Preface. Introduction to the Elements of Literature. How Do We Know What Terms to Use When We Talk about Our Experience with Literature? Developing a Flexible Critical Vocabulary. Critical Writing as Conversation. Critical Writing as an Extension of Reading. Langston Hughes, Harlem [poem]. 1. Scene, Episode, and Plot. What Happened, and Why Do We Care? Edouard Boubat, Rendez-vous at the Cafe La Vache Noire [image]. Incident, Scene, and Sequence. Experiencing Literature through Plot. Robert Pinsky, Poem with Lines in Any Order [poem]. Wislawa Szymborska, ABC [poem]. Episode, Impression, and Fragment. Claude Monet, Portal of Rouen Cathedral in Morning Light [image]. Experiencing Literature through Impression and Episode. Stephen Crane, An Episode of War [fiction]. Tension, Release, and Resolution. Multiple and Reflexive Plots. Memento [film]. A NOTE TO STUDENT WRITERS: Critical Reading and Understanding. Marge Piercy, Unlearning to not speak [poem]. Modeling Critical Analysis: Jamaica Kincaid, Girl [fiction]. Jamaica Kincaid, Girl [fiction]. 2. Character. Who Is Involved, and Why Does It Matter? Building Character. Experiencing Literature through Character. Michael Chabon, from The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay [fiction]. Presenting Character. A NOTE TO STUDENT WRITERS: Leading Questions. Picturing Character. Experiencing Film and Literature through Character. Gone with the Wind [film]. Hattie McDaniel accepting her Academy Award at the Coconut Grove [image]. Rita Dove, Hattie McDaniel Arrives at the Coconut Grove [poem]. Feeling for Character. Experiencing Literature through Character. Cathy Song, Picture Bride [poem]. Robert Hayden, Those Winter Sundays [poem]. Character and Function. Judith Ortiz Cofer, My Father in the Navy: A Childhood Memory [poem]. Modeling Critical Analysis: Jamaica Kincaid, Girl [fiction]. 3. Theme. What Does This Text Mean? Is There One Right Way to Read This Text? Theme and Thesis. Theme and Moral. Charles Perrault, Little Red Riding Hood [fiction]. James Thurber, The Girl and the Wolf [fiction]. Calvin Coolidge [image]. MGM Lion [image]. Girl Devoured by Wolf [fiction]. Experiencing Literature through Theme. Marge Piercy, A Work of Artifice [poem]. Multiple Themes in a Single Work. Experiencing Literature through Theme. Maxine Hong Kingston, The Wild Man of the Green Swamp [fiction]. When the Message Is Unwanted. Triumph of the Will [film]. A NOTE TO STUDENT WRITERS: Discovering What You Want to Say. Modeling Critical Analysis: Jamaica Kincaid, Girl [fiction]. 4. Point of View. How Do We Know What We Know about What Happened? Perspective. Albrecht Durer, Working on Perspective [image]. Masaccio, Trinity [image]. Plan and elevation of Masaccio's Trinity [image]. Dorothy Parker, Penelope [poem]. A NOTE TO STUDENT WRITERS: Distinguishing Author from Speaker. The Narrative Eye. Caspar David Friedrich, Wanderer above the Sea of Fog [image]. Caspar David Friedrich, Woman in the Morning Light [image]. Reliable and Unreliable Narrators. Third-Person Narrators. Charles Dickens, from A Christmas Carol [fiction]. First-Person Narrators. Experiencing Literature through Point of View. Wendell Berry, The Vacation [poem]. Film Focus and Angles. The Magnificent Ambersons [film]. Citizen Kane [film]. Trapped [film]. Nosferatu [film]. Henry Taylor, After a Movie [poem]. Experiencing Film through Point of View. Rear Window [film]. Shifting Perspectives. Stevie Smith, Not Waving but Drowning [poem]. Experiencing Literature through Perspective. Charles Sheeler, River Rouge Plant Stamping Press [image]. Philip Levine, Photography 2 [poem]. Frank X. Gaspar, It Is the Nature of the Wing [poem]. Modeling Critical Analysis: Robert Browning, My Last Duchess [poem]. Robert Browning, My Last Duchess [poem]. 