What next?

As you’ve just proved, you don’t need to wait to University before embarking on the study of  practical criticism and critical criticism.

Try finding a favourite passage, or maybe two, not necessarily of the same genre, from within any set texts you’re studying at school or that you’ve encountered in your reading at home. Those texts may, of course, be works of literary or cultural criticism, as well as poems, plays, novels or non-fictional prose.

If they’re united or obviously divided by a theme, or a form, or an occasion, or a way of using images, try to come up with a question that might prompt a reader to explore such issues in more detail.

Then you can either answer your question yourself, or better still find a means of sharing with a friend. Talk through the passages. You might even try swapping questions, and writing answers to them.  Try to spend no more than an hour doing so. The pressure of time really does work.

Finally, ask a teacher, or that friend, to read your answer; ask them what your own critical practice makes them think, and feel, and whether they have, as a result of what you’ve written, been prompted to understand more of the way the text or texts produce their meaning and their effects.

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