Majoring in English Literature is no child’s play. It demands an almost bibliophilic love for books and libraries and a keen eye to grope for things said between the lines. It is true that students pursuing English Honours develop penetrating analytical skills and social presence. As an added benefit, they even manage to scrape up a decent stock of vocabulary, idioms and proverbs that works to enhance their communication and expression in spades. Graduation in English Literature largely revolves around studying classics and bulky epics. Among other papers, British, American and Indian Literature are sites mainly prescribed for students to plunged into. The reading materials given by professors gradually become a shaky pile and the end of the semester sees students quivering before the accumulated syllabus. Here are some tips for doing English Honours.
Below are some tips for doing English honours.
1. Keep an eye on the author. He/she is the reason you’re suffering!
The best way to take on a work of fiction is to start by probing into its roots which lies in the creator itself. Run a background check on the author, her nationality, the period in which she lived and wrote, the socio-political conditions of her time, etc. Encompass the context of the year the book in question was published and study the impact the milieu had in the shaping of the book.
2. Record the other assets of the author because birds of a feather flock together!
Track down other novels and poems written by the same author and draw a comparison between them. Note down marked similarities and differences between the time you’re studying with one or more handiworks of the author. This will help you to zero in on the writing style, larger themes and concerns that the author/ poet/ playwright indulged in the better part of her writing career.
3. Pounce on the critical essays. They produce the heart of the matter!
Amass essays by various critics pertaining to the piece you’re studying. Visit online libraries like libgen or Jstor as they are especially stocked with academic journals and books that come handy for honours students. Critical essays provide a perspicacious view of the text, characters and pervading themes. It helps in critically analysing the novel by examining it from multiple dimensions and sketching a nuanced portrait of the characters involved.
4. To prove it, you have to quote it!
Not only arguments are necessary to construct a good answer but also critics and quotes that substantiate the otherwise baseless arguments. Jot down the names and opinions of critics regarding a specific book, character and genre to bolster and buttress your claims with those of eminent literary figures. Also, weed out dialogues and statements from the book that help define the character analysis and quote them to back up your assessments.
By following these tips for doing English honours, the task of deciphering any literary work becomes both simpler and methodical. An all-around insight can be gained with the commingling of critics, quotes and analysis in the framework of the answer. So bear these tips for doing English honours in mind and even Shakespeare won’t be able to stop you from passing with flying colours.