The study of literature details the ability to interact with, evaluate, and interpret literature on a deep level. Though based primarily on theory, many would claim that modern day literary analysis has become more of a science; the application of literary techniques to develop interesting and meaningful hypotheses using evidence and inference found in the text. When one thinks of English literature, images of Shakespeare, Chaucer and medieval playwrights immediately spring to mind. Today, however, the ability to analyze and understand the deeper meaning in everyday works such as newspapers, political articles, and advertising is a highly valued one and of great use in a variety of professions and careers.
The ability to "read between the lines" is a valuable life skill to possess and will help you to progress in a variety of fields such as law, history, journalism, advertising, marketing, and business. The list is endless.
For these reasons alone, the ability to fluently and confidently interpret the written word is invaluable. Not only could this help with a future career, but a greater understanding of the abstract could help you to alter your whole world perspective by allowing you to see things in a different light. For example, the next time you see an advertisement for McDonald's or Burger King on television, instead of merely taking in the superficiality, you may pick up on the clever advertising techniques used to appeal to certain target audiences; perhaps the use of alliteration for younger audiences, or the use of parody to elicit a positive response in connection with the advertisement, thus subconsciously associating McDonald's as something that appeals to you - making you more likely to buy a burger!
Whether you'd like to be able to write a compelling and immersive novel, interpret the world around you in writing, or simply to be able to relate to texts such as Romeo & Juliet, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, or The Catcher In The Rye, literature analysis is an enjoyable and invaluable skill to possess.
For those of you interested in learning more about literature, the website Guidelines for Writing a Literary Critical Analysis provides a good introduction to the basic principles. To familiarize yourself with some respected literary critics, as well as to get a feel for the level of work you should be aspiring to, the Times Literary Supplement is an excellent starting point. 24HourAnswers.com is in the process of assembling its own superb collection of literary analysis for students to read and by which to become inspired. Click on this literary analysis link to see what we have so far.
On a level appropriate for a student seeking college homework help, a great online tutorial for literature is offered by MIT's OpenCourseWare and is titled Writing About Literature.
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