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Interpreting texts

Naturally, the primary purpose of an essay on a literary text is to provide an interpretation of that text. In so doing, an essay needs to move beyond a description of characters and events to an analysis of the different elements of the text.

This analysis should bear in mind that the world that is presented in the text may well be fundamentally different from the world in which you live. Therefore, in analysing the characters and events of a text, you will need to take an "imaginative leap" into the moral and social framework of that text, imagining how such characters and events would be judged from within that framework.

The following tasks are designed to highlight these two different aspects of interpreting texts: narrative vs. analysis and making judgements. Select these individual tasks from the menu on the left.

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