|Essential Questions (EQs) are those questions that probe
the heart of what we are trying to learn or study - they are the questions
that drive our curiosities and focus our inquiries. Of course, it would be
helpful to know what those questions are, so here is a list for our
various literary analyses. Remember, I am learning more and more
about these just as you are, so questions might change as I gain more
insight into each type.
|Rhetorical: the analysis of technique and author
EQ 1: What did the author want me to get out of this piece?
EQ 2: What techniques did the author use to get his/her point
EQ 3: How were those techniques used to develop theme? character?
EQ 4: How were those techniques used to manipulate the reader?
|Cultural: the analysis of a piece of literature in
terms of its cultural context
EQ 1: Why do you either identify or
resist the cultural values of the piece?
EQ 2: Are you an insider or an outsider to the
culture in this book?
EQ 3: How does the work reflect a particular culture or cultural
EQ 4: How does the culture reflected in the writing affect your
understanding of it? How does your own culture affect your understanding
|Deconstruction: the revelation of a secondary
EQ 1: Is there any evidence in the text indicating a possible
EQ 2: Do you know enough about the primary meaning to attempt to
find a secondary?
EQ 3: Assuming you have your initial clue, can you then adequately
extend your secondary meanings throughout the work?
EQ 4: Do you really understand primary and a secondary
|Feminist: the analysis of a work's perception by and
portrayal of females
EQ 1: How would a female (probably you) respond to a story,
especially as that response would be significantly different that that of
EQ 2: How are female (and male) roles played out in the work? What
stereotypes - overt or subtle - are portrayed? What messages about
gender roles are being sent?
EQ 3: How would the story change if gender roles were shifted?
EQ 4: How would the piece differ if the author were of the other
|Freudian: the analysis of a piece of literature as
an insight into the author's mind (remember, though, we are allowing our
own version of character analysis too)
EQ 1: Do you understand that to look at a text from a Freudian
point of view is to see it as symbolic rather than literal?
EQ 2: Do you understand that suppressed wants, needs, and even
memories force their way through symbolically in dreams and - of course -
EQ 3: What text - exact words, phrases, or passages -
represents a symbolic expression of the author's sublimated wants and
EQ 4: What conclusions can you draw about the author and his/her
work based on your Freudian analysis of the text?
Historicism: the placement of literature in its relative time and place
EQ 1: How did the time period in which the work was written
affect how and why it was written?
EQ 2: How would the work be perceived in its own time period?
EQ 3: How does placing the piece in the context of our time period
affect its meaning and how it is perceived?
|Lacanian: insight into ourselves based on our
response to literature's language
EQ 1: Do you understand that my
reactions to the text are symbolic rather than literal? Do I also
understand that literal is still a good place to start?
EQ 2: Since I do realize that the text I respond to is symbolic of
my reactions to aspects in my personality, I also realize that Lacan gave
us categories for those symbols: the mother and the father.
Which of these types of symbols am you responding to? Your need for
security or safety (the mother)? Or your need for acceptance by others
EQ 3: And for all of this, do you understand the mirror principle -
the idea that we form images of ourselves based on how we think we are
perceived by others?
EQ 4: What text - exact words, phrases, or passages - causes
in you a strong emotional response? What exactly about that text is
affecting your mirror image?
|Reader Response: our emotional and intellectual
response to literature
EQ 1: How do you feel about what you read?
EQ 2: What does it make you think of?
EQ 3: How do evaluate the text as a reader?