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Humanities LibreTexts

4.7: Context Analysis

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  • This is the last section of the body of a long critical analysis. First read the questions below. Notice that most of them call for information that you can't possibly know. You will have to look for that information in outside sources. Start with some links, or ask your instructor or reference librarian about other resources, like literary journals, specialized dictionaries, glossaries, encyclopedias, and so on. Remember, too, that most authors have web pages devoted to their work (some living have their own actual page).


    Record all sources; you must get all of the following that is available for that source: who said it, where (in what source) it was said, and when it was said (see MLA documenting sources).

    Find an answer to as many of the following prompts about your work as possible:


    1. How is the work related to other works during the same period?
    2. Is there a particular historical event (or events) that contributed to or influenced the work?
    3. What were the prevailing social, intellectual, religious, political, and economic attitudes that may have impacted the work?
    4. What literary period does this work fall into?
    5. Is this work representative of or contradictory to the literary period?
    6. Was this work part of a tradition (literary or otherwise), or the beginning or end of one?
    7. Does this work still have an effect on us?
    8. How does the work fit into the overall historical period?
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