Techniques of Literary Summary and Analysis

In “From Summary to Analysis,” Professor Randy Laist of Goodwin College uses the nursery rhyme, “Jack and Jill,” to explain basic techniques of literary summary and analysis. What is the difference between the two?

  • Summary discusses basic facts.
  • Analysis answers the question of why. 

Jack and Jill illustration by Dorothy M. Wheeler, 1920.Laist describes analysis as “summary’s smarter twin,” which is a good way to think of it. You’ll find this seven minute video very helpful.

Also view Literary Analysis: Elements of Narrative and Approaches to Literary Interpretation by Dr. Laist. Together, these three videos are a short introductory course in the elements of literature summary and analysis.