4.3: Body of a Critical Analysis
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The Body of a Critical Analysis can be made up of one or more of the Critical Perspectives. What are the Critical Perspectives?
There are generally four ways (or perspectives) for analyzing a text: writing from the perspective of a reader, writing as if the text is an object of study, writing about or from the perspective of an author, and writing about where a text fits into a particular context.
Assuming you want to use all four of the Critical Perspectives in your essay, the body will have these four major sections:
Reader Analysis: A Reader’s Perspective
Writing from a reader’s perspective means that we seek to understand a text through our own experience, yet we try also to understand how others who may be very different from us seek to understand the same writing through their experience. We will explore this perspective by writing a first impression, writing about favorite lines, as well as writing from different perspectives and through selective reading.
Text Analysis: Text as Object
Writing about the text as an object is a perspective that highlights what makes up that text. We will construct this part of our paper by identifying the patterns, segments, and strategies (devices) in the writing you choose to analyze.
Author Analysis: Understanding Text through Author
Examining whatever we can about an author sometimes gives us another perspective with which to deepen our understanding of the writing we choose. We may look at his or her life, thought processes, behaviors, beliefs, and so on, in order to further understand his or her work.
Context: Text’s Place in History
The fourth perspective from which to view a work has to do with how it fits into a context. This context usually has to do with how a text compares to other texts and works and its effect upon history or society.
The Body of a Critical Analysis is further constructed with patterns in sections under each Perspective:
Reader Analysis patterns:
- First Impression
- Favorite Lines
- Different Perspectives
- Selective Reading
Text Analysis patterns:
- Text Strategies
- Literary Perspectives
Author Analysis patterns:
- Biographical Information
- Social Information
- Literary Information
- Historical Information
Note that your instructor may, for example, want only a Reader Response (Reader Analysis) paper, or he or she may want some patterns and not others. However, we will go section-by-section and pattern-by-pattern to create a thorough and complete analysis of a work.