How To Analyze Passages In Your Text

When writing a reaction to a piece of written work, such as a book or a short story, one commonly-employed technique is to analyze passages lifted directly from the text.  Instead of simply dropping quotations and paraphrasing statements, analyzing their significance can clear up many questions in your readers’ minds.

Choosing Passages To Analyze

Regardless of what kind of material you’re reading, there will be some lines from it that encapsulate a great deal about the original writer’s take on the subject.  These will be the ones that summarize a good deal of the argument, wrap-up facts into a coherent idea or affect the reader in a major way.    Make note of them during your reading because they can play a similarly large role in your own piece.

Using Passages

The goal of analyzing a piece of text is to bring forward a new understanding stemming from it.  Here’s one of way of making that happen:

1. Summarize your own observation or assertion regarding the passage.
2. Provide a brief context for it (basically, the reason it was included in the source material).
3. Quote it.
4. Write your own take (with the help of a good writing software, of course).

Writing your own take can involve different manners of analysis.  You can discuss the passage’s significance, note the subtleties in the ideas it expressed, assess its meaning or give your own reaction, tying everything, of course, with the main direction of the work.