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The boom novels were the following:

Figures of Speech
Figures of speech, which are also referred to as figurative language, are words or
phrases that express meanings in a nonliteral way. These expressions are often used
for comparison and for conveying emotion.

Literary writers use figures of speech to enhance the artistic quality of their works.
Figures of speech bring vividness and liveliness to the work, and they also emphasize
the message that the writer wants to convey. The use of these expressions also allows
readers to feel a connection with the literary work by sparking their imagination and
arousing their emotions.

There are numerous figures of speech, and these can be classified into different
categories. Among these categories are the following:

Figures of relationship
Figures of emphasis
Figures of sound

Figures of Relationship
Figures of relationship include simile, metaphor, metonymy, and synecdoche.

Simile
A simile compares two unlike things with a common quality. The comparison is done
using words such as like or as.

Example:
O my Luve's like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June;
–from "A Red, Red Rose" by Robert Burns

Explanation:
The persona in the poem compares his love to a red rose that blooms in springtime.
Metaphor
A metaphor is a comparison that is done by stating that one thing is another in order to
suggest their similarity or shared qualities.

Example:
Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky.
–Khalil Gibran

Explanation:
In the given quote, trees are likened to poems, and the comparison does not use words
such as like or as.
Metonymy
A metonymy is a figure of speech in which a thing or idea is not referred to by its own
name but by a different one, which is a name of something with which it is closely
associated.

Example:
I’m mighty glad Georgia waited till after Christmas before it seceded or it would have
ruined the Christmas parties.
–from Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Explanation:
In the given line, Georgia is not used to refer to the place or state but rather the people
making up the state: its citizens and government officials.
Synecdoche
A synecdoche uses a part of something to represent the whole or the whole to
represent a part.
Example:
His eye met hers as she sat there paler and whiter than anyone in the vast ocean of
anxious faces about her.
–from "The Lady, or the Tiger?" by Frank Stockton

Explanation:
The word faces is used to refer to people.

Figures of Emphasis
Among the common figures of emphasis are hyperbole, oxymoron, and paradox.

Hyperbole
Hyperbole uses intentional exaggeration to achieve emphasis or produce a comic
effect.

Example:
I had to wait in the station for ten days–an eternity.
–from Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Explanation:
The use of the word eternity to describe a wait of ten days is an exaggeration. It simply
emphasizes that the persona feels that he waited for so long.
Oxymoron
An oxymoron is a word or a combination of words with contradictory meanings, as in
bittersweet and open secret.

Example:
Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate!
O anything, of nothing first create!
–from Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Explanation:
The phrase loving hate is an oxymoron, as it makes use of two contradictory terms.
Paradox
A paradox is a statement that appears to hold contradictory ideas but may actually be
true.

Example:
The Child is father of the Man.
–from "My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold" by William Wordsworth

Explanation:
The given statement may appear silly at first, but what it aims to convey is that one's
childhood experiences shapes who he becomes and how he acts as an adult.

Figures of Sound
Among the figures of sound are alliteration and onomatopoeia.

Alliteration
Alliteration refers to the use of closely spaced words that have the same initial sounds.

Example:
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before
–from "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe

Explanation:
The neighboring words doubting, dreaming, dreams, dared, and dream begin with the d
sound, giving the line a musical quality.
Onomatopoeia
Onomatopoeia is the use of words that imitate the sound of what they are referring to.

Example:
ARIEL:
Hark, hark!
Bow-wow.
The watch-dogs bark!
Bow-wow.
Hark, hark! I hear
The strain of strutting chanticleers
Cry, ‘cock-a-diddle-dow!’
–from The Tempest by William Shakespeare

Explanation:
The words bow-wow and cock-a-diddle-dow are examples of onomatopoeia, as they are
animal sounds.

Literary Techniques
BASIC TEXTUAL AND CONTEXTUAL READING APPROACHES
What are literary techniques?
Why do writers use literary techniques?
Literary Techniques
Literary techniques or devices refer to specific methods writers employ in their works to
convey messages. Readers, on the other hand, look for several literary techniques
when examining or analyzing a text or simply evaluating a text’s artistic value.
Keep in mind that literary techniques or devices are different from literary elements.
Literary elements are essential to a narrative as writers make use of these components
to serve as the structure of and to develop a story. These elements refer to the plot,
setting, characters, point of view, and theme, among others.

