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Ch 2: Analyzing American Literature

About This Chapter

Take a look at this chapter to get a better idea of how to analyze and interpret American literature. By using these lessons to master literary analysis methods, you could improve your English grade, prepare for an exam, or make up for missed class time.

Analyzing American Literature - Chapter Summary

In this chapter, our instructors provide you with various methodologies you can use to analyze different pieces of American literature. The brief lessons address the broad range of styles and formats found within American literature. You can view the full list of available lessons through the chapter menu, and you can navigate to the specific lessons you want to review. If you take the time to go through the entire chapter, you will be prepared to:

  • Describe the main literary movements and periods
  • Identify the steps used for analyzing passages of literature
  • Define the terms used for analyzing poetry
  • Point out the differences between poetic forms
  • Explain how the narrator impacts American novels
  • Compare common plot techniques in American fiction
  • Differentiate between techniques used for American short stories versus dramas
  • Summarize common rhetorical devices and explain their functions
  • Detail important terms related to prose and poetry

11 Lessons in Chapter 2: Analyzing American Literature
Overview of Literary Periods and Movements: A Historical Crash Course

1. Overview of Literary Periods and Movements: A Historical Crash Course

When it comes to studying literature, there's about 1500 years of it to take in - and that's just in the English language! Fortunately, you can check out our crash course of key literary movements to see how the art form has developed over time.

How to Analyze a Literary Passage: A Step-by-Step Guide

2. How to Analyze a Literary Passage: A Step-by-Step Guide

In this lesson, we will examine the steps involved in the basic analysis of literature. Then, using a well-known fable, we will go through each step of analysis: comprehension, interpreting and drawing conclusions.

Analyzing American Poetry: Terms and Examples

3. Analyzing American Poetry: Terms and Examples

It can sometimes be tough to figure out what a poem means. This lesson provides some tools to help you analyze poetry and develop your interpretations.

Identifying Forms in American Poetry

4. Identifying Forms in American Poetry

There is more to poetry than symbolism and imagery. This lesson will help you figure out meter and rhyme schemes in poetry, with some classic American poems as examples.

Role of the Narrator in American Novels: Types and Examples

5. Role of the Narrator in American Novels: Types and Examples

Thinking about who is telling the story in a novel, and what he or she might be leaving out, is crucial to understanding that novel. Learn about the various types of points of view in American novels, as well as a few specific, noteworthy narrators, in this lesson.

Plot Techniques in American Fiction: Definition and Examples

6. Plot Techniques in American Fiction: Definition and Examples

A novel's plot involves more than just what happens in the story. Authors employ a number of techniques, including foreshadowing, red herrings, backstory, and B-plots to enrich their stories.

Analyzing the American Short Story: Techniques and Examples

7. Analyzing the American Short Story: Techniques and Examples

Identifying the tone, setting, and mood in a short story can help you analyze that story. In this lesson, we'll think about those literary features in the context of a few well-known American short stories.

Analyzing American Drama: Techniques and Plays

8. Analyzing American Drama: Techniques and Plays

Plays are often developed with the use of a number of literary techniques. This lesson explores the use of symbolism, motifs, flashbacks, and monologues in American drama.

Rhetorical Device: Definition & Examples

9. Rhetorical Device: Definition & Examples

Rhetorical devices are used in language to communicate effectively and persuade. Here you'll discover more about rhetorical devices and learn how to put some of them to use in some persuasion of your own.

Glossary of Literary Terms: Prose

10. Glossary of Literary Terms: Prose

The study of literature is a broad, diverse field. However, there's some general knowledge you should have before you dive in. Check out these terms to get a handle on the basics of prose study.

Glossary of Literary Terms: Poetry

11. Glossary of Literary Terms: Poetry

Before you start your study of poetry, you'll want to have these technical, literary and genre terms at your disposal. Read on to learn the basics of analyzing poetry!

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