How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay — Guideline for Students

Studying modern literature? Enjoy reading? Be ready for writing a literary analysis essay because this task is one of the most popular assignments students need to do. At first glance, it is too easy. What can be better than reading a book or story and then analyzing it in an essay? Even so, this academic assignment is fraught with some pitfalls. If you do not have the slightest idea of how to write a literary analysis essay, this article is for you!

If asked whether they enjoy doing the task, the majority of students will most likely answer in the negative. And one of the main reasons for this is lack of knowledge. In this article, we’ll define a literary analysis essay, conduct an in-depth investigation of the task and provide you with some useful tips on how to meet this challenge successfully.

Define What is a Literary Analysis Essay

When dealing with this kind of assignment, you should explore and evaluate this or that literary work. In some instances, you need to pick a particular aspect of a literary work and analyze it. Your primary goal is to select the topic and subdivide it into a few components. It doesn’t matter what topic you will choose because the literary analysis essay definition will always be the same. Your goal is to provide the audience with a detailed analysis of this book, poem, review, etc.

What is the purpose of a literary analysis essay? Its primary objective is to have students carefully examine a book, thus allowing them to develop their writing skills. In so doing, they will be able to understand why the main character behaved this or that way, how relationships between different characters developed, etc. This task also helps students acquire new writing skills: they will learn how to analyze literary works, broaden their outlook and improve critical abilities. The important thing to remember here is that unless they read a new book and know its content, they won’t be able to write a top-notch essay.

Writing a Literary Analysis Essay — Tips to Follow

Before embarking on the actual writing, you should know what goals you wish to achieve, as well as be organized, attentive and prepared to invest considerable time and effort into it. So, what must a literary analysis essay include?

  • Your essay should cover the chosen subject area.
  • You should organize your essay correctly.
  • Your essay should have a central idea.
  • You should add a few paragraphs which will grow systematically out of the fundamental concept.

When you write the literary analysis essay, you should keep in mind that it is not just a simple enumeration of events happening in a story. It is small research of the problem which requires you to look into the main issues and come up with a particular conclusion. When you analyze a story, the first thing you should do is identify a particular topic and show the author’s attitude toward this problem. Besides, you can also explore the relationships of the characters and explain their attitude to each other on the basis of their dialogs.

The student should be very attentive while composing the literary analysis essay thesis statement. Its primary objective is to notify the audience of your intentions. In other words, you need to explain what particular aspects you wish to study in this essay because the primary purpose of your research is already stated in the thesis. Besides, it should be carefully conceived. Otherwise, you won’t get a good grade! Keep in mind that your thesis statement should be at the end of your introductory paragraph.

Some experts consider the literary analysis essay introduction to be the most crucial part of your writing. Why? Its key objective is to grab the reader’s interest and make them read the whole essay. It acts like a ‘hook’ which catches the attention of the intended audience.

So, how do you make the introduction more attention-grabbing?

  • Use provocative facts;
  • Add quotations;
  • Include jokes or funny stories;
  • Address questions to the audience.

Applying one of these recommendations will undoubtedly result in an engaging introduction which won’t leave the readers indifferent.

The main part of your essay should be devoted to covering the essay’s central idea. The average length of the literary essay varies from 500 to 800 words. Usually, it is enough to cover the subject area and make your essay informative.

The key purpose of the literary analysis essay conclusion is to finalize your research. It adds a sense of completeness to your essay. To make it strong, you should restate your thesis in different words and add your personal viewpoint. The key to success is to make the conclusion as thought-provoking as possible. In other words, this paragraph should either trigger the desire to read this book or make the readers think of the discussed questions.

Literary Analysis Essay Format Rules

In some instances, students can’t understand how to format their essays correctly. As a rule, they are recommended to follow APA formatting style guidelines. If you have any doubts or questions that require clarification, consult with your instructor, and they will help you choose the right literary analysis essay format.

You should also keep in mind that the literary essay is not a bunch of thoughts haphazardly thrown together. It is small but well-grounded research which should have the following structure:

  • Introductory sentences (with a strong and informative thesis statement).
  • Main paragraphs — cover the central idea.
  • Conclusion — draw the bottom line.

Good Literary Analysis Essay Topics

If you struggle with choosing a good topic, check out the below list we’ve come up with specifically for you! Probably one of these ideas will help you create an excellent essay:

  1. Analyze the topic of madness in “Hamlet.”
  2. What are the main symbols in “Macbeth”?
  3. Sherlock Holmes as the most influential character of the 19th century.
  4. The philosophical approach in Plato’s “The Republic.”
  5. Analyze the topic of imperialism in “Heart of Darkness” by J.Conrad.
  6. Man vs. Nature (an essay on the basis of “Huckleberry Finn”).
  7. The generation gap in “Everyday Use.”
  8. What is the role of women in the books of J.Austin?
  9. The importance of love in “The Princess Bride” by W.Goldman.
  10. Justice and mortality in “The Lovely Bones” by A.Sebold.

We hope that one of these literary analysis essay topics will inspire you to create a good essay.

Literary Analysis Essay Outline Importance

When you need to create a good literary essay, your goal is not just to inform the readers of the main characters. You should also analyze a particular topic covered in a book or story. However, it is challenging to control your thoughts when you are inspired, so the best solution would be to use the literary analysis essay outline which will help you organize your thoughts.

If you lack experience in the area of essay writing, you can’t neglect this stage! Therefore, after you’ve processed the sources and identified the central idea, you should compose the outline which will state the key points of your essay.

If you can’t write a literary analysis essay and submit it in time, you can ask always contact us and let our experienced writers handle it for you!

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