Single Word Analysis Technique (or word peeling)
When you are analysing the author’s use of language (as you will be asked to do in your literature exam and section A of Paper 1) or any time you are analysing or comparing poetry (as you will have to do in the Literature exam and Paper 2) you need to analyse the language. This means you will ‘write a lot about a little’. This technique will help you look at individual words and get to their meaning and purpose in the text you are reading.

The word you are going to analyse The literal meaning of the word What it means in this context

The word’s effect What it does to or for the poem What it makes the reader think or feel

For example (sorry it looks strange, I’ve had to stretch it to make the text boxes work!):
This example analyses the word ‘Spinster’ from Havisham by Carol Ann Duffy

Spinster An older unmarried woman. Negative term. She is a spinster as she was left at the altar by the man she talks about and who she now hates.

‘Spinster’ is a one word sentence suggesting her isolation. Placement at start of stanza draws attention to it – she wanted to be married; the isolation suggests bitterness. This and the plosive ‘Sp’ start helps her spit out the word, emphasising her bitterness. Alliteration with ‘stink’….