5 Skills You Need to Master Literary CriticismMay 02, 2019

You learned from Stephen King that you must read a lot and write a lot, which didn't surprise you at all. Not a few students, whom you have met during your recent campus visits, warned you about it. You could imagine an isolated existence, almost forgetting the sun and the sea. Winter is approaching, and you haven't progressed beyond the first few chapters of "Salem's Lot". And a paperback copy of the American's short stories would be gathering dust. Could King's advice be good enough? No. It doesn't mean that the novelist is mistaken, as he would be speaking from his experience in authorship. You must master literary criticism if you want to manage the coursework better.

C.S. Lewis quipped that you could anything with writing, yet you wonder about Natasha Romanova's grief and if it could pass up as an introduction on an essay about female authors and female heroines. You're not thinking of Jane Austen. (And you're one of those film enthusiasts who haven't seen "Avengers: Endgame") You were unable to resolve it, as you recalled the famous words of Albert Camus. You have reservations about the writer's true calling. If a literary masterpiece could keep a civilization from destroying itself, then you don't see any reason from stopping an artist from adapting a popular literary work to the theater, if not the big screen, one more time. Then again, you wonder if there have been countless adaptations of "The Stranger". And you also wonder if there are encouraging words from local artists. You can't think of one, as you rather focus of the skills that you need to master literary criticism. There are too many.

You don't have to be overwhelmed at this point, as you must need to know the basics. You're about to enter the university soon, and you don't want to suffer from information overload. In other words, familiarity should give you confidence. There won't be any trace of uncertainty, which might give a lesser impression of you. If you don't have a clue of those skills, then you don't have to look elsewhere. It's about time to make a mental note.

What You Would Learn During Your First Year (at the University)

Intellectual skills. You would know that this is critical reflection after looking at the data that you gather from hours of research (in library, if not the Internet). You would learn about it, and improve on it, during preparation on lectures, paper writing, and group discussions (with your coursemates). It should exhaust you unless you have a change of attitude. If you love literature, if not enthusiastic about it, then it won't pose any problems at all.

Communication skills. You must be able to express your arguments clearly, if not persuasively, during lectures, discussions, and writing (the draft of your essay). Douglas Adams would get a kick from trying to beat the deadline to his completion of a novel. You must be able to follow his steps, which won't be difficult at all. You have a supportive team of faculty and coursemates, so rejection won't happen at all.

Organizational skills. You won't hone your intellectual and communication skills if you can't make use of your organizational skills. You can start with self-discipline. You must be able to get over your initial disappointment at your writing, which happens after you compose the draft of your essay. Proofreading comes next. It won't be good enough, though.

Interpersonal skills. It should be your one-and-one conversation with your tutor or professor, where you must have prepared a short list of questions. It may (or may not) be enough for clarification, which may (or may not) be the reason behind discussing it with your mates that you first met in the hall. A different perspective should make your assignment more interesting.

Research skills. This should be the tricky part of this entire process, as it would depend on your time (if you still have anything left). If you're a rookie, then you would gather information indiscriminately. Nothing wrong about it, but subsequent assignments should teach you to figure out what your arguments must be. It would determine the kind of information to look for. A good student wouldn't mind spending ungodly hours in the library one.

To Learn (or Not to Learn) a Foreign Language

You come to the most interesting part of this lesson depending on your receptiveness (or the lack of). You may be thinking of learning a foreign dialect, aiming to be fluent at the conversational level. You got it all wrong. Literary criticism would be enjoyable if you ask international students who happen to be studying in the same department as you. If you haven’t been to another country, then this would turn out to be a rewarding experience. They could offer insights that might be out of this world. It could make you evaluate your own arguments. It would result to a better essay. You won’t have time to think over it, but you only need one (interesting) perspective. Paper writing doesn’t have to be a monotonous activity, which may lead to a burnout. You can try to enjoy what you do, you can also embrace the pressure as well.

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