Anaphora
Anaphora, sometimes called epanaphora, refers to the repetition of a word or phrase at
the beginning of a sentence to create an artistic or heightened effect. It adds rhythm to a
particular line or paragraph, making it easier to memorize or remember. Anaphora is
also used for emphasis or to stir emotions among the audience.

Example:
Hamlet (An Excerpt)
By Wiliam Shakespeare

'Tis a fault to heaven,


A fault against the dead, a fault to nature
To reason most absurd. . . .

(Hamlet by Shakespeare, Act 1 Scene 2)

Explanation:
The line above was delivered by Claudius while talking to Hamlet. Claudius was trying
to convince his nephew to end his mourning for his father, emphasizing that it is “a fault”
against heaven, the dead, and nature to do so since death is inevitable.

Antihero
An antihero is a fictional character who does not possess the traits, such as pride and
valor, expected of a hero. Often, antiheroes are portrayed as foolish and usually find
themselves in mischief.

Example:
Don Quixote (An Excerpt)
By Miguel Cervantes

One of those, however, that stood near him, fancying he was mocking them, lifted up a
long staff he had in his hand and smote him such a blow with it that Sancho dropped
helpless to the ground. Don Quixote, seeing him so roughly handled, attacked the man
who had struck him lance in hand, but so many thrust themselves between them that he
could not avenge him. Far from it, finding a shower of stones rained upon him, and
crossbows and muskets unnumbered levelled at him, he wheeled Rocinante round and,
as fast as his best gallop could take him, fled from the midst of them, commending
himself to God with all his heart to deliver him out of this peril, in dread every step of
some ball coming in at his back and coming out at his breast, and every minute drawing
his breath to see whether it had gone from him.
Explanation:
The passage above shows that Don Quixote, despite considering himself as a knight-
errant, is a coward. Instead of helping his squire Sancho from the mob, he fled to save
himself.

Cliff-hanger
Cliff-hanger is a literary technique used by the author to arouse curiosity among readers
by ending a chapter or story abruptly. Most of the time, the characters are confronted
with a difficult or an unsettling situation. Instead of providing a resolution, the author
would end it. Furthermore, this technique is often found in serialized works. Writers
utilize cliff-hangers in their works to keep the readers focused and interested as to what
will happen next.

Example:
Divergent (An Excerpt)
By Veronica Roth

I turn the gun in my hands and press it into Tobias’s palm.


He pushes the barrel into my forehead. My tears have stopped and the air feels cold as
it touches my cheeks. I reach out and rest my hand on his chest so I can feel his
heartbeat. At least his heartbeat is still him.

The bullet clicks into the chamber. Maybe it will be as easy to let him shoot me as it was
in the fear landscape, as it is in my dreams. Maybe it will be just a bang, and the lights
will lift, and I will find myself in another world. I stand still and wait.
(Roth, Veronica. Divergent. New York: Katherine Tegen Books, 2011)

Explanation:
The main character Tris Prior was in an intense situation as Tobias, under a simulation,
was about to shoot her. However, the author did not divulge whether Tobias did it or not
until the next chapter.

Juxtaposition
Juxtaposition is a technique authors use in their works to compare two different things,
such as good and evil, life and death, truth and lies, among others. This technique is
also used to develop a character, resolve a conflict, or clarify various concepts.

Example:
The Cask of Amontillado (An Excerpt)
By Edgar Allan Poe

It was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the carnival season,
that I [Montresor] encountered my friend [Fortunato]. He accosted me with excessive
warmth, for he had been drinking much. The man wore motley. He had on a tightfitting
parti-striped dress, and his head was surmounted by the conical cap and bells. I was so
pleased to see him, that I thought I should never have done wringing his hand. . . .

