If you read for pleasure, your basic goal is personal enjoyment. For example, you can find out more about interesting places or exciting stories. Some people read to get inspired or guided too. There are different ways of reading books, but you need to do it in a special way when teachers ask you to write a literary analysis essay. It means that you need to break everything down into smaller pieces to examine how they work, both together and individually.
The Definition of Literary Analysis Papers
Any literary analysis requires students to examine each part of specific plays, novels, poems, or short stories, including such important elements as:
- Their imagery;
- Tones and settings.
Think about how authors use all of these elements to create a wanted effect. This assignment is not a book review because you aren’t asked if you like a book. Besides, literary essays are not like book reports because teachers don’t ask you to sum up the action of books. There are other questions that your paper needs to answer:
- How does the chosen literature piece work?
- How does it achieve its goals?
- Why did their authors make this choice?
Effective Steps to Writing a Winning Literary Paper
No one is born knowing how to complete this assignment because it’s a skill that should be learned and mastered. As you keep gaining more practice, it becomes possible to choose the writing method that works best for you, but pay attention to a few basic steps involved in this process:
- Ask questions;
- Gather evidence;
- Make a strong thesis;
- Organize and develop your arguments;
- Write the essay introduction;
- Write the main body;
- Write a conclusion.
When you’re assigned to write a good literary analysis essay, many teachers provide their list of assignment prompts to choose from. Choose something that really interests you. When students are asked to make their choice, most of them start panicking. They need to ask a few questions to succeed:
- What struck you the most?
- Do you like any specific line or image?
- What confuses you the most?
- Why did the author write about a particular character or scene?
- What about ironies and contraindications in a book?
You can easily direct your academic writing and brainstorming by formulating an essay topic as a certain question that will be answered. The best one invites critical discussions and debates instead of a simple summary. Keep its scope in your mind too.
Gathering Enough Evidence
Once you determine the question that will be answered in your paper, scour the chosen book for helpful things, such as:
- Basic elements of the story;
- Its plot;
- All characters;
- The main conflict;
- Different settings;
- Narrators and themes;
- Elements of style;
- Organization and structure;
- Specific points of view;
- Diction or word choice;
- Tone and syntax;
- Imagery and figurative language.
Writing a Strong Thesis
When you collect enough evidence, it’s time to make your thesis statement, which is a claim about a certain book that must be supported by strong arguments. A good thesis has the following basic characteristics:
- Provable via textual evidence;
- Specific and surprising.
Organizing and Developing Your Arguments
The examples and reasons that support a thesis form the main body of your literature paper. It’s difficult to make a strong thesis until you know the right structure of your arguments, you should take these steps together. Besides, there is no single argumentation method that can work in every context. Some essay prompts ask students to compare and contrast characters, while others require them to trace a specific image via a given literature piece. These prompts require different approaches and arguments, including:
- Compare and contrast;
Writing the Essay Introduction
The introductory paragraph of your literary analysis essay is its general setting. This is where you need to present the chosen topic and specific issues that will be addressed in other sections. As a writer, you should introduce yourself to the targeted audience. For example, any persuasive literary paper establishes its writer as someone authoritative and knowledgeable. Introductions may vary in their length based on assignment prompts, and they all need to do the following:
- Providing readers with the necessary context;
- Piquing their interest by suggesting something surprising;
- Situating the audience and letting them all know what to expect;
- Presenting a thesis statement.
There are certain things that your essay introduction shouldn’t do, you you’ll fail to get high grades:
- Being vague;
- Praising the chosen book widely;
- Going off-topic.
Writing the Main Body
Once the introduction of your essay is ready, take all the arguments that you have and turn them into its main body. Its organization is determined by the chosen argumentative strategy. No matter how you decide to arrange your ideas, all body paragraphs should serve the following purposes:
- Starting with a strong and catchy topic sentence because it tells the audience where they are and what they will learn after reading your essay (it also alerts them to the issues that will be further discussed while giving a sense of your argument);
- Completely and fully developing a single idea without skipping around all essay paragraphs and trying to include too much information (be sure to prove one point before moving to another one);
- Using smooth transitions efficiently to link all paragraphs strongly and clearly (use certain transition words or phrases to achieve this goal).
Writing a Conclusion
Just as you use the essay introduction to inform all readers about the chosen topic before providing them with a thesis, it’s necessary to use a conclusion to sum up everything learned from a literary analysis essay. This is how you hint at a broader implication of your topic. Keep in mind that a good concluding paragraph always does the following:
- Doing something much more than just restating your thesis;
- Synthesizing all arguments instead of summarizing them, so don’t repeat any details from the main body in this section;
- Moving from specific to general;
- Staying relevant because a conclusion must suggest readers some new directions of thoughts without introducing any new ideas;
- Avoiding making any overblown final statements because you need to use a conclusion to open up a specific and focused discussion without making any dramatic observations.
A Clear Checklist for Your Essay
If you take all the above-mentioned steps, you will end up with a great literary paper and improve your grades. Pay attention to the main characteristics of excellent essays of this type and ensure that your draft contains them all:
- Demonstrating your thorough understanding of a given book;
- Presenting your compelling and original arguments;
- Using only insightful and appropriate examples;
- Thoroughly analyzing all the formal elements of the text;
- Structuring all ideas in their progressive and logical manner;
- Demonstrating your excellent sentence construction, spelling, grammar, transitions, and word choice.
Understanding the Purpose of This Assignment
First, you should understand that characters in books are fictional, not real people. Look at how authors develop them and examine them in the imaginary world. Look for specific patterns in the text, including repeated images, words, and ideas. You should be a detective searching for useful clues. Check the layers of meaning and go for the abstract ones. Read the text in detail and familiarize yourself with key scenes and passages.
You also need to understand the main purpose behind your literary analysis. It’s required to deconstruct a given text and take it apart to understand how its pieces fit together. Identify different literary devices and pay attention to making helpful annotations. They will help you end up with a closer textual analysis of all words. You don’t need to like the text to be able to analyze it successfully. Your basic task is to examine why and how authors write it.
Be aware of your literary terms because each subject has its unique jargon. If you face any difficulties at any stage of your writing process, you can get assistance from professional essayists. Their affordable services are there to help students get unique and interesting literary papers in no time. Choose the most credible one to impress your teachers in the near future.