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How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay

A literary analysis essay must examine and evaluate a work of literature. This entails breaking down the object of your study into parts, and examining each of them separately. You will also need to analyze the relationships between them.

The following tips will help you write a good literary analysis essay:

  • Stay focused on your thesis.
  • A literary analysis essay must be focused around a single idea (thesis). Unlike classroom discussions that can jump from one topic to another and look at the literary work from a different angle each time, an essay is a serious piece of writing that must possess a defined structure to present one specific topic. It’s imperative that you start working on the essay by first developing a thesis that will become its core. All the paragraphs of the paper must be focused on answering the thesis question. Their goal is to present the arguments and evidence that will help readers understand the main idea of the paper.

  • Write a catchy introduction.
  • You must be able to get the readers “hooked” at the very beginning of your paper. This can be achieved by adding an interesting quote, fact, or anecdote to the introduction section. This part of your paper must explain what people can expect to see if they continue reading. Please note that it may be best to write the introduction after you finish both the research and the body of the paper. This way, you would be able to make it more accurate.

  • Every paragraph must have a topic sentence.
  • When writing the actual body of the paper, you will need to develop a topic sentence for every paragraph. This will allow you to keep the paper focused. These sentences must be tied to the thesis of the essay. The rest of the paragraph should contain some textual evidence (summary and quotes) that support your arguments, as well as explanations of the arguments you use.

  • Complete the essay with a good conclusion.
  • Your concluding paragraph must make the essay seem complete. This means that you must avoid introducing any new topics. This part of the essay should include restatement of the thesis. You can use different wording, or try to present the thesis from a different point of view in order to avoid repetition.

  • Do not turn your essay into a summary.
  • The purpose of a literary analysis essay is to explain how the literary tools used by the author affect readers’ perceptions of the paper. Although it must include some snippets of the literary work and short explanations of its plotlines, you must make sure that it doesn’t turn into a summary.