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Perspectives in analyzing literarture

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Perspectives in analyzing literarture

  1. 1. ENGLISH 112 Perspectives in Analyzing Literature
  2. 2. CULTURAL AND HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES • One way to analyze literature is to think about the cultural and historical perspectives of the piece. • When literary work was written several years, decades (or even centuries) ago it is often easy for us to forget to place that particular piece of literature in a specific historical framework. • When does “Bless Me Ultima” take place?
  3. 3. ANALYZING LITERATURE THROUGH A FORMALIST PERSPECTIVE • The text is viewed to be a complete unit that stands on its own without consideration to external issues, such as history, economics, an biography. • When using a formalist perspective, you will focus on the text itself and its use of literary devices, tone, and language. • Formalist critics examine how the text works on a whole unit. • The formalist perspective is often called a “close reading” because, with this method of analysis, you pay close attention to what’s in the work, not what’s outside it.
  4. 4. ULTIMA • Let’s think about the character, Ultima. •Why do you think Mr. Anaya included her in the story?
  5. 5. DEVELOPING A CLAIM • A strong literary analysis requires a central, controlling claim – the main argument you plan to support in your essay. • Without a clear claim, the essay goes nowhere—it rambles, making points that seem unrelated. • The claim may occur in the first paragraph, but this is not a requirement – it can appear anywhere in the essay.
  6. 6. LET’S PRACTICE • Think about Bless Me Ultima for a few minutes. • Come up with an interesting issue about the novel. • What idea do you keep thinking about or coming back to? • If you have your homework assignments from the book, look them over to get some ideas. • As you look through your notes, think about something that you think the reader of the essay will find interesting. • Write your claim as a complete sentence, keeping in mind that you should state in in third person.
  7. 7. ARRANGING YOUR MATERIAL • To build your argument you need to gather effective and appropriate evidence from the text to support your claim. • Linking that evidence together as a chain is also important. • A chain of event often relies on smaller ideas that build upon one another to create a solid wall of argument. • For Wednesday, practice building an argument by reading “Prologue for The Comstock Journals” by Olivia Castellano from Growing Up Chicano. • Write a claim for the story • Provide evidence for the claim.

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