Prose Literary Study Feedback

Hello dears,

Some feedback on your lit. study responses from last week:

  • Ensure you are specific in your introductions – it’s not enough to say that a variety of techniques are used, give us examples.
  • There’s a lack of quotes in some of the responses – you should know these texts inside out by now, and should aim to quote extensively in your essays.
  • Consider how the writers’ depiction of their characters, etc. impacts us as a reader, particularly in our feelings towards them, and our relationship with the narrator. For example, Jane’s depiction of the isolation she faces at Gateshead immediately create sympathy for her – does that also, perhaps, encourage us to find her a more reliable narrator than a less sympathetic character?
  • Still need to be more comparative in your analysis of both texts – explore fully the similarities and differences in your response to the question.
  • Technical accuracy, folks – this is most decidedly not optional. Miss a line between paragraphs; actually take new paragraphs; check your punctuation, especially after a quote – unless it’s embedded in a sentence, you need a capital letter after it; PHRASING – please, please, please read over what you’ve written. There’s a few examples of nonsensical ramblings here.
  • Conclusions are important – reiterate your evaluative stance and overall argument, and summarise the points you’ve made. LEAVE TIME TO DO THIS.
  • Some of you need to watch your handwriting (you know who you are). I realise I’m old, so therefore have rubbish eyesight, but if they can’t read it, they can’t mark it.

REVISE. Any questions, let me know. For my own amusement, I’ve also included a photo of Sophia, who is concerned about the depth of your analysis:




14 thoughts on “Prose Literary Study Feedback

  1. Hi Miss, just a question about the Literary Study. For a question like “Discuss the thematic significance of symbolism in any two novels” what sort of overall argument are they looking for? I can discuss the significance of symbolism, I just don’t know how I can make an overall argument from a question like that.


    • Hey Ben, so what you need to do is choose a specific theme that is present in both novels, and analyse how the symbolism of the texts is used to explore that theme.

      For example, you could analyse the theme of identity in the novels, and one part of your response could focus on how that theme is presented through the symbolism of the settings in each text – discussing how Manderlay is symbolic of the narrator’s struggle to establish her own identity, whilst Jane’s more passionate identity and nature is suppressed, as evidenced in the red room scene.

      You need to choose a theme that the writers’ use of symbolism helps to highlight in order to give the answer focus.

      Does that make sense?


      • Hi, I was just wondering if on that same question you can only discuss one theme?


      • You could discuss maybe two, but there’s a danger of spreading yourself too thin. If you pick two, try to go for two which are connected, ie sense of identity of the central characters, and the role of women.


  2. Hi, sorry for so many questions! If there is a question such as “The novel deals unflinchingly with the social issues of the day”, can that be answered with our novels? Does ‘of the day’ mean in modern times or at the time period the novels are set in? Thanks!


    • Hi Kirsty, it can, and it means the time period of the novels. Because they are written in different periods, I would probably focus on issues that both novels explore, such as the restricted role women faced – remember you can analyse Rebecca for this, as well as the narrator.


  3. Hi Miss, just to double check, am I right in saying that we can do the same genre (as in prose fiction, poetry) in the literary study as in the textual analysis?
    Also, in a question like “discuss the thematic significance of symbolism” would you have to talk about literary techniques other than themes and symbolism?


  4. Hi Ben,

    Yes, you can answer on the same genre, but make sure you read through all the questions first before you make your decision – and ensure you’ve prepared for both poetry and prose, in case a suitable question doesn’t come up.

    In any response for both Lit. Study and Textual Analysis I would expect regular reference to a range of literary techniques. And for theme questions, don’t spread yourself too thin – one or two (related) themes at most!


  5. Hi, sorry for all the questions but for a question like
    “‘The poet too often presents us with a view of the world which is bleak and lacking in any sort of consolation’ – To what extent do you agree?” Would I have to specify an overarching theme to support my argument or can I just analyse different parts of each poem without concentrating on a specific theme?


    • Hi Ben, no, you don’t need to specify a theme unless that’s how you want to interpret the question. For example, if you disagreed with the statement posed, you could argue that, thematically, Plath’s poems offer consolation because they explore the concept of a journey, one to self-awareness, or to a greater understanding of the natural world that the speaker finds themselves at odds with, etc. It’s not necessary to focus your answer on a theme, unless it’s relevant – however, it’s often a good way of exploring commonalities with the different poems you focus on.

      Does that make any sense?


  6. Hi Miss, random question but how many questions will we have to choose from on lit study? Is it seven per genre like last year?


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