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WRT 102 - East (Leighou) Writing II: Welcome

WRT 102 Guide for traditional Literary Criticism

Finding your topic

So, you've chosen a literary work to interpret.  But what are you going to say about it?

Start with the reasons you selected this story (or poem, etc.). What got your interest? Explore your reactions to the work carefully, because this is where you can find a good topic.

Some questions to consider

  • Why write on this work? What feature(s) of this work stand(s) out the most ?
  • What does the story reveal about its author?
  • What does knowing the author's history and/or beliefs tell us about the story?
  • Do we get an accurate picture of any "real-world" situation in the work you're considering?
  • How does this work compare to other works of the same kind?
  • What patterns, repetitions, images, words, ideas are important to the meaning of the story?
  • If the work was not written in English, does the translation accurately convey the meaning?
  • What do critics of this work focus on? Are there any common themes?

Research Strategy -- a suggestion

This guide is intended as a starting place for research for David Leighou's WRT 102 Class.

You will be working on your context-based analysis of a work; short story, poem, novel, etc.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact your feindly neighborhood librarian.

Different Lenses - Literary Criticism

A good way to analyse a piece of literature is through one of the following "lenses."    

Historical: general information on pertinent events of the time period in which the text was written, along with specific events that may have directly affected the creation of the piece itself

Political: examination and discussion of political ideologies or movements relative to the text

Cultural: examination and discussion of the author’s cultural background and/or the cultural backgrounds of speakers, narrators, characters, events, etc, within the text

Biographical: examination and discussion of the author’s life and its direct relationship to the text

Philosophical: examination and discussion of philosophies and religions and their direct relationship to the text

Psychological/Sociological: examination of principles of psychology, psychoanalysis, and sociology as they directly relate to the text

Comparative: examination of either other texts by the same author or other pieces by different authors from the same era and their direct relationship to the text