Suggestions for Your Literary Analysis

Some Suggestions for Your Literary Analysis

For a printable copy, click here: Some Suggestions for Your Literary Analysis

 

Your analysis of the film or novel:

(1)   serves as a coherent interpretation of a film or novel in relation to your research topic (focus);

and

(2)   examines what other critics have said about the work/issue and tries to offer an original commentary (Use the Movie Review Query Engine to find reviews about your film @ merqe.com)

This paper MUST be in your own words!!! If you quote, summarize or paraphrase, make sure you properly document your source.

How to Start

  1. Watch the film several times, jotting down notes on your ideas as you go. For the novel, you need to go back and review what happened and how the events, etc., of the novel relate to your issue.
  2. List how your chosen issue seems particularly relevant in the film or novel.
  3. What message does the film or novel portray about the issue?
  4. Do the film’s features support that message? Do the novel’s features support that message?

 

Your Analysis

An analysis looks at parts in the relationship to the whole to which they belong. A film or novel analysis can focus on one or multiple elements, such as structure, symbols, characters, plot development, scenery, language, camera angles, etc. You need to be careful here not to simply summarize the work but rather explain the way a work communicates its ideas.

HINT: The TRIAC method of developing paragraphs will really be useful in your analysis. Using it will help you avoid simply summarizing the movie!!

Brainstorming Questions

Ask and answer the following “general” questions. It will help you generate some details you could use in your analysis in relation to your chosen issue for the semester. The questions apply to both films and novels.

  1. What is the theme/message of the film? How does it relate to your semester’s research topic?
  2. Who are the man characters? (Consider the questions in relation to your research issue.)
    1. What are their relationships to each other?
    2. What are the occupations of the characters? Do any of their jobs relate (perhaps symbolically) to the theme of the movie?
    3. What do the characters’ physical gestures tell you about them? Do they relate to the theme? Your research issue?
  3. What is the setting? How important is it to the movie? Does it impact the movie’s treatment of your research issue?
  4. What film techniques does the director use to portray his/her theme? Consider these points in relation to the movie’s treatment of your research issue:
    1. Were there any interesting camera angles? How did they relate to the theme?
    2. What was the role of lighting effects in the movie? Did they add to the portrayal of the theme?
    3. How did the director cut or transition from one scene to the next? What was the effect of the juxtaposition of certain scenes?
    4. How did the music or other sound effects contribute to the theme?
    5. Were there flashbacks? How did they contribute to the development of the theme?
  5. What literary techniques does the author use in his/her novel? Consider these points in relation to the novel’s treatment of your research issue:
    1. Does the author use varying character perspectives/ point of view-different speakers that tell the story or does one character tell us the entire story?
    2. Juxtaposition of events?
    3. Were there flashbacks? How did they contribute to the development of the theme?
    4. What is the tone of the film? Optimistic? Pessimistic? Humorous? Critical?
  6. Who should watch this film? What people would enjoy or learn something from it?
  7. What might a general audience miss abut the film that you noticed through your close analytical watching/reading?
  8. How do you feel after watching the movie? Reading the novel?
  9. What does it remind you of that you have read or done this semester? Explore the connections.

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