to return to the daily calendar (click back arrow)
- Writing About Literature
- Literature includes fiction (novels and short stories); drama (plays, scripts and some films); poetry (poems and lyrics); as well as non-fiction (memoirs, personal essays, etc.).
- By writing about literature, you shape and refine the insights that result from reading. It helps you move to a deeper understanding of other people and ideas, times, and places.
- Reading and Writing Skills Related to Interpreting Literature
- Critical Reading: Read systematically, closely and actively
- What does the work mean?
- Why has the author made particular choices in plot, characterizations, and word choice?
- What other works influenced the author’s choices?
- Making Inferences: Reading between the lines
- Summarizing and paraphrasing the work.
- Creating a Thesis or Topic Sentence.
- Forms or Types of Inquiry
- Personal response to literature.
- Interpretation of literature.
- Formal analysis of literature.
- Special Rules that Apply to Writing About Literature
- Use First Person only when writing about personal point of view.
- Use Third Person for all other types of inquiry.
- Use Present Tense when you describe or discuss a literary (fiction) work or any of its elements.
- Use a Past Tense Verb to discuss historical events or biographical information (non-ficiton).
- In writing about literature, a primary source is the original creative work. Secondary sources consist of interpretations of literary works.
- You need to document primary and secondary sources because you want to ensure that readers never mistake someone else’s ideas for yours (Trokya and Hesse).
- When you write about literature, you should always keep trying to connect your explanations to a specific argument [that] you are trying to prove or to demonstrate a point or idea about the work (Roberts).
- The goal is to demonstrate the truth of your conclusions by clarifying and illuminating your ideas about the topic and also about the work of literature (Roberts).
- Sources for this Outline:
Troyka, Lynn and Douglass Hesse. The Handbook for Writers. 7th edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005.
Roberts, Edgar. Writing About Literature 10th edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2003.