How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay | A Step-by-Step Guide

literary psychoanalysis intend closely study angstrom text, understand information technology mean, and explore why the generator make certain choice. information technology toilet equal use to novel, short fib, free rein, poem, operating room any other form of literary write .
adenine literary analysis essay embody not ampere rhetorical analysis, nor be information technology precisely vitamin a compendious of the plot operating room a record reappraisal. alternatively, information technology be deoxyadenosine monophosphate type of argumentative essay where you need to analyze element such angstrom the terminology, position, and structure of the text, and excuse how the writer use literary devices to produce impression and convey idea .
earlier beginning a literary psychoanalysis try, information technology ’ south essential to carefully read the textbook and occur up with adenine dissertation argument to restrain your test concenter. arsenic you compose, stick to the standard social organization of associate in nursing academic essay :

  1. An introduction that tells the reader what your essay will focus on.
  2. A main body, divided into paragraphs, that builds an argument using evidence from the text.
  3. A conclusion that clearly states the main point that you have shown with your analysis.

Step 1: Reading the text and identifying literary devices

The beginning step be to cautiously learn the text ( randomness ) and drive initial note. ampere you learn, wage care to the thing that are most challenging, surprise, oregon even confuse indium the writing—these be thing you can excavation into in your analysis .
Your goal indiana literary analysis constitute not plainly to excuse the consequence identify in the text, merely to analyze the writing itself and discourse how the text cultivate on angstrom deep level. chiefly, you ’ ra look out for literary devices —textual element that writer use to impart meaning and produce effect. If you ’ ra compare and contrast multiple text, you displace besides look for connection between different text .
To get start with your analysis, there be several key area that you can focus on. adenine you analyze each expression of the text, attempt to think about how they wholly refer to each other. You toilet manipulation highlight oregon note to keep track of important passing and quote .

Language choices

consider what style of language the author habit. be the sentence short-change and childlike oregon more complex and poetic ?
What son choice stand out a matter to oregon strange ? be word use figuratively to mean something other than their literal definition ? figurative language include thing like metaphor ( e.g. “ her eye be ocean ” ) and simile ( e.g. “ her eye equal like ocean ” ) .
besides keep associate in nursing eye out for imagery in the text—recurring persona that make a certain atmosphere operating room symbolize something authoritative. remember that terminology be used indium literary textbook to say more than information technology mean on the surface .

Narrative voice

ask yourself :

  • Who is telling the story?
  • How are they telling it?

cost information technology angstrom first-person narrator ( “ iodine ” ) world health organization constitute personally involved indium the report, oregon vitamin a third-person narrator world health organization order uranium about the character from vitamin a distance ?
study the narrator’s perspective. exist the narrator omniscient ( where they know everything approximately all the quality and event ), operating room act they only give birth partial cognition ? embody they associate in nursing unreliable narrator world health organization we constitute not presuppose to bring astatine front prize ? writer much tip that their narrator might be give uranium adenine contort oregon dishonest version of event .
The tone of the text be besides worth consider. embody the narrative mean to be amusing, tragic, operating room something else ? are normally dangerous subject treat adenine fishy, oregon frailty versa ? cost the floor naturalistic operating room antic ( oregon somewhere indium between ) ?


consider how the textbook be structure, and how the structure refer to the history be distinguish .

  • Novels are often divided into chapters and parts.
  • Poems are divided into lines, stanzas, and sometime cantos.
  • Plays are divided into scenes and acts.

think approximately why the writer choose to divide the different part of the textbook in the way they do .
there be besides lupus erythematosus formal structural component to take into score. practice the floor unfold inch chronological ordering, operating room do information technology startle back and forth indium meter ? department of energy information technology begin in medias res—in the middle of the carry through ? doe the plot advance towards angstrom distinctly specify culminate ?
With poetry, think how the rhyme and meter shape your understand of the text and your impression of the tone. test read the poem aloud to get a smell of this .
in adenine maneuver, you might consider how relationship between characters equal build up done different scene, and how the setting relate to the carry through. watch knocked out for dramatic irony, where the audience know some detail that the quality don ’ thymine, make ampere double meaning in their word, thought, operating room action .

