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Literary Criticism: 2. Finding a Literary Criticism Approach

Finding a Literary Approach

Discussing and analyzing literature is important for many reasons. It lets our imaginations explore new ideas and places. It improves our empathy by allowing us to imagine life in various individuals' shoes; and lastly, it improves our critical thinking skills. 
  • To begin your Literary Criticism essay, determine which work/works your essay will focus on.
  • Brainstorm topics that interest you.
  • Understand literary approaches and develop the approach you would like to adopt for your essay.  
  • There are different literary approaches to choose from:
    • Focus on literary elements and their significance
    • Construct a comparative/contrast essay focusing on themes or characters
    •  Examine the work through a critical literary len
  • Selecting an approach early on will help as you re-read literary works and formulate your argument. 

The following pages help explain the different approaches one could use for a literary criticism paper. It is important to remember there are numerous approaches out there, and you do not have to limit yourself to approaches presented in this guide.