This book is designed to help students in researching and writing a paper that requires sources of literary criticism. Certainly if a critic has added to your appreciation of la literary work, then that person has been useful. But as you read a variety of criticism on a given author, you will discover that some criticism more useful than others, and you may find some completely useless, particularly if it only summarizes the plot, focuses on an issue you are not interested in concentrates too much on other critics or theories and not on the literature itself, or uses an unnecessarily technical vocabulary.
As in all fields, there are those whose main goal seems to be to confuse or impress rather than to communicate. Still, an article or book that at first seems difficult or irrelevant may be very valuable in supporting your opinion once you see the overall picture. Since your goal in reading this book is to enrich your view, you may find only part of the argument valid, and you may even challenge the views of other critics as a means of explaining and developing your own views. For all its shortcomings, literary criticism still provides the tools for self-evaluation and self-improvement. It introduces work of periods and cultures different in theme and treatment.