Landing : Athabascau University

Categories for Textual Analysis

Last updated December 15, 2013 - 8:56pm by Mark A. McCutcheon Comments (4)

[Downloadable PDF version]

General Categories Special Categories        
  Non-fiction prose Fiction Poetry Drama Film and TV

Subject

What is the work about?

What issue, idea, event, or person is the article, essay, review, biography, et. about?

What is the story or novel about? What is the poem or sequence of poems about? What is the play about? What is the film or program about?

Structure

How is the work put together?

How is the argument and/or narrative and/or description selected and arranged? What is the principle behind the selection and arrangement of events ("plot")? What is the principle behind the selection and arrangement of details in the poem? What is the principle behind the selection and arrangement of events ("action")? What is the principle behind the selection and arrangement of events ("action")?

Development

What are the particular details that give the work substance?

Evidence and detail: What kind of evidence does the author give to support the argument? What kind of detail to develop narrative or descriptive writing?

A. Setting: What is the place, time, and social environment in which events take place?

B. Characterization: What are the characters like? What techniques are used to portray them?

A. Setting: What is the place, time, and social environment in which the development of the poem takes place?

B. Characterization: What are the characters like? What techniques are used to portray them?

A. Setting: What is the place, time, and social environment in which events take place? What do costuming, music, lighting, sets, etc. indicate about the setting?

B. Characterization:What are the characters like? How are various techniques, including dialogue and acting, used to portray them?

A. Setting: What is the place, time, and social environment in which events take place?

B. Characterization: What are the characters like? How are various techniques, including dialogue and acting, used to portray them?

Style

How does the author or director use the "language" of the medium?

A. Diction: What do usage level and word choice tell me?

B. Images and Symbols: Are these used to comment on the subject? How?

C. Sentence structure: What do sentence patterns tell me?

A. Diction: What do usage level and word choice tell me?

B. Images and Symbols: Do these create patterns of meaning? How?

C. Sentence structure: What do sentence patterns tell me?

A. Diction: What do usage level and word choice tell me?

B. Images and Symbols: Do these create patterns of meaning? How?

C. Prosody: How are sound and rhythm used in the poem?

A. Diction: What do usage level and word choice in individual characters and in the play as a whole tell me?

B. Images and Symbols: Do these create patterns of meaning? How?

C. Pacing: What is the rhythm of dialogue and action?

A. Shooting techniques: What do camera angles, shot lengths, etc., convey about setting or characters?

B. Images and Symbols: Do these create patterns of meaning? How?

C. Editing techniques: What movement of action does the editing create?

Tone

What is the author's or director's attitude towards the subject and audience, as conveyed by the work?

What is the author's attitude to subject and reader, as conveyed by the work? 

A. Point of view: Who is the narrator? How does this affect the way the story is told?

B. Tone: What attitude does the narrator (and/or the author) adopt towards the story and the reader? 

A. Point of view: Who is the speaker ("persona") in this poem? How does this affect the way the story is told?

B. Tone: What is the tone and how does it reflect the speaker's attitude? 

Tone

a. Playwright: What attitude to subject and audience is evident?

b. Director: What attitude to subject and audience is evident? 

What is the director's attitude to the subject and audience, as conveyed by the film or program? 

Theme or thesis

What is the central idea of the work?

What is the main point or argument of the work? What is the central idea or theme of the story or novel? What is the central idea or theme of the poem? What is the central idea or theme of the play? What is the central idea or theme of the film or program?

Attribution notice: This table is adapted from a print copy of one I received as an undergraduate, decades ago. Every effort has been made to locate the original source, but without success. The table is not my work and will be credited appropriately if and when the original source is located.

Comments

  • I don't know if it's just this page, which seems to already have caused a lot of trouble, or a thing with the export feature, but when I view the page in my browser, the table is cut off, and when I try to export it I get an error page (500: internal server error). 

    sarah beth December 21, 2012 - 9:22pm

  • Yeah, this page might need to return to the proverbial drawing board.

    Mark A. McCutcheon December 22, 2012 - 3:15pm

  • The table's looking good to me now, using Safari on a Mac, but it does look like there's a bug in the rendering code for the PDF export. We'll look into it. In the meantime a workaround: as it is just a single page, it could always be simply printed to PDF (built in if you are using Linux or Mac, or can use Adobe's overpriced nonsense or one of many free alternatives on a PC such as CutePDF). The export feature is most useful when there are multiple wiki pages but is overkill for a single page.

    Jon Dron January 2, 2013 - 10:52am

  • ps: I notice that the stylesheet cuts off part of the final column. As a rough workaround for that, most browsers allow you to disable styles for a given page. The rest of the page will look horrible, but it will show the whole table as it should, which can then be copied and pasted or printed. To stop it happening at all, it might be worth trying to set the table width to 100%, bearing in mind that that might be overridden by specific widths being set for the various columns so they might need adjustment too.

     

    Jon Dron January 2, 2013 - 10:58am

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