Examples of Literary Analysis

By: Olivia Tanner

Columbine: The deeper purpose of the story

In the book "Columbine" by Dave Cullen, the author gets you on the inside of what really happened on the day of April 20 in a small town in Colorado. The author wrote this book to explain to society what really happened on that day. There were so many rumors and misconceptions that the author felt compelled to explain exactly what happened and to give the inside scoop on Eric and Dylan, the killers. He did the best he could to explain who they were and why which also had many rumors. The deep purpose of this book was to clear the rumors and explain what really happened.

Hunger Games

Hunger Games is a capturing book of a story of a girl who has to go through the game that the Capitol makes the districts do. Suzanne Collins gives this book deeper purposes by explaining how so many things change when you are fighting for survival. Things that are normally so hard, suddenly become instinct, such as killing people.

Example from Lord Of The Rings

Some stories can affect people emotionally, but once in a while a story can call a person to escape to it. The Lord of the Rings is an enchanting story with masterful use of setting and sensational characters that engages readers and can move them to experience life in a deeper way. As a child, J.R.R. Tolkien lived in Africa until his father passed away. Then his mother moved them to England. Mrs. Tolkien made certain that her children learned literature and languages. It was probably due somewhat to his mother’s influence that Tolkien became who he was: an author and a linguist (Corday).

Tolkien had a special interest in "obscure" languages, even to the point of creating his own. He called it High-Elven and often in his stories he used the language. Tolkien also invented an entire world called Middle Earth where The Lord of the Rings takes place. Because he had invented this world it had to bow to his will and rules. He was an accomplished linguist and this greatly helped his ability to vividly portray and create in the reader’s mind Middle Earth, a place that no person has ever been (Corday).

Charters defines setting as "the place and time of the story." Also according to Charters, "When the writer locates the narrative in a physical setting, the reader is moved along step by step toward acceptance of the fiction" (Charters 1008).

Tolkien’s setting gives the reader a sense of goodness or malevolence. Unlike an environment that is removed from the work, Tolkien’s setting sometimes is the story. Possibly the setting could even tell the story if there were no characters. For example, in the house of Elrond of the elves, Frodo's experience is defined by the setting. "He [Frodo] found his friends sitting in a porch on the side of the house looking east. Shadows had fallen in the valley below, but there was still a light on the faces of the mountains far above. The air was warm. The sound of running and falling water was loud, and the evening was filled with a faint scent of trees and flowers, as if summer still lingered in Elrond’s gardens (220).

This describes a peaceful place that is not quite reality. The rest of the world is moving into winter, but Elrond’s gardens haven’t realized that yet. Next, is another example of how Tolkien uses setting to create a picture that could not be obtained by just explaining the scenery. Tolkien is able to bring a place to life with words. We can see this when the Fellowship winds up going through the Mines of Moria.

The Company spent that night in the great cavernous hall, huddled close together in a corner to escape the draught: there seemed to be a steady inflow of chill air through the eastern archway. All about them as they lay hung the darkness, hollow and immense, and they were oppressed by the loneliness and vastness of the dolven halls and endlessly branching stairs and passages. The wildest imaginings that dark rumor had ever suggested to the hobbits fell altogether short of the actual dread and wonder of Moria (307). The Lord of the Rings is essentially a story about the struggle of good verses evil. The setting helps the story personify the difficulties the characters face. The characters go through the trials and share their feelings of fear and triumph with us. The two work together to make an excellent portrayal of external and internal struggles that yield an otherwise impossible effect.