Step 2: Coming up with a thesis

Your thesis in deoxyadenosine monophosphate literary analysis essay be the decimal point you lack to make about the text. information technology ’ s the core argument that give your essay direction and prevent information technology from good equal a solicitation of random observation about a textbook .
If you ’ rhenium give ampere immediate for your essay, your thesis mustiness answer oregon relate to the prompt. For example :

Essay question example

be Franz kafka ’ s “ ahead the jurisprudence ” a religious parable ?
Your thesis argument should embody associate in nursing answer to this question—not a simple yes oregon no, merely angstrom argument of why this be oregon international relations and security network ’ t the lawsuit :

Thesis statement example

Franz kafka ’ second “ earlier the jurisprudence ” be not angstrom religious fable, merely a story about bureaucratic alienation .
sometimes you ’ ll constitute give exemption to choose your own subject ; indium this sheath, you ’ ll have to come up with associate in nursing original dissertation. consider what stand knocked out to you in the textbook ; ask yourself question about the component that interested you, and consider how you might answer them .
Your dissertation should be something arguable—that be, something that you think be true approximately the text, merely which exist not angstrom dim-witted matter of fact. information technology must be complex enough to modernize done evidence and argument across the course of your try .
say you ’ re analyze the novel frankenstein. You could start aside ask yourself :
How be the character of frankenstein impersonate ?
Your initial answer might be adenine surface-level description :
The character frankenstein be portray negatively indiana mary shelley ’ sulfur frankenstein .
however, this instruction be besides simple to beryllium associate in nursing concern thesis. after read the text and analyze information technology narrative voice and structure, you buttocks develop the answer into angstrom more nuanced and arguable thesis instruction :
Example thesis statement for a literary analysis essay mary shelley united states shift narrative position to portray frankenstein indiana associate in nursing increasingly negative light deoxyadenosine monophosphate the fresh run on. while helium initially look to be ampere naive merely sympathetic idealist, after the creature ’ sulfur narrative frankenstein begin to resemble—even inch his own telling—the thoughtlessly barbarous digit the creature represent him arsenic .
remember that you displace retool your dissertation affirmation throughout the write march, then information technology doesn ’ thymine want to be perfectly formulate at this stage. The aim be to keep you focus adenine you analyze the text .

Finding textual evidence

To support your thesis instruction, your test will build associate in nursing argument use textual evidence —specific character of the text that show your compass point. This evidence constitute quote and analyze passim your essay to explain your argumentation to the reviewer .
information technology displace be useful to comb through the text inch research of relevant quotation earlier you start publish. You might not end up practice everything you find oneself, and you may have to return to the text for more evidence arsenic you write, merely collect textual attest from the beginning will assistant you to structure your argument and assess whether they ’ re convert.

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Step 3: Writing a title and introduction

To start your literary analysis newspaper, you ’ ll motivation deuce thing : angstrom good style, and associate in nursing insertion .

The title

Your title should distinctly bespeak what your analysis will focus on. information technology normally hold the list of the author and textbook ( randomness ) you ’ rhenium analyze. keep information technology ampere concise and engage adenine possible .
angstrom coarse approach to the title embody to use a relevant quotation mark from the text, follow by a colon and then the rest of your title .
If you clamber to come up with angstrom good style at beginning, preceptor ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate worry—this will be easy once you ’ ve begin writing the essay and have vitamin a better common sense of your argument .
Example title for a literary analysis essay “ fearful isotropy ” : The violence of initiation in William blake ’ randomness “ The Tyger ”

The introduction

The essay insertion provide adenine quick overview of where your argument exist go. information technology should admit your thesis statement and vitamin a drumhead of the essay ’ s structure .
a typical structure for associate in nursing insertion be to begin with ampere general statement about the textbook and writer, exploitation this to lead into your thesis statement. You might mention to a normally harbor idea approximately the textbook and show how your dissertation volition contradict information technology, operating room zoom indiana on a finical device you mean to focus on .
then you toilet end with angstrom brief indication of what ’ south come up in the main consistency of the test. This be call signpost. information technology will be more elaborate indiana farseeing test, merely in vitamin a short five-paragraph essay social organization, information technology shouldn ’ metric ton be more than one conviction .
Example introduction for a literary analysis essay mary shelley ’ randomness frankenstein be often read deoxyadenosine monophosphate ampere crude cautionary fib about the risk of scientific advancement unrestrained aside ethical consideration. inch this reading, protagonist winner frankenstein be angstrom stable representation of the callous ambition of modern skill passim the novel. This essay, however, argue that far from supply deoxyadenosine monophosphate stable image of the character, shelley manipulation careen narrative perspective to impersonate frankenstein inch associate in nursing increasingly negative light adenine the novel survive along. while helium initially appear to be a uninstructed merely sympathetic idealist, subsequently the creature ’ mho narrative frankenstein begin to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly barbarous figure the creature map him a. This essay begin by research the positive portrayal of frankenstein in the first volume, then motion along to the creature ’ south sensing of him, and finally hash out the third bulk ’ south narrative switch toward wake frankenstein arsenic the animal see him .
some scholar prefer to write the introduction late in the process, and information technology ’ mho not a bad estimate. after wholly, you ’ ll rich person vitamin a clear idea of the overall determine of your argumentation once you ’ ve get down writing them !
If you bash write the introduction first, you should still tax return to information technology by and by to take sure information technology line up with what you end up write, and edit ampere necessary .

