No matter whether you are a schooler, a college student, or you go to university – sooner or later, you will be assigned to a literary analysis essay. It is done to check your ability to understand the text you read and deeply analyze it. Of course, being able to orally discuss the books you have read is also important and is going to be an integral part of your literature course. However, writing assignment will show your professors how skilled you are in doing that on paper.
Students may often fail when writing their literary analysis because even despite this kind of writing seems easy, it requires you to be pretty skilled in writing to complete a well-written and well-structured piece of writing. And also (let’s be honest) teachers usually don’t explain how to write this kind of essay writing. Moreover, a literary analysis essay has quite a specific format and requires using a proper academic style when writing.
That is why we have prepared a short but very informative writing guide for those who want their literary essay to be an example for others.
What is a Literary Analysis? Definition and Step-by-Step Writing Instruction
What kind of writing is a literary analysis essay? Well, a literary analysis essay is written in order to show your reading and analyzing skills to your teachers. That’s in general. To be precise, its main goal is to prove that you have carefully and thoroughly read the work of literature and you are able to evaluate it from different aspects. It’s not just about paying attention to the emotional side of the book. No! You have to consider such issues as its subject and format, define its style and find the main theme. Also, you will be asked to find the relations between the book’s form and content, plot and subplot, as well as point out the weak and strong sides of the characters and the storyline.
All this may lead you to a question of how to write that literary analysis essay at all. In general, the whole scheme comes down to several steps. They are:
- Understanding the purpose of the analysis
- Understanding the format of the essay and what it must include
- Planning your paper
- Writing it
Sounds easy, but for many students, it appears to be a stumbling stone. All because the structure of a literary essay may differ depending on what type of literature you are going to analyze. However, there are several common tips that will help you to put your writing in order.
- Focus on your topic
What you have to do here is to read the book, novel or poem as carefully as possible. While reading, you need to understand the main theme and the idea of the text. Try to study the main characters, understand their impulses, and the reasons for their deeds. If you to read the whole piece twice or more times, do that without hesitation!
Also, it will be helpful if while reading or after you finish, you will try to realize which parts of the text were the most remarkable, whether you saw the development of the characters and what literary devices the author used in his or her text. It will contribute to your future analysis greatly.
To be able to make reasonable conclusions in your essay, you have to collect all sorts of evidence while reading. It means that different facts, expressions and other sorts of evidence matter, even the information about the author. For that purpose, it would be nice to make notes while reading a book.
- Write an outline first
You don’t want to get lost in your own writing, do you? To avoid that, make an outline of your future essay. Think about what you are going to start with, how you will proceed and what conclusion your essay will have.
- Thesis statement’s time!
Create your thesis statement (or several of them) to explain why your arguments are of great importance, as well as how they are connected to the author’s thoughts and ideas.
- Write your essay
A literary analysis essay has the same structure as any other essay. It consists of an introduction, body part, and conclusion. When writing, remember that each statement requires its own separate paragraph! After you finish it, put it aside for a while and then read it all once again. Like that you will easily find any misconnections and parts that need to be improved.
That’s the basics of writing a literary essay, but even they can improve your assignment a lot.