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” No one is born knowing how to analyze literature; it’s a skill you learn and a process you can master.As you gain more practice with this kind of thinking and writing, you’ll be able to craft a method that works best for you. Do yourself a favor and pick a topic that interests you.A literary essay also isn’t like the kind of book report you wrote when you were younger, where your teacher wanted you to summarize the book’s action.
Remember, you’re looking for something you can prove or argue based on evidence you find in the text.
Finally, remember to keep the scope of your question in mind: is this a topic you can adequately address within the word or page limit you’ve been given?
Literary analysis involves examining all the parts of a novel, play, short story, or poem—elements such as character, setting, tone, and imagery—and thinking about how the author uses those elements to create certain effects.
A literary essay isn’t a book review: you’re not being asked whether or not you liked a book or whether you’d recommend it to another reader.
” “Why do pigs keep showing up in Lord of the Flies ? ” “How does Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter remind me of my sister?
” Once you know what question you want to answer, it’s time to scour the book for things that will help you answer the question.You can help direct your reading and brainstorming by formulating your topic as a question, which you’ll then try to answer in your essay.The best questions invite critical debates and discussions, not just a rehashing of the summary.If you can find a way to explain a work’s contradictory elements, you’ve got the seeds of a great essay.At this point, you don’t need to know exactly what you’re going to say about your topic; you just need a place to begin your exploration.Ask yourself why the author chose to write about that character or scene the way he or she did and you might tap into some important insights about the work as a whole. Is there a phrase that the main character uses constantly or an image that repeats throughout the book?If you can figure out how that pattern weaves through the work and what the significance of that pattern is, you’ve almost got your entire essay mapped out. Great works of literature are complex; great literary essays recognize and explain those complexities.AP Language and Composition: Multi-Day Workshop Itinerary Presenter: John Corrigan Tech Needs: Projector and Whiteboard for Attendees to write on E-mail ahead to suggest a common read -- CITIZEN or CH. Free texts for participants: College Board Workbook for AP Language and Composition, Everyday use: Rhetoric in Our Lives; Seagull Reader: Essays; and Autobiographical Essays by Native American Writers (Modern Library Paperbacks), GRAMMAR IN PRACTICE: SENTENCES AND PARAGRAPHS and AP LITERATURE AND COMPOSITION (Fitchburg)Day 1MORNINGSNL “Election Night in America” and write a 5-minute essay examining the video’s use of rhetorical strategies to achieve its purpose. Write a Q, Q, P: 1) Write a question about the night's reading. 3) Write a 4- to 6-sentence paragraph responding to either #2 or #3.These are the elements that you will analyze in your essay, and which you will offer as evidence to support your arguments.For more on the parts of literary works, see the Glossary of Literary Terms at the end of this section.