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Literary Analysis Questions

Literary analysis writing experts compiled a list of questions that are a universal template for any literary text.

Literary Analysis Questions

The Content

  1. Can we learn from the name where the action takes place?
  2. Can we guess who the main character of the book will be?
  3. In what genre is the story written?
  4. What kind of text is it? (Narration: the text conveys action in development. Description: the story characterizes static pictures and conveys their details.
  5. Reasoning: the plot conveys the development of thoughts regarding the subject of speech).
  6. Who is acting? What are they doing?
  7. Who or what is described in the work?
  8. Where and when does the action take place?
  9. How does an action or phenomenon occur?
  10. What else, besides the facts, is contained in the above text? (Details, hidden additional information. They help to understand the important things.)
  11. What is the main idea of the work?
  12. What feelings did you have when reading the story? (Joy, excitement, anxiety).

The Main Characters

  1. Who are the main characters?
  2. What are the artistic images of the main characters? (Their portraits, deeds, speech, and attitudes).
  3. Who are the secondary characters? (Describe their connections with the main characters).
  4. What are the artistic images of secondary characters? (Their portraits, deeds, speech, and attitudes).
  5. What actions (words from the text) convey the emotions and feelings of the characters?
  6. What feelings excite the main personages?
  7. What does each character think about?
  8. Which of the characters are you worried about? Why?
  9. Could you imagine yourself in such a situation?
  10. What would you do in the place of the main characters?
  11. Can the actions of the main character be considered correct or wrong?
  12. What are the motives behind the actions of the personages?

Moral Values

  1. What conclusions can be made at this stage of the analysis? (Expand the idea of the work).
  2. What mood does the author create in different parts of the book?
  3. Why is this happening?
  4. What strange things did you notice in the text (something surprising, contradictions, incomprehensible, inconclusive arguments, ambiguous explanations, insufficient information about the event, the character, his or her actions, etc.)?
  5. What alternative finale could the book have?
  6. What other solution can you offer?
  7. Is this book relevant today?
  8. In what life situations can it help people?
  9. What lesson did this book teach you personally?
  10. Would you recommend reading this novel to your friends?

The Structure of the Analysis

  • Information about the author.
  • The theme and genre of the work.
  • Composition and plot (elements of the plot, such as exposure, development of actions, culmination, and denouement).
  • Image system (the main, secondary, occasional ones).
  • Image analysis:
    • actions;
    • character traits;
    • portrait;
    • the language of the character;
    • the author’s characteristic.
  • Image forms of reality. The plot and speech (from the first person, the author’s speech).
  • The plot includes:
    • description: landscape, portrait, interior
    • reflection (direct author’s assessment of what is happening)
    • characteristic (description and reflection);
    • expressions of characters (dialogues and monologues).
  • Artistic details:
    • external (portrait, landscape, reality);
    • psychological (thoughts, feelings, experiences);
    • details (describe each of them from different sides);
    • symbols (they have concrete and abstract plans, contain a certain generalization, hidden meaning, and subtext).
  • The language of the work:
    • the peculiarity of word-formation (the activity of including synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, archaisms, neologisms, barbarisms, professionalisms);
    • receptions of imagery (epithets, metaphors, comparisons, allegories, metonymy, irony, hyperbole; proverbs, sayings; euphony: assonance, alliteration);
    • syntactic tools (rhetorical questions, appeals, exclamations, repetitions, antithesis, inversions).
  • The idea.
  • Your personal opinion.
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