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Everything You Should Know About Literary Analysis

Everything You Should Know About Literary Analysis photo

Published: | Categories: Blog

Students face the issue of literary analysis essay all the time – at school, college, and university. It’s quite reasonable. The ability to read, understand, and analyze various texts is one of the key aspects of learning. Its importance greatly increases when we are students. And like it or not, you will have to deal with literary analysis.

Skills of analysis, in particular, literary analysis, may be fostered like any other skills. Keep in mind one simple fact. People have some inclinations since birth, but it doesn’t mean that they will develop relevant skills and be able to apply them in the future.

For that reason, consider the literary analysis essay writing as one stage of your training. If you can cope with this assignment, you will quickly analyze any literature. So let’s go!

The literary analysis essay is a type of academic writing which provides an in-depth and well-grounded analysis of a specific literary text. It may be the book, novel, short story, play, poem, verse, and so on. Working on this type of essay, a student has to analyze a narrative strategy implemented by the author – plot, main ideas, writing style, characters, tone, figures of speech, intertext, etc. In the process of analyzing the student needs to find out the way the book is written, the reason why it was created, what inspired or affected the author.

What you are looking for

In general, there is no single list of which paragraphs should be included in your essay. Everything may vary depending on the type of text, its field, and your lecturer’s requirements. If you deal with poetry, you pay attention to some aspects. When analyzing prose, you apply another approach, and drama is an entirely different aspect. This point also determines the length of the analysis.

Anyway, in your paper, you must include:

  • The type and genre of the text
  • Portrait of characters
  • Determined main ideas
  • Characteristics of the plot
  • Review of a leading theme or motive
  • Defined symbols
  • General structure
  • The writing style of the author

Steps to writing a literary analysis essay

1. Focus on your topic

First of all, work with the text you have to analyze. It means you read the work, pay considerable attention to the plot and characters. You must be sure that everything is clear, and you completely understand the ideas of the author. If you face some unclear or weird information, you should research and clarify it. To understand the author, you need to read his or her biography, find out the features of the period he or she lived in or learn more about the culture he or she represents.

While reading, you should also determine the most exciting parts of the text, define how the characters develop and find connections between characters’ behavior and role in the book, the ideas, and plot.

2. Select appropriate evidence

You need to gather enough materials to provide your arguments with evidence. You may use facts, portraits, descriptions, and quotes. For that, you should make notes. Try to prepare at least two proofs for one statement.

3. Create a literary analysis outline

With the outline, you will see what you start with and what you will get in the end. Besides, you will be able to check whether you included all the necessary ideas.

4. Formulate your thesis statement  

You should determine the thesis and organize appropriate arguments. Take a look at how they correlate between each other and with the author’s ideas.

5. Write and revise

Now everything is prepared to start writing. Don’t forget about the typical structure of the essay – an introduction with the thesis in the final sentence, a body in which you provide arguments, and a conclusion that restates your central thesis and summarizes. You should explain one statement in one paragraph to avoid any misunderstandings.

If you have finished, take a break and leave the analysis for a while. Reread the paper yourself and show it to your family or friends to make sure everything is clear and with no mistakes.