How to Read a Novel Like a Lit Major

Pages and Papers

If you’ve ever analysed a novel in school, you probably know that reading a novel for analysis is different from reading a novel for pleasure. Especially as a literature student, you quickly have to get used to the fact that reading a novel isn’t the same as reading a novel well. The latter requires much more time and practice.

When analyzing a work of fiction, you should consider the following three steps:

1. First Reading: Comprehension

Read the full novel without dwelling for too long on single passages. Pay attention to things you notice about the text (e.g. reoccurring themes and motifs). Most importantly, block out distractions while you’re reading. If you want to understand the full meaning of a novel, you need to give your full attention to it.

It’s also helpful to write down a short summary of the main events of each chapter or part once you finish…

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