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Literary Analysis Tips What is a literary analysis?

In a literary analysis, you write a formal paper in which you make an argument and support your argument with examples from and analysis of a literary text. What is the point? You should be developing your abilities to REA a text, make an AR!"#E$%, &'!I(A&&Y support that argument with evidence from the text, write in an 'R!A$I)E manner which will aid in conveying your points to the reader, and communicate via the written page. %he importance of such skills should be obvious. %' #A*E Y'" %+I$*,,, What a literary analysis IS NOT! A paper exploring the relevance of the story to your own life. -hile your own experience will of course shape your writing style as well as the story you pick, you should not focus on personal life experiences or use them as arguments for your topic. A summary of the story. A summary of the class notes. Steps you should take: .. /ormulate a clear thesis. 0. /ormulate a few 1uestions relevant to your thesis which will help you when you reread the story or poem. 2. Reread the story or poem you want to address carefully. "nderline passages which are relevant or copy them into your notes. %ry to answer the 1uestions you3ve formulated. 4. 5rainstorm ideas6 what arguments can you make7 -hat connections come to mind7 8. Reexamine your thesis. Is it supportable7 Is it complex enough7 Is it interesting7 9. 'rgani:e your examples and your ideas. #ake a rough outline, including examples and page numbers. ;. -rite, <. Ask yourself6 o my sentences connect7 o my paragraphs connect7 =In other words, does this make any sense at all7> ?. Rewrite, .@. Aroof read it. ... Rewrite, .0. %urn in final draft. Bource6 www.teachers.yourhomework.com

TAKE NOTE:
1. Write in the present tense. Example: The story ends tragic because the ambitious Mr. Loman commits suicide. 2. Use the third person The narrator of the poem clearly shows the emotions of loneliness and despair. 3. Avoid summarizing the plot (i.e., retelling the story literally . !nstead analyze ("orm a thesis a#out and explain the story in literary terms. ($%E U&UA' (!&$A)E& *+((!$$E, -. (A/.. 0'+$ &U((A1.:

In Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell Tale !eart"" the mad narrator e#plains in detail how he $ills the old man" who screams as he dies. After being alerted by a neighbor" the police arri%e" and the madman gi%es them a tour through the house" finally halting in the old man's bedroom" where he has buried the man beneath the floor plan$s under the bed. As he is tal$ing" the narrator hears what he thin$s is the old man's heart beating loudly" and he is dri%en to confess the murder.

It should be written this way6


Though the narrator claims he is not mad" the reader reali&es that the narrator in "The Telltale !eart" is unreliable and lies about his sanity. 'or e#ample" the mad narrator says he can hear "all things in the hea%en and in the earth." (ane people cannot. !e also lies to the police when he tells them that the shrie$ they hear occurs in his dream. Though sane people do lie" most do not meticulously plan murders" lie to the police" and then confess without prompting. 'inally" the madman is so plagued with guilt that he hears his own conscience in the form of the old man's heart beating loudly. )ead hearts do not beat" nor do sane people confuse their consciences with the sounds of e#ternal ob*ects.

2. !n3lude a 3lear thesis statement 4hi3h addresses something meaning"ul a#out the literature, o"ten a#out the theme. 5. Use literary terms to dis3uss your points (i.e., 3hara3ter, theme, setting, rhyme, point o" vie4, alliteration, sym#ols, imagery, "igurative language, protagonist, and so "orth . /+/'!$E1A1. $E1(&: To show that the wife really misses her husband" the author writes descriptions which tell how long the time has gone and the woman is still waiting. '!$E1A1. $E1(&: The poem "The +i%er Merchant,s -ife" portrays %i%id images and sym#ols which manifest the loneliness and yearnings of the wife.

6. ,o not 3on"use 3hara3ters7 (in "i3tion or drama or spea8ers7 (in poetry vie4points 4ith authors7 vie4points. AU$%+1: As a blac$ woman" Eudora Welty faces racism in "A -orn Path." .Eudora -elty" the author" was not blac$./ *%A1A*$E1: As a blac$ woman" +ld 0hoenix faces racism in "A -orn Path." .0ld Phoeni#" a character" is blac$./ 0+E$: In "(topping by -oods on a (nowy E%ening"" 1o#ert 9rost is tempted to drift into his subconscious dream world" yet he $nows he has other obligations to fulfill when he states" "1ut I ha%e promises to $eep" 2 And miles to go before I sleep." .The pronoun "I" refers to the spea$er of the poem" not to +obert 'rost" the poet./ &0EA)E1: In "(topping by -oods on a (nowy E%ening"" the spea$er is tempted to drift into his subconscious dream world" yet he $nows he has other obligations to fulfill when he states" "1ut I ha%e promises to $eep" 2 And miles to go before I sleep." .!ere the "I" correctly refers to the spea$er of the poem./

:. &upport your points 4ith many ;uotations and paraphrases, #ut 4rite the ma<ority o" your paper in your o4n 4ords 4ith your o4n ideas.

5ABEB /'R B('RI$!

Content & Or ani!ation: "# Or ani!ation $%#& 'ne idea or argument follows another in a logical se1uence with clear transitions.

Analysis presentation $%#& %he essay is written in accordance to the approach used

Intro'Con(lusion $)#& Introduction grabs attention and provides meaningful context to a persuasive argument (onclusion effectively restates the argument, but meaningful insight and fresh language are presented Thesis $the *o(us o* the essay& $)#& Argument is clearly articulated and persuasive, contains an original opinion E+iden(e $)#& -ellCchosen and the best evidence to support your point Evidence is highly persuasive and effective in supporting the argument Ideas are effectively stated and strongly supported

Co,,entary $)#& (reativeDoriginal ideas and insightsE extensive commentary, refreshingE goes beyond obvious and basic commentary

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