1. Introduction.(The author’s literary activity, views on literature, social life, the epoch, the literary trend)
2. Discussion of an extract (contents).
a) Location of the extract, its role and place in the book
b) The title of the chapter, book as it is reflected in the given extract
c) A summary of the extract.
d) The compositional structure of the text (types of speech employed by the author: narration, description, dialogue, inner monologue, the type of narration (in the 1st person, in the 3rd person), character sketches, description of nature, place, character’s appearance).
e) The Subject Matter of the extract, the main problems and main idea
f) The author’s attitude towards the things discussed (the main idea)
g) Any interesting detail employed by the author to describe the character or events – Make a literary psychological analysis. (Some interesting details helping the author to characterize the chief personage)
3. Linguistic peculiarities of the text.
a) Lexical peculiarities of the passage – the choice of words, idioms (poetic, scientific.....)
b) Lexical stylistic devices (simile, epithet, ...)
c) Syntactical peculiarities of the text (types of sentences, repetition, ...)
d) Phonetic peculiarities (rhythm, ...)
4. Cross-cultural comparison (compare various phenomena in the field of culture, history, state systems, every day life and linguistic peculiarities different from those of your country and tongue).
NOTE: Speaking on the stylistic peculiarities of the extract you should lay a special emphasis on the stylistic effect achieved by means of this or that stylistic device, expressive means or means of emphasis.
QUESTIONS HELPFUL FOR THE INTERPRETATION
1. What is the author of the story known for?
2. What is his contribution to literature?
The structure of the story
1. Is it a one scene story?
2. How is the plot of the story structured? Is its structure conventional (exposition-development-climax-denouement)?
3.What is the function of the exposition in the story?
5. To what extent does the exposition prepare the reader to what is to follow in the story?
6. Where is the story set? How is the setting of the story specified, by what details? What implications does the setting suggest?
7. Does the setting contrast with the events described in the story?
8. What role does the setting play in revealing the message of the story?
9. What is the conflict of the story? Define it.
10. How many moments of complications are there in the plot development?
11. What is the climax of the story?
12. What is the denouement of the story?
1. What is the main character (protagonist or villain) of the story? (his age, occupation, social standing, sources of income).
2. What is the main feature that is accentuated in the protagonist?
3. What is his set of values? What social class does he represent?
4. Is the main character a type or a caricature?
5. What role do other characters play in the story?
6. Are the characters well developed, complex or simple, real and convincing?
Means of Character Drawing
1. What means of character drawing are used in the story? (direct, indirect).
What is the dominant means?
2. Are there any artistic details?
3. Does the author use a diversity of means of character creating?
4. What is the narrative method adopted in the story? Is it a success?
5. What are the functions of the dialogue, monologue, inner speech, description? Is the author successful in using his technique?
6. What effect do digressions from the narrative produce?
The author, narrator of the story
1. What can you say about the narrator? Is it subjective or objective type? Is the narrator an observer or participant of the events described in the story?
2. What is the author’s attitude to the characters in the story, to the events described? Does the author sound it in any direct form?
The main idea
1. What is the message of the story?
2. Through what character is the message of the story conveyed to the reader?
3. Are all details in the plot, in the descriptions, in the setting subordinated to the message and serve to convey it?
4. What is the function of the title of the story? What implied idea does it suggest?
Characterization of the story
1. What is the tone of the story? (emotional, cheerful, sympathetic, impassive, serious, vigorous, matter-of-fact, humorous, melancholy, casual, impolite, defiant, offensive, sarcastic, ironic, sneering, bitter, etc.)
2. What makes the story sound creditable?
Language Means and Stylistic Devices
1. What emotionally coloured elements create the general atmosphere of the story?
2. Do Stylistic Devices contribute to the tone of the story?
3.What is the function of different stylistic Devices (lexical, grammatical, syntactical, phonetic)?
THE LIST OF HELPFUL WORDS AND PHRASES
The plot, the main idea
1. This extract (story) is concerned primarily with ...
2. In his short story the author raises some very fundqmental questions about...
3. The above chapter (passage, story) brings to light ..., throws light upon ..., sheds light upon ... .
4. In this extract (in the scene under examination, in the story under discussion, in the passage analysed) ... .
5. The scene (story) gives the reader an idea of ... .
6. The passage treats the problem of ... , deals with the theme of ... .
7. The author ... (reveals, discloses, exposes, unmasks ...)
The composition of the text
1. The passage in our selection is a piece of narration (description, dialogue, monologue, inner speech ...)
2. The passage combines the elements of both narration and description.
3. The opening paragraph introduces the exposition of the story.
4. The greater part of the paragraph is descriptive (narrative ...)
5. The author makes ample use of the dialogue.
6. The author’s own speech is blended with his hero’s inner speech (or is quite submurged by it).
The functional styles of the text
1. The text is written in official (scientific, publicistic, newspaper, belles-lettres) style.
2. The author’s style is dry (unemotional, formal, easy, colloquical, concrete, naturalistic, dispassionate, etc.).
3. The chief peculiarity of the style is cimplicity.
4. The tone of the passage is bitter (reserved, gay, satiric, light, heavy, flippant, conversational, serious, contemptuous).
5. The passage is informative (impressive, well-reasoned, persuasive, exciting, challenging, ambiguous, self-revealing, dignified, rhythmical, melodious, delicate, pompous etc.).
Choice of words
1. The language of the monologues (description, narration) is concise (laconic, terse, practical, matter-of-fact, utterly devoid of sentiment).
2. Common words occur in company with rare ones.
3. The choice of words is remarkable (notable) for … .
4. The word … has a favourable (unfavourable, derogatory) connotation.
5. The passage is rich in (abounds in) words denoting emotions.
6. The author makes use of rare and lofty words.
1. The emotional quality of the passage is conveyed to the reader through the device of … .
2. There are several alliterations based on n-m-l sounds.
3. The effect of this device is many-sided.
4. The leading stylistic principle of … is … .
5. The artistic effect is readied by … .
6. The author uses the image of … several times.
7. The irony is subtle and one has to read between the lines.
8. The leading feature of the text is the contrast (similarity) between … .
9. The stylistic device of … makes the description more vivid and convincing.
10. The stylistic device of … is used to create a mood of …, an atmosphere of …, to achieve the impression of …, to sharpen the feeling of …, to impress smth upon the reader …, to imprint the idea of …, in the reader’s mind.
1. The author introduces personages into his narration, depicts their soul, portrays their personalities.
2. Character creation is achieved in many various ways (by means of direct characterization, through the character’s actions and feelings, through their relations with …, through their attitude to …).
3. The author’s attitude to … is expressed directly (indirectly).
4. The author does not comment upon his personages. He makes them act, speak, think and lets the reader judge for himself.
5. The author gives an insight into the workings of a human mind.
6. The author makes the reader enter into the intimate feelings of his character, visualize his life.
7. It is achieved by little touches, insignificant in themselves, but brimful of meaning.
8. The personage’s speech shows class, environment, his age and temperament.
9. The language of the character is in keeping with his station in life.
10. The hero’s thoughts are reproduced in the form of … .
11. The main personage is convincing.
12. The author allows the reader a glimpse into … .