How to Read Literature Critically

With language, we can express many different meanings. The difficult part is how to read those meanings because language can be literal and figurative. For language learners especially, it may be difficult to understand foreign literature because it goes beyond literal meanings and often conveys multiple meanings and complex ideas.

ACE - read lit critically 1

For English learners, you can practice with eNotes‘ useful 6-step method on how to read literature critically. The steps focus on the following points:

  1. Figurative language
  2. Structure
  3. Influence
  4. Archetypes
  5. Symbolism
  6. Read and reread

eNotes explains in their article:

Even if you’re taking your very first literature class, it’s easy to read critically if you follow our 6-step method. But before you get started, always keep this in mind: reading critically doesn’t mean tearing a work of literature apart. Instead, it means understanding what the author has written and evaluating the success of the work as a whole.

Get started on reading How to Read Literature Critically to understand how to use the 6 steps! Recommended for advanced learners (Levels 600-800/EAP).

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