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Literary Criticism: I Can't Find Criticism on My Patrticular Story/Poem!

This guide is meant to help you with any assignment involving the the critiquing of literature.

Often you might not be able to find anything on a particular story or poem by the author you are researching. That doesn't mean you won't be able to write a paper about the work.

Some tips if you are stuck:

  • You need to rely more on your own powers of analysis.
  • You should re-read the poem or story and make notes on things like:
    • Analogies the author uses.
    • How the author uses ideas, feelings, things (clouds, trees, houses, etc.), etc. to create a certain mood or description.
    • Themes that the author emphasizes, like love, relationships, happiness, etc.
    • Anything else that stands out.
  • Based on your notes read criticism pertaining to the author and see if the criticism you found comments on any of the above themes, analogies, or feelings in other works by the same author.
  • Try to connect and comment on what the work you are critiquing has in common (or doesn’t) with the author's other works for which you can find criticism. Elaborate on the similarities and differences between the work you are critiquing and other works by the author or on the author's writing in general.

Still having difficulty? 

Come to the Reference Desk in the Library Media Resources Center (E101) to discuss your dilemma and get ideas for a workable approach. You might have missed a source that can provide you with appropriate criticism or you might get reassurance that you are on the right track.

Don't have the time to drop by the Library Media Resources Center?

Don't forget!

  • Your professor is always willing to help. Email him/her for an appointment. 
  • Don’t leave it too long to do your research, like the day before your paper is due.
  • Try using the Assignment Calculator.
Library Media Resources Center
LaGuardia Community College
31-10 Thomson Avenue, room E101
Long Island City, NY 11101
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