At the most remote end of the crypt there appeared another less spacious. Its walls had
been lined with human remains, piled to the vault overhead, in the fashion of the great
catacombs of Paris. Three sides of this interior crypt were still ornamented in this
manner. From the fourth the bones had been thrown down, and lay promiscuously upon
the earth, forming at one point a mound of some size. Within the wall thus exposed by
the displacing of the bones, we perceived a still interior recess, in depth about four feet,
in width three, in height six or seven. . . .
Explanation:
Edgar Allan Poe used juxtaposition in “The Cask of Amontillado.” In the first paragraph,
the carnival season, including Fortunato’s motley, symbolizes life and merrymaking.
Meanwhile, the catacombs and bones symbolize what would become of Fortunato.
Foreshadowing
Foreshadowing refers to lines or dialogues in a story which give the reader an idea of
what is about to happen without spoiling or explicitly stating the plot’s entirety. When
writers use this technique, especially in mystery or thriller novels, they provide “red
herrings” (misleading or false clues) to divert the readers’ expectations.

Example:
The Iliad (An Excerpt)
By Homer

Then Thetis spake unto him, shedding tears the while: “Doomed then to a speedy
death, my child, shalt thou be, that thou spakest thus; for straightway after Hector is
thine own death ready at hand."
Explanation:
Achilles was devastated upon learning about Patroclus’ death in the hands of Hector.
He wished to avenge his fallen comrade, but his mother, Thetis, warned him of his
impending death should he kill Hector in battle.

Catharsis
Catharsis is derived from the Greek word katharsis, which means “purification” or
“purgation.” It refers to the emotional release or cleansing of the characters, or audience
or readers, from strong emotions usually brought by learning of the truth or when
confronted with difficult situations. This technique is commonly found in tragedies, such
as Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Sophocles’ Oedipus the King.

Example:
Oedipus the King (An Excerpt)
By Sophocles

Second Messenger:

(. . . .) Guided his footsteps; with a terrible shriek,


As though one beckoned him, he crashed against
The folding doors, and from their staples forced
The wrenched bolts and hurled himself within.
Then we beheld the woman hanging there,
A running noose entwined about her neck.
But when he saw her, with a maddened roar
He loosed the cord; and when her wretched corpse
Lay stretched on earth, what followed—O 'twas dread!
He tore the golden brooches that upheld
Her queenly robes, upraised them high and smote
Full on his eye-balls, uttering words like these:
"No more shall ye behold such sights of woe,
Deeds I have suffered and myself have wrought;
Henceforward quenched in darkness shall ye see
Those ye should ne'er have seen; now blind to those
Whom, when I saw, I vainly yearned to know."
Explanation:
The excerpt above pertains to the scene where it was revealed that Oedipus married his
mother Jocasta and killed his father Laius. Upon learning of the truth, Jocasta
committed suicide while Oedipus thrust his mother’s golden brooches into his eyes, thus
causing him to become blind.

Stream of Consciousness
Stream of consciousness, sometimes referred to as interior monologue, is a literary
technique that is usually associated with Modern writers. The plot is developed based
on the characters’ reminiscence or recollection of events and thought fragments.
Instead of using dialogues to show the characters’ reaction or emotion, writers make
use of stream of consciousness to show each character’s complex nature. More so,
readers are taken into the depths of the characters’ mind and witness how these
characters process their thoughts when faced with a particular situation or emotion.

Example:
Mrs. Dalloway (An Excerpt)
By Virginia Woolf

Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself. . . .

For Lucy had her work cut out for her. The doors would be taken off their hinges;
Rumpelmayer's men were coming. And then, thought Clarissa Dalloway, what a
morning--fresh as if issued to children on a beach.

What a lark! What a plunge! For so it had always seemed to her, when, with a little
squeak of the hinges, which she could hear now, she had burst open the French
windows and plunged at Bourton into the open air. How fresh, how calm, stiller than this
of course, the air was in the early morning; like the flap of a wave; the kiss of a wave;
chill and sharp and yet (for a girl of eighteen as she then was) solemn, feeling as she
did, standing there at the open window, that something awful was about to happen;
looking at the flowers, at the trees with the smoke winding off them and the rooks rising,
falling; standing and looking until Peter Walsh said, "Musing among the vegetables?"--
was that it?--"I prefer men to cauliflowers"--was that it? . . .
Explanation:
From the passage above, we see how Mrs. Dalloway’s thoughts wandered from present
to past. All these came into her head while she was on her way to buy flowers.

