Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How To Write An Essay or Paper - The Author

Sorry for the long break. Had a bit of a fiasco with the move, but things are slowly getting back to normal.

So! On to our essays!

Another aspect to look at when analyzing a literary work is the author. As a writer, I can tell you that a lot of the author bleeds into their work, whether they intend it to or not. So by taking a look at the author, you can sometimes get a deeper glimpse into the story.

Some things you can question might be:

  • What is the author's background?
    • Where did they grow up?
    • What were their experiences?
    • What did they study in college?
    • What are their beliefs?
    • Where is their favorite vacation spot? (and other personal tidbits)
    • What are their political views?
    • What is their education and career background?
    • What is their family like?
For example, I once wrote an essay analyzing the poem To Althea, from Prison, by Richard Lovelace. I dissected it for evidence of his political leanings. Lovelace was a Cavalier, a Royalist - he spent a lot of time in prison because he was loyal to his king. The poem is full of Cavalier imagery; specifically the love of women, wine, and king. I went through and discussed the imagery and symbolism and all that fun stuff, but the main point of my paper was that the author's background was the reason behind everything he was saying in the poem.

Taking a look at the author can give you a much deeper insight into their work.