Analysing Texts – ‘The Big 5’

To analyse means to break down in order to bring out the essential elements or structure.

 1. Audience and Purpose
Context of composition

– Describe the time and place that this text was produced in.
– Who wrote the text?
– Why was the text produced? (purpose)  What makes you say this?

Intended audience
– Who was this text aimed at?  How can you tell?

Context of interpretation / reception
– What are your circumstances? (time and place)
– How do these factors influence your reading of the text?

2. Content and Theme
Content is what is in a text.  Themes are more what a text is about (big ideas).

 – Describe what is going on in the text (key features).
– What is this text about?
– What is the author’s message?
– What is the significance of the text to its audience?
– What is the text actually saying?

3. Tone and Mood
Tone refers to the implied attitude of the author of a text and the ‘voice’ which shows this attitude.  Mood refers more to the emotional atmosphere that is produced for a reader when experiencing a text.

– What is the writer’s tone?
– How does the author sound?
– What kind of diction does the author use to create this tone?
– How does the text make the reader feel? (mood)
– How does the diction contribute to this effect?

4. Stylistic Devices
Style refers to the ‘how’ of a text – how do the writers say whatever it is that they say? (e.g. rhetorical devices, diction, figurative language, syntax etc…)

– What stylistic devices does the writer use?  What effects do these devices have on a reader?

5. Structure / Layout
Structure refers to the form of a text.

– What kind of text is it?  What features let you know this?
– What structural conventions for that text type are used?
– Does this text conform to, or deviate from, the standard conventions for that particular text type?

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