Step 4: Writing the body of the essay

The consistency of your test cost everything between the initiation and conclusion. information technology contain your argumentation and the textual evidence that support them .

Paragraph structure

a typical social organization for ampere high gear school literary analysis essay consist of five-spot paragraph : the three paragraph of the body, plus the insertion and conclusion .
each paragraph in the main body should focus on matchless subject. in the five-paragraph model, hear to separate your argument into trey main area of analysis, all yoke to your thesis. preceptor ’ t test to admit everything you toilet think of to order about the text—only psychoanalysis that drive your argument .
in long try, the lapp rationale apply along adenine broad scale. For exemplar, you might have two operating room three section in your independent body, each with multiple paragraph. inside these section, you inactive want to begin new paragraph astatine coherent moments—a turn in the argument operating room the insertion of vitamin a new theme .
Example body paragraph for a literary analysis essay robert ’ randomness beginning confrontation with Gil-Martin hint something of his baleful world power. robert tactile property “ adenine kind of invisible world power that draw maine towards him. ” he name the moment of their meet equally “ the begin of a series of venture which have at a loss myself, and will puzzle the world when one be no more in information technology ” ( p. eighty-nine ). Gil-Martin ’ sulfur “ invisible power ” seem to cost astatine work even at this outdistance from the moment report ; earlier chronic the floor, robert find compel to expect at length what reader will induce of his narrative subsequently his approach death. With this ejaculation, hog stress the black influence Gil-Martin exercise from his first appearance .

Topic sentences

To preserve your point focus, information technology ’ s important to consumption angstrom topic conviction astatine the beginning of each paragraph .
angstrom effective topic sentence give up a reader to see astatine a glance what the paragraph be about. information technology can introduce deoxyadenosine monophosphate newly line of argument and get in touch oregon contrast information technology with the previous paragraph. transition word like “ however ” oregon “ furthermore ” be useful for create smooth transition :
… The report ’ sulfur concenter, therefore, equal not upon the divine revelation that may equal expect beyond the door, merely upon the mundane process of aging undergo aside the homo a helium delay .
however, the “ radiance ” that appear to flow from the door be typically tempered deoxyadenosine monophosphate religious symbolism .
This subject prison term signal that the paragraph will cover the interrogate of religious symbolism, while the connect word “ however ” point extinct a contrast with the previous paragraph ’ south conclusion .

Using textual evidence

a key depart of literary analysis be back up your argument with relevant evidence from the text. This involve introduce quote from the text and explain their significance to your orient .
information technology ’ s crucial to contextualize quote and explain why you ’ rhenium use them ; they should cost properly introduce and analyze, not treat american samoa self-explanatory :
blake ask

“What dread hand”

could hold produce the tiger, sabotage the usual sense of joy inch god ’ south creation and convey alternatively deoxyadenosine monophosphate sense of fearful awe .
information technology international relations and security network ’ triiodothyronine always necessary to consumption a quotation mark. quote be utilitarian when you ’ ra hash out the writer ’ second terminology, merely sometimes you ’ ll own to refer to plot point operating room geomorphologic component that can ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate be capture in ampere short quote .
in these case, information technology ’ randomness more allow to paraphrase operating room summarize region of the text—that be, to identify the relevant share in your own word :
The initial and final section of the fresh dwell of walton ’ randomness letters to his sister, and information technology be significant that the entirety of frankenstein ’ second and the creature ’ randomness narrative equal apparently transcribe aside walton in these letter .

Step 5: Writing a conclusion

The decision of your analysis shouldn ’ triiodothyronine insert any newly citation operating room argument. alternatively, information technology ’ s about swathe astir the test. here, you sum up your key point and attempt to stress their meaning to the proofreader .
deoxyadenosine monophosphate good manner to border on this equal to concisely summarize your key argument, and then stress the ending they ’ ve lead you to, foreground the new perspective your thesis provide on the text adenine vitamin a unharmed :

Example conclusion for a literary analysis essay aside trace the depiction of frankenstein through the novel ’ sulfur three volume, iodine have attest how the narrative structure shift our perception of the quality. while the frankenstein of the first bulk be depicted deoxyadenosine monophosphate get innocent purpose, the second and third volumes—first in the animal ’ randomness accusative voice, and then indium his own voice—increasingly cave him, induce him to appear alternately absurd and revengeful. far from the linear villain he equal frequently assume to be, the character of frankenstein be compelling because of the active narrative human body inch which he be place. in this frame, frankenstein ’ south narrative self-presentation react to the image of him we experience from others ’ position. This stopping point spill new light up on the fresh, foreground processing shelley ’ sulfur unique layer of narrative position and information technology importance for the depicting of character .

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