ib 2012

Literary Analysis

If you’ve been assigned a poem or a piece of prose to analyze, and don’t know where to start or how to do it, I hope this can help!

Analyzing literature is not just about stating what you can see on the page. You need to identify the features present, and explain why the writer/poet/author used them. Think about the deliberate choices the writer has made and what effect they have. What did the writer intend to achieve and how successful were they? And what is the reader’s (your) response? Think of yourself as the reader, and write about how the reader feels and responds, instead of writing “I think”/ “I feel”. 

Under the cut is an outline that my English teacher taught us, which I referred to throughout my time as an IB English Lit. student 2012-14. It may also work for other languages! I used it for German Lit. too, but changed it slightly according to what my teacher and the examiners expected to see. 

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