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This is the "AP Literature Literary Criticism Assignment" page of the "Grayslake Central LRC" guide.
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AP Literature Literary Criticism Assignment Print Page

Online Databases

To search the Lit Crit databases use Artemis.  Search the title of the text first and then make sure you are looking at criticisms.  

JSTOR is a great place to search for Lit Crit.  Do an advanced search, limit to articles only, and narrow the discipline to "Language and Literature." 

LOGIN TO JSTOR USING NORTH'S INFO: username: gnhs10  password: knights

On GALE Database you can try a "Power Search" which means you type the search term into the box on the right-hand side of the screen. DOING A POWERSEARCH DOES NOT SEARCH THE LIT CRIT DATABASES.

REMEMBER, you can also search for more general articles on your criticism!


Online Databases

Library Catalog

Username: your school username

Password: School ID number


First Search

Username: 100107125

Password: grayslake


Gale Databases

(GVRL, Opposing Viewpoints, LitFinder)

Username: rams

Password: rams



Username: rams

Password: rams



Username: gcentral

Password: rams


SIRS Decades/Researcher

Username: grayslake

Password: rams


ProQuest (Newsstand & Historical)

Username: grayslake

Password: rams


Questions? Ask the library staff for assistance.

Overview of Literary Criticisms

There are two books on the cart that go in depth into the literary criticisms.  Please feel free to photocopy the pages that apply to you.  Books must be returned to the cart by the end of the period.


Keyword Options

Here is some help when deciding on search terms.



GENDER/QUEER THEORY (search anything having to do with masculinity or sexuality)



BIOGRAPHICAL (search the author's history)

HISTORICAL (search for the time period)




General Search Tips

This advice will help you improve your search results:

1. Use at least two or three search terms. By using more search terms to narrow your search, you can locate essays that fit your information needs better. The following sample results are hypothetical:

Search Terms

Number of Hits



War soldier


War soldier confederate


War soldier confederate prisoner


2. Be specific. If you’re looking for information about ancient Rome, enter both of those words in your search. If you enter just Rome, your search may give you essays that discuss modern Rome or Rome, N.Y., but not ancient Rome.

3. Find an exact phrase with the help of the W operator. You can narrow your searches by requiring that the search terms appear as a phrase in the order that you typed them. For example, if you are looking for time travel, search for these words as a phrase, time W1 travel. This narrows your results from hundreds of matches to a few dozen matches, assuming the phrase that you typed is not too common.

4. You can also mix phrases and single search terms in the search box. For example "ancient Rome" AND Caesar.

5. Broaden your search by using OR. For example, racism or prejudice. Unless you tell the search engine otherwise, it finds only those essays containing all of the words that you specify in the order you have specified. By inserting OR between your search words, you’ll find documents that contain as few as one of your requested words. Using OR will increase the number of essays that are found; use OR if your search isn’t finding enough essays.

6. Use plural or other word endings. For example, if you are looking for discussions of murder, search for various forms of the word using the OR operator as the connector, e.g. murder or murders or murderer or murderous. It is also possible, depending on the desired search term, to use the truncation (or wildcard) feature to retrieve both singular and plural forms of a word, e.g. murder*.

7. Try using synonyms for your original words. For example, "nervous breakdown" or "mental breakdown" or "nervous disorder" or "mental instability".

8. Check your spelling. If you type litrature instead of literature, your search won’t find any matches.


The search engine is not case sensitive. That is, use of capitalization does not affect the results of a search. For example, the following keyword searches are considered the same:

  • astronaut and spaceship or "outer space"
  • astronaut AND spaceship OR "outer space"
  • Astronaut and Spaceship or "Outer Space"
  • astroNAUT and spACEship or "oUtEr SpAcE"


Double quotes. The use of double quotes (" ") around a phrase may be used to make the search results more precise. Use of double quotes yields essays in which the words appear adjacent to one another and in the exact order in which you typed them. For example, searching for the phrase gothic romance yields any essays that contain both words in that order (gothic before romance). Using double quotes around the phrase "gothic romance" yields any essay that contains the exact phrase.

When a search yields an error message, try enclosing the search term in double quotes.

Hyphen. A hyphen (-) used between two words is considered part of the term. If you are searching for a word or phrase that normally contains a hyphen, include the hyphen and enclose the word or phrase in quotes:

  • "nineteen-thirties"
  • "self-doubt"

Apostrophe. Apostrophes (’) are not recognized by the search engine and should be deleted from search terms.

  • Salem Lot (instead of Salem’s Lot)
  • Chatterly (instead of Chatterly’s)

Search Operators

The Boolean search operators AND, OR, NOT, and proximity operators may be used to refine your search. Whether the operators are typed in uppercase or lowercase does not affect the search.

AND. Use the AND search operator to retrieve documents that contain both of the specified search terms. This operator places no condition on where the terms are found in relation to one another; however, both terms have to appear somewhere in the field you are searching. For example, a full text search for apples AND bananas will find any essay that contains mention both of apples and bananas.

OR. Use the OR search operator to retrieve documents that contain one or both specified search terms. This operator places no condition on where the terms are found in relation to one another; however, one or both terms must appear somewhere in the field you are searching. For example, a full text search for apples OR bananas will find essays that mention apples, essays that mention bananas, and essays that mention both types of fruit.

NOT. Use the NOT search operator to retrieve documents that do not contain the specified term. For example, a full text search for apples NOT bananas will find essays that mention apples but not bananas.

Parentheses. The operators described above each operate on either simple terms (words or phrases) or a more complex query delimited by parentheses ( ). Parentheses allow you to construct very powerful queries. For example:

  • "pulp fiction" AND ((detective AND crime) OR hard-boiled)
  • ("cowboy*" OR ("gold rush" AND california)) AND (18?? OR nineteenth century)

Boolean operators are applied in the order in which they appear. Therefore, the following searches are equivalent:

  • apples AND bananas OR oranges
  • (apples AND bananas) OR oranges

Library Books

Please check our LIBRARY CATALOG to see what books we have available for your project.  

Books on the cart are the most used for this project and will NOT BE CHECKED OUT.  Please plan accordingly and make photocopies or scan in any parts of the books you might need for your paper.  Ask if you need help making a copy or scanning.



Google Scholar

Feel free to use Google Scholar as another search option.  Click HERE for some search tips on using Google Scholar.

To do an Advanced Search, click on the down arrow on the right hand side of the search box.


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