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Guidelines on how to write a literary analysis

29 September 2020

Any student studying literature knows the last of the literary analysis essay. This is the opportunity for them to show their skills in reading and understanding the literature pieces. Analytical skills are important for being able to see deeper into the text and learn lessons from it.

It is valuable for school, college, and university students to know how to write a literary analysis to be able to express their views and opinion on the various classical and modern literary works. Without a critical view on them, you will be no more than just an average reader, or below. In college, you should look deeper and be able to generate ideas out of the author’s story.

Every type of academic writing can be mastered. In this article, we will show you how to work on your literary essay to reach the best result.

Literary analysis: definition

Let’s start with an understanding of your task. A literary essay is an academic writing task that includes the analysis of a piece of literature with arguments and conclusions. You can examine either the entire text with all its features, or take as a target the plot, style, the particular character, tone, or way to narrate the story. Any piece of literature can become the object of the analysis.

This task encourages students to look at the text searching for the answers about how the particular piece was written or what was the purpose of that text. You can set the direction for your analysis and provide strong arguments to support your point of view.

Literary analysis: content

As you can conclude from the previous section, there is no standard structure and the number of paragraphs for this type of writing. The same thing is to the topic and approach. Most of the writing choices are defined by the style of the text that is about to be analyzed. Also, you should take into account the genre of the piece as well as the specific requirements of your educational institution and the teacher.

The set of criteria can also vary depending on the piece. For instance, when you analyze a poem, you should pay attention to its structure, and the particular writing means. While in the novel, the main objective would be the plot, characters, or the particular situation described in it. The same things influence the length of the essay and the number of paragraphs.

However, some common points can be disclosed and analyzed in your essay, depending on the target literature work. Here’s the list of them:

  • Analysis of the genre and type of the text-objective of your essay;
  • Analysis of characters and heroes in the text;
  • Analysis of the idea and the story described;
  • Investigate the themes opened in the text;
  • Describe the literature approaches and symbolism in the text;
  • Analyze the chosen writing style.

Step by step guide for writing literature analysis essay

Like any other academic writing, the work on this type of essay starts with a preparation stage. Organizing the process is important for an easy and successful result. Moreover, with this attitude, you will have more fun and get more satisfaction from your work. Here are the steps that can help you in this aspect.

Work with the topic

Read the target piece of literature carefully. You should know the text well and completely understand the meaning and the purpose of it from the author’s point of view. Make sure you know all the characters and the plot. Read the text more than once to be certain you can analyze the literature piece properly. It is important to know all of these to provide the analysis of the text without twisting the meaning. You should take into account not only the author’s personality but also the time when the piece was written and the cultural peculiarities of that time. For your analysis, you need to find answers for the following:

  • what parts of the piece were noteworthy?
  • what was the author’s purpose of using that literature means?
  • what situations do signal about the character growth?

Connect the elements of the plot with the ideas the author wanted to express. Find the supporting features of the character and the setting.

Research and collect proofs

Now, when you know the text perfectly, you can start collecting the parts of it to prove your point in the analysis topic. You can start with plot elements or the character’s quotes to provide the information on why you think your way. Also, you should provide information from other relevant sources. It can be a historical reference or the words of the respectable literature critic. You can include information about the cultural influence of the piece and how it changes the future literature or social life.

Outline your future essay

This is the same as planning your work. Even if you have great ideas and good research results, you still have to be organized to use them properly. This is important when you have a lot of material to analyze. You have to arrange your thoughts and proofs in the logical sequence to escalate your arguments. Also, with a good outline, you will be able to check whether you have enough proofs or whether you have chosen the right approach. And you will never miss anything during your work.

Come up with the main idea: thesis statement

This is the essence of your essay. The thesis statement defines the direction of your paper, what aspects you pick for analyzing, and what arguments you should add. Knowing what you should write about will help you to avoid unnecessary or irrelevant pieces and stay focused while you read the target piece. Also, your reader will know what to expect from your essay from the very beginning, so your thesis statement helps the audience understand your analysis properly from the right point of view.

Start writing

As soon as you have an outline, the thesis statement, and the evidence for your argument, you can start writing. Start with a middle part of your work, arranging and disclosing your main point. As soon as the main paragraphs are done, you can write the introduction and the conclusion, which will be relevant to the body of your text. It is important as during writing, you can alter something in your arguments or change some directions of them, so you would have to rewrite the intro as well. But when you are sure in your main parts of an essay, you can come up with the proper introduction and a meaningful conclusion.

Revise the first draft

Do not forget to revise the first variant of your essay. It is great if you are satisfied with it from the first try. But sometimes, after finalizing the text, you might notice some inconsistency of the facts and arguments. Or simply, you will have to correct the grammar and the coherence of the text. That is why the revision and editing are important.

How to outline your essay

As you know from the previous section, outlining the literary essay is very important. However, this stage is significant for any type of academic writing. When you come up with the essay idea and the supporting evidence, you should arrange your work following the structure. Let’s take the typical structure:

  • Intro. It contains the thesis statement, the hook for the reader and overall description of the content of the following analysis;
  • Body paragraphs. Here you disclose your arguments in the logical sequence starting from the weakest one and finalizing your statement with the strongest one. Arrange the evidence here as well.
  • The conclusion summarizes the content of your essay and provides the final thoughts about the objective of your analysis.

Final words

With our recommendations, you will definitely know how to write a literary analysis properly. And we wish you good luck with your writing evolution. However, we all face some difficulties from time to time. So, anytime you need professional writing assistance, our authors will be ready to help you!

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