How to write a literary analysis essay
When writing a literary analysis, you need to read closely for the author’s choices and style. You simply imagine yourself as the writer or critique.
Step 1: Read the literary text closely
Say you’re writing a literary analysis of 1984 by George Orwell; you need to read that book closely. This is the first step.
Remember, you’re not simply reading; you’re reading as a critique. So, you should consider the type of writing, surprising facts and linguistic elements (word choice, phrasal words, first-person pronouns, etc.), and intriguing points in Orwell’s writing. Your primary target is analyzing the text. So, pay attention not to summarize the text when you’re writing.
During your close reading, there are specific areas to focus on, as shown below.
Pro tipOmniscient narrator tends to know everything about events, characters, and settings (like a God's perspective).
The structure of the source text is also important when analyzing different types of literary works. There are quite different type of literary texts as shown below.
Poem structureWhen analyzing a poem, it is essential to pay attention to the meter and rhyme. The best advice is to read the poem aloud and analyze your feelings.
For the structure, pay attention to why the author divides the text at certain points. What was the motive?
Also ask yourself these questions:
Play structureWhen analyzing a play, you should evaluate the relationship between the characters and the setting. Also, mention any dramatic irony or double meaning you notice in a scene.
Step 2: Think of your thesis statement
In every essay, a thesis statement is the center of your argument. Without it, your essay would be a random selection of your ideas. So, it’s quite essential. Your instructor may give you a topic, and you need to write your paper according to the instructions.
Let’s see the following topic and build a thesis statement on it.
Thesis statement example
Qualities of a good thesis statement
The primary target of your thesis statement is to keep you organized as you write. Remember that you can always modify your existing thesis statement when you finish writing.
Literary analysis thesis statement example
Step 3: Write an introduction
Literary analysis introduction tips
Things to avoid in your introduction
Introduction tipIf you find it hard to write the introduction first, you can write later when you finish your body paragraphs.
Step 4: Continue with body paragraphs
A typical literary analysis is 5 paragraphs long: an introduction and conclusion and three body paragraphs. However, if you’re writing a long paper, you’ll have more body paragraphs.
Each paragraph should have no more than one topic sentence. If you’re writing a 5 paragraph essay, try to divide your arguments into three points and mention each in a single paragraph. When writing longer essays or research papers, apply the same principle on a longer scale.
Topic sentences are like door signs in a big office. You’ll show your reader which topic you’re covering in a specific paragraph. It is the first sentence of a body paragraph where you allow readers what to expect with a topic sentence.
Making use of transition
Transition words exampleHowever, similarly, therefore, on the contrary, furthermore, moreover, on the other hand, nevertheless, nonetheless, etc.
Presenting textual evidence
Presenting evidence is essential in body paragraphs. Presenting quotes and relevant evidence in literary analysis essays are extremely significant as they back up your arguments.
You need to inform your reader regarding your textual evidence by introducing and analyzing it. In other words, tell them why you’re using it.
Although you don’t have to use a quote, they’re generally useful in a literary analysis essay, as seen below:
Textual evidence in a paragraph
If you want to refer to a whole chapter, you need to summarize or paraphrase. Don’t just copy, you need to describe it in your own words.
In case you are struggling to write in your own words, then consider getting help from a paraphrasing tool. It will quickly paraphrase your given writing in a totally unique way without changing its original meaning. When it comes to summarization, you can also use a summarizing tool to get the job done quickly and efficiently.
Textual evidence in a paragraph (on chapter)
Step 5: Write a conclusion
Typically, a conclusion doesn’t include any new information or evidence. It’s simply a closing speech of your literary essay. When writing a conclusion:
Below, you’ll see a good example of a literary analysis essay conclusion. Feel free to analyze and observe the elements in the final paragraph.
5-Paragraph Literary Analysis Example
Game of Thrones: A World of Fantasy and Intrigue
Key takeaways for literary analyses
Now you’re ready to write a perfect literary analysis.
If you need further information, feel free to have a look at our essay samples or contact us in one of our communication channels.