Steps to Text Analysis
Recommended Steps in Text Analysis
Introduction: briefly define the text type (the functional style and the genre), the topic, the problems raised, the cultural and historical background of the author and his text. Useful tips:
The first step includes defining the type of the text you are analyzing. Does the text represent fiction/belles lettres style/non-fiction? Is it a whole text or an extract?
If it is fiction what genre does the text represent? It should be noted that many texts have features of more than one genre (social, psychological, biographical, autobiographical, humorous, satirical, historical, detective, love, science fiction, fantasy, fairy tale, parable, allegory etc.). Such texts can be classified as the texts of a complex or mixed nature. The next step would be defining the topic, the subject and the problems. What is the text about? What is the focus of the author’s attention?
What aspects of the topic are touched upon in the text?
In the introduction it is also essential to consider the historical and cultural backgrounds of both the author and his text. These would include some biographical facts about the writer, especially his ethical, esthetical, political etc. views, his belonging to a certain literary and cultural tradition as well as the elements of the setting of the story, including the time and place of the action, some cultural and historical realia present in the text. Analysis of the Text
The analysis of the text starts with presenting its summery. Useful tips:
Summarising the text must be done in accordance with certain rules. First of all, you should select all important facts and events omitting unnecessary details, then order them chronologically (or logically, depending on the type and genre of the text) using appropriate connectors and linking expressions. It should be remembered that no matter what register and style the original text belongs to, the summary should be written in the neutral style. Wherever possible, paraphrasing should be preferred to quoting. The Plot and the Verbal Composition of the Text
The next point could be commenting on the composition of the plot and the verbal composition of the text. Useful tips in text analysis:
The classical structure comprises three main parts in a story – the exposition, the plot and the epilogue. The exposition usually contains the setting of the scene (i.e. the time and place of the action) and some preliminary information about the topic and the subject of the story, its main characters etc. By nature it is a static part of the story and contains no action. The plot consists of a series of episodes relating to the development of the central conflict of the story. It usually starts with the so-called narrative hook, which introduces the conflict and begins the dynamic (sometimes, dramatic, and in that case we may call it suspense) action aiming at the ultimate resolution of the conflict. The highest point in the development of the plot is called the climax. The series of events preceding the climax is usually termed, rising action, whereas post-climax events are falling action coming to a resolution (or dénouement). When all the action is over, the author may supply some extra information about the following events, the after-life of the story characters etc. Similarly to the exposition, this part of the story is static rather than dynamic, and is called the epilogue. It should be noted, that the above-described three-part structure is by no means the universal type, which can be applied to all existing fiction texts. The composition of a story is a matter of the personal choice of the author, who may decide to end the story just at the point of its climax, or, start it in the middle of the action, or introduce chronological steps back in the action. A special feature of the story composition is a framed story, or a story-within-a-story. In such stories, the theme and the main conflict are...
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