Academic Writing Complete Guide

Literary analysis essays

Literary analysis is as old as literature itself. It has become an integral style of an essay on academic writing, and you have every reason to enjoy constructing your won. They present an opportunity for you to show your comprehension of text and your ability to communicate your ideas effectively. This can seem difficult in the first place, but in a real sense, it is not that complex.

When you face such an assignment, you are required to show the how and why a poem, novel, short story, or pay was written. For you to write an effective literature analysis essay, you have to be aware of the fact that authors make specific choices for, particularly reasons. These choices should be highlighted in your essay as well as an attempt of elucidating on their importance. You can also look at the piece of literature from your point of view. You can develop your argument that does not hinge on the writer’s perspective. It can be about a single term or several of them. However, you will have to use the original text when you are defending and explaining.

Remember that writing is the sharpened, focused expression of your thoughts and study. Improving your writing skills is directly proportional to your perceptions and critical abilities. The process of writing narrows down to the idea that you have and how you develop it. You write a literary analysis to convince the audience that you have adequately supported your idea. Your writing is supposed to stick with great determination to the specific point of development. As such, your literary analysis must have a thesis statement, body paragraphs that develop your idea systematically with everything relating to the central theme. The information they provide must add to the knowledge of the audience.

Consider these three principles

  • Your literary analysis must cover the topic you are addressing
  • It must have a thesis statement
  • Is must be organized to make sure every part plays its role in contributing to the to the understanding of the central theme.

Elements of an effective literary analysis essay

To write an effective literary analysis essay, you must include the following;

  • A strong thesis statement
    This statement tells the reader what the essay is all about. A restricted, precisely worded declarative statement shows the audience, the purpose of your literary analysis. The success of an essay hinges on a carefully conceived thesis. This statement usually comes at the end of your introduction.
  • The introduction
    Your literary analysis essay should have an introduction that grabs the attention of the person reading it. Several ways can be applied when you are writing your introduction to ensure its effectiveness. You can decide you use a quote, a provocative question or a brief anecdote. You can also make use of a startling statement or a combination of these. You are free to include some background information that alights with your thesis statement and the position you are taking on the topic. When writing your literary analysis, ensure that you have included the title of the work that you are analysis and the name of the author.
  • The body paragraphs
    This is where you develop your argument and present the evidence to support it. If you are analyzing a poem, a play, a short story or a book, you are supposed to use evidence from those texts. The evidence should support your ideas. Using evidence form, such text means that you will paraphrase, summarize, and use direct quotations or a combination of them all.

Every paragraph that you write must be guided by a topic sentence. It states the topic that is associated with that sentence. The topic sentence also should support your central argument. This sums up depending on the way that you have argued that point in that paragraph. The topic sentence serves the purpose of relating the contents of your paragraph to your thesis as well as tying the details of the paragraph together.

Each of the paragraphs you have included in the boys of your analysis will be the explanations, summaries, paraphrases, specific details, as well as direct quotations. All these will help in developing and supporting a more general statement that you have made in your topic sentence.

The conclusion

The concluding paragraphs should give your literary analysis the necessary completeness it deserves. It should signal the reader that the essay has ended. You can restate your thesis in different words, summarize your major points, and make a relevant comment about the literary work you have just analyzed. You are not allowed to include any new topic, information, fact, or evidence in your conclusion.

  • The title of your essay
    Your literary analysis should have a title that is descriptive of the approach you are applying in your paper. You have to formulate a captivating title for your paper for you to grab the attention of the audience. You cannot use the title on the work you are analyzing only, as that would not be satisfactory.

Consider your audience

When you are writing your literary analysis, you have to think of the evidence. You are not only writing for your professor, but also your fellow students in your class who have the same level of education as you. They have the same assignment as you have. The only difference is the thought process for each one of you. Simply put, refrain from retelling the literary work anyway. In fact, you are the explainer or the work, and you have to show the meaning of certain elements with regard to your central argument. When you refer to the elements of a poem, a book, or a short story that you have analyzed, you remind the audience of something that they already know. You have to focus on drawing conclusions and developing your arguments. It is important to avoid plot summary when writing your literary analysis.

Using textual evidence

Textual evidence is used to illustrate the writer’s ideas. You can summarize, paraphrase, and use direct quotes or specific details from the text that you are analyzing. However, you have to use this evidence judiciously and only when it aligns with your topic. If you use the textual evidence appropriately, it will make your literary analysis effective.


  • Summary
    If there are important elements or events in the literary works that you are analyzing and they relate to your topic, you can include a brief summary of the text. Ensure that you show the relevance of the event or elements and their connection to the summary of your point.
  • Paraphrasing
    If you need the details of the original text, you can paraphrase it. However, you do not have to use the words of the original text. You can use different words to convey the same message.
  • Specific detail
    Different types of details from the text you are analyzing have concrete support to the development of your thesis statement. They enhance the credibility of your point.
  • Using direct quotes
    These can illuminate and support your ideas that you are developing. When you use direct quotations judiciously, your points become more clear and convincing. Every textual evidence that you use must be followed by an explanation ion the relevance of the evidence. This helps the audience in knowing why the quotes you have cited are important to your argument.

When using quotes, you can consider the following tips:

  • Use brief quotations
    Your prose should have four or four lines. Poetry takes safe lines too. Quotations should be carefully introduced and incorporated in your paper. Put the text in quotation marks.
  • Separate lengthy quotations from the text of your paper
    Double space more than four lines of your prose and should have an indent of ten spaces from the left margin. The right margin should remain as the same as your paper. Double space more than three lines of poetry quotations and set them at the center of the page. Do not use quotations makes to set off longer passages because they have already been indented.
  • Use brackets to identify any words that have been added to a quotation to explain who or what the quotation is referring to. The brackets will create a distinction between the quoted text and the addition of word from the original source.
  • Use an ellipsis if you omit any words from the original source you are quoting
    This can be used at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of the quotation. This depends on the original position of the missing word. An ellipsis comprises of three to four periods with a space between each period.
  • You can use a single line of single-spaced periods to indicate the omission of an entire sentence in a poem.

Literary analysis will always be a common assignment in college or university. As such, students should familiarize themselves with different samples to see how best they can approach a literary work. They can also use the information provided here to ensure that they write a perfect literary analysis essay.



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