oh well

Analyzing the theme of literature and poetry can seem a bit difficult at times, but once you break it down, it gets a lot simpler! These are just some tips I figured out while working through a massive essay writing weekend. From actually finding the theme to the writing process, these should be able to help a little bit.

(mostly, this is just what I attempt to do while flailing through work haha)

1. Read the summary first.
I know, I know, reading the summary first spoils the plot for you, but in my case, it allows me to focus on the thematic progression of the book. You are reading this book/poem/whatever it is to analyze it and write about it. Reading the summary lets you know beforehand what is going to happen and give you a little insight on why the characters or plot are being written that way.

2. Look for literary devices.
A literary device is something that a writer uses to convey their message. Similes, metaphors, and analogies are all literary devices. Oftentimes, you can look at literary devices to gain further insight on the plot. Repeated phrases can also aid you in your search. 

3. Post-it notes and sticky tabs are your friends.
When you find something interesting, note it down on a post-it note or mark it with a sticky tab. When you read, the first thought that flashes in your mind can be helpful sometimes. Passing by it can cause you to forget that thought in the first place.

4. Make a chart or a diagram.
When I have to analyze a character and/or their actions, I usually make a chart, mind map, or a diagram depicting them. I start off with their name and then list down all of their character traits and their actions. After that, I try to use the knowledge of their traits to give a reason for their actions. It’s helpful to see all of your thinking laid out, and might help you out.

5. Divide and conquer.
When you have to write your essay (well, if you have to write an essay on it, but you probably do), divide your paragraphs into an outline. That way, it’s much easier to look for the evidence in the text that you need and you can organize your writing more clearly.

6. Reread.
Sometimes, when you reread things, you start to think more in depth about what the author was trying to portray. The first time reading it through was more like an introductory part of reading, but now, you have more knowledge about the end and you can use that to help you through searching for textual evidence or whatnot. It’s like the first tip, except a little more in depth.

7. Vocabulary.
When the author uses a certain word you don’t know, look it up! Usually, an author picks their words carefully and for a reason. After all, there’s a difference between words with similar meanings such as “tired” and “fatigued.” The impression that words leave on you can also contribute to the theme.

8. Avoid summarizing the plot.
This is a pitfall to many essays and conjectures. We already know the plot of the story. What teachers want to know is how you explain the reason for the plot happening. Be careful about that!

9. Avoid using first-person pronouns.
Keep yourself out of your analysis. Using a third-person point of view to present your paper is a much more academical approach and directs the reader of your paper to the subject being presented. 

10. Be concise.
A redundant analysis is long and laborious to read through, and oftentimes, doesn’t make any sense at all. It is much better to have a few short and focused examples and sentences than to have five examples that go in circles.

11. Spelling and Grammar.
This is a “no-duh” kind of tip, but it’s really important. If you have incorrect spelling and grammar in your paper, it will mark you down for conventions, make you sound strange in your sentence structure, and look unprofessional. Please, please, please, use correct spelling and grammar rules. This includes spelling errors, wrong use of tenses, puncutation, etc.

Overall, these are just a few tips that I tend to use a lot during English class. Analyzing literature can be difficult, but if you just persevere, you can do it! Good luck!
If you have any additional tips that you think would help, don’t hesitate to message me and I’ll add it. Thanks!

picture source (creative commons licensed)

I’m going to post this dumb thing because I feel like it and I want people to understand how proud of myself I was today! I’ve never been 100% confident with my body. but today I said fuck it and I wore this crop top and if you ask me I think it looked pretty damn good! I built up the confidence to wear this out of my room and even though my mom made comments i preceded to wear it. wearing this around today flaunting my curves felt to amazing. Not only did I wear this. I felt good wearing it! I felt hot! which is amazing and I just wanted to share that with you all.

I love how all of us in New England are getting a huge ass blizzard and all of us just really don’t give a shit that we could be without power for a week or could possibly die. We’re all just like “Blizzard? No this is just a flurry.” “What do you mean 2 ft. This is only 2 inches. You’re going to school I don’t care if the bus is burried in snow. ‘Tis only 2 inches. You are going”

Imagine if people from Hawaii or Florida were up here right now. I highly doubt they’d survive. 

Hi taylorswift, I know this gift was meant for onbackroadsatnight, but Alyssa decided to share it with me and I couldn’t be more grateful. It’s a simple thing really, a button. I take it with me most places, putting it in my purse or in my back pack as I try and navigate just one more year of high school. When I talk to Alyssa, when I see her username, or her name pops up on my phone it makes me smile because she is a beautiful human being on the outside in. But of course, you already know that Taylor. Seeing her joy when you sent those gifts to her was the most magical thing I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing. She deserved that happiness and I’m really happy that you could do that for her Taylor. You make people crazy happy. You bring people together. So, I wanted to thank you for bringing me to Alyssa. I wanted to show you her kindness and her infinite willingness to make others feel better. I hope that you meet her some time again this era (you met her a long long time ago, which I’m sure you already know). I’m lucky to have the two of you in my life. Thank you so much for everything. Forever in your corner.
- Mikayla