We have compiled a complete guide to writing an analytical essay from scratch. Essay writing is not an easy task. However, when it comes to analytical essays, this level of ‘easy task’, dips even lower as it is a much more difficult task. Many students fear losing marks and grades due to analytical essays.
An analytical essay is not a summary. It is the critical analysis of a literary work, most commonly a book or an article. Writing an analytical piece helps you develop skills for an argumentative and synthesis essay.
By the end of this blog, you will have a full command over analytical writing, its objectives and outline, and some topics and examples to help you understand it further and have some ideas for your essay.
An analytical essay highlights and explains the essence of an argument, along with the tools, symbols and literary devices used in the work under scrutiny. The pattern and design of such an essay is subjective as you, as a writer, have a chance to explain and contemplate the work according to your understanding. However, adding relevant facts and information is necessary to make it concrete.
In short, it is an is an analysis based paper. The ultimate goal of any analytical writing is to explore the subject matter and illuminate the gaps between the points and supporting information.
It can be about a movie, a documentary, a written piece of work: article, book, journal or generally on an idea or an issue.
Before you know what an analytical essay is, you should know what an analytical essay is not. An analytical essay is not synonymous to a summary or critical essay. It is rather narrower and focused than writing a summary.
Although it is easier to understand, it is difficult to practically demonstrate it within the writing. One needs to pick elements from the resources and analyze them in detail.
To start an analytical essay, consider the following steps:
Before writing an analysis, identify the purpose of the essay. The purpose identifies the main argument that you are going to analyze. Find the objective of your analytical essay.
You need to understand the topic fully, before you analyze it. You can understand the topic by dividing it into parts, or breaking it into themes.
Decide what to write about; choose a movie, book or a work of your interest, to prepare your analytical essay. In the case of movie, book or novel, one can analyze the motivations of different characters and how they helped shape the book. Other things to add in the analysis are themes, symbols, motifs, etc.
If writing about a scientific research paper, analyze the results of that scientific research and if they are the same as was proposed in the hypothesis.
Once you have chosen your topic, book or work work to analyze and identified the ideas that you want to mull over, this is where you will develop your thesis statement. A thesis statement refers to the general approach and ideas that you will address in your analytical essay.
The thesis statement cannot be very obvious or vague. It should summarize your essay within one to two sentences.
It highlights your arguments and analysis, presented in the essay.
The supporting information is derived from the primary sources. The essay topic hints to what types of sources are required. A good source strengthens the argument while a weaker source or idea weakens it.
The final step before starting with the writing, is to arrange your ideas and information in an orderly formation. This is done by structuring the ideas in an essay outline.
Creating an essay outline saves time and makes writing easier. An outline is designed to cater to the needs of the topic and to help the writer in staying focused. A shorter or three paragraph essay would not justify a lengthy topic. If your topic is lengthy and needs more explanation, make a list of ideas and explain them one by one.
Make notes of what to add in each paragraph. Note down important and relevant phrases and metaphors to analyze with a better insight into the body of work under analysis.
An analytical essay can be of different types. We have compiled and explained a few types so that you can identify them and know how to write them.
A literary analysis essay is the most common type of analysis essay. When you are assigned to write an analysis essay, you write an informative analysis of a theme, plot or metaphor used in the assigned work. The essay highlights the depth of the literature by analyzing the moods of the characters, their emotions and their decision making capabilities.
This type of essay requires you to prove or redefine a fact that has been proven earlier. Such essays are usually used in the fields of research or science. They utilize mathematical and scientific evidence as their foundation to analyze them with rationale and reason.
The poem analysis essay explains the poem’s significance in terms of content, structure and history. The main goal of the writer is to highlight the purpose and significance of the poem. Your essay should convey a basic understanding of the poem and themes discussed in it.
This genre of analytical writing identifies and explains a process and presents its step by step analysis to the readers. Like we are giving and explaining the process involved in analytical essay writing, same goes for other ‘how-to’ types of essays.
This is an in depth analysis of the character from a book, drama or film. It requires you to explain the changes, moods and transformation of the character from the beginning to the end. The essay analyses the characters, their mental reformation, traits and their reaction throughout the plot.
In simple terms, it is cause and effect essay. It analyzes the events and reasons behind them. Why something happened, How did it happen? What was its impact? How can it be improved for future implications? Are some kinds of causal essays while you can find a number of other types to discuss in your essay
It is important to choose a topic before writing an essay. The key to starting any essay is to develop an in-depth understanding of the body of work under study. An ample number of resources, related to the topic, should be studied to gather as much information as possible.
