How to Analyse Texts

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How to approach an IGCSE Text Analysis

Look at the following example of a text analysis question on Lord of the Flies:

|Re-read the beginning of the novel to p.13 “What’s your name?” | |How does this opening prepare the reader for the rest of the novel? | |Support your ideas with details from the writing. |

1. Read the question carefully and underline the key points. 2. Personal Response. Re-read the extract given. You cannot underline or write in your book but you should have a piece of rough paper ready to write notes as you re-read. Spend 5 minutes reading and writing down your first responses. What can you picture in your mind as you read? What do you learn about character or setting? What themes are introduced? What were your feelings about what you read?

Don’t worry about making correct sentences, just note down ideas. 3. Developing your response. Now go back and look at the extract and make more detailed notes on the following:

|A) Structure and Viewpoint | |How is the extract structured? How many paragraphs are there? Is there dialogue? What type of narration is used? Briefly summarize the | |different parts of the extract. What effect does this structure have on the reader?How does it prepare us for the rest of the novel? |

|B) Use of tenses | |Can you identify the tenses in the extract? What effect does this have on the reader? Does the author use flashback in this extract? |

|C) Chains of words/Lexical fields | |Look for any ‘chains’ of words that run through the extract. | |e.g. Scar-jungle-undergrowth-lagoon-rocks-tree trunk-creeper | |These words create an image of the setting and help the reader visualise the island. |

|D) Types of words | |What kind of words are used and why? Think about why certain adjectives and verbs are used? | |e.g. He was clambering heavily...By using the verb ‘to clamber’ we are given the impression that the undergrowth prevents the character | |from walking easily and so helps us visualise the situation.... |

|E) Images | |Look out for images such as similes and metaphors | |Also look for examples of personification, hyperbole, alliteration, assonance etc and comment on the effect of these techniques |

|F) Other Ideas??? | |Are there any other language techniques that have been used which you find interesting? | |Onomatopoeia, use of sensory images, colour etc |

4. Organising your text analysis
You have now made notes on lots of interesting points in the...
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