The literary article

The literary article as a task genre is about analyzing one or more fiction texts. As in the other task genres, imagine a reader who does not know the material, but who is prepared to be interested. Therefore, the article should contain:

  • an introduction that can catch the reader
  • a brief presentation of the text
  • a methodical textual analysis
  • an interpretation, based on the analysis
  • a perspective of the text
  • a rounding that closes and goes off

As the author of the article, your goal is to engage the interested reader in what you have found out about the text and to convince the reader of the validity of it.

Structure

The literary article should contain 5 main sections – which you may well subdivide for the sake of making, but the reader should have a clear sense of when you move from main section to main section. This does not mean that you have to make subheadings, but you can easily make an extra line break between the main sections if you think it clarifies the structure.

The dotted lines in the graphic indicate that the boundaries are fluid and of course should be arranged according to the content. The graphics are purely indicative. Remember not to make headlines for the sections!

Of course, you may write more if you have content for it, but rather 4 pages without repetition and idle than 5 with!

  • processing; ejdet
  • Before writing, plan your writing so that you know what you want with each section

This way, you secure a red thread through the answer. At the same time it will be much faster to write the assignment itself, because you know what to put where and what points you want to write in the individual sections.

You can download a form for processing in the right column. This is where you can start writing.

Start by reading the left hand side of the form, and enter keywords for what a form and content analysis can contain. Then fill in the right-hand side (You don’t necessarily have to take the points in order).

Title

  • The title creates the first impression of the reader. A sloppy accomplished or indifferent title sets expectations low.
  • Use the assignment title on your article. That will usually mean it gets the same title as your primary text – write it down correctly.
  • Write the title in capital letters and without a period.
  • Avoid spelling and spelling mistakes! Everywhere!

Introduction

You deserve to be read! Capture the reader’s attention and indicate what your focus will be in the analysis and interpretation. In this way, you strengthen the structure and attention, not only in the reader, but also in yourself.

Here you present your angle on the text that forms the starting point for your analysis work, and you make the material relevant to your reader before you finish introducing the analysis text with title, author name and publication data.

Write a funnel introduction (where you start broadly and narrow down to the topic:

  • Draw on a general experience represented in the text
  • Take a quote from the text
  • Use the genre of the text
  • Take as a starting point the text period
  • Start with a rhetorical question
  • Avoid referencing the analysis text
  • Avoid referring to yourself and your own opinions

Avoid meta languages, ie references to the writing process. For example, you should not write about you sitting and writing now because you have been assigned to…

  • Avoid clich├ęs
  • The task is not about you! Avoid focusing on yourself

Analysis

The task of the analysis is to present the means in the text that lead to the final interpretation. Therefore, the analysis typically comes in sizes such as composition, language, time and place, narrator, point of view, form of presentation, personality characteristics, and thus the analysis comes to qualify and substantiate the interpretation.

You should assume that the reader does not know the text, so you should start the analysis with a very brief introduction to it, a summary but not a summary.

It would be a bad idea to review all elements of an analysis model – choose the most important ones, ie. the most relevant ones, and work with them thoroughly. And document the key points with a few well-chosen and sharply cut quotes.

Look at the elements of the analysis that are central to your interpretation:

  • Select (a few) key quotes as documentation.
  • Use line references for the quotes.
  • Avoid referencing the text.
  • Avoid quote mosaics.
  • Avoid the accumulation of details – you have to dare to cut into the most important.

Interpretation

The interpretation is the crown of the work in the analysis. Here you gather your analysis results for a qualified and reasoned understanding of the text’s statements. Here you dare to give an indication of what the author wanted to show – or at least what the text seems to say. Here you will also be able to say something about what values the text reflects, or even advocate.

Your interpretation should rhyme with the presentation (the interpretation hypothesis) you have formulated or just suggested in the introduction. If not, rewrite the introduction.

Make sure your interpretation appears as a (logical) consequence of what you have found during the analysis.

Avoid throwing yourself into something you do not have evidence of in the analysis.

Perspectivation

Here you will often be asked to relate the text to the genre, period or authorship – for the purpose of demonstrating your understanding and your academic knowledge. Perspective means that you can also argue why perspectives apply.

Start the section with a focus phrase, such as:

  • We see the same problem with a writer who…
  • Like other modern novels, this one differs from the classic…
  • Also in the late 1800s, people were interested in…
  • Make sure your perspective makes sense: explain it.
  • Just don’t mention – there are explanations to be had.

Rounding

Rounding off may be the last part of the perspective. Simply follow the reader to the door, mark that you are now done and the article is over. You can do this, for example, by summarizing what you found out, or by returning to your focus in the introduction

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