Prose Analysis Essay

As with an essay, you should prepare and plan your commentary.This means getting to grips with the passage or poem by underlining key words, making notes, highlighting connections, marking how it divides into sections.

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In situating the passage, and on the basis of your preparation and plan, you should also formulate in a brief but open way what you think it is about, what its theme or role is, as a key or framework to your commentary.

For example, it may be a turning point in the narrative or key exposition of a character. Situate a poem in the chronology of the poet’s work if you can.

Indeed, a critical analysis of the scientific content of Eureka reveals a non-causal correspondence with modern cosmology due to the assumption of an evolving Universe, but excludes the anachronistic anticipation of relativistic concepts such as black holes.

Eureka was received poorly in Poe's day and generally described as absurd, even by friends.

What is the compositional movement through the passage or poem? When you refer to the passage or poem, this should be done clearly and succinctly by reference, for example, to first, second etc. Are there any other tropes – exaggeration, paradox etc.? This may relate to the meaning of the passage or the writer’s general style. This may relate to the meaning of the poem or the poet’s general style.

As you write your commentary you should be looking to illuminate the theme or themes (or mood or emotion) that the passage or poem illustrates and explores. paragraphs or sentences (for prose), to first, second etc. You do not therefore need to quote large sections from the text. When looking at style in terms of lexis and syntax, you should consider what kinds of word are being used and their register. How does the choice of words relate to characterisation? If you are studying the texts in translation, it may be difficult to comment on aspects of style. Are there any other tropes – exaggeration, paradox etc. When dealing with poetry, you should also look at other formal aspects, such as rhyme or sound play, stanza organisation, rhythm and metre, enjambment and internal rhyme (see the separate handout for information on this).beginning, end, after or before a particular key moment.This should be concise but sufficient: it may be very relevant to explain how the passage relates to what comes before or after, but do not retell the plot at length.In this it can be helpful to say something about the mode of the passage. In some cases it may also be useful to identify the broader literary context, e.g.the poem’s relation to a movement such as Romanticism.This is not just a matter of identifying the theme but also of looking at how it is presented. In a story or novel, the theme of the passage may be linked to characterisation. You should look for any key and repeated words/motifs, and for any tropes. Does one particular part of speech play a particularly significant role? In terms of syntax, pay attention to sentence type and structure. If the translation is a good one, however, it may be possible to draw attention to the tone and register of the language, as well as the rhythm of the passage as a whole. As with a prose passage, when looking at style in terms of lexis and syntax you should consider what kinds of word are being used and their register (e.g. Does one particular part of speech play a particularly significant role? In terms of syntax, pay attention to sentence type and structure. We encourage you to develop familiarity with these aspects of poetic form and to enjoy the ‘music’ of poetry, but take care in this area.In this case you should consider not only what is revealed about a character but also how this is done, and maybe relate this to other aspects of the passage too. Whose words are these – the characters or narrator’s or author’s? What is the significance of the key words or motifs? You should look for any imagery, for key and recurrent motifs, for key and repeated words, and for any tropes. How are they arranged or developed through the poem? Effective interpretation usually needs to rest on thorough technical knowledge (‘slow’ and ‘fast’, for example, are not phonemic features in Russian).The introduction should provide a framework for the main body of your commentary.You should situate the passage within the work as a whole, e.g.If you know about the biographical context and think it has some significance, then you may add something about that.As with a commentary on a prose passage, this situation of the poem should be concise but sufficient.

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