When analysing and responding to a text, look at how a writer uses form, structure and language and think about the effect they have on the reader.
To put this simply, analyse:
- FORM - is the name of the text type that the writer uses. For example, scripts, sonnets, novels etc. All of these are different text types that a writer can use. The form of a text is important because it indicates the writer's intentions, characters or key themes. In this case, we are looking at how Stevenson creates his novel - looking at the different perspectives he uses.
- STRUCTURE - is how the plot is ordered and put together for the reader. You can think of plot at a text level but also at a sentence level. In this case, we are looking at the order of events in Stevenson's novel, how he presents his ideas and the structure of his sentences.
- LANGUAGE - the words a writer uses and what impact they have. In this case, we are looking at the words Stevenson uses. What words does he use? Why? What effect does this have? Does he employ any language devices in his writing? For example: metaphor, imagery, alliteration, pathetic fallacy, etc.
When talking about language there are a number of things to look for:
- the literary devices an author uses, like similes and metaphors
- the emotive language - language designed to make the reader feel a certain way
- the connotations of particular word choices
- the types of words used in the text, eg dialect words, long and complicated words or short and straightforward words
- the types of sentences used, eg long or short, simple or complicated
Find out about the characters by looking closely at the words they use in dialogue. If they use long, difficult words, it might show how clever a character is (or thinks they are!).
Language also tells us a lot about the underlying ideas of a text. Words have two sets of meanings:
- denotations - their dictionary meaning
- connotations - the ideas they link to
For example, the word 'desk' literally denotes a table, but it has connotations of work and study.
Words can reveal a theme, such as death, or love, or create a particular mood in a scene. For instance, specific words and phrases might be used to create tension.