The Plan of Interpreting Fiction
1. Introduction: Who is the author of the story? What is he known for? What is the theme of the story?
2. The summary (subject matter) – 3-4 sentences.
3. The message of the story,
4. The peculiarities of the plot and plot structure: types of conflict (internal/external), the role of the setting, the elements of plot structure (exposition, complications, climax, denouement), plot structure techniques (straight line, complex, frame, circular structure), devices of presentational sequencing (flashbacks, foreshadowing, retardation).
5. Narrative method: type of narrator (main/minor character, observer, omniscient narrator), narrative type (1st person/ 3rd person). What is the effect produced by this or that choice of the narrative type and the type of narrator?
6. Types of characters: main/ minor character, protagonist/ antagonist, hero/heroine, villain, author’s mouthpiece, foil, type, caricature, simple (flat)/ complex (well-rounded). Means of characterization: direct or indirect (through action, speech characteristics, psychological portrayal and analysis of motives, outward appearance, things that surround the character, the use of a foil, speaking names). Comment on the creative use of the language (expressive vocabulary, choice of words, stylistic devices).
7. The author’s attitude to the characters, how it is conveyed linguistically (symbols, allusions).
8. State the types of tone and atmosphere of the work of fiction, how they are created. Name the means of creating humour (if there are any) and types of irony (if there are any). Comment on the linguistic means that create this or that tone and atmosphere.
9. Implications (parallelism, contrast, recurrence, artistic details – symbols, key words), what are they hinting at? How do they support the message of the story? Comment on the function of the title.
10. Conclusion (your own impression).
Nota bene: while analyzing the literary work, make use of the list of words and phrases for interpreting fiction (see pages 169-172 in the book “Interpreting Fiction” by L.V.Borisova)