This brief, practical book addresses how and why people read literature, and then shows different ways of thinking about the literature they are reading¿teaching users to read critically and analytically, to write thoughtful and concise papers of literary analysis, and to perform competent literary research. The book¿s comprehensive coverage offers a detailed description of practical research methods, an understanding of criticism and how to use it in papers, and a complete section on MLA documentation. The main topics address: what is literature and what is critical thinking?; reading critically; understanding literary language; explication and analysis; and secondary sources, research, and critical theory. For those new to literary study.