Formalist/Comparative Literary Analysis
Choose any song and write either a Formalist or Comparative Literature Analysis of the work. Your analysis should support a thesis, which not only asserts an interpretation of the lyrics but also evaluates the work according to the author's use of the literary elements and/or a comparison to a literary work.
For example, in a Formalist analysis you might suggest that Jim Morrison effectively evokes the mysteries of death through the use of metaphor, imagery, and literary allusion in "End of the Night." Your thesis would then be supported with direct references to those elements in the lyrics and how each assists the author in effectively communication his ideas and emotions about his subject or theme.
In a Comparative Literature analysis, you might explore the elements of ambiguity, associative logic or stream of consciousness, and tone in “Subterranean Homesick
Blues” by Bob Dylan and the poem “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg. Your thesis would then be supported with direct references to each text and observations about the similarities or difference of how those elements function in each work.
Your essay should:
• cite all quotes in MLA format and
• contain at least one quote from the work you are analyzing, as well as one quote from a secondary source relevant to the work or author/s you are considering.
• include a works cited, be double spaced, and have a compelling title (don't just use the author's!).
• be 2-3 pages in length.
Formalist Literary Analysis Critique
Use the following questions as guidelines to help the author better see his or her work through the eyes of the reader. As a critic, try to be as specific as you can about the essay's strengths and weaknesses in order to help the author effectively revise. Return the answers to these questions on a separate sheet of paper with your name as "Critic" and the author's name as "Author." Include the critique you receive back with your final draft so that your critic will receive credit.
What literary work is the author analyzing?
Does the student-author refer to both the author and title of the work?
Is the work's title properly formatted? (quotation marks for a short work)
Does the student-author offer a clear synopsis of the work in question?
Would you add anything to it?
Where in the essay does it appear? How is this effective or ineffective?
What is the central question that the student-author asks of this work?
What specific literary elements does the thesis address?
What central claim does the student-author make about them?
Is the thesis too factual, too broad, too vague, or is it an acceptable thesis? Explain.
How are body paragraphs organized? Does the topic of each body paragraph clearly correspond to one of the literary elements addressed in the thesis? Are transitional phrases and words used between subtopics? Give examples or make suggestions.
Write a brief outline of the student-author's essay. Is it organized logically? Explain.
Does the student author support each general assertion that he or she makes about the work with specific references to the text?
Are any direct quotes used? If so, are they documented according to MLA style? Are any secondary sources quoted or referenced, for example, an article on the author?
Is there enough commentary by the student-author to justify the use of each quote?
Does the student-author offer enough evidence to support his or her thesis? Explain.
Are there any points that could use further development?
Do all points seem relevant? That is, are they unified?
Does each paragraph flow to the next? In other words, are they coherent?
Does the student-author effectively introduce and conclude his or her essay? Explain. Are all sources documented an MLA style Works Cited page?
Proofing, Editing and Overall Effectiveness
Mark any grammar or spelling errors which mar the essay's content.
Underline any awkward or unclear sentences.
Circle any vague or inaccurate word choices.
What is this essay's greatest strength?
If you were to revise this essay, what would you focus on?
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