You should use the vocabulary and language that is appropriate for the subject. The analysis should not be too harsh or too ambiguous to lose meaning.
Writing analytical essays is important in enriching the analytical and argumentative skills in students.
Here are some of the steps to help you write analytical essays.
An analytical essay contains an in-depth understanding of the literary work or movie. Therefore, it is important to recognize the focal point that you will discuss throughout your essay and base your learning on it. To focus on that, you should refer to the facts and the information presented in the sources, concisely and comprehensively.
The thesis statement of the essay is very important. You should use the information to create an engaging analysis of the subject.
The thesis of the essay is primary to the discussion, it will illuminate the problems the essay will discuss in its body content..
The final step in preparing your essay is to formulate a plan jotting down all the thoughts, facts and information along with the list of references.
The next step is to compose the essay. Present the facts and information in creative and engaging manner. Just filling the document with data is not sufficient; to have an impact, make it intriguing and exciting read for your audience. An engaging introduction does not have to be a dramatic one, keep it simple but engaging.
You don’t have to sum up and add all the facts and the information that you are using to create an analysis with, in the introductory paragraph. Do not stuff it with irrelevant information; add just enough information to grip your readers.
If you think you should use quotes then it is important that you look for appropriate places within the essay to insert them. The citations and their formats are essential for creating a successful essay.
The next step is to look for any errors and mistakes. Mistakes in grammar, punctuation, composition, and factual information should be eliminated before the final submission. Avoid using complex terminologies, it will only confuse and overwhelm your readers, even if it is your instructor.
Once you have finalized your essay, run it through a plagiarism detector. We know that, as a writer, you have tried your best to compose everything by yourself but, there is always a possibility that you should rule out. See if the essay’s structure is consistent and in a flow.
Make sure you have explained the subject comprehensively, and have not left any ambiguities within the essay.
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An action plan for your analytical writing is known as an analytical essay outline. An essay outline gives an orderly perspective to the essay. It manages the claims and information that you are going to present in the essay, in a consistent format.
The outline prevents the arguments from getting lost and helps you work on developing them. By creating an outline, you will remember to add references of the sources used in building the arguments, which is important if you have added quotes and sayings. The chronology and the order of the claims is also managed with the help of an outline.
Analytical writing can be arranged in any way that suits the requirements of the essay but generally, a common template of any analytical outline consists of an introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion.
A sample analytical outline follows the following pattern:
The introductory paragraph defines and discusses the main topic, the chosen work or book and some brief introduction of the main idea of analysis.The introductory paragraph should be able to wholly introduce the claims that are presented in the essay.
The introduction should be attractive to hook the reader to the end of the essay. The writer can use some tricks like rhetorical questions and phrases to create engagement.
The thesis statement defines the purpose and themes of the essay. It is a cohesive statement that incorporates the goals of your essay, along with your analysis.
The body consists of multiple paragraphs, each with an opening sentence, and idea or claim and supporting evidence. Discuss only one idea in each paragraph. The body of the essay is the embodiment of what is defined and mentioned in the thesis statement.
Each paragraph discusses the supporting claims of the central theme of the essay. The paragraph usually consists of the claims from the source, evidence that backs up the claims and association between them.
It is of prime importance to the structure as it gives a proper closure to your essay. Creating an impressive conclusion is essential if you want to leave your reader with a strong impact. The conclusion should prove your thesis statement and provide a synthesis of the essay.
Choosing a good topic is an important task when it comes to writing a successful essay. The topic should be engaging and relevant to your target audience’s interests. A good topic directly affects the quality and context of your work.
Here’s a list of analytical essays to choose from:
Here are some of the tricks to help you create a marvelous analytical essay.
Revise and correct your essays continuously, unless they achieve perfection. You should write your thoughts, edit them and then re-edit them. A strong revision process makes your essay flawless and brilliant.
Many times you cannot reflect perfectly on your essay. Therefore, it is important that you take help from a friend or an expert who can identify errors in the formation and structure of your essay. The feedback helps you gain better reader insight of your essay.
Although reading and taking help from other resources is recommended but it is equally important that the content you generate is original and free of plagiarism.
You should always use precise language and accurate vocabulary that does not lead the reader astray. Avoid using irrelevant details that might bore and confuse your readers.
Find these examples of analytical essays to help you compose excellent essays.
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