How to write a commentary in a literary analysis

Literature represents much of the very best of humanity's writings, and it is not by any accident that, after bestsellers and sensationalized books have faded from memory, literature continues to thrive and remain intensely relevant to contemporary human conditions. Literature's stories and texts survive the fires of time. This is why for decades and centuries - long after their authors have gone silent - the writings of Dante, Shakespeare, and Austen, among so many other vital voices, will continue to captivate readers and comment upon life.

How to write a commentary in a literary analysis

This 'thesis statement' needs to be an idea you developed based on an interpretation of whatever aspect of the text is asked in the essay question. Interpretation means considering how a text operates at different levels ; it is your interpretation of the text that will be at the heart of the essay: Choose aspects or quotations that you can analyse successfully for the methods used, effects created and purpose intended.

how to write a commentary in a literary analysis

The purpose of your opening paragraph is to make clear your thesis statement - response to the essay question: Stated clearly at the opening to your essay, this shows how you intend to answer the essay question and what general direction your essay will take.

Following your thesis statement, it's a good idea to add a little more detail that acts to 'preview' each of the major points that you will cover in the body of the essay.

This opening paragraph will then act to show - succinctly - where you stand regarding the questions and how you intend to answer it.

Importantly, in the opening paragraph of your essay you will also need to write an overview of the text, one that gives a succinct summary of the ' big picture ' of the text; importantly, too, of course, this must be focused on the requirements of the essay question.

Giving a succinct account of the big picture of the text in the opening paragraph will show that you have engaged with and digested the detail of three key aspects of the essay: Giving an overview suggests a confident approach and is a hallmark of the best essays.

It is always impressive to incorporate into your own sentences, using quotation marks of course, a short suitable quotation taken from the text.

Some teachers call this using embedded quotations. Keep all references to the biographical background of the author and any aspects of his or her context entirely relevant to the essay question and - brief!

Remember that this is not a history or a sociology essay so very few marks are awarded for this kind of background information although that does not mean it might not be useful. The majority of marks in an English essay are awarded for the quality of analysis and interpretation you show - that is, an awareness of the author's uses of the English language and literary uses of this.

If your essay title does concern aspects of context try hard to discuss context by deriving your comments from quotations rather than by merely discussing aspects of context; in other words allow the text to introduce the context. Saying that Shakespeare is 'a wonderful author' or that you think 'Of Mice and Men' is 'really good' will gain no marks whatsoever - this is no more than a kind of waffle that fills space with empty words that add nothing useful to your essay.

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Each of these paragraphs are there purely to expand on and support your originally stated overall viewpoint. Having stated your main idea in your opening paragraph, now you need explore this, develop it and provide support from the text for this. In the essay's body paragraphs your aim is to: For more on this see here ; work through the text's structure logically and, highlighting via the use of quotations, explain how these led you to develop your point of view; comment on how the language of each of these parts led you to form your interpretation: How does it help a the audience and b the writer's purpose or theme?

This is a sentence that clearly makes a point that is developing your argument - your answer to the essay question - and, because it is, therefore, clearly focused on the essay question, it will keep your writing on track; Always aim to provide support for each of the points you make by referring directly to the text this is the EXAMPLE part of P.

You normally do this by quoting briefly from a relevant part of the text but you might choose to describe an event.

If you do you are merely 'retelling the story' - this loses many marks. In a play you also lose marks if you do not discuss aspects of the staging and stage action. You will need to follow each quotation with an explanation of and a discussion on aspects of the language the author used in the quotation; this means discussing, for example, how aspects of the quotations literary, poetic or dramatic language works, including mentioning the method the writer used, the effect the language creates and the reasons this might have been done this is the EXPLAIN part of P.

Be Book-Smarter.

Avoid starting your essay by discussing a point that occurs half way through your text: Many students begin discussing a text half way through or even near the end then go back to an earlier point.

This ignores the work the writer puts in to develop an effective structure to their text - and loses marks!Tone/Attitude Words. 1. accusatory-charging of wrong doing.

2. apathetic-indifferent due to lack of energy or concern. 3. awe-solemn wonder. HOW TO WRITE A LITERARY ANALYSIS ESSAY The purpose of a literary analysis essay is to carefully examine and sometimes evaluate a work of literature or an aspect of a work of literature.

how to write a commentary in a literary analysis

Writing commentary is undoubtedly the most difficult part of writing any essay. All other parts of the essay are more formulaic in nature. But when it comes to commenting on evidence Writing commentary is undoubtedly the most difficult part of writing any essay.

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Commentary tells the reader what the author of the text means or how the textual evidence proves the topic sentence. Commentary may include interpretation, analysis, argument, insight, and/or reflection. A comprehensive, coeducational Catholic High school Diocese of Wollongong - Albion Park Act Justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with your God Micah

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