Literary Analysis Essay - A Complete Guide With Examples
Writing a literary analysis essay is an essential part of academics. High school and college students often get assigned this type of paper. A literary essay is a form of academic writing that requires good analyzing and writing skills. Writing a literary essay helps develop good interpretive skills and strong analyzing abilities.
This article is written to give a complete understanding of how a literary analysis essay is drafted. Start writing your literary essay using the examples and tips provided below.
Literary Analysis Essay Definition
In a literary analysis essay, students share their opinion about the theme and other literary elements. These views and opinions are then supported with evidence from the relevant work.
The literary piece of writing can be a short story, poem, or any other fictional or non-fictional work. It also has the same sections as different essay types. But it may not have a thesis statement, especially if it is just an informative essay type.
The method used to analyze literary work can differ depending upon the type of work being analyzed. It is essential to break down the work into various components to understand and study better.
The fundamental characteristics that make a literary analysis essay different from other essays are:
- A literary analysis essay includes a narrative
- It is interpretive
- It doesn’t have an arguable thesis
- It is a report
What is the Purpose of a Literary Analysis Essay?
A literary analysis essay helps the students in finding and explaining the essential elements of fiction. It aims at presenting the details and all-sided analysis of a specific piece of literature work.
In this essay, the writer considers the content, language, effect on the audience, and the writing style in literature.
As a literature major, it is mandatory to learn literary elements and analyze them as per your understanding.
Elements of Literature
Elements of literature are the ideas or devices that make up a story. In other words, they are the elements that are used to develop the story. In a literary analysis essay, explaining these elements is essential, and without them, no literary essay is complete.
Some literature elements are more prominent, while others do not have any significant role in the chosen literary work.
The plot is one of the most significant elements of the literary essay. It provides insight into how the story unfolds and discusses the pattern of events that eventually make up a story.
Sometimes, the authors use a nonlinear plot, i.e., they include flashbacks or future events to make the story more captivating. You have to pay attention to this point while writing a literary analysis essay.
Point of View
Having a point of view is essential in the work of literature. It communicates to the readers who is narrating the story. This section attempts to explain why the author has selected a particular perspective.
The setting highlights the specific period and the region in which the characters are moving and performing. Just like characters, settings are also essential to analyze. As the author expresses his/her opinion on a particular character, what they think about places can also be provocative.
Characters are the backbone of any piece of literature, and no story is complete without them. While writing the literary essay, you need to concentrate on how the characters develop and how they are portrayed.
In most literary works, there are three types of characters.
- Protagonist: Hero.
- Antagonist: Villain or the bad guy.
- Catalyst: An important character who is not the protagonist or antagonist.
Just stating what the characters are doing will be of no use. You have to think beyond and try to explain why the characters are the way they are.
The imagery is used as a symbol, and many of the story’s main elements are hidden in them. Therefore, it is an essential aspect of literary work. In it, the author attempts to draw a picture in the reader’s mind.
In the literary analysis essay, talk about the impact of the use of imagery on the story. Also, consider the work of literature, the development of the story, and its effect on the characters.
Symbolism is another aspect of literature. It is not explained in words but is hidden in the text and explained through different means. In simple words, it is used when an object is meant to represent an idea more significant than the object itself.
The irony is one of the most impactful elements that leave an impression on the readers’ memory. It is opposite to the expectations or even to the desires of some specific characters and readers.
The authors often try to hint at the future or the expected events through their descriptions. It is known as foreshadowing. The writer provides hints to the readers about what they can expect from the characters or the story’s plot. Impress your teacher by presenting your point of view and analysis of such an incident.
How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay?
Writing a literary analysis essay requires a writer to follow a proper process. The process includes planning as well as writing. If the planning of the essay is done correctly, the writing process gets easier and more effective.
To write your literary analysis essay successfully, follow the steps provided below:
1. Read Thoroughly
The first step in the writing process of a literary analysis essay is thoroughly read the chosen text. It is important to analyze and understand every little detail of the original text to effectively draft your literary essay.
Carefully read and understand the author’s view and the message he/she is providing through writing. A simple trick to analyzing the text is to answer the questions provided below:
- Which parts of the content are substantial?
- Which literary devices were used by the author?
- Why did the author choose those literary devices?
- How are the characters developed in the content?
Identify every detail, including the ideas, plot, characters, settings, etc., and analyze them attentively.