Hamartia
Hamartia, or tragic flaw, is a technique commonly found in Greek tragedies. It refers to
the tragic hero’s error in judgment, which leads to his or her downfall. Most of the time,
this error is committed unknowingly, such in the case of Oedipus when he killed his
father Laius and married his mother Jocasta. Hamartia is used to have the audience
identify themselves with the protagonist (that he or she has weaknesses too) and to
provoke pity because of the miserable turn of events he or she went through.
Additionally, it is used to impart a moral objective among readers or audience to
improve or change for the better so as to avoid the tragedy that has befallen the
protagonist.

Example:
Medea (An Excerpt)
By Euripides

An easy answer had I to this swell


Of speech, but Zeus our father knoweth well,
All I for thee have wrought, and thou for me.
So let it rest. This thing was not to be,
That thou shouldst live a merry life, my bed
Forgotten and my heart uncomforted,
Thou nor thy princess: nor the king that planned
Thy marriage drive Medea from his land,
And suffer not. Call me what thing thou please,
Tigress or Skylla from the Tuscan seas:
My claws have gripped thine heart, and all things shine.

Explanation:
Medea’s hamartia or tragic flaw was her excessive love for Jason, who left her and their
children to marry Creon’s daughter, Glauce. This led Medea to cast her revenge to
Glauce, poisoning her, and to kill their children as she knew how greatly it would hurt
Jason.

Literary Reading through a Biographical Context


BASIC TEXTUAL AND CONTEXTUAL READING APPROACHES
What is a biographical context?
How do we analyze a literary text through its biographical context?
Biographical Context
A biographical context refers to the author’s life and the factors that influenced and
shaped it, such as social, political, and economic conditions during his or her time. This
also includes his or her educational background, religion, ethnicity, among others. When
you read based on a biographical context, you employ a biographical criticism.
In analyzing a text based on its biographical context, you should consider not only how
the factors mentioned earlier have caused an impact to the author, but also how these
factors were reflected in, and have helped shape, his or her work(s).
It is important to take into consideration the literary background of the author. You must
research about who and which the author reads as these may have also influenced him
or her and his or her work(s).
In analyzing a text based on its biographical context, you should consider not only how
the factors mentioned earlier have caused an impact to the author, but also how these
factors were reflected in, and have helped shape, his or her work(s).
However, one should not mistake a biographical analysis from a biography. Remember
that when you analyze a text based on the biographical context, you gather information
about the author’s life as it can help you understand some difficult concepts or extract
profound meanings in an author’s work. Moreover, a biographical analysis helps you
understand the relationship of the author and his or her work(s), not produce a detailed
account of his or her life–thus, a biography. Literature, aside from being form of
expression, can be based on real or orchestrated events. These events included by the
author in his or her work(s) are sometimes different from what really transpired in real
life. Sometimes these events are a reimagination, exaggeration, or wishful thinking.
Example:
Manuel E. Arguilla’s “How My Brother Leon Brought Home a Wife” is a story told
through Baldo’s, Leon’s brother, point of view. He narrated how Leon brought his soon-
to-be wife, Maria, in their hometown (Nagrebcan, La Union) to meet his family. To
analyze this story, let us first consider some facts about Arguilla:

Arguilla was born on June 17, 1911 in Bauang, La Union to Crisanto Arguilla and
Margarita Estabillo.
He was the fourth child and his family owned a small piece of land in their town.
He was married to Lydia Villanueva, who was from Ermita, Manila.
Explanation:
Based on the facts presented above, we can infer that Arguilla’s “How My Brother Leon
Brought Home a Wife” was a creative retelling of how his then girlfriend Lydia
Villanueva met his folks in La Union. Moreover, Maria fondly calls Leon “Noel,” which
also reads as Leon in a reverse manner or simply referring to the author since his first
name was “Manuel.”

