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Literary Analysis Essay - A Complete Guide With Examples

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 essay. A literary essay is a form of academic writing that requires good analyzing and writing skills. Writing a literary essay help 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 analysis essay using the examples and tips provided below.

Literary Analysis Essay Definition

A literary analysis essay is a form of opinion essay. In this, students share their opinion about the theme and other literary elements of a piece of writing. 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 other essay types, but it may not have a thesis statement. Especially if it is just an informative type of essay.

The method used to analyze literary work can differ depending upon the type of work being analyzed. It is important to break down the literary work into various components to better understand and analyze.

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

Literary analysis is a type of analytical essay that examines a piece of writing. A literary analysis essay helps the students in finding and explaining the important 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 takes into account 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 elements of literature are more prominent while others do not have any significant role in the chosen literary work.

  • Plot

    The plot is one of the most important elements of the literary essay. It provides insight into how the story unfolds. It is the pattern of events that eventually make up a story.

    Sometimes, the authors use the nonlinear plot, i.e., they include the 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

    The point of view is important 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.

  • Setting

    The setting highlights the specific time period and the region in which the characters are moving and performing. Just like characters, settings are also important to analyze. As the author expresses his/her opinion on a certain character, what they think about places can also be provocative.

  • Characters

    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 of the 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 find an explanation of why the characters are the way they are.

  • Imagery

    The imagery is used as a symbol and many of the story’s main elements are hidden in them. Therefore, it is an important 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, take into consideration the work of literature, development of the story, and its impact on the characters.

  • Symbolism

    Symbolism is an important aspect of any piece 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 greater than the object itself.

  • Irony

    The irony is one of the most impactful elements that leave an impression on the memory of the readers. It is something that is opposite to the expectations or even to the desires of some specific characters and readers.

  • Foreshadowing

    The authors often try to hint the future or the expected events of the story through their description. This is known as foreshadowing. The writer provides hints to the readers about what they can expect from the characters or the plot of the story. Impress your teacher by presenting your point of view and analysis of such an incident.

Literary Analysis Essay Outline

Structure in literature work is very important. One should devote enough time in 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:

  1. Introduction
  2. Body paragraphs
  3. Conclusion


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.

A literary analysis essay introduction should be engaging in order to motivate readers to read the essay. Present background information of the text in this section. In the end, close your introductory paragraphs with a thesis statement.

Body Paragraphs

After writing an introduction, move to the body section to present ideas, statements, and explanations to support your claim.

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 as well as 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 argument of the essay.


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.

When moving from your outline to writing, focus on all the features of the literary work you are going to analyze. This might be difficult for you, so take the expert’s assistance. In order to make sure that the writing process is effective, seek assistance 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)

How To Write A Literary Analysis Essay

The literary essay can be written following the writing process given below. Follow the steps and draft a perfect literary essay.

  1. Read the chosen piece of literature carefully to draft your literary analysis essay. Understand the plot and characters thoroughly. Make sure that the author’s perspective is clear to you.
  2. Decide on a literary topic for your essay or paper
  3. Collect strong evidence to prove your understanding and analysis. Gather information from the original text as well as from other relevant sources.
  4. Make an outline for your essay. It will work as a checklist for you later.
  5. In the introduction section, start off with a hook statement and then develop your stance about the text. Keep in mind that the thesis should not be arguable.
  6. In the body paragraphs, present all of the supporting material.
  7. Give a topic sentence to each of the paragraphs in the body section.
  8. Conclude the essay by summarizing the major points.
  9. The length of the conclusion of a literary analysis essay should not be bigger than an introduction.
  10. Proofread and revise at least thrice to get rid of all the mistakes in the -content. Make sure all the information provided is correct.

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 single parenting affects the physical and psychological well being of a child?
  • How upbringing and personality are related?
  • Effect of peer pressure on a child’s personality
  • How education standards can 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.

You can also place your order to get your customized essay written by qualified writers at MyPerfectWords.com

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Literary Analysis Essay - A Complete Guide With Examples

Literary Analysis Essay Topics

Literary Analysis Essay Outline

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