Literary Analysis and Interpretation

Texts move the world: they change laws, start revolutions, decry injustice, and admire beauty.

3 credit hours | This Breadth serves as an introduction to the theories and methods of textual analysis.

three students at desk

The Value of Literary Analysis and Interpretation

Literary analysis and interpretation are necessary skills to understand the nuances of the texts all around us. These texts may be literary, filmic, musical, or artistic in nature—classic or experimental—and/or may include TV reports, news, shows, posters, social media threads, and the like. This humanistic learning is essential in cultivating inclusive communities, critical thinking, and the demystification of interested discourses. These skills are rooted in culture, history, and various social and political theories and require students to evaluate primary and secondary sources to sustain a thesis throughout their analysis.


Student Learning Outcome

Students will be able to analyze texts through close reading and demonstrate an understanding of the text’s underlying historical, social, political, and cultural contexts, in pursuit of an individually-developed, well-argued analysis and interpretation.

Requirement Details

Courses are found in the departments of English, Film and Media Studies, Theater, and World Language and Literature, among others.

  • ENGL 1330 – The World of Shakespeare
  • ENGL 3318 – Literature as Data
  • MDVL 3351 – The Pilgrimage: Medieval
  • WL 3318 – Migration, Asylum, and Human Rights
  • WL 3393 – Dante’s Poetic Vision

Course Search

Students will:

  1. Identify texts by form, genre, type, and/or tradition using language specific to the discipline.
  2. Contextualize relevant texts in their historical and/or cultural frameworks.
  3. Offer an analysis and interpretation through close reading of a primary text using a specific critical approach.

Courses in this category:

  1. Focus primarily on the study of texts of different genres and traditions.
  2. Approach texts through an identified critical approach.
  3. Make use of primary and secondary sources in order to analyze texts.
  4. Expose students to canonical and/or experimental texts.
  5. Foster the development of critical thinking, reading comprehension, and textual analysis and interpretation.
  6. Include an assessment assignment that requires students to demonstrate each of the skills in the Literary Analysis and Interpretation Assessment Rubric. This assessment assignment should be one of the following: a research paper, a short form essay, or an essay question on an exam.