I wrote this to give people a resource to introduce them to literary analysis.
Close reading means examining a text and determening every possible meaning that text has, without consulting outside sources. It’s the most basic form of literary analysis, but also the most important: if you can’t do close reading you can’t do anything more advanced.
Close Reading Example from Claremont Graduate University’s website. This has one 2 page example of a close reading paper.
Some examples of close reading. This has several 1-2 paragraph examples of close reading.
Sample Close Readings of Poems. This webpage links to some good examples, some of which are student papers, and some of which are published works.
Basic Interesting Theory
These links are just to get you thinking: they don’t represent professional academic analysis in any way. These links are about movies and video games (because literary theory can be boring to read), but they have applications for literature.
Putting Literature in Historical Context
If you read literature from cultures other than your own, it can be very interpret it. Here are some examples of scholar’s overcomign this challenge.
Guide to Literary and Critical Theory. Fantastic website! If you’re unsure where to start, I would recomend looking up the term “abjection” on the website and seeing what comes up.
Literary Theory: An Introduction is a book that’s freely available online and is a commonly used text.
I would recomend Toni Morrison’s book Playing in the Dark, but unfortunately it isn’t available online. Try looking in your local library. I can’t recomend reading Morrison’s book highly enough if you have access to it; it changed the way I think about race, literature, and America.
If you don’t have access to Morrison’s book, a substitute is a review of the book by Donald Klein and Hisham M. Amin, which is available online. I like their review because they don’t just summerize Morrison’s book; they apply Morrison’s ideas to different works of literature.
Specific Analysis of Books
Borges: a Writer on the Edge is a book freely available online that is a very good companion to Borges and his writings.