Identify "common logical fallacies," and explain why you should avoid them when you write about literature.

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First, one should avoid logical fallacies in any argument or defense of a stance. When analyzing literature, the first important logical decision is to separate fact from fiction, to remind yourself and your reader that the worlds of fiction are human constructions, not reports of real life, however historical the settings or the characters. The narrator, for example, can be reliable or not, singular or multiple, omniscient or limited to one point of view, etc. To forget that distinction is the fallacy of mistaken authenticity. The common fallacies are several. Ad hoc, ergo propter hoc (“after this therefore because of this”) is demonstrated when a critic attributes the creation of a piece of literature to a separate event in the author’s life (example: Poe’s stories and poems are the result of his early exposure to university life”). Ad hominem arguments treat the writer instead of the work. (example: Hemingway’s promiscuous lifestyle diminish his novels’ quality). False authority is the fallacy of citing a source with no credentials. (example: Most high school English teachers agree that Holden Caulfield is the greatest character in literature.)

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