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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.