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Strategies for Literary Analysis - DIDLS SIFT TPCASTT.doc

Strategies for Literary Analysis - DIDLS SIFT TPCASTT.doc

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English 2 - Strategies from the College Board
English 2 - Strategies from the College Board

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Published by: amyecarter on May 08, 2013
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Strategies for Literary Analysis – SIFT, DIDLS, TP-CASTT
DIDLS: The Key to TONE
Diction - the
connotation
of the word choice
What words does the author choose? Consider his/her word choice compared toanother. Why did the author choose that particular word? What are the connotationsof that word choice?
DICTION:
Laugh: guffaw, chuckle, titter, giggle, cackle, snicker, roarSelf-confident: proud, conceited, egotistical, stuck-up, haughty, smug,condescendingHouse: home, hut, shack, mansion, cabin, home, residenceOld: mature, experienced, antique, relic, senior, ancientFat: obese, plump, corpulent, portly, porky, burly, husky, full-figured
Images - vivid appeals to understanding through the senses -
concrete language
What images does the author use? What does he/she focus on in a sensory (sight,touch, taste, smell, etc.) way? The kinds of images the author puts in or leaves outreflect his/her style? Are they vibrant? Prominent? Plain? NOTE: Images differ fromdetail in the degree to which they appeal to the senses.
IMAGES:
 The use of vivid descriptions or figures of speech that appeal to sensoryexperiences helps to create the author's
tone.
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun. (restrained)An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying king. (somber, candid)He clasps the crag with crooked hands. (dramatic)Love sets you going like a fat gold watch. (fanciful)Smiling, the boy fell dead. (shocking)
Details -
facts
that are included or those that are omitted
What details are does the author choose to include? What do they imply? What doesthe author choose to exclude? What are the connotations of their choice of details?PLEASE NOTE: Details are facts or fact-lets. They differ from images in that they don'thave a strong sensory appeal.
DETAILS:
Details are most commonly the
facts
given by the author or speaker as supportfor the attitude or tone. The speaker's perspective shapes what details are given and which are not.
Language - the
overall 
use of language, such as formal, clinical, jargon
What is the overall impression of the language the author uses? Does it reflecteducation? A particular profession? Intelligence? Is it plain? Ornate? Simple? Clear?Figurative? Poetic? Make sure you don't skip this step.
LANGUAGE:
Like word choice, the language of a passage has control over tone.Consider language to be the entire body of words used in a text, not simplyisolated bits of diction.For example, an invitation to a wedding might use formal language, while abiology text would use scientific and clinical language.When I told Dad that I had goofed the exam, he blew his top. (slang)I had him on the ropes in the fourth and if one of my short rights hadconnected, he'd have gone down for the count. (jargon)
 
A close examination and correlation of the most reliable current economicindexes justifies the conclusion that the next year will witness acontinuation of the present, upward market trend. (turgid, pedantic)
Sentence Structure - how structure affects the reader's attitude
What are the sentences like? Are they simple with one or two clauses? Do they havemultiple phrases? Are they choppy? Flowing? Sinuous like a snake? Is there antithesis,chiasmus, parallel construction? What emotional impression do they leave? If we aretalking about poetry, what is the meter? Is there a rhyme scheme?
SENTENCE STRUCTURE:
How a sentence is constructed affects what the audience understands.Parallel syntax (similarly styled phrases and sentences) creates interconnectedemotions, feelings and ideas.Short sentences are punchy and intense. Long sentences are distancing,reflective and more abstract.Loose sentences point at the end. Periodic sentences point at the beginning,followed by modifiers and phrases. The inverted order of an interrogative sentence cues the reader to a questionand creates tension between speaker and listener.Short sentences are often emphatic, passionate or flippant, whereas longersentences suggest greater thought.Sentence structure affects
tone.
ToneSHIFT IN TONE:
Good authors are rarely monotone. A speaker's attitude can shift on a topic, oran author might have one attitude toward the audience and another toward thesubject. The following are some clues to watch for shifts in tone:key words (but, yet, nevertheless, however, although)punctuation (dashes, periods, colons)paragraph divisionschanges in sentence lengthsharp contrasts in diction
TONE
 Tone is defined as the writer's or speaker's attitude toward the subject and theaudience. Understanding tone in prose and poetry can be challenging becausethe reader doesn't have voice inflection to obscure or to carry meaning. Thus,an appreciation of word choice, details, imagery, and language all contribute tothe understanding of tone. To misinterpret tone is to misinterpret meaning.A list of tone words is one practical method of providing a basic "tonevocabulary." An enriched vocabulary enables students to use more specific andsubtle descriptions of an attitude they discover in a text. Here is a short list of simple but helpful "tone words":
AngrySadSentimentalAfraidSharpColdFancifulDetachedUpsetUrgentComplimentaryContemptuousSillyJokingCondescendingHappyBoringPoignantSympatheticConfusedApologeticHollowChildishHumorous JoyfulPeacefulHorrificAllusiveMockingSarcasticSweetObjectiveNostalgicVexedVibrantZealous TiredFrivolousIrrelevantBitterAudaciousBenevolentDreamyShockingSeductiveRestrainedSomberCandidProudGiddyPitifulDramaticProvocativeDidacticLugubriousSentimental
 
