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How do I write a critical analysis of two or more texts? (example a compare and contrast)

Start off by reading both texts carefully and underlining/highlighting relevant parts you can use in your analysis. Try to summarize the subject/theme of each piece/paragraph to understand its meaning. Next compare what the texts have in common and contrast what they don't; begin with the form and continue with relevant literary devices you can find like motifs, metaphors or imagery. The form may be especially relevant when comparing prose against poetry - how does the setup of the styles enhance/detract from meaning?

Structure of your analysis:

Define a core argument or thesis and organize subarguments for each subsequent paragraph. For each argument, introduce it, provide examples from the text and then analyse how those examples function and fit into your argument. For example:

"The two writers disagree on the future role of the Author and literary criticism. Barthes states that "the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author" whilst Bennet & Royle insist that the author "always has been and always will be - a ghost". The use of the cycle of death and birth signifies a complete destruction of one and the creation of another; the Author must be killed off and replaced with the reader. The metaphor of a ghost on the other hand implies that the Author is neither here nor there, absent yet present."

Unless otherwise stated or in an exam without the text in front of you don't forget referencing and citations!

Alexandra L. A Level English tutor, IB English tutor, GCSE English tu...

10 months ago

Answered by Alexandra, an IB English Literature tutor with MyTutor


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