Step-by-Step Guide to Literary Analysis
By Dr Joy
Worksheet A: Plot
Reminder: Always cite the source when quoting words directly from a work, like this: “Quoted words” (Last Name page).
A1: General Info
- Title of the literary work:
- Author’s name and nationality:
- The work’s initial publication year:
1. When does the story take place? Is there any possible purpose or meaning for the author to choose this time period?
2. If no specific time period is given, is there any possible reason for the author to do so?
3. Is there any clue in the story that reveals the time period? If yes, quote the key words and cite the source.
4. Where does the story take place? What is the name of the place? Is there any possible meaning in the name? Why do you think so?
5. What characteristics do the place and the people have? Explain with supporting details from the story.
6. How would you describe the mood at the beginning of the story (gloomy or cheerful, serious or lighthearted, serene or perplexing...)? Quote some key words from the work to explain.
A3: Plot Summary
(Do Worksheet B first.)
7. What is the story about? After briefly introducing the setting and the mood, write a plot summary to capture the major happenings in the story in 5-10 sentences. In your plot summary, cover the whole story-line and cite the source whenever quoting words (using quotation marks) and using details from the original work. (The story written by ... begins with .... The story ends with....)
A4: Plot and Theme
(Do Worksheet C first.)
8. What is the main theme in the story? Give your theme statement in one direct, clear, and concise sentence.
9. In what ways does the plot contribute to the theme? Support your analysis with some key details from the work.