I very much enjoyed introducing the analysis paper this week: this is the type of critical thinking that many, if not all, of your papers in the Literature program will ask you to produce.
If you are interested in some web sources that can give you a “quick and dirty” definition of some of the various schools of literary criticism we’ve been studying this semester, here are two interesting sites: http://textetc.com/criticism.html
These sites are fun . . . not substitutes for our Bressler text, the Bedford guide, or other peer-reviewed texts, but good places to see and browse through the different schools in one spot. You might browse through and write about some of your findings in one of your blogs. Or, try out one of these “hats” or “glasses” from your ever-growing toolbox: attempt, for example, a feminist or Marxist reading of one of the texts we’ve read or on The Piano Lesson.
Remember, your previous papers (especially the poetry and fiction close reading papers) would be considered part of the “Formalist School,” part of the New Criticism movement that hit the literary scene in the 1940s and 1950s. This “old school” method still forms the foundation of your literary analysis for the last paper. The analysis paper asks you build from this foundation to craft an argument about the text’s literary, cultural, or historical significance.
I’m always happy to chat with students at any stage in the writing process. Drop by my office hours over the next couple of weeks if you would like to talk about your approach to the analysis paper.