Do online resources really help in enriching the literary criticism skills of the literature students? If yes, how?Do online resources really help in enriching the literary criticism skills of the...

Do online resources really help in enriching the literary criticism skills of the literature students? If yes, how?

Do online resources really help in enriching the literary criticism skills of the literature students? If yes, how?

Expert Answers
James Kelley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm a little more skeptical in my response to the question of whether or not online resources really help in enriching the literary criticism skills of the literature students. Most of the previous posters point to how the internet puts a tremendous amount of information at our fingertips -- and I don't disagree for a second -- but very few of them comment critically on the quality or usefulness of that information or on the need for students to develop the ability to distinguish good information from bad.

As a practitioner and instructor of literary criticism, I believe very strongly in the close engagement with both the literary text and the selected theory. Close engagement means close, repeated readings of the original materials, whenever possible. As wonderful as the internet is, it gives indiscrimate access to very good and very bad examples of applications and overviews of different theories. By itself (i.e. without a good mentor, teacher, or "interpretive community") I don't see how the internet helps students develop their understanding and practice of literary criticism. Simply put: I believe that, above all, reading and critical thinking skills take work, not networking, to improve.

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yes. As an online and traditional literature professor I can atest to the fact that they do help, as long as they are used properly, and the sources are legitimate. They help because, in their majority, they are resources created by professors and/or school systems precisely to enrich the traditional learning experience.

The problem we are finding, however, is that blogs make up such a high percentage of online searches that, unless you do a  good Boolean search under an academic database, the resources you might end up with may not work.

However, once the search is done properly, there is a myriad of awesome resources available such as:

Project Guttenberg


Book Rags


The California Digital Library

The Carnegie Mellon Library Center

etc. etc.

These resources include: Book group, discussions, asynchronous and synchronous (real time) feedback, free online readings, analysis, in-depth studies, and links to other resources.

This is a whole lot more than what can be achieved twice a week in a college auditorium with over 150 students at one time.



Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would think that online resources help in the enhancement of literary criticist skills because of the sheer preponderance of information present.  Students are able to perform a simple web search for any particular philosophy of literary criticism and sense some of the similar questions asked by thinkers of that particular school.  As with all online resources, students might have to receive education as to what constitutes valid web research and which sites might not be as intellectually strong as others, but the bounty of information out there can develop the skills needed in seeing the implications and questions of a particular school of literary criticism.  The other reason why online resources might be helpful in enriching the literary critic skills of students would be due to the fact that it is more readily accessible to students, as opposed to secondary texts that have to endure multiple stages in publishing and development.  This is not to disparage these sources, but rather seeks to integrate online resources into this schematic of understanding.

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Most definitely. Online resources can be extremely helpful in the area of literary criticism. I see that you are a college senior. If you go to your college library website, there will be tons of online resources. Even if you just read a few journal articles on literary theory, this will help. Check out bodies of journals such as JSTOR and Project Muse. These sites are searchable by various criteria. You should be able to get a lot of information with basic searches on any number of literary theories.

There are also a number of websites that deal with literary criticism. If you can find a few of them, then you can use them or direct others to them. Good luck.

drmonica eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The primary benefit in developing literary criticism skills for high school students who use online resources is in modeling what literary criticism looks like. If I were still a classroom teacher, I'd want to access resources like eNotes in order to show students the analysis pieces so they would have models to examine under my guidance.

lynailou | Student


epollock | Student

On-line sources can help if they are demonstrated in class as how to be positively used. If not, they can be mechanisms for students to take shortcuts and never really learn how rto do anything for themselves.

ballersmom | Student

I think that online resources are a valuable tool to students today. If you do use online resources you have to make sure that those resources are from a valid website. It is best to go to your school's library and use their online library resources because the websites your school provides have been checked out already and are considered valid. If I were you, I would still check a website's validity by contacting the webmaster or by asking other students what their experiences  have been when using those resources. On the other hand, you can also try doing research the old fashioned way, looking for a book, finding it, reading it, and holding it in your hands.

mkcapen1 | Student

Not so long ago students only option for books was to go to the school or public library.  While there was a degree of available information about literary analysis, there was not the level of information to a student through the Internet. The internet has opened up a world of additional information a person's finger tips. 

Literary criticism is based on an opinion using facts within the selected material.  Not every person is going to have the same literary criticism f a selection.  The Internet is a valuable resource because a person can access a plethora of material for the student to view.  Using the materials as a guide the students are better able to hone is or her own skills.  In addition, the student's eyes and mind are opened to new concepts as well as old ones.