5. Setting. Where and When Does This Action Take Place? Why Does It Make a Difference? Place and Time. Greetings from Fargo postcard [image]. A NOTE TO STUDENT WRITERS: Descriptive Summaries. Experiencing Literature through Setting. Denise Levertov, February Evening in New York [poem]. Theodore Dreiser, from Sister Carrie [fiction]. Department store interior [image]. The Role of Physical Objects. Kazuo Ishiguro, from Remains of the Day [fiction]. Imaginary Places. Experiencing Film through Setting. Amelie [film]. Babe: Pig in the City [film]. A NOTE TO STUDENT WRITERS: Paying Attention to Details. Modeling Critical Analysis: Robert Browning, My Last Duchess [poem]. 6. Rhythm, Pace, and Rhyme. How Do Sounds Move? Filmic Rhythm. Experiencing Film through Rhythm. Jaws [film]. Poetic Rhythm. Experiencing Literature through Rhythm. Herman Melville, The Maldive Shark [poem]. William Blake, Nurse's Song [poem]. The Rhythm of Pauses. Experiencing Literature through Rhythm. Samuel Johnson, On the Death of Dr. Robert Levet [poem]. Ben Jonson, On My First Son [poem]. A NOTE TO STUDENT WRITERS: Commanding Attention. The Rhythm of Sounds. Experiencing Literature through Rhythm and Rhyme. Randall Jarrell, The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner [poem]. Robert Frost, Fire and Ice [poem]. Modeling Critical Analysis: Robert Browning, My Last Duchess [poem]. 7. Images. How Do We Experience Sensations in a Written Text? Creating Pictures with Words. William Carlos Williams, The Red Wheelbarrow [poem]. Czeslaw Milosz, Watering Can [poem]. Sailboat [image]. Georges Seurat, Entrance to the Harbor [image]. Experiencing Literature through Imagery. Wislawa Szymborska, The Courtesy of the Blind [poem]. Registering Taste and Smell. Sideways [film]. Experiencing Literature through Images. Salman Rushdie, On Leavened Bread [prose]. Nun with Bread [image]. Interaction of the Senses. John Milton, from Paradise Lost [poem]. Gangs of New York [film]. Lost in Translation [film]. Experiencing Literature through Images. Richard Wilbur, A Fire-Truck [poem]. Interaction of Words and Pictures. Michael Ondaatje, King Kong Meets Wallace Stevens [poem]. Wallace Stevens [image]. King Kong [film]. Experiencing Literature through Images. Yosa Buson, from Hokku Poems in Four Seasons [poem]. A NOTE TO STUDENT WRITERS: Using Specific Detail. Modeling Critical Analysis: T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock [poem]. T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock [poem]. 8. Coherence. Is There a Pattern Here? How Does This Fit Together? Nick Hornby, from High Fidelity [fiction]. High Fidelity [film]. Design and Shape. George Herbert, Easter Wings [poem]. Thomas Hardy, The Convergence of the Twain [poem]. Traditional Structures. Sonnet chart [image]. Experiencing Literature through Form. William Wordsworth, Nuns Fret Not [poem]. Edna St. Vincent Millay, I, Being Born a Woman. and Distressed [poem]. Robert Frost, Design [poem]. Dylan Thomas, Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night [poem]. A NOTE TO STUDENT WRITERS: Complicating a Thesis. Coherence without Traditional or Fixed Structure. Philip Levine, The Simple Truth [poem]. Modeling Critical Analysis: T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock [poem]. 9. Interruption. Where Did That Come From? Why Is This Here? Interrupting the Fictional Frame. The Princess Bride [film]. Experiencing Literature through Interruption Douglas Adams, from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy [fiction]. Structural Interruptions. William Butler Yeats, The Folly of Being Comforted [poem]. Mary Oliver, Bone Poem [poem]. Experiencing Film through Interruption. Pulp Fiction [film]. Juxtaposition. Margaret Bourke-White, At the Time of the Louisville Flood [image]. Experiencing Literature through Juxtaposition. Ted Kooser, Tattoo [poem]. Montage. Experiencing Film through Juxtaposition. Roger and Me [film]. A NOTE TO STUDENT WRITERS: Making Comparisons Relevant. Modeling Critical Analysis: T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock [poem]. 