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Questions to Consider When Analyzing Fiction(v4.5)English / Cobene*In order to gain access to the deepest layers of meaning that a short story or novel holds,and thus invite and tend a rich and interesting comprehension of what the ‘word-artist’and the artful text’s rich ‘parallel world’ tapestry of scenes and characters and incidentscan give (and give access to) a reader, one must come to ‘handle’ the literary object ofinspection with great familiarity. Knowledge (the systematic arrangment and networkingof information, observation, experience, and understanding, both theoretical andpractical) only comes with close, patient familiarization with objects, architectures,processes, dynamics, systems, contexts, environments, ecologies. As we work through themagic objects of fiction, imagine being like a watchmaker who comes to appreciate anold watch through a careful game of close inspection: turning the piece over and over inhand, scrutinizing its specific details, noting its unique marks, mapping its intricate form,positions, functions, processes. From such close inspection comes the confidence to takethat watch apart and put it back together again. In reading a literary narrative, we can bequite systematic in recording our emergent understandings, like such a patientwatchmaker.Similarly, a well-made story is rather like a fine cello or a stunning cotilliondance: it is a cultural artifact of intricate patterns and elements and dynamics, a twice-crafted, thrice-finessed artifact that organizes ideas and sensations, images andassociations into a singular coherence. In order to understand such a work of feeling,thought, crafted effort intimately (the goal of true and abiding knowledge), one mustcarefully, respectfully “take it apart” non-destructively. This means using a systematicmapping process whichnameseach component of the structure (whetherstoryorcelloorsarabande),listsa definition of each component, andaccountsfor the relationshipsamong the sum of such components. Such a process—for narratives at any rate—is listedbelow. This template is tuned for fictions, and can be used to map any and every shortstory, novella, or novel, and even novel-cycle/series. (With a few adjustments, it can alsobe turned toward mappinganynarrative, literary or non-literary.)You should strive to answer each question as completely as your understandingallows. Use complete, grammatical sentences (of 10 or more words), and be as specific,as precise as you can in your word-choice. Some of these questions and research taskswill require more sentences than others (for example, questions 1 and 9 are relativelysimple compared to questions 10 and 35). In your response, re-type each question, leave aspace, then type in your answer. So that your notes will have a formal precision and

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