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Teacher Tips and Answers

Prewriting for Literary Analysis

Sometimes, the hardest part of writing is getting started. The prewriting ideas in this lesson will get you moving. These prewriting lessons will help you draw ideas and details from your reading and focus and plan your analysis.

Prewriting to Select a Work

Your teacher may assign a certain work of literature for you to analyze, or you may get to choose your own. If you need to choose between multiple works, create a chart to gather topic ideas. Then select the topic for your analysis.

Story and author

What is the story about?

What is the main character like?

"Thank You, Ma'm" by Langston Hughes

A boy tries to rob an old lady, but she drags him home.

Roger is a tough kid until he gets caught.

"Helen on Eighty-Sixth Street" by Wendi Kaufman

A girl tries to understand why her dad went away.

Vita is very smart.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

A young girl learns important lessons about discrimination.

Cassie is bold and daring.

Fill in a topic-ideas chart.

Fill in the chart with topic ideas for your literary analysis. Review your answers, and choose one work to analyze. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

Prewriting to Focus on Literary Elements

All fiction has a number of common elements: characters, plot, setting, and theme. You can ask questions about each element to gather details about the work you chose. You may need to reread portions of the work in order to fully answer qustions.

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