A literary analysis essay is a type of academic paper that examines and assesses a literary work or a specific aspect of a particular literary piece. It tells about the main idea of the book a student has read. Such an essay requires a specific format. Additionally, the student should maintain an adequate academic style of writing. He or she cannot write like a blogger would write, as well as the student cannot simply copy Amazon or Goodreads reviews. The task is reading the book and composing a literary essay that can impress the teacher.
The Purpose of a Literary Analysis Essay
The primary goal of such type of an essay is to prove that you have thoroughly examined and assessed a literary work from different standpoints.
For example, you can find numerous reviews of the chosen book on the Internet. If you check out some of them, you will see that they are highly personal. Each of them is about the way the reader perceived this writing piece. You can share your impressions in this type of an essay, but present them in a well-structured format.
When you are assigned to create a literature analysis essay, you will have to read the book in a different way, too. When you are reading for pleasure, you are primarily concentrated on emotions and visualizations of the scenes and characters. When working on an essay, you will still pay attention to these elements, while also being analytical towards the book. You will have to consider such elements as subject, form, style, main theme, how the form and content are connected, how the main plot and the subplot are connected, strengths and weaknesses of the storyline and characters.
Typically, professors require students to focus on one particular aspect in the literature analysis essays. For example, the strong and weak points of the main character. A general analysis is a much larger and complicated paper, and its structure is closer to a research paper than to an essay.
Structure of a Literature Analysis Essay
Some students, who have not faced such type of an assignment earlier, make a common mistake: freewriting. Such a paper should not base on freewriting when you just sit and write everything that comes to mind. Instead, such an essay has to be organized, and it requires specific elements. Consider turning for paper help if you realize that it is too difficult for you. Here are the specific elements required for a literature analysis essay:
- A topic formulated according to the key idea you want to convey.
- A thesis statement that explains to the audience what they should expect from the rest of the essay. It has to be a clear and concise declarative sentence, conveying your paper’s main point. Every sentence of the essay has to be directly connected to the thesis statement.
- An introduction, body, and conclusion — it is the basic structure that has to be maintained in every other type of academic paper. The only difference between the literary analysis essay and other kinds of academic papers is that you are not obliged to stick to the 5-paragraph format. If there is a necessity to include more paragraphs in the body, you can do it, unless your professor asks you otherwise.
How to Start Working on the Essay
Begin working on your essay by creating an outline. It has to shortly describe the key points you want to include in every section of the paper. Once the outline is created, it will be much easier for you to start the writing process.
In the introductory section, you should grab the reader’s interest. So make sure to focus on the main point immediately. Explain what aspect of the literary work you are going to analyze.
- Consider starting with a quote that conveys your main point.
- Provide some background information that is related to the literature genre or to the author of the book you are analyzing.
- At the end of the introduction, present your thesis statement. It is the main statement in the whole paper, so dedicate enough time to brainstorming it. It has to be one to two sentences long.
Writing the Body Section
Once you have the introductory paragraph with a clear thesis statement and an outline with your key points, it will be much easier for you to write the body section.
Start each paragraph with a topic sentence that has a direct relationship with the thesis. A topic sentence helps the reader understand what the paragraph is about right away. It can introduce a new line of argument and connect or contrast it with the previous section.
Do not try to include everything you have to say about the text. Your goal is only to analyze the points that drive your argument. Also, make sure to back up each argument with evidence from the text. Use quotes from literary work and explain why they are significant to your point. Always contextualize every quote and explain why you use it. It is necessary that they are properly introduced and analyzed, not treated as self-explanatory.
Writing the Conclusion
Just like any other type of academic paper, a literary analysis essay requires a strong and convincing conclusion. This section is what makes an essay complete and tied together. It gives the audience the impression that you have made a clear point. Do not include any new information in this section. Instead, it has to sum up and restate the main points that you made, but it should not be repetitive. Make an appropriate comment from another point of view, or restate the thesis statement to demonstrate how your arguments proved it. Consider using an Essay Checker to polish your essay before submitting it.