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Sift pwr point

Feb 12, 2017



  • SIFTA Literary Analysis Method

  • SIFT MethodSymbol: examine the text and title for symbolismImages: identify images and sensory detailsFigures of Speech: analyze figurative language and other devicesTone and Theme: discuss how all devices reveal tone and theme

  • Symbols: Signs of Something MoreOur everyday lives are heaped with symbols:

    These commonly accepted symbols are called public symbols

  • Symbols in LiteratureWriters create new, personal symbols in their work.In literature, a symbol is an object, a setting, an event, an animal, or even a person that functions in the story the way youd expect it to, but also stands for something more than itself, usually for something abstract.

  • Moby DickThe white whale in Moby Dick is a very real white whale in the novel, and Captain Ahab spends the whole book chasing it.BUT- certain passages let the readers know that the whale is ASSOCIATED with the mystery of evil in the world.Symbols work by ASSOCIATION!

  • What it isntA sign with just one meaning: the picture of a cigarette in a circle with a line drawn through it is a sign meaning precisely and specifically, No SmokingThe white whale does not mean, precisely and specifically, the mystery of evilAssociations suggested by the writer, made by the characters in the story, and ultimately made by the reader evoke images of evil, suggests aspects of the darker side of life, and hint at possible ways of seeing and thinking about events portrayed.

  • Is it a symbol?Guidelines to followSymbols are often visual.When some event or object or setting is used as a symbol in the story, you will usually find that the writer has given it a great deal of emphasis. Often it reappears throughout the story.A symbol in literature is a form of figurative language. Like a metaphor, a symbol is something that is identified with something else that is very different from it, but that shares some quality.A symbol usually has something to do with a storys theme.

  • (SIFT) ImagesIdentify images and sensory details.Imagery helps to promote mood and tone.What do I see, hear, taste, smell or feel?What effect is the author trying to convey with these images?

    *Writers use language to create sensory impressions and to create specific responses to characters, events, object, or situations in their works. The writer shows rather than tells

  • Tone & MoodTone: The attitude that an AUTHOR takes toward the audience, subject, or the character. Tone is conveyed through the authors word and details.

    angry-challenging-sarcastic-outraged-humorousMood: The emotions that the READER feels while reading; the atmosphere of the story.Mood is conveyed through character emotions, setting and other elements.



  • (SIFT) Figures of SpeechAnalyze figurative language and other devices.Writers form images by using figures of speech such as simile, metaphors, hyperbole, and personification.Other devices can include: irony, allusion

  • SimileA direct comparison of two things, usually using the words like or as.He watches from his mountain walls,

    And like a thunderbolt he falls. TennysonHell is a city much like London/

    A populous and smokey city. ShelleyMy heart is like an apple tree whose boughs

    are bent with thickest fruit. Christina Raced

  • MetaphorAn IMPLIED comparison in which one thing is spoken in terms of something else. Metaphors are extremely valuable in making an abstract idea clearer by associating the idea with something concrete that relates to one or more of the senses.And merry larks are ploughmans clocks. ShakespeareEntangled in the cobweb of the schools. CowperTime let me hail and climb

    Golden in the heydays of his eyes. Thomas

  • HyperboleThe use of exaggeration or overstatement to make a point. It may be used for emphasis, for humor, or for poetic intensity.Here once the embattled farmers stood,

    And fired the shot heard around the world.EmersonIt is used freely in sports broadcasting and news articlesslaughtered their opponents on the basket ball court.

  • PersonificationA comparison that treats objects or things as if they were capable of the actions and feelings of people.Sea that bears her bosom to the moon WordsworthThe dirty nurse, Experience. TennysonMad Ireland hurt you into poetry. Auden

  • IronyAn expression in which the authors meaning is quite different (often the opposite) from what is literally said. Irony, as a matter of tone, occurs most frequently in prose as a technique for comedy, tragedy, suspense or horror.Three types of irony:VerbalSituationalDramatic

  • (SIFT) Theme and ToneTheme: central, underlying, and controlling idea of a literary work.Abstract concept represented by a character, by actions, or by images in the literary work.A generalization about human conduct.Ordinarily expressed in a full sentence and it may even require a full paragraph.

  • Theme= What it is NOTCannot be expressed in a single word.Not the purpose of the work (entertainment or instruction)Man versus nature is not a theme, it is a conflict.Unlike a moral or fable, the theme is seldom, if ever, stated.It is never a clich.

  • How Do I Figure Out the Theme?You must first understand the plot, the characterization and conflict, the imagery, and the authors tone.Identify the subject in one wordThen, explain in one or two sentences what the author says about the subject.NOTE: Many stories/novels have more than one theme and there is seldom just one right answer!

  • For ExampleLiterature: To Kill A MockingbirdSubject: RacismPossible Theme: Justice is often withheld from economically deprived racial minorities.

  • Tone and ThemeTone is the authors attitude toward the subject (the beginnings of theme)Tone is revealed through the words he or she chooses. (Diction)In literature, the reader does not have the benefit of voice inflection- even a dog understands the tone of his masters voice!So, the reader must understand the authors word choice, details, imagery and language in order to understand the tone.

  • More on toneTo misinterpret tone is to misinterpret meaning (THEME)If you miss irony or sarcasm, for example, you may misread the meaning of an entire passage!

  • Shift in ToneGood authors rarely use only one tone!A speakers attitude may be complexAn author might have one attitude toward the audience and another attitude toward the subject.

  • How to analyze tone:Diction: the connotation of word choiceImages: Imagery that appeals to the sensesDetails: Facts and details that the author has included (does not appeal to the senses)Language: Formal? Clich? Jargon? Figurative Language?Sentence Structure: Long or short sentences?


    *Writers use language to create sensory impressions and to create specific responses to characters, events, object, or situations in their works. The writer shows rather than tells


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