the
work have on you?
How to Read a Literary Work
Ask questions about the work
such as:
  What themes appear in the work?
  Ask specific questions of the text
  such as genre, structure, language,
  and style.
  Ask questions about the author and
  his/her historical background.
  Ask questions about the historical
  context and time period of the work.
How to Read a Literary Work
Ask questions about the author:
  What is the author’s biography and/or historical
  What was going on in the author’s life?
  Were there any traumatic or profound events in
  the author’s life?
  What is it that you don’t know about the
 How to Read a Literary Work
Things you should know about the author:
  Age, gender, religious beliefs, family structure and
  other factors may have an impact on the work.
  Distinguish between the narrative voice and the
  actual author as well as between what is written and
  what is meant.
  Remember that not everything an author writes is to
  be taken at surface value.
  Knowing about an author’s life can help you
  understand how to read a work of literature.
How to Read a Literary Work
Ask questions about the cultural context/
historical background:
  What was going on in history at the time the
  piece of literature was written?
  Were there wars or other forms of social
  What was the standard of living for most
  people? What was day-to-day life like?
  How to Read a Literary Work
Ask questions about the reader:
  Who was the intended audience when the piece was
  Were they actually the people who read the piece when it
  was published?
  How are readers’ expectations fulfilled or disappointed by
  the structure and content of the literature?
  How did the original readers react? Was the work widely
  popular, or did only certain readers enjoy it?
  Was there controversy over the work
  How did you react to the piece of literature.
        The Writing Process
Choose a topic
  Find a topic you are genuinely interested in
Develop a thesis
  State your argument – the writer’s attempt to
  establish the validity of a given position
  Be clear and specific, relevant, debatable,
  State your thesis as a complete sentence
  Stick to the thesis; keep looking back at thesis,
  work to prove it
       The Writing Process
Gather and organize support for your thesis:
  The text itself is the most obvious source of
  Other people’s ideas are a good source of
  Your own thoughts are the most important
  support (except in a research paper).
  Use your annotated text to gather thoughts and
       The Writing Process
Take notes from the text with your thesis in
mind; look for support and new ideas.
Cluster information together based on
similarity in idea or best support for idea.
Each paragraph should contain one main
idea and sufficient evidence and explanation
to support the idea
The Writing Process

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