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English Literature ‘Frameworks’ 11: Verisimilitude

Steph Atkinson | Tuesday November 16, 2010

Categories:

Guide Navigation

  1. Close Reading & Textual Analysis
  2. Close Analysis
  3. Openings
  4. Characters and Characterisation
  5. Setting, Places and Scenes
  6. Atmosphere, Mood, Tone and Foreshadowing
  7. Dialogue
  8. Description, Imagery, Figurative Language
  9. Irony
  10. Alternative Interpretations
  11. Narrative
  12. Verisimilitude
  13. Time
  14. Symbolism
  15. Context
  16. Genre

Introduction

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The eleventh in the EnglishEdu series on ‘frameworks’ for A Level English Literature.

This guide explores how to analyse how authors create a convincing sense of realism or ‘verisimilitude’ in novels, short stories or prose extracts.

An analysis at a level like this is capable of revealing the kind of subtle insights that allow students access to the highest grades.

Verisimilitude: Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

The most straightforward way of demonstrating how to analyse a text closely in terms of verisimilitude is to exemplify it. The extract below is followed by a series of bullet points which demonstrate how to analyse closely using carefully chosen quotations in a variety of ways.

These bullet points also include commentaries which aim to explain how and why such sections have been analysed and what they could highlight within the main text, contextually and thematically.

There are, of course, many more things that could be said about each extract, but it’s hoped that it will prove useful in your initial teaching stages to model it using the examples and then to ask students to find other things that they could analyse themselves as well as to consider ‘alternative’ interpretations and to derive possible contextual aspects.

from Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

I mentioned before that I had a great mind to see the whole island, and that I had travelled up the brook, and so on to where I built my bower, and where I had an opening quite to the sea, on the other side of the island. I now resolved to travel quite across to the sea-shore on that side; so, taking my gun, a hatchet, and my dog,...


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