What is an analysis?
Basically, the aim of a text analysis is finding out what textual strategies an author of a particular text applied in order to reach a certain goal. We assume here that every textual device is used to create a certain effect, to support a certain message.
Whereas a comprehension task in a Klausur focuses on the question WHAT? (is said / is written), the analysis focuses on the questions HOW? and WHY?.
In fictional texts, you could for example analyse how a character is characterized (indirectly / directly) and how this affects the reader’s perception of this character and how this influences the role this character plays for the whole novel / story / play…
In non-fictional texts, you could analyse what the purpose of the text is (expository / argumentative / persuasive…), what its message is (to criticize sth. / to prove a point / to thoroughly examine sth.) and, most importantly, with which stylistic, textual and argumentative devices the author brings his/her message across.
In order to examine the stylistic, argumentative and structural devices, you should know about them and about their potential effects.
How do I structure an analysis?
Structure and writing straight to the point is of the utmost importance here. Have a look at an “Erwartungshorizont” and you will see that structure makes up to one fifth of the overall points.
In general, one can summarize the structure as follows:
- introduction: strong thesis statement with stylistic, textual and argumentative devices that your analysis will focus on (serves as a table of content)
- body with 4-5 complex paragraphs: each paragraph starts with a topic sentences that connects the topic of the paragraph to the thesis statement and therefore focusses on one analysis aspect only
- conclusion: which sums up the main results of the analysis
Here is a good concise description of how to write a well-structured analysis.
For further reading, I highly recommend the following book:
This is an analysis written by a student of the Q2 (senior year). Her task was to analyze the text “Modern-Day Slavery. Qatar World Cup: Migrants Wait a Year to Be Paid for Building Offices” by Robert Booth and Pete Pattison printed in Edelbrock, Iris (Hrsg.). 2015. Pathway Advanced. Schoeningh, S. 294ff. The text is the original student version.