How to analyse a text: DISCUSSION

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Paradise Lost: Milton's Labyrinth of Close Reading

In preparation for my English Literature Admissions Test (ELAT) I was told to practise my close reading skills using John Milton's Paradise Lost and, like many before me, fell into the bottomless pit.

I'm making this post to serve as a hub to closer reading, and hopefully signpost other English students to resources. If you're struggling, welcome to the club.

Here's what's helped me develop my own close reading skills:

- The Devil's Party Podcast
This podcast has become my favourite thing in the last few weeks. It's run by a man named Anthony Oliveira on his Patreon. Its only aim is to analyse John Milton's Paradise Lost line by line, and it's honestly one of the most amazing things to exist on this planet.

"But Calliso!" I hear you cry. "I don't want to spend any money!"

There are many books and journals available for purchase that are going to be recommended to you. If you can spare a few pounds for any one of these things, let it be The Devil's Party. Despite this, I understand that many people cannot afford all of these fancy textbooks and stuff. Trust me, I get it.

- The Rattle Bag Anthology
If you want a good, rich, wide variety of unseen poetry to analyse, then this is your best bet. It's about ten pounds, and you can easily find in on Amazon.

- Hit up AQA
Okay, head to the website for whatever exam board your subject is on. I guarantee you that there'll be exemplar responses, examiners reports, and a myriad of resources just begging to be used.

So use them.

For example, for my English Coursework, AQA has published quite a few top band responses to various texts, and those responses have been invaluable to me when developing my own answers.

Here's where I ask for your help, fellow reader! Please leave your own tips and resources down below, and let's all improve ourselves together.

Happy studies!


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