The Ilocano culture of calling an older woman or man manang or manong respectively
was also evident. Additionally, this story was published during the American occupation
in the country. Since the country as a whole was transgressing from its conservative
roots, not to mention that the English language was widely used then (which also lacks
words to describe an elder sibling such as ate or kuya), perhaps this was Arguilla’s way
of preserving his Ilocano upbringing.

Literary Reading through a Linguistic Context


BASIC TEXTUAL AND CONTEXTUAL READING APPROACHES
How did the Filipino writers in English during the American Colonial Period of the
Philippines handle English in their writing?
Were they successful in using the foreign language in expressing their Filipino
sensibility in their works?
English is a legacy of the American colonization of the Philippines. In this lesson, you
will see how Filipino writers were able to use English to create a new body of Philippine
literature.

The English Language Situation during the American Colonial Period (1898–1945)
In 1901, the Americans established public education in the Philippines with English as
the medium of instruction. This exposed Filipino writers to Anglo-American literature,
culture, and ways of looking at the world. Hence, a period of apprenticeship in the
development of a new body of literature took place. The period (1910–1935) was
characterized by writers imitating Western writers. The succeeding “period of
emergence” (1935–1945) saw writers gaining full command of English and finally giving
shape to what is now the Philippine Literature in English.
Example 1:
Dead Stars (An Excerpt)
By Paz Marquez-Benitez

Under straight recalcitrant hair, a thin face with a satisfying breadth of forehead, slow,
dreamer's eyes, and astonishing freshness of lips--indeed Alfredo Salazar's appearance
betokened little of exuberant masculinity; rather a poet with wayward humor, a
fastidious artist with keen, clear brain.
Explanation:
“Dead Stars” (1925) by Paz Marquez-Benitez is considered as the first modern
Philippine short story in English for its maturity in subject and language. The prose is
rich, a characteristic found in Western literature, which is often verbose and elaborate. It
uses deep words and figures of speech (e.g., “recalcitrant hair”). The sentence is quite
long; the author plays with the language, creating a more vivid characterization of
Alfredo.

Example 2:
How My Brother Leon Brought Home a Wife (An Excerpt)
By Manuel E. Arguilla

She stepped down from the carretela of Ca Celin with a quick, delicate grace. She was
lovely. She was tall. She looked up to my brother with a smile, and her forehead was on
a level with his mouth.

"You are Baldo," she said and placed her hand lightly on my shoulder. Her nails were
long, but they were not painted. She was fragrant like a morning when papayas are in
bloom. And a small dimple appeared momently high on her right cheek. "And this is
Labang of whom I have heard so much." She held the wrist of one hand with the other
and looked at Labang, and Labang never stopped chewing his cud. He swallowed and
brought up to his mouth more cud and the sound of his insides was like a drum.
Explanation:
In “How My Brother Leon Brought Home a Wife” (1941) Arguilla writes in a simple and
very fluid language, which is easy for the readers to follow. He used simple figures of
speech (e.g., “fragrant like a morning when papayas are in bloom”). He also used
borrowed Spanish words to express meanings more accurately. For example, he used
“carretela of Ca Celin” instead of “Mr. Celine’s carriage.” It places the story in a rural
setting and gives it a distinct native quality.