10. Tone. Did I Hear That Right? Hearing Right. Margaret Atwood, you fit into me [poem]. Experiencing Literature through Tone. Dorothy Parker, One Perfect Rose [poem]. Dorothy Parker, Thought for a Sunshiny Morning [poem]. John Donne, The Flea [poem]. Mixing and Balancing Opposing Tones. Ted Kooser, A Letter from Aunt Belle [poem]. Experiencing Literature through Tone. Zora Neale Hurston, from Mules and Men [fiction]. Irony and Introspection. Margaret Atwood, Siren Song [poem]. Chinua Achebe, Dead Men's Path [fiction]. Czeslaw Milosz, If There Is No God [poem]. A NOTE TO STUDENT WRITERS: Signaling Your Own Understanding of Tonal Shifts. Modeling Critical Analysis: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, O Brother, Where Art Thou? [film]. Margaret Bourke-White, Guard with a shotgun [image]. O Brother, Where Art Thou? [film]. 11. Word Choice. Why This Word and Not Another? Precision and Playfulness. Experiencing Film and Literature through Diction. Moulin Rouge [film]. Beyond Summary. William Shakespeare, Sonnets (From fairest creatures we desire increase; When forty winters shall beseige thy brow; Look in thy glass, and tell the face thou viewest; Is it for fear to wet a widow's eye; Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?) [poems]. A NOTE TO STUDENT WRITERS: On the Paraphrase. Definition and Usage. Billy Collins, Thesaurus [poem]. Oxford English Dictionary, Love [prose]. Experiencing Literature through Word Choice. Robert Sward, For Gloria on Her 60th Birthday, or Looking for Love in Merriam-Webster [poem]. Critically Reflecting on Words. Lewis Shiner, from The Turkey City Lexicon: A Primer for Science Fiction Workshops. Bulwer-Lytton Contest Winners. Modeling Critical Analysis: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, O Brother Where Art Thou? [film]. 12. Allegory. Is This Supposed to Mean Something Else, Too? Learning through Likeness. Gertrude Crampton, from Tootle [fiction]. Front cover of Tootle [image]. A NOTE TO STUDENT WRITERS: Using Analogies in Arguments. Experiencing Literature through Allegory. Aesop, The Crow and the Pitcher [fiction]. Walter Crane, Aesop's "The Crow and the Pitcher" [image]. Emily Dickinson, [Eden is that old-fashioned House] [poem]. Embodying Timeless Qualities. Engraving of Statue of Justice holding the scales [image]. Dosso Dossi, Allegory of Fortune [image]. Billy Collins, The Death of Allegory [poem]. Reading Allegory. Plato, The Allegory of the Cave [prose]. Experiencing Film through Allegory. The Matrix [film]. Modeling Critical Analysis: Joao Guimaraes Rosa, The Third Bank of the River [fiction]. Joao Guimaraes Rosa, The Third Bank of the River [fiction]. 13. Symbolism. How Do I Know When an Event or an Image Is Supposed to Stand for Something Else? Figurative Language. Experiencing Literature through Symbols. Mary Jo Salter, Home Movies: A Sort of Ode [poem]. Recognizing Symbols. What does an apple symbolize? [images]. Gary Soto, Oranges [poem]. Allegory and Symbol. Experiencing Literature through Symbolism. Nathaniel Hawthorne, from Young Goodman Brown [fiction]. A NOTE TO STUDENT WRITERS: Justifying a Symbolic Reading. Modeling Critical Analysis: Joao Guimaraes Rosa, The Third Bank of the River [fiction]. 14. Context. What Outside Information Do We Really Need to Know to Understand the Text? How Does New Knowledge Influence Our Experience of Old Texts? Alfred, Lord Tennyson, The Charge of the Light Brigade [poem]. Apocalypse Now [film]. How Is Knowledge "Outside" the Text Helpful? Czeslaw Milosz, A Song on the End of the World [poem]. Experiencing Literature in Context. Czeslaw Milosz, Christopher Robin [poem]. Do We Need to Know Everything in Order to Understand? The Maltese Falcon [film]. Experiencing Art in Context. Gustave Caillebotte, Young Man at His Window [image]. What If Substantial Outside Knowledge Is Essential? Herman Melville, The House-Top [poem]. A NOTE TO STUDENT WRITERS: Using Electronic and Printed Sources for Research. Modeling Critical Analysis: Joao Guimaraes Rosa, The Third Bank of the River [fiction]. 