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Literary Analysis and Response

Draft Standards From The State of California Academic Standards Commission



State of California Academic Standards Commission



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Students listen and respond to stories based on familiar characters, themes, plots, and setting.


Structural Features of Literature:

3.1. distinguish fantasy from realistic text

3.2. identify different text genres, including everyday print materials

such as storybooks, poems, newspapers, signs, labels

Narrative Analysis:

3.3. identify characters, settings, and key events

Students read and respond to a wide variety of children's literature, distinguishing between the structural features of text, and literary terms or elements (theme, plot, setting, and characters).


Narrative Analysis:

3.1. identify and describe the story elements of plot, setting, and characters

3.2. describe the role and contribution of authors and illustrators to print materials

3.3. recollect, talk, and write about books read during the year

Narrative Analysis:

3.1. compare and contrast plots, settings, characters presented by different authors

3.2. recognize linear and circular plot structures in stories

3.3. generate alternative endings to plots identifying reason(s) for, and impact of, substitutions

3.4. compare and contrast different versions of the same stories from authors reflecting aspects of different cultures

3.5. identify rhythm, rhyme, assonance, and alliteration in poetry

Structural Features of Literature:

3.1. distinguish among common forms of literature such as poetry, prose, fiction, and non-fiction

Narrative Analysis:

3.2. comprehend basic plots of classic fairy tales, myths, folktales, legends, and fables from around the world

3.3. determine what a character is like from what s/he says and does, what the author says about the character, and how the illustrator portrays the character

3.4. determine the underlying theme or author's message in fictional and non-fictional works, and relate them to prior experiences or the experiences of others (e.g., meaning of friendship)

3.5. recognize the similarities of sounds in words (e.g., onomatopoeia, alliteration, assonance) and rhythmical patterns in a selection

3.6. identify the speaker or narrator in a selection


Structural Features of Literature:

3.1. describe the structural differences of various imaginative forms of literature, including fantasies, fables, myths, legends and fairy tales

Narrative Analysis:

3.2. identify the main incidents of the plot, their causes and how they influence future action

3.3. use knowledge of the situation and setting and character's traits and motivations to determine the causes for a character's actions

3.4. compare and contrast tales from different cultures by tracing the exploits of one character type, developing theories to account for similar tales in diverse cultures (e.g., trickster tales)

3.5. identify and define the presence of figurative language in literary works, including simile, metaphor, hyperbole, and personification

Literary Criticism:

3.6. evaluate the quality and dependability of author's use of various techniques to influence readers' opinions, feelings, and actions (e.g., appeal of characters in a picture book, logic and believability of claims, use of figurative language)

Students analyze the structures and elements of significant works of literature from a wide range of eras, perspectives, and cultures and produce evidence of comprehension by clarifying the ideas and connecting them to other sources and related works.


Structural Features of Literature:

3.1. identify and analyze the characteristics of non-fiction, fiction, drama, and poetry as forms chosen by an author to accomplish a purpose

Narrative Analysis:

3.2. identify the main problem or conflict of the plot and how it is resolved

3.3. contrast the actions, motives, and appearances of characters in a work of fiction and discuss the importance of the contrasts to the plot or theme

3.4. apply the knowledge that theme refers to the meaning or moral of a selection, whether it is implied or stated directly

3.5. describe the function and effect of key literary devices such as imagery and symbolism in literary works

Literary Criticism

3.6. evaluate the meaning of archetypal patterns and symbols found in fiction and non-fiction text from different eras and cultures

Structural Features of Literature:

3.1. distinguish among forms of fiction and describe the major characteristics of each, including mysteries and science fiction, and contemporary and historical fiction

Narrative Analysis:

3.2. analyze how the human qualities (e.g., courage or cowardice; ambition or laziness) of the character affect the plot and resolution of the conflict

3.3. analyze the influence of setting on the problem and its resolution


3.4. define how mood or meaning is conveyed in poetry through word choice, figurative language and use of sentence structure, line length, punctuation, rhythm, repetition and rhyme

3.5. identify the speaker and recognize the difference between first and third person narration (e.g., autobiography vs. biography)

Literary Criticism:

3.6. critique the credibility of characterization and the degree to which a plot is contrived or realistic (e.g., compare use of fact and fantasy in historical fiction)

Structural Features of Literature:

3.1. determine and articulate the relationship between expressed purposes and characteristics of different forms of prose (short story, novel, novella, essay)

Narrative Analysis:

3.2. locate incidents which advance the plot and determine how each incident gives rise to the next or foreshadows a future event

3.3. analyze characterization as delineated through a character's thoughts, words, speech patterns, and deeds; the narrator's description; and what other characters think, say and do

3.4. compare recurring themes across works, distinguishing theme from topic (e.g., heroism)

3.5. identify significant literary devices such as metaphor, symbolism, dialect, irony, and climax and use those elements to interpret the work

Literary Criticism:

