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Prof. Packer - ENG 102 - Literary Analysis: Writing About Literature

Writing about Literature-What is Literary Criticism

What is literary criticism?  How do I write a literary analysis?

Broadly speaking, literary analysis contextualizes a close reading of a text. That close reading could take on many forms. You could look at plot, character, narrative device, literary device, genre, symbolism, language, point of view, etc...  In essence, you will take a part of the book and contextualize it by applying some sort of convention on to it. Those conventions could be a social or historical event or time period, a theory, philosophy, or school of thought.

Other Perspectives for Literary Analysis to consider:

  • plot
  • genre conventions (adherence to and/or deviation from)
  • setting
  • narration
  • point of view
  • characterization
  • symbolism
  • metaphor
  • irony/ambiguity
  • historical context
  • social, political, economic contexts
  • ideologies
  • literary theories, schools of thought.
  • idea
  • theme
  • style
  • imagery
  • tone
  • characteristics of a philosophy (of literature)
  • historical events
  • the author’s life
  • medical diagnoses
  • geography  
  • critical orientations

Beth Seelick

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Jessica Tagliaferro
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