Reading is never an passive act.
As a critical reader, one must examine texts not just for their narratives but for the roles they play in many categories:
Literary Criticism defined...
"The analysis, study, and evaluation of individual works of art, as well as the formulation of general principles for the examination of such works. From the earliest days of literary history, criticism, has been a major aspect of literary theory and practice."
According to The Fundamentals of Literary Criticism, the critical process is comprised of four steps:
Step I: Interpretation
What is this text actually about?
Now is the time to:
Step II: Orientation
It is easy to become caught up in the author's point of view and reject a text.
Before doing so, consider:
Step III: Evaluation
After steps I and II, evaluation of a work often arises naturally. A true evaluation of a work occurs when the reader is certain they see the literary work as it was intended to or should be seen. At this point, the reader forms their judgment of a work, whether it is good or bad and why. This is done without attributing personal tastes to the work.
Step IV: Articulation
At this point, the reader is ready to share their ideas with others. By taking action, the reader opens themselves up to others' critical opinions of works, allowing a dialog to begin.
Roberts, Mark. The Fundamentals of Literary Criticism. Oxford, England: Basil Blackwell Limited, 1974. Print.