To begin with, though at a fairly elementary level, one may analyze the text sentence by sentence, in fragments. This may yield information, but probably not understanding. Such reading is a bit like viewing an impressionist painting from too close up; all one sees is sundry color patches. Only when one steps back does the pattern (e.g., the Rouen cathedral at sunrise) emerge. So it is with most literary acts; their sense emerges only when one “steps back” and surveys the whole. It follows that the text itself, in its complete and final form, is the best evidence for determining what the author is doing.