Literary Reading through a Sociocultural Context


BASIC TEXTUAL AND CONTEXTUAL READING APPROACHES
What did Bienvenido Santos and N. V. M. Gonzalez write about mostly?
How did they present the Filipino in their works?
Bienvenido Santos (1911–1996) became an exile twice. In 1941, he was studying in the
US on government scholarship when the Japanese attacked Manila in December; he
was cut off from his family. During that time, he wrote stories that later on appeared in
his short story collections You, Lovely People (1955), The Day the Dancers Came
(1967), and Scent of Apples (1979). He was only able to return to the country in
February 1946. Then in 1972, he was with his wife Beatriz in San Francisco when
President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law. His novel The Praying Man (1982),
which is about the political corruption of the government, was banned by the
government. From 1973 to 1982, he was a writer-in-residence at Wichita State
University. In 1976, he became a US citizen. He returned to the Philippines for a visit in
1981.
Nestor Vicente Madali Gonzalez (1915–1999), simply known as “N. V. M.,” became a
Rockefeller Foundation fellow in 1948 and attended Stanford University in California
and Columbia University in New York City. In 1950, he returned to the country and
began his teaching career. Then he went back to California in the 1960s to teach and
stayed there until 1983. Despite those travels, though, he never gave up his citizenship.
Throughout his teaching career, he produced fourteen books, including the short story
collections Children of the Ash-Covered Loam (1954) and The Bread of Salt and Other
Stories (1993). He received many awards for his achievements including the National
Artist of Literature in 1997.
Example 1:
“Immigration Blues”
by Bienvenido Santos

“Immigration Blues” tells the story of Alipio Palma, a Filipino old-timer and a naturalized
American citizen. A widower, he lived alone in an apartment in San Francisco. One day
during the summertime, two women came to his home. The women were Antonietta
Zafra and her sister Monica. Antonietta introduced herself to Alipio as the wife of Carlito.
At the mention of the name of his old buddy, Alipio became familiar. In their
conversation, he talked about his late wife Seniang. One of his fond memories of her is
when he came home to see her wearing his jacket and slippers. Also, she went to see
him in his apartment and asked him without hesitation to marry her. She had to marry
an American citizen like Alipio at that time so that she could stay in the country. In
return, she would take care of him. At first, Alipio was not interested. Eventually, he
agreed to marry her. By doing so, he thought that he would become more sensible with
his time and money and that he would be happier, and he would live longer.

For the same reason as Alipio’s late wife, Antonietta and her sister Monica came to see
Alipio. At first, it was only Antonietta who was working on Alipio for Monica. She was
dropping hints during their conversation. The most obvious one was when Alipio was
telling the two women how he and Carlito had impressed women before with their
gallantry and that they were “fools on fire.” Antonietta responded with less subtlety by
saying, “I’m sure you still got some of that fire.” From that moment, Monica took her turn
to work on Alipio herself. The story ends with Antonietta leaving Alipio and Monica alone
to go to a nearby grocery store for their dinner.
In 1977, the short story won the best fiction award given by New Letters magazine. In
1980, it was included in Scent of Apples, published by the University of Washington
Press. The next year, Santos won the American Book Award for that collection from
Before Columbus Foundation.
Example 2:
“The Tomato Game”
by N. V. M. Gonzalez

“The Tomato Game” is written in an epistolary style. The narrator, a lecturer at a


university called Transpacifica University in the US, is writing to a man named Greg. In
the letter, he tells about a colleague named Sophio Arimuhanan, whom he refers to as
Sopi, and his modus operandi. Sopi calls himself “Importer-Exporter of Brides,” that is,
he makes arrangements for people who wanted to get married. He is called “Attorney,”
but he is not legally allowed to practice law. One Sunday in the summertime, the
narrator and Sopi went to a tomato farm. At first the narrator thought they were going to
watch a cockfight, but he soon found out that they were meeting an old man whom Sopi
referred to as “Lolo.” This old man was arranged by Sopi to marry a young Filipina
named Alice. In their arrangement, the old man would take Alice as his wife and some
young man named Tony as his nephew. Then the old man would send Tony to school.
Hearing about the arrangement made the narrator angry. Later on, when the narrator
realized his role in Sopi’s scheme, he felt terrible. As hinted by Sopi, he would need the
narrator’s help as he was a lecturer at Transpacifica. The old man had already paid
eight hundred dollars for Tony’s tuition in advance. Towards the end of the letter, the
narrator tells Greg what Sopi said to him when they left the farm. Sopi said, “To think
that that old man hasn’t even met the boy.”
In 1972, the short story “The Tomato Game” won the first prize in the Carlos Palanca
Memorial Awards for Literature. In 1993, the short story was published along with other
works in the collection The Bread of Salt and Other Stories.

