How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay

A literary analysis is not just a summary of the plot. This work involves a detailed study of the text, interpreting its meaning and the author’s choices. In this type of argumentative essay, students must analyze the plot, the language, the literary means used to convey ideas, the history of creation, and other aspects that may influence the perception of the text. Not all students can handle this task, so we asked for advice from the literature essay writing service essayshark.com.

Research stage of writing a literary analysis essay

Writing this type of academic assignment requires preparation. During this step, you have to cover the following aspects:

The history of creation

As you begin your analysis, you should study facts from the author’s biography related to the book’s creation. Trace the connection to the historical era and be sure to learn about the significance of the text in the author’s work. This information will help you understand the writer’s intent as well as the novel’s message and problems. It is difficult to build an evidence base without this information.

Genre

Various genres have different characteristics, and you can use them to determine which literary genre our work belongs to. The signs that will help you identify it include the size, number of plot lines and subjects, duration of actions, linguistic means, and more.

The title of a work and its meaning

The title of work often has a secret meaning. It is a kind of hint or clue as to what the work. You can try to find variations the author considered before the final title.

Subject, idea, and problematics

You have to identify these characteristics. The subject is what the work is about. The idea is the essence that the author wanted to convey to the reader. And the problem of the work is a set of issues that the writer is concerned about.

Plot, conflict, key episodes of a text

The plot is the sequence and relation of the events described in a literary work, a kind of its scheme. It includes the exposition, the plot, the development of the action, the climax, the denouement, and the postposition. Sometimes, there is a prologue and an epilogue. The main background for the unfolding of the plot is time, both in historical terms (the historical period of the work) and in physical terms (the flow of time in the course of the work).

The system of characters in the work

It is important to answer who are the main and secondary, positive and negative characters. Consider the peculiarity of their names, actions, and motivations, the characteristic details of their appearance, their relationships with other characters. Pay attention to the self-descriptions of the characters and the author’s attitude towards them, the ways of its expression. It is important to confirm your thoughts with quotations from the text, so take notes while reading.

Expression of the author’s position and narrative voice

Is the author’s vision of the solution to the problems posed in the work present? Does the author express their attitude at all? The author’s position may be present in the descriptions of the characters and everyday life. Therefore, as you read the work, try to notice such features. You have to pay special attention to the narrator and their role in the story.

Figures of speech and stylistic tropes

Every word in a text has value. Authors use figures of speech and stylistic devices to draw readers’ attention to certain facts or events in their writings. They are responsible for the expressiveness of speech. Try to find them in the text and analyze how they influence perception.

Writing a literary analysis essay

Once you have done the research and prepared all the notes, it’s time to review them and start working on an outline and a thesis statement. The latter must be strong, depicting the author’s idea but be disputable. Make sure that the evidence you have collected during your analysis is enough to back up your thesis and support your ideas. It’s essential to remember that a literary analysis essay is not a plot summary. You must interpret evidence and express your vision of the story.

The structure of a literary analysis essay is classical. You start with an introduction that explains the topic and presents a thesis statement. The main body covers all the ideas you want to express and consists of arguments, evidence, and illustrations. In the last paragraph, you sum everything up and refer to your thesis statement again.

Proofreading and editing

Once you have finished the final version of your essay, you should check your text’s grammar, spelling, punctuation, narrative logic, and coherence. Read your work aloud, paying attention to sentences that are too long. If you can’t read them in one breath, you should shorten them or break them up into several. Don’t forget about the style of citations and sources you used in your essay. Stick to the requirements offered by your educational establishment. You can also use online services to check texts for errors and plagiarism.

Theo Gill
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