Textual Analysis Worksheet

        For scholars of fiction, these terms are crucial tools because they help us understand how the text was constructed to produce the effects we experience as we read.  The scholar, having read the text for its pleasures ("the dream of the text"), then studies the text and usually sketches the following information on a separate sheet of paper.

Major Characters (who are they and what do they do?):


Minor Characters (who are they and what do they do?):


Plot (what are the physical settings of the action and what are its major scenes or episodes?):


Dramatic Structure (does the plot have a distinct arc of increasing and/or decreasing tension?):


Sense of an Ending (does the plot have a distinct point of "closure" where its issues seem to be resolved?  are there "loose ends" caused by unresolved issues?):


Point of View (who is our narrator?; is the narrator entirely reliable?):


Ambiguity and Irony (is the text devious or comic at times?):


Allusion (does the text refer obliquely to events or persons or literary texts outside itself?):


Images and Symbols (are sensory details given special attention/repetition?; do any become associated with ideas or ideologies?):


Structural Oppositions (are places or characters or actions set up to be in opposition to each other?  are any oppositions "binary oppositions" [mutually exclusive, like "on/off"):