How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay: Types, Structure, Example

19 Nov 2018

A literary analysis essay is writing, in which you examine a piece of literature and understand links between small parts of texts and the whole work, and put it onto the paper. By composing this kind of essay students can better grasp the meaning of the literature. It involves decomposition of a book into parts and considering each part separately, but it isn't so hard as good book reports. You will need to use different approaches. In this article, we suggest several useful tips for your attention.

How to Write a Literary Analysis: Two Major Tips

As a rule, this is a very chaotic process if you don’t have enough experience. In this case, we would strongly recommend making research on your chosen issue before starting to write. At least, read this article to the end to have a basic understanding.

First, you should remember that the choice of a topic is very important, so try to choose something you are really interested in. You will be inspired more if you discuss something that truly is meaningful for you. This way, it’s easier to capture readers’ attention. The topic should reflect the main idea of literary analysis writing. In addition, it should express your point of view on the chosen problem.

For example, if you’re going to discuss the process of development of a personality and factors that influencing this process, you can choose the following topic: “A Catcher in the Rye: Factors Influencing the Development of a Personality” as an option. A catchy topic provides 50% of the success of your work. Try to make it meaningful and informative to capture attention and evoke interest in readers. The choice of the topic is important because your further discussion will revolve around it.

Second, you need to do a literary analysis essay outline. This will help you to define the central idea of a text and divide it into several parts for further discussion.

For example, you can collect information from texts written by literary critics to have an idea of how to start. Most probably, critics are more experienced than you, and you can take their opinions into account when developing your arguments. However, this doesn’t mean you have to support these opinions, follow them or use them as a starting point of your discussion. 

Now you can start writing the first lines of your paper according to the outline. Make a short plan, ask questions that could help to disclose the idea and make a list of issues you would like to discuss under subheadings. Use your outline or a writing plan as a skeleton of your paper.

Then start developing your ideas under each subheading using your analytical skills. 

How to Write a Literary Analysis

Different Types of Literary Analysis Essays  

There are different types of this kind of paper. How you would write it will depend on the discipline as literary analysis cover a great number of disciplines. Social studies, history, communication, literature, marketing, management are only several disciplines among many others.

We selected several types of literary analysis paper and added their descriptions to give you insight regarding paper writing patterns. Here, we present characteristics of each type to help you choose your own pattern to analyze the work:

  • close reading – this is a method which involves attentive reading and further interpretation of the text, so in this case, you don't need a lot of inspiration and knowledge to understand how to write a creative essay. It’s important to address details and explain how parts of the text form the entire paper and discuss core ideas. 
  • theoretical – you need to employ theories related to the topic. For example, if you discuss the way social opinions are formed, you need to apply the agenda-setting theory.
  • comparative (synergistic)comparative essay writing is based on a comparison of two or more alternatives in one work. For example, if the topic is about comparison of socialist and democratic systems, analysis is supposed to show differences between two systems based on the decomposition of their core elements. 
  • historical (contextual) – this paper may concern various disciplines. History is one of these disciplines. Sometimes in-depth historical analysis is needed to explain various events. In this analysis, you can rely on critical sources available in libraries or the internet. 
  • applied – requires analysis of the issue from a practical perspective. 

You can choose from these types of essays depending on the discipline you’re learning. The correct choice of the paper type can help make a strong work with a clear focus.

Read also: What is a Critical Analysis Essay? Definition and Detaioed Characteristic

Typical Structure 

How do you write a literary analysis? Typically, the answer to the question of how to structure an essay is simple, because this type of paper includes the following sections: introduction, body, and conclusion.

Introduction

Introduction aims at establishing the context for readers. Also, you can briefly discuss the background to give insights to the issue under discussion. The introduction should contain the full author's name of the literary work and its title. Think well about the beginning as the function is to draw the attention of readers and encourage them to follow you through your work. This is an essential rule in academic composing.

For example, if you discuss the role of internet media in the Arab Spring revolution, you may wish to start your paper like this: “In general, people don’t like to think and analyze. Also, they tend to consume ready-made media products rather than analyze the issue considering facts and justifications”.

Body

In the body of your paper, you should retell the story narrated by the writer. Creating a summary is a good idea to show you can synthesize; that is why it is one of the literary analysis tips. Further, you need to develop your ideas and disclose your observations regarding the issue. Ideal size for this type of essay is up to 1,000 words, but only you decide how many overuse them as well. It’s better to paraphrase and rewrite the story to show your critical thinking skills to your professor. Follow your own style and make your personal observations based on the critical articles examined in the process of writing. It would be nice if the body of your literary analysis essay will consist of three paragraphs. Make an argument and its justification that relate to the thesis statement in each paragraph. Try to focus them on a particular issue that relates to the main subject of discussion.

For example, if you’re discussing the main character from a book, you should emphasize its temper and behavior, relationship or conflicts with other characters. 

Conclusion

You can summarize the main points of your literary essay in the conclusion when writing a literature analysis. It’s essential to compose a short, but strong conclusion to strengthen the final impression of your essay. Your conclusion should not contain any new information of statements, only a summary of your own developments. It’s essential to give a sense of completion to readers by restating the thesis and then adding a short description of your arguments and justifications.

In your conclusion, you need to explain why this book is important and describe the means used by the author to convey his/her opinion of a certain issue. 

Read also: Easy-to-use list alphabetizer by EduBirdie helps sort your lists alphabetically.

Literary Analysis Essay Example for Inspiration

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