Explanation:
Bienvenido Santos and N. V. M. Gonzalez presented different facets of the Filipino
immigrant experience. In “Immigrant Blues,” Santos portrayed a lonely old-timer who
wanted a companion and a woman who chose to marry an old-timer out to avoid
deportation. In “The Tomato Game,” Gonzalez portrayed Filipinos trying to make it in
the US. One is a lecturer who regrets to be part of a scheme that deceives an
unsuspecting old man, while another, an unlicensed lawyer, deceives people for a
living.

Society and culture strongly influence a writer’s work. To understand the text better
then, identify its sociocultural context.

Context is the background of the text which may have been influenced by the author’s
life, language, society, and culture.

Critical Reading Strategies in Literature


BASIC TEXTUAL AND CONTEXTUAL READING APPROACHES
What is critical reading?
Why is it important?
What are the different critical reading strategies in literature?
Critical Reading
Critical reading has an academic or professional purpose. Unlike reading for pleasure, it
requires critical thinking skills like doing analysis, developing an argument, and doing an
evaluation.
Critical reading strategies in literature vary in purpose and focus.

Previewing a Text
Previewing a text enables a reader to get the sense of what the text is all about and how
its parts are organized. A reader can take a look at the facts about the author and the
work and the title of the work.

Example:
Consider the book Tales from the Jazz Age by F. Scott Fitzgerald. You can find out
more about the Jazz Age and F. Scott Fitzgerald. By checking the Table of Contents,
you can see how the author classifies the stories and what inspired him to write each
one.

TALES FROM THE JAZZ AGE

BY

F. SCOTT FITZGERALD

1922

A TABLE OF CONTENTS

FANTASIES

THE DIAMOND AS BIG AS THE RITZ.

These next stories are written in what, were I of imposing stature, I should call my
"second manner." "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz," which appeared last summer in the
"Smart Set," was designed utterly for my own amusement. I was in that familiar mood
characterized by a perfect craving for luxury, and the story began as an attempt to feed
that craving on imaginary foods.

One well-known critic has been pleased to like this extravaganza better than anything I
have written. Personally, I prefer "The Offshore Pirate." But, to tamper slightly with
Lincoln: If you like this sort of thing, this, possibly, is the sort of thing you'll like.
Contextualizing
Contextualizing a text is considering the time and place in which the text was produced.
A reader can read about the writer’s life to see how his or her experiences shape the
writing. Also, a reader can examine how a text reflects the society or culture. Lastly, a
reader can consider the significant events in history that influence the text.

Example:
Again, consider the book Tales from the Jazz Age by F. Scott Fitzgerald. As the title
suggests, the stories in the collection were written during the Jazz Age. A reader may
consider the society or culture in that period of time in reading the stories.

Asking Questions
Asking questions about a text allows one to understand and remember the content of a
piece of literature. A reader asks questions about the main ideas or literary elements;
and such questions are answered in his or her own words.

COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS

Who are the main characters in the short story?


What is the plot of the short story?
What is the conflict?
What are the theme, motifs, and symbols used by the writer?
Reflecting
Reflecting on a text involves examination of the reader’s personal responses to the text.
The reader relates the new learning to his or her previous learning as well as to his or
her own beliefs.

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

Have you had experiences similar to that of the character of the story?
What feelings did you have as you read the story?
Which character do you feel a connection with and why?
Is there any part of the story that you find difficult to understand?
How did the story change your way of thinking?

Making an Outline and a Summary


Making an outline and a summary of a text involves identifying its important ideas. An
outline is a list of the main ideas and supporting ideas of the text, while a summary is a
brief statement of the most important information of the text.
Evaluating the Argument
Evaluating the argument made in a text involves assessing the validity of its claim and
support. A reader examines the main idea, opinion, or point of view of the writer if it is
well supported by enough credible evidence or proof.

Making a Comparison and Contrast of Related Texts


Making a comparison and contrast of related texts is the strategy of identifying the
similarities and differences between texts of similar issue or approach.