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How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay Correctly

Do you want to know how to write a literary analysis essay? This request is more common than you think. Many students of all ages and majors face this writing task at some point in their studies. Only a few understand where they should start and what their essay should include. Literary analysis is a close study of a text where you look for patterns and implications, presenting your interpretation of author’s intentions. 

College professors love these written tasks because they trigger critical thinking and teach students how to interact with books or other subjects on a deeper level, going beyond the surface reading. Our experts prepared this detailed guide specifically for you.  Learn how to write literary analyses and earn the best grades for them.

What Is a Literary Analysis Essay?

If you were asked to write a literary analysis, it is better to start with a definition. We already provided it above: this kind of work means that you have to read a text closely and come up with your unique interpretations based on the evidence you see. Some students look for the best essay writing service because they don’t feel up to figuring out the details of this assignment. They plan on concentrating on other matters. But if you want to try your hand at writing a literary analysis essay by yourself, you’ll need professional tips. Here are the steps students should follow. We’ll present them below and then discuss them in the following sections, focusing on the smallest details. Every literary analysis writer should:

  • Ask questions
  • Identify literary devices
  • Make up your thesis
  • Come up with title and introduction
  • Craft the body of an essay
  • Write a conclusion
  • Revise

Step 1: How to Write a Literary Essay

As soon as you finish reading a text, you should ask yourself questions about it or write them down. Their goal is about triggering your understanding of what you’ve read and pushing you toward analysis. We suggest these examples.

What Struck You Most?

Note that this could be both in a positive and negative sense. What part of the text provoked the strongest feelings in you? This is going to become the foundation of writing your literature analysis. It could be a specific relationship: maybe characters share a bond that impressed you. It could also be the main twist of the plot. Perhaps the setting was mysterious or the atmosphere was brilliant — focus on a part that stirred your emotions and that you wouldn’t mind describing.

What Were the Patterns?

Now that you know the ending, was it predictable? Is there anything about characters’ early behavior or the setting details that ended up being relevant? How did major arcs of the plot flow into one another? Find several links and be prepared to elaborate on them in your text analysis essay.

Is an Ending Logical?

This goes back to an aspect you selected during the first question. For example, if you chose to analyze the setting, then think, did its depiction remain consistent throughout the text? Or did any changes happen? The same applies to characters. Were their behaviors logical or did they suddenly deviate from how they were portrayed at the start? Is an outcome worth the story of getting there? If you want to understand how to write a literature essay, logic is key.

Are There Any Contradictions Present?

This question concerns more negative aspects of literature text. Was there something that didn’t feel appropriate, that you felt came out of nowhere? You need to determine the weak sides of a story. Then you should make a guess as to what makes them weak and how improving them could affect the story.

Step 2: Identifying Literary Devices and Other Elements

If students check any written literary essay example, they’ll see how important analysis of literary devices is. The text might have an endless number of them, but you need to focus on the select few that correspond to your central ideas. We suggest taking notes. Take a look at an outline of things you should look into.

  • Literary devices themselves. Does the story have any foreshadowing? Does an author use metaphors or irony? Personification and allusions are frequent elements that help make the text stronger. Explore imagery because in most cases, it plays a relevant role. Is it vibrant? How is it expressed? What goals does it follow? Use some of these questions for analyzing literature or select other literary devices.

  • Style. Writers use different styles depending on their preferences. For your essay, determine which style an analyzed work has. Is it descriptive or dry? Perhaps it is poetic, with too many flowery constructions?

  • Narrator. Whatever essay topic students chose, they should write at least a few words about narration. Who is telling the story? If an author uses “I, me” pronouns, then it is the first-person voice. The third-person narrator is omniscient and describes the events from a distance.

  • Structure. Stories are divided into chapters or sections — this depends on their size. Poems have lines and stanzas. How many of them does your text have? Are they enough? Sometimes chapters can be too short or too long. Mention this in an essay and write a detailed analysis.

Step 3: How Your Literary Analysis Structure Should Look Like

Now that you made notes, think about writing an outline. It could help you develop ideas more clearly and have a detailed list with guidelines. But ultimately, whether students decide to outline their thoughts or start writing immediately doesn’t matter. 