3.5. analyze how a work of literature reflects the heritage, traditions, attitudes, and beliefs of its author (Biographical Approach)

Structural Features of Literature:

3.1. determine and articulate the relationship between expressed purposes and characteristics of different forms of poetry (ballad, lyric, couplet, epic, elegy, ode, and sonnet)

Narrative Analysis:

3.2. evaluate the structural elements of the plot (e.g., subplots, parallel episodes), its development, and how and whether conflicts are addressed and resolved

3.3. compare and contrast motivations and reactions of literary characters from different historical eras confronting similar situations or conflicts

3.4. analyze relevance of setting (place, time, and customs) to the mood, tone, and meaning of text

Literary Criticism:

3.5. analyze how a work of literature reflects the context in which it was created (e.g., period, ideas, customs or outlooks of a people) (Historical Approach)

Students support in-depth analyses of recurrent patterns and universal themes in significant works of American, British and world literature.


Structural Features of Literature:

3.1. determine and articulate the relationship between expressed purposes and characteristics of different forms of dramatic literature (comedy, tragedy, drama, dramatic monologue)

Narrative Analysis:

3.2. determine a character's traits from what he/she says about himself/herself (e.g., dramatic monologues, soliloquies)

3.3. compare works that express a universal theme, providing evidence to support their ideas (e.g., Russell Baker's Growing Up and Ed Mclanahan's Natural Man)

3.4. compare variants of complex folktales and develop theories to account for similar tales in diverse cultures

3.5. recognize and understand the significance of a wide range of literary elements and techniques, including figurative language, imagery, allegory, and symbolism; and explain their appeal to a reader's senses and experiences

3.6. contrast points-of-view in narrative text and how they affect the overall body of work (e.g., first vs. third, limited vs. omniscient, subjective vs. objective)

3.7. identify and describe the function of dialogue, scene design, soliloquies and asides and character foils in dramatic literature

Literary Criticism:

3.8. evaluate the melodies of literary language and how an author's choice of words and imagery creates tone and mood, and advances the work's theme

Structural Features of Literature

3.1. compare and contrast the presentation of a similar theme or topic across genres to explain how the selection of genre shapes the message

Narrative Analysis:

3.2. analyze interactions between main and subordinate characters in literary text (e.g., internal and external conflicts, motivations, relationships, and influences) and how they affect the plot

3.3. trace the development of American Literature from the Colonial Period forward, reading works of a variety of genres that were considered significant in their day, (contrast the major periods and themes and describe the contributions of different cultures)


3.4. interpret and evaluate the impact of ambiguities, subtleties, contradictions, ironies and incongruities in text

3.5. explain how voice, persona, and narrator affect tone, characterization, plot, and credibility

Literary Criticism:

3.6. evaluate the aesthetic qualities (beauty of the form, structure, and words; and the power and effectiveness of an author's stylistic choices) in works of poetry, drama, and fiction, using the terminology of literary criticism (Aesthetic Approach)

Structural Features of Literature:

3.1 analyze characteristics of genres such as satire, parody, allegory, and pastoral that cut across the lines of basic genre classifications such as poetry, prose, drama, novel, short story, or essay

Narrative Analysis:

3.2. analyze how the theme or meaning of a selection represents a view or comment on life, using textual evidence to support the claims (e.g., Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Rudyard Kipling's Kim)

3.3. analyze and trace an author's development of time and sequence, including the use of complex literary devices such as foreshadowing and flashbacks

3.4. distinguish between dynamic and static characters in fiction

3.5. analyze how irony, tone, mood, style and "sound" of language are used for specific rhetorical and aesthetic purposes

3.6. analyze ways in which poets use imagery, personification, figures of speech, and sounds to elicit reader's emotions

Literary Criticism:

3.6. analyze the political assumptions in a selection of literary works or essays on a topic for their clarity and consistency (e.g., women's suffrage and women's place in organized labor) (Political Approach)

Literary Elements:

3.1. analyze how authors over the centuries have used archetypes drawn from myth and tradition in literature, film, political speeches, and religious writings (e.g. how the archetypes of banishment from an ideal world may be used to interpret the Shakespeare tragedy of Macbeth)

3.2. analyze works, from a variety of authors considered significant in their day, that are representative of the major literary periods (e.g., Homeric Greece, Medieval Period, Romantic, Neoclassic, Modern), including

1) recognizing major literary forms and techniques and the characteristics of major chronological eras

2) relating literary works and authors to major themes and issue of their eras

3) analyzing the philosophical, political, ethical, and/or social influences that have shaped characters' traits

Literary Criticism:

3.3. analyze the philosophical arguments presented in literary works, determining whether or not the author's position has contributed to the quality of the work and the believability of the characters (Philosophical Approach)


The Draft Standards were prepared by:

The State of California Academic Standards Commission
The Commission for the Establishment of Academic Content and Performance Standards Comments may be addressed to The Commission

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