SIFT: The Key to TONE and THEME
When exploring how a writer uses literary elements and stylistic techniques to convey meaning ortheme, you may want to consider the SIFT method to practice literary analysis. This method allowsyou to “sift” through the parts in order to comprehend the whole.
SIFT Method 
S
ymbol: examine the title and the text for symbolism
I
mages: identify images and sensory details
F
igures of speech: analyze figurative language and other devices
T
one and
T
heme: discuss how all devices reveal tone and theme
SYMBOL:
Since the title of a story or novel often contains symbols that hint at theme, you shouldfirst be encouraged to reexamine the title. Is part of the title a central symbol in the story? Are thereother significant symbols in the story? What are the characteristics of the symbol(s)? Speculateabout its significance. Has the symbol been used in literature before to represent the same themesin this story? Does the meaning of the symbol change throughout the story, and does the changereveal insights about the author’s use of symbolism and its contribution to theme?
IMAGERY:
Writers use language to create sensory impressions and to evoke specific responses tocharacters, objects, events, or situations in their works. The writer “shows” rather than “tells,” thusallowing the reader to participate in the experience more fully. Therefore, imagery helps to producemood and tone. When reading a piece of literature containing imagery, consider two questions:1.What do I see, hear, taste, smell, or feel?2.What EFFECT is the author trying to convey with these images?Does the story open or close with significant or intense images? Why might the author begin or endwith those images? What kind of information or message do they provide?
FIGURES OF SPEECH (aka FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE):
Writers form images by using figuresof speech such as similes, metaphors, and personification. Find examples in the story and discusshow these figures of speech help to convey effect and meaning. Consider the following questions:1.What is the significance of comparisons in the story? (metaphors, similes, etc.)2.How do figures of speech enhance meaning?Consider other devices used in the story such as irony and allusion. Irony is often found in thecontradictions of expectations and reality, or appearance and reality. How do allusions enhance themeaning or effect of the novel? Does the author retain the original symbolic meaning of an allusion,or does he/she alter it?
TONE:
A close examination of word choice, imagery, and detail reveals a narrator’s attitude or toneand contributes to the reader’s understanding. Find details that reveal the author’s tone toward thesubjects of the story.
THEME:
 To determine the theme, you might:1.Summarize the story.2.List the subject s or motifs that emerge from the summary, such as evil, injustice,inhumanity, social protest, corruption, poverty, tradition, individuality, survival, etc.3.Write a sentence about each subject or motif based on insights gained from analyzingsymbolism, imagery, figurative language, and other devices. Because all literary deviceslead to tone and theme, this process will help you to perceive what insights about life theauthor is revealing about each subject and to refine the process of determining meaning ina text.Ask yourself what life-lessons the main characters have learned or what lessons they themselveshave learned as a result of reading. Look for statements in the story by the characters or the narratorthat comment on life, the world, or human nature, thereby implying theme. Discuss each thematicpossibility and decide which to be the most probable based upon the evidence from the text and fromthis “SIFTing” process, keeping in mind the fact that many stories have more than one theme andthere is seldom just one “right” answer.
Example themes:
Based on the
motif 
of social protest: “When a man becomes a threat to society , that societysets out to destroy him.”
Based on the
motif 
of individual and society: “Man has no individual identity and cannot existas a single human person apart from society.”

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