Ch 11: AP English: Examples of English Literary Analysis

About This Chapter

Watch English literary analysis video lessons and learn about famous plots and characters, poetic structure, theme analysis, and more. These lessons are just a portion of our AP English course.

AP English: Examples of English Literary Analysis - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Literary analysis is a skill, and one that involves practice. In this chapter, our instructors will take you through some of the most famous British works, from medieval times to the 20th century. You'll learn about the plots of the works as well as structure, style, historical relevance, and characters. Each lesson focuses on a specific piece of literature, from poems to novels, and elucidates the themes found in each. This chapter is designed to teach you:

  • About the structure of poems across the centuries
  • How to recognize important themes in a work
  • The plots and characters of classic literature
  • About the literary tradition of different eras
  • How to read literature with a critical eye

VideoObjective
Beowulf: Story, Characters, and Old EnglishLearn about poetry in Old English and how our hero defeats the monster and its mother.
The Canterbury Tales General Prologue: Style, Structure, and CharactersExplore the pilgrims and the frame narrative of Chaucer's famous book of tales.
The Knight's Tale and the Wife of Bath's Tale: Two Approaches to Chivalric RomanceUnderstand the medieval romance genre and how Chaucer displays it in two very different ways.
Romeo and Juliet: Shakespeare's Famous Star-Crossed LoversLearn about the classic tragedy and how important fate is in this play.
Macbeth: Themes and Quotes from the Scottish PlayExplore the supernatural elements and the plot of Shakespeare's tragedy.
Milton's Paradise Lost: Summary, Theme, and QuotesUnderstand Milton's epic poem about fate and free will.
Robinson Crusoe: Summary and ThemesLearn about Defoe's adventure story and the themes it portrays.
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: Literature vs. FilmExplore what happens in the original novel and how our cultural understanding of the monster differs.
Wuthering Heights: Plot Overview and Character AnalysisUnderstand Emily Bronte's dark tale of love and revenge in the English countryside.
Rime of the Ancient Mariner: Summary and AnalysisLearn about Coleridge's Romantic poem and the supernatural elements involved.
Byron's Don Juan: Summary, Quotes, and AnalysisExplore the structure and style of this long, satirical poem about love.
A Tale of Two Cities: Dickens' Novel of the French RevolutionUnderstand the plot and themes of Dickens' best-selling historical novel.
Dickens' Great Expectations: Plot, Characters, and Social ClassLearn about Pip's journey and attempt to improve his social standing.
Tennyson's Ulysses: A Victorian Take on GreeceExplore this dramatic monologue that offers a differing view on the Greek hero.
The Waste Land: Structure and Style ExplainedUnderstand the structure and style of Eliot's Modernist poem.
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: Character and EpiphanyLearn about Joyce's style and the development of Stephen Dedalus.

16 Lessons in Chapter 11: AP English: Examples of English Literary Analysis
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Beowulf: Story, Characters, and Old English

1. Beowulf: Story, Characters, and Old English

In this lesson, we'll take a look at the Old English epic, Beowulf. We'll explore what happens, how it's written and why it has such a lasting legacy.

The Canterbury Tales General Prologue: Style, Structure, and Characters

2. The Canterbury Tales General Prologue: Style, Structure, and Characters

In this lesson, we'll go over the General Prologue to Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. We'll take a look at some of the most interesting pilgrims and establish the frame narrative for the rest of the work.

The Knight's Tale and the Wife of Bath's Tale: Two Approaches to Chivalric Romance

3. The Knight's Tale and the Wife of Bath's Tale: Two Approaches to Chivalric Romance

In this lesson, we'll outline some of the key features of the medieval genre of chivalric romance. Then we'll talk about two very different tales that are examples of this genre: The Knight's Tale and the Wife of Bath's Tale.

Romeo and Juliet: Shakespeare's Famous Star-Crossed Lovers

4. Romeo and Juliet: Shakespeare's Famous Star-Crossed Lovers

Great tragedies resonate throughout time. In this lesson, we'll go over the role of fate in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. We'll explore the story of his star-crossed lovers and explain some of his most famous quotes.

Macbeth: Themes and Quotes from the Scottish Play

5. Macbeth: Themes and Quotes from the Scottish Play

In this lesson, we'll follow how ambition shapes the events of Shakespeare's Scottish play, 'Macbeth'. We'll explore the plot, characters and supernatural elements that are characteristic of this play.

Milton's Paradise Lost: Summary, Theme, and Quotes

6. Milton's Paradise Lost: Summary, Theme, and Quotes

John Milton's 1667 epic poem 'Paradise Lost' is often considered one of the greatest works in the English language. Watch this lesson to learn about the text and its complicated themes.

Robinson Crusoe: Summary and Themes

7. Robinson Crusoe: Summary and Themes

In this lesson, we'll explore Daniel Defoe's 'Robinson Crusoe' while examining themes present in the work. You may also learn some handy skills if you ever find yourself shipwrecked and having to survive on an island for 28 years.

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: Literature vs. Film

8. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: Literature vs. Film

FIRE BAD! That may be the depth of your experience with Frankenstein. But before he broke into pop culture, the character had a rich literary history. Watch our lesson to learn more!

Wuthering Heights: Plot Overview and Character Analysis

9. Wuthering Heights: Plot Overview and Character Analysis

'Wuthering Heights' is Emily Bronte's only published novel, but if you're only going to publish one novel in your lifetime, this is a good one. Follow along as this lesson introduces you to the plot, characters and other aspects of this novel.

Rime of the Ancient Mariner: Summary and Analysis

10. Rime of the Ancient Mariner: Summary and Analysis

What do you like in a great story? Zombies? Mystery at sea? Ghosts? Large birds? What if you could have them all? You can! In this lesson, we're going to explore the famed Romantic poem ''The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,'' by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Byron's Don Juan: Summary, Quotes and Analysis

11. Byron's Don Juan: Summary, Quotes and Analysis

When a complicated, fascinating writer like Lord Byron devotes a huge chunk of his life to a single, sprawling work, you're assured a product that's just like its author, except when it isn't. In this lesson, you'll learn about Lord Byron's epic masterpiece, 'Don Juan.'

A Tale of Two Cities: Dickens' Novel of the French Revolution

12. A Tale of Two Cities: Dickens' Novel of the French Revolution

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. In this video lesson, learn about A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens' classic novel about the French Revolution.

Dickens' Great Expectations: Plot, Characters, and Social Class

13. Dickens' Great Expectations: Plot, Characters, and Social Class

In 'Great Expectations,' young Pip has big dreams and lofty goals. All that's standing in his way is pretty much everyone he meets, as well as himself. Watch this lesson to learn more about this classic Charles Dickens novel.

Tennyson's Ulysses:  A Victorian Take on Greece

14. Tennyson's Ulysses: A Victorian Take on Greece

'Ulysses' is a very popular poem by Victorian superstar Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Watch our lesson to learn all about this portrait of a hero... or is he a major jerk?

The Waste Land: Structure and Style Explained

15. The Waste Land: Structure and Style Explained

As an introduction to T.S. Eliot's landmark poem, 'The Waste Land,' this lesson will outline some of the key Modernist features of the work. We'll address nonlinearity, irony and juxtaposition, voice, and allusions. Through taking a look at each of these features, we'll try to understand why 'The Waste Land' is as strange as it is important.

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: Character & Epiphany

16. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: Character & Epiphany

This lesson outlines the plot of Joyce's novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, while focusing on the development of protagonist Stephen Dedalus according to the expectations of the Bildungsroman genre. Additionally, we'll take a look at stylistic elements such as voice and epiphany.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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