Skip to Main Content

ATYP: Literary Analysis

Information to help students in the ATYP literary analysis classes research their critical papers.

Develop a research plan

Developing your research plan

What is your big picture analysis?

Decide on a particular angle before starting the research process.

What really grabbed your attention from the book? Maybe a certain character intrigued you. Instead of searching the character's name, search the ideals or motivations of the character instead.

Broad ideas

  • literary theories or schools 
  • idea
  • theme
  • style
  • imagery
  • tone
  • characteristics of a philosophy (of literature)
  • historical events
  • the author’s life
  • medical diagnoses
  • geography  
  • critical orientations
  • plot
  • genre conventions 
  • setting
  • narration
  • point of view
  • characterization
  • symbolism
  • metaphor
  • irony/ambiguity
  • historical context
  • social, political, economic contexts
  • ideologies










Specific Ideas 

If you are interested in researching Simon's kindness: 

  • Theme: Kindness in Lord of the Flies
    • Keywords: Lord of the Flies, Golding, dystopian literature, Simon,
    • Keywords for kindness:  Morality, Goodness, Simon, social contract, socialization, psychology, morals, social conventions civility 

Be flexible! 

  • Computers think in 0s and 1s. They interpret your input rigidly. Having more words is a great backup. 
  • Use a thesaurus to find similar terms!
  • Think up and down the concept. Are you too narrow? Too broad? Add those ideas to your list. 
  • Exames are below

Concept Mapping

Create a concept map of ideas and characters from the book you are reading.

  • A map helps you make connections between ideas and events in the book.
  • Start by asking, what so you know? What do you want to know? 
  • Everybody's concept maps will look different. 

Here is a sample concept map for Lord of the Flies.

Be open to revising your research question as you read your sources.

You may discover that your initial thesis is not quite right or needs to change to something that can be argued with the evidence you have found.