stylistic and linguistic analysis of literature How do we  carry out stylistic and linguistic analysis of literature?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Kate Chopin's short short story "Story of an Hour" exemplifies stylistic techniques. First of all, the reportorial, rather passive voice of the narrator allows the reader to form his/her own judgments.  Secondly, Chopin's strategic use of the pronoun she directs the reader's perception to Mrs. Mallard as representative of women who are repressed in Victorian society, and along with the distance created by the reportorial narrator, the generalized implications are clearly perceived by the reader, and the effect intended by Mrs. Chopin is achieved.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Stylistic analysis of literature examines a text for patterns in writing (authorial style) and in speech (discourse style). The aim is to evaluate the quality of a text as well as the meaning of a text. In addition, the effect of the communication of the writer and the effect of the communication of the speaker within the text are both evaluated.

Linguistic analysis of literature comprises the examination of grammatical features of a work of literature; examination of the sounds of poetry (and other text as appropriate) for relationship to the effects of sounds; examination of discourse features in narrative including situation of discourse, thought presentation in discourse, and speech presentation in discourse.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Analysis begins with the rhetorical triangle--the speaker, the message, the audience.  In order to analyze the piece, you first look at who is saying it, how he is saying it, what words did he choose, what is his purpose.  Then you look at the message. How is it presented? Are the arguments sound or full of fallacies? Is the evidence sound, and are there lots of examples given to prove the point? Next, you look at the audience.  If it's a group of women, or students, or elderly people, the message/speaker will alter language, etc. to appeal to that group.  Focus on what preconceived notions the audience may have and whether or not the message would be successful with them.

In addition to the elements posted above, you should also consider allusions (lit anal), denotation and connotation (linguistic anal), and overall effect of the piece. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Style analysis--tone, diction, syntax--is important and should be paired with thematic analysis, including the author's use of symbolism. These are fairly common elements in all works of fiction and even non-fiction, to some degree. In addition, form can be a point of study, as well. Literary techniques such as flashbacks or, perhaps, the use of letters or other such devices also become part of an effective literary analysis. I find it helpful to compare one work to another, as well, since it requires students to recognize differences and similarities between literary elements and works.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What you focus on really depends on the text.  Basically, you analyze what is there.  You can look at how an author chooses and uses words, which is known as tone and diction, as well as how sentences are constructed.  This is all part of what makes up style.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

When giving my students an exam over a text I always insure that they know the themes, the point-of-view, important quotes, conflicts, and the meaning of the work.

It is always imperative that the text is understood. If one truly understands a text, the exam should be no problem. Frustration comes, for a teacher, when a student complains about not understanding a text when they admit to not reading it.

 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial