Wow, there is nothing I loved more in school than critical analysis of literature. My reasoning is that picking apart a book forces one to look inside themselves for meaning and perspective. There is no right or wrong answer when picking apart the emotions, meaningful events and relationships in the story. Each and every student in your class will hold with them a completely different opinion and perspective on the story. I think if the students realize this they are more apt to expand on why they are thinking the way they are, this will also force them to find examples from the text to back up their opinion. There is nothing greater than looking into your own perspective, the perspective of the writer, and the perspective from your peers. Personally I found doing this really opened up my eyes to who I really am. I had to search for meaning and back it up.
Have you done class discussions on a novel? Allow your students to openly express their feelings toward the book, spark some strong emotions about the novel. How have your students been approaching critical analysis....do you have them write essays, do you give them topics?
Hope this helps a little.