Close Analysis and Interpretation of a Novel

In this task, you will select and read a novel from a popular genre—such as science fiction, romance, or horror—that is usually not considered literature. Read and analyze the novel. You will use your analysis to argue whether or not you consider it to be a piece of literature.

First, decide whether or not you consider the novel you read to be a piece of literature. Once you have decided, you can begin to organize textual evidence to support your argument. Remember that the definition of literature is not fixed, so the success of your argument depends on how well you use textual evidence to support it.

Here are some guidelines to follow.

Choose the novel.
Decide what popular genre you want to read. You might choose your genre by how interested you are in it or by whether you feel the genre can be literary.
Select a novel that appeals to you as a reader. This will make analyzing the novel much more interesting and enjoyable.
Decide if you want to choose a well-known or a more obscure text.
Decide how you are defining literature.
How can literary devices and the elements of fiction in the text be used to determine its literary merit?
What role does characterization and theme play in determining if a work is literature?
Does the purpose for reading the text (i.e. for information, for pleasure, or for growth) affect what you consider to be literature? What role does that play in your analysis of the novel?
Does the traditional idea of what is considered to be literature play a role in your choice, and how?
What standards will you use to define literature?
You can use the following resources to help you write your essay:

elements of literature
reading a novel or short story
literary terms
writing about literature
Your essay should include these elements:

a strong argument
a clear thesis statement about your chosen subject. Your thesis statement should be debatable.
Type your analysis in the space provided.

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