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How does one determine the overall meaning of a book? Not looking for themes/motifs, rather something more like author's intent or what the novel brings to light. I can often think of several ideas but nothing that I feel is enough.

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Hi, welcome to IB Survival.

First thing's first, IB does not care about the author's intent. I know it sounds similar, but they care about the text's effect on the reader. I can talk about this more if you're curious.

I'm not sure I know what you mean when you say what the work "brings to light". I mean, if a novel were to bring something to light, then that could be one of its themes. Themes can be informative, prescriptivist, or both. What I mean by that is that a theme can be an observation about society; that is, informative, "Love reigns over all other desires" or "Power corrupts". Conversely, it can also be instructional "You should always listen to people who are experienced" or "Never tell lies". Be careful though, because as IB favours formal language, so we generally tend to not write these in second person, make them impersonal, and sometimes even alter them a bit so that they sound informative i.e. "Listening to experienced people is beneficial" or "Lying exacerbates problems".

Motifs on the other hand, are just one-word nouns (concepts, ideas, objects, etc.) that recur throughout the text. They can be helpful in determining a theme.

I'm going to link to a post here that I wrote in a pinned thread in the Literature A1 section where many commenters have left thoughts on analysis. You'd do well to read it and the thread in general (there's only a few specialized pieces of advice for externals; just ignore those and focus on the general advice for IB lit analysis). And if you have further questions I'd ask that you be more specific please and try to provide some concrete examples of your struggles/doubts as this helps us to better answer your question. Thanks.

Edited by Nomenclature

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In fact, I find this rather difficult. Every time after the book what I read, I'll  watch reviews it and then find another, deeper meaning. After that, it became interesting to me and I was engaged in writing, I was helped very much by one site, you can go now. I was taught how to write correctly so that it would be easier for readers to see books and I also learned how to understand what the writers wanted to tell in stories.

Edited by Dolores

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