2. Choose A Topic
Once you have understood the text, come up with a topic for your literary analysis essay. Make sure to choose an interesting essay title to grab the reader’s interest in your work. Choosing a literary analysis essay topic can be a tricky business, but a good topic will ensure strong essay content.
3. Form A Thesis Statement
The next step is to form a thesis statement. A thesis statement is the writer’s stance on the chosen piece of work. After reading the entire content thoroughly, the writer will be clear about his/her claim on the text. Forming a strong thesis statement is important as it shapes the entire essay.
4. Collect Evidence
After forming a thesis statement, collect supporting information from the text to back up your stance. Collect strong evidence, facts, and expressions from work and present it in your essay. The evidence and data can be taken from other similar pieces of work to support the claim.
5. Form A Literary Analysis Essay Outline
Structure in literature work is fundamental. One should devote enough time to creating the essay structure/outline. Drafting an essay outline plays an important role in deciding the paper’s success. Generally, a literary analysis essay outline contains the following elements:
This section introduces the topic to the reader by including interesting information to catch their attention. Writing a good essay introduction is essential when drafting a strong essay.
Arrange your data in this section so that a reader gets an idea about the work and your stance on it. This is done by presenting background information on the text. In the end, close your introductory paragraphs with a thesis statement that you developed earlier.
5.2 Body Paragraphs
The body part of the essay contains all the details and explanations about the text. This is developed by proving the thesis statement. Arrange all the supporting data in this part of the outline to justify your stance.
It is the last and most important part of the essay. It presents the way your literary work reflects the plotline and ideas of the author. It is important to keep in mind the length when writing a conclusion of your essay.
The conclusion sums up the discussion, making the audience clear about the chosen text. it also provides the reasons behind the writer’s stance.
When moving from your outline to writing, focus on all the features of the literary work you will analyze. This might be difficult for you, so take the expert’s assistance. To make sure that the writing process is effective, seek help from an essay writing service.
Following is an example provided by our experts to help you draft an outline effectively.
Literary Essay Outline Example (PDF)
6. Start Writing
Once you have planned out the entire essay and have a concrete outline to follow, start writing it. A literary analysis essay is started by writing a hook statement that is a part of the introductory paragraph. This is a catchy opening statement that grabs the reader’s attention and motivates them to read the essay.
Present the background and brief information about the plot, ideas, and purpose of the original text. Following this comes a thesis statement that is presented at the end of the introduction section.
In the body paragraphs of a literary analysis essay, a writer takes references from the text to support his argument. This can be done using the quoting and paraphrasing method, depending on the writer’s choice.
Writing the body of your essay includes a topic sentence, sub-arguments, and supporting evidence. All of the arguments in the body paragraphs should collectively back the main idea of the essay.
For the conclusion of the literary analysis essay, restate the thesis statement. After that, provide a summary of the main ideas to prove your point. It is important to keep in mind that the conclusion’s length should not exceed the introduction’s length.
7. Proofread And Edit
After finishing the writing process, revise and proofread the essay to ensure that the work is free from errors. Check for mistakes and fix them right away before submitting your assignment.
Ensure that the language, tone, syntax, vocabulary, punctuation, grammar, and structure complement the content.
Literary Analysis Topics
Choosing a strong topic is important to draft a good literary essay. Following are some topic examples that you can use for your literary essays:
- Can inequality be avoided?
- Advantages and disadvantages of playing video games for children
- Is addiction a personal choice or disease?
- How does single parenting affect the physical and psychological well-being of a child?
- How are upbringing and personality-related?
- Effect of peer pressure on a child’s personality
- How can education standards be increased?
- Analyze the main character of a book
- Analyze the main plot of a novel
- The significance and analysis of a particular piece of literature.
Literary Analysis Essay Example
The main objective of a literary analysis paper is to examine and evaluate different parts of the text. Here you can find a literary analysis essay example to help you better understand the writing process.
Sample Literary Essay (PDF)
Literary Essay Rubric (PDF)
If you want expert help in drafting your literary essay, go through the free essay samples at MyPerfectWords.com. You will get professionally written essays and papers on several literary analysis topics.
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Frequently asked questions
What should a literary analysis essay include?
A good essay will have an explanation of the author's ideas and evidence from their text (short story, poem) to support those thoughts. Textual information includes a summary, paraphrase as well specific details like direct quotations in summaries or extracts where they are relevant for clarification on certain points.
Why literary analysis is important?
By analyzing literary work, students can see that successful art is more than just self-expression. It may serve a purpose beyond the creator's intent whether it be to inform or evoke empathy in its audience and even inspire them at times.