When you are done the corpse must be alive. Lit provides models/types of the virtues in three ways: characters, writers, and texts. The protagonist will almost always model a virtue. The writer might be virtuous in his lifestyle or writing disciplines. The text itself is virtuous if its form and content fulfill the law of propriety.
1. Select the best models
2. Encounter these models directly and whole. Don’t moralize.
3. Identify the core question in a text. For example, my son Andrew wanted to know why the Scarlet Pimpernel was rescuing French aristocrats if they were so bad. Great question and one worth a lot of discussion and reading.
4. Explore everything in light of the core question.
Beware of murdering a text in order to dissect it.