Introduction to Literary
A”…nearly any text, image, or artifact from popular culture can be analyzed. If it works to address or attract an audience, if it appeals to people’s sensibilities, if it makes an argument (for itself or about anything in the world), then it has rhetorical dimensions. As writers and thinkers, we are free to explore how these dimensions work.” ~Inventing Arguments (123)
In the lesson overview, you learned that an “analytical posture” requires the ability to put aside natural responses and view materials with a desire to understand. The writer’s primary purpose is to offer insight. For example, how does a piece work? What are its parts, and how do these parts come together to compel an audience? This type of objective posturing can also be used to read literature. When you read critically, whether you’re reading an academic argument or a work of literature, you must look beyond a text’s surface. Literary analysis, like rhetorical analysis, necessitates objectivity and a measure of emotional distance. Sometimes, in order to see to the heart of a thing, you must first take a step back, away from your most immediate emotional responses.
Read more about the basic purpose of literary analysis
in this brief study guide from Germanna Community College. Notice the examples of a debatable thesis and a non-debatable thesis. In a literary analysis essay, the primary claim must do more than summarize some indisputable aspect of the text. After reading this study guide, view the following PowerPoint presentation from Purdue University titled “Writing a Literary Analysis.”
This presentation offers more concrete information about literary analysis. Topics include the following:
What is literary analysis?
What makes an analysis “literary”?
Important literary concepts
How is literary analysis an argument?
Support for a literary analysis thesis
Relevant secondary sources for literary analysis