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Using the historical context as a lens through which to read literature allows one to gain an understanding of both larger social issues, as well as the personal struggles that everyday people endured. Gardner explains in Writing about Literature, "We may be able to learn from parish burial records, for example, how common childhood mortality was at a particular time in English history, but only when we read Ben Johnson's poem "On My First Son" do we begin to understand how this mortality may have affected the parents who lost their children.
But whatever the expression, images primarily are visual and concrete, i.e., things which the reader sees or can imagine seeing.
Some examples are flowers, tears, animals, the moon, sun, stars, diseases, floods, metals, darkness and light.
Specific requirements appear below, but all students should also consult the Department's general guidelines (above) for paper writing. It is not explicit; therefore, the writer must to look for repeated imagery or symbols, examine the relationships between plot, setting, characters, and structure, and think about the feelings evoked throughout the text.
Common themes in literature include love, jealousy, and friendship.
If assigned to analyze a theme in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, you could analyze the theme of friendship between Huck and Jim.
Consider analyzing the author's use of imagery or setting: “Setting refers to the natural or artificial scenery or environment in which characters in literature live and move.
For example, if we are writing about the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf we might make an observation about the way animal imagery seems to function for the Geat warriors.
We might observe that while the Geats feature an image of a boar on their battle helmets (thus seemingly identifying with this ferocious animal), there are other moments in the text when the Geats shun vicious monsters (when they are reluctant to fight the dragon, for example.) Someone who has read the work carefully probably wouldn’t disagree with this observation; it refers to an image used by the narrator and a specific plot point.
One writes an explication by paying close attention to the meaning of words, to their sounds, to their placement in lines and sentences. Your thesis must make an argument, not an observation.
One then explains how the parts contribute to the whole. An “observation” suggests something that is generally true about the text, like an objective element of the plot or an image used by the author.