Give an Essay a Title 

This is what your audience sees first. Imagine that a professor needs to read 40 essays on Hunger Games: they have already read 15, and they are bored to tears, meaning that their annoyance will be naturally increasing. It is safe to assume that the majority of these essays are not originally titled “Hunger Games Analysis”. So, for gaining points even in such unfortunate circumstances, it is essential to grab attention. Of course, it is difficult to come up with a title that will make the professor gasp with excitement, but the original title is guaranteed to make them curious. It could add bonus points to your overall grade, and information under an interesting title will likely be perceived more positively than the same text under the bland name.

Create an Introduction

Every literary essay format is the same in this regard: your first paragraph should take about 10% of overall content. The first sentence is a hook, which means an interesting catchy phrase, a startling fact, or even a rhetorical question. Then, introduce the text, tell who wrote it, and point out the date it was published. Give a summary in several sentences, mentioning the most important factors. The aim here is to introduce a background without saying too much. Leave it for other paragraphs.

Step 4: Thesis and Textual Evidence

Thesis is a part of literary analysis introduction. It is the last sentence of this section, and its goal lies in describing the main argument of an essay. Ideally, a reader should understand what a writer’s work is going to explore and in what way they’re going to do that just by reading thesis alone. This claim should be strong and uncompromising. So, how to craft it? We have some pieces of advice.

First, if you’re wondering how to write a literary argument and feel too nervous about it, you could always go through online examples. Another option is to read GrabMyEssay reviews and order professional writers to create a thesis for your paper. But if you intend to do everything on your own, remember the following tips.

  • Don’t include such phrases as “In this paper…”, “this research is going to…”, “for reaching the main objective…”, etc. Thesis should be a direct claim, so get right to a point.

  • Rely on textual evidence you are going to use in later paragraphs. Introduce key points that you’ll be exploring in essay body.  

  • Make a conclusion that this textual evidence leads to. In the end, your thesis should look like this: “In Lebanon, Robert Stiles uses extended metaphors, foreshadowing, and dark imagery for showing inner changes of his protagonist Danny, exploring his inherent darkness.”

Step 5: Everything Students Should Know About Essay Body

If your readers wonder, “What is a literary analysis paper?”, they should find an answer in a body. It is the largest section that consists of various paragraphs. There are some general rules about them, such as that they shouldn’t be longer than 200 words or shorter than 3 sentences. Other rules are more specific.

  • Opening sentences. This is what every paragraph in an essay should start with. Opening sentences outline the main idea of what students are discussing. They should be related to thesis directly, and they shouldn’t have direct quotes in them. Using the thesis we provided above, this is how an opening of the first body paragraph could look like: “Black caterpillar serves as a metaphor for Danny: like him, it is slowly developing until it blossoms into a dark and mesmerizing butterfly.”

  • Textual evidence. Now writers should prove their claim. Following our example, we’d describe instances of the caterpillar and contrast it with Danny’s character progression. If you use quotes, make sure you explain them properly.

  • Closing sentences. They either conclude info in a paragraph or lead toward the next one. For instance, “Therefore, the caterpillar is a reflection of Danny, and this metaphor helps understand his character better.” If you want a literary analysis essay example, consider TopEssayWriting review and find one of free samples on this firm’s website.

Step 6: Creating Conclusion

This step is easy. Writers shouldn’t present any new stuff here: they must repeat the major points from an essay and restate their thesis by using other words. It doesn’t even matter if you understand how to write a literary essay at this point: just remind your readers about the key aspects of your analysis. Don’t use any quotes and avoid copying sentences directly. As an introduction, conclusion shouldn’t take more than 10% of your final word count, so be sure you control its size.

Step 7: Revision

This is an important step that some students might feel eager to skip. We advise against it. Revisions are essential because they help you see all mistakes you’ve made. So, how to start a literary analysis essay editing? Let several hours pass, then re-read what you wrote. Better do it aloud — this way, you’ll catch typos and other smaller technical issues. Pay attention to structure, the flow of ideas, possible unclear moments, or paragraphs that look too long and sound rambling. Better improve everything at once rather than wait for a professor to call you out on it. You could also use the best college paper editing services: experts there could read your essay and correct every flaw it has.

Use Expert Tips in Your Essay and Reap Academic Benefits

Now that you’ve learned how to write a good literary analysis, it is time to put your newfound knowledge into practice. Follow the tips we shared: they’ll guide you through every step and create a clear picture of a final product in your head. If you feel like you still need help, try reading cheap research paper writing service reviews, and find a company that could create this essay in your stead. As long as you learn definition of literary analysis and feel interested in your topic, your chances of success are high, but if something is wrong, it is never late to ask for assistance.

Posted by Diana B., May 10, 2021