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09/04/2019

What is the purpose of literature analysis?

QUESTION
What is the purpose of literature analysis?
We do it for AP, we do it for college, why?
I agree that it helps develop cognitive skills by stimulating deeper thinking, but shouldn’t that occur naturally through silent reflection vs. writing essays and taking notes in English Class?
I personally think it’s better to develop your own philosophies and ideas to put on paper and form your own style than literally studying the works of others. Through reading, one would naturally get the flow and concepts of good writing.
I’ve noticed that when I’m reading with a purpose of literary analysis, I take in very few things, being too busy thinking about the text itself. Even if I do the analysis later, after reading it once through leisurely, the story seems to lose meaning and no longer touches the heart. It’s like looking at a beautiful painting and realizing it’s just plain fabric with different colors on it.
Yes, Shakespeare, J.D Salinger, and Romantic Russian authors were great writers, but what’s the point of analyzing them or writing essays explaining THEIR ideas?
If you want to be a book critic, then go for it. However, the majority of us are probably not going to be book critics, or even fans of them (with all due respect). So what’s the deal? Why isn’t creative writing the basis to advanced L.A. class?

ANSWER
Yes, you lose the initial magic of looking at a book for the first time when you break it down. It’s like taking every brush stroke out of a painting. But you’re never going to paint a masterpiece if you don’t realize that it’s just a bunch of brush strokes. By criticizing literature you see what elements you like and would want to employ, and which techniques you want to stay away from, and which work best in conjunction with other ones.
Basically, you have to know the components of good literature before you can attempt to write it, and the only way to know those components is through literature analysis. That and, I’ve found, most people (especially in Advanced English Classes) hate creative writing. No, I don’t get it either. But literature analysis is kind of a big deal.