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Deat and Transfiguration

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ANALYZING NOVELS & SHORT STORy Good feedback is kind, thorough and timely. It’s professional and focused. It leaves the writer feeling challenged to do better but great about their strengths. Even if that just means the location they chose was cool. Give your feedback relative to the skill set of the writer. Never lie or obfuscate. Just serve it up gently. An upset writer isn’t going to hear your points anyway. But an encouraged one will. Trust me on this.
— Julie Gray
Literary analysis looks critically at a work of fiction in order to understand how the parts contribute to the whole. When analyzing a novel or short story, you’ll need to consider elements such as the context, setting, characters, plot, literary devices, and themes. Remember that a literary analysis isn’t merely a summary or review, but rather an interpretation of the work and an argument about it based on the text. Depending on your assignment, you might argue about the work’s meaning or why it causes certain reader reactions. This handout will help you analyze a short story or novel—use it to form a thesis, or argument, for your essay.
Begin by summarizing the basic plot: “Matilda by Roald Dahl is about a gifted little girl in small town America who learns to make things move with her mind and saves her teacher and school from the evil principal.” This will help ground you in the story. (When you write your paper, you probably won’t include a summary because your readers will already be familiar with the work. But if they aren’t, use a brief summary to orient them.)
Research the author’s background and other work. This can give insight into the author’s perspective and bias, as well as tell the reader what he might be commenting on. For example, Tolkien’s The Lord of the Ringsis about a group of friends who embark on an epic journey and fight a…...

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