15. Allusions. In Order to Understand This Text, Is There Something Else I Am Supposed to Have Read? Creating Community. Experiencing Literature through Allusions. Charles Simic, My Weariness of Epic Proportions [poem]. Revisiting and Renewal. Dick Barnes, Up Home Where I Come From [poem]. Leonardo da Vinci, The Last Supper [image]. William Wordsworth, My Heart Leaps Up [poem]. Experiencing Film through Allusions. Saturday Night Fever [film]. Pulp Fiction [film]. Identifying and Responding to Allusions. A NOTE TO STUDENT WRITERS: Reference versus Allusion. Modeling Critical Analysis: Tom Stoppard, The Fifteen Minute Hamlet [drama]. Tom Stoppard, The Fifteen Minute Hamlet [drama]. 16. Genre. How Do Our Expectations Impact Our Literary Experience? How Are Those Expectations Formed? What Is Genre? Conventions. Experiencing Literature through Genre. Mrs. J. H. Riddell, from Nut Bush Farm [fiction]. Disruptions. Experiencing Literature through Genre. William Shakespeare, from Macbeth [drama]. Displacement and Parody. Publicity poster for Buffy the Vampire Slayer [image]. Mark Twain, Ode to Stephen Dowling Bots, Dec'd [poem]. Genre and Popular Culture. Boys dressed as cowboys [images]. Experiencing Film through Genre. Shane [film]. Unforgiven [film]. A NOTE TO STUDENT WRITERS: Moving beyond Formulaic Writing. Modeling Critical Analysis: Tom Stoppard, The Fifteen Minute Hamlet [drama]. 17. The Production and Reproduction of Texts. How Does Retelling and Revising Impact My Experience of a Text? How Can Literary Theory Clarify What Constitutes That Experience? Texts and Technology. Textual Form and Conditions of Production. Experiencing Literature through Issues of Production. William Blake, A Poison Tree [image]. An Orientation to Contemporary Critical Theory. New Criticism and Auteur Theory. Deconstruction. New Historicism and Other Historically Grounded Approaches. Why We Study the Texts We Study. Experiencing Literature through Theory. from Major Writers of America [prose]. from The Heath Anthology of American Literature [prose]. A NOTE TO STUDENT WRITERS: Using Theory to Develop Critical Analysis. Abridging, Revising, and Repackaging Text. Oliver Twist [image]. Oliver Twist [film]. Experiencing Literature through Issues of Production and Reproduction of Texts. Mark Twain, from Adventures of Huckleberry Finn [fiction]. Translations, Subtitles, and Dubbing. from Lost in Translation [screenplay]. Modeling Critical Analysis: Tom Stoppard, The Fifteen Minute Hamlet [drama]. 18. An Orientation to Research. Why Should I Use Sources? How Do I Find Them? What Material Do I Document? Why We Use Sources. Shaping a Topic. How to Find Sources. Giving Appropriate Credit: The Issue of Plagiarism. David Sumner (Jones), Someone Forgotten (plagiarized) [poem]. Neal Bowers, Tenth-Year Elegy [poem]. Experiencing Literature through Considerations of Plagiarism. Plutarch, from Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans [prose]. William Shakespeare, from Julius Caesar. Integrating Sources into Writing: What We Document. Quotation, Paraphrase, and Summary. Distinct Insights and Common Observations. Common knowledge. How to Cite. Parenthetical References in the Text. The Works Cited List. Appendix: Student Model Essay Collection. Glossary. Credits. Index of First Lines of Poetry. Index of Authors and Titles.
About the Author
Bruce Beiderwell completed his Ph.D. in 1985 and since then has taught a wide range of composition and literature courses. He has published articles and reviews on 19th century fiction and detective fiction. His book, POWER AND PUNISHMENT IN SCOTT'S NOVELS (University of Georgia Press, 1992), was nominated in 1993 for the McVities Prize, an award given to the best book of the year on a Scottish subject. Beiderwell is now director of UCLA Writing Programs.
Jeff Wheeler serves as chair of the English department at Long Beach City College in Long Beach, California, where he also teaches a wide variety of literature and composition courses. He has taught at UCLA, Pepperdine, and USC, where he earned his doctorate in English. His work in literature of the English Reformation has earned him places in two seminars sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities.