Currently unavailable: for regular students
Degree: Liberal Arts (Major in English) (Bachelors) - Kings, London University
|English||A Level||£20 /hr|
|Before 12pm||12pm - 5pm||After 5pm|
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In literary analysis, it can be tricky to see what you should be looking for. Yet, consistently, we analyse without realising it. When reading a newspaper article, we interpret meaning, and a sophisticated reader will assess its source of or implicit political biases. Similar analytic skills can be applied to fiction. You assess what's being said, who's saying it and whether you trust it. There's a popular analogy of a text as a tapestry, where the reader unpicks its woven strands to see the inner workings. This imagery helps me when I'm at a loss with a text: in my search for meaning, I'm looking for details which inform the whole picture.
My advice would be to first interpret independently. Think through your visceral response to the text: did you find it poignant? Uplifting? Tragic? What are its themes and motives? Spend some time on your own thoughts, and consider what you think the author is trying to do. Next you consult secondary sources, and think about the lenses which can be applied to the text - would a feminist or geopolitical reading be apt, for instance? What can contextual information reveal about society and culture? You may also find your mark scheme a useful reading guide, as it will highlight the particular qualities you should focus on.see more
It was only at university level that I learned to write a high quality essay. I now abide by the following:
- Structure: most students know that an essay should have a beginning, middle, and end. But it's easy to get carried away in your writing, and forget that the end should respond to the beginning. Your introduction should offer your essay plan, and your conclusion should pull together your various points. A good essay is structured as follows: what you're going to say, what you're saying, what you've said.
- Concise writing: if a sentence can be made shorter and retain its meaning, do it. I know I was prone to fanciful phrasing, and without it my writing is clearer and sharper.
- Evidence-based statements: avoid sweeping generalisations. Be very specific about what you want to say, and support it with evidence from the text.
- Confidence: don't hedge your bets. It's fine to say a text is strongly x or y, or equally that it's a combination of x, y and z. But you don't want to water down your writing with assertions that a text might perhaps be this or may be that. Be confident in your answers! As long as they are well-supported, they are perfectly valid.