How to Write Literary Analysis | SparkNotes (2022)

Introduction

When you read for pleasure, your only goal is enjoyment. You might find yourself reading to get caught up in an exciting story, to learn about an interesting time or place, or just to pass time. Maybe you’re looking for inspiration, guidance, or a reflection of your own life. There are as many different, valid ways of reading a book as there are books in the world.

When you read a work of literature in an English class, however, you’re being asked to read in a special way: you’re being asked to perform literary analysis. To analyze something means to break it down into smaller parts and then examine how those parts work, both individually and together. Literary analysis involves examining all the parts of a novel, play, short story, or poem—elements such as character, setting, tone, and imagery—and thinking about how the author uses those elements to create certain effects.

A literary essay isn’t a book review: you’re not being asked whether or not you liked a book or whether you’d recommend it to another reader. A literary essay also isn’t like the kind of book report you wrote when you were younger, where your teacher wanted you to summarize the book’s action. A high school- or college-level literary essay asks, “How does this piece of literature actually work?” “How does it do what it does?” and, “Why might the author have made the choices he or she did?”

The Seven Steps

No one is born knowing how to analyze literature; it’s a skill you learn and a process you can master. As you gain more practice with this kind of thinking and writing, you’ll be able to craft a method that works best for you. But until then, here are seven basic steps to writing a well-constructed literary essay.

Contents

  • 1. Ask questions
  • 2. Collect evidence
  • 3. Construct a thesis
  • 4. Develop and organize arguments
  • 5. Write the introduction
  • 6. Write the body paragraphs
  • 7. Write the conclusion

1 Ask Questions

When you’re assigned a literary essay in class, your teacher will often provide you with a list of writing prompts. Lucky you! Now all you have to do is choose one. Do yourself a favor and pick a topic that interests you. You’ll have a much better (not to mention easier) time if you start off with something you enjoy thinking about. If you are asked to come up with a topic by yourself, though, you might start to feel a little panicked. Maybe you have too many ideas—or none at all. Don’t worry. Take a deep breath and start by asking yourself these questions:

What struck you?

Did a particular image, line, or scene linger in your mind for a long time? If it fascinated you, chances are you can draw on it to write a fascinating essay.

What confused you?

Maybe you were surprised to see a character act in a certain way, or maybe you didn’t understand why the book ended the way it did. Confusing moments in a work of literature are like a loose thread in a sweater: if you pull on it, you can unravel the entire thing. Ask yourself why the author chose to write about that character or scene the way he or she did and you might tap into some important insights about the work as a whole.

Did you notice any patterns?

Is there a phrase that the main character uses constantly or an image that repeats throughout the book? If you can figure out how that pattern weaves through the work and what the significance of that pattern is, you’ve almost got your entire essay mapped out.

Did you notice any contradictions or ironies?

Great works of literature are complex; great literary essays recognize and explain those complexities. Maybe the title Happy Days totally disagrees with the book’s subject matter (hungry orphans dying in the woods). Maybe the main character acts one way around his family and a completely different way around his friends and associates. If you can find a way to explain a work’s contradictory elements, you’ve got the seeds of a great essay.

At this point, you don’t need to know exactly what you’re going to say about your topic; you just need a place to begin your exploration. You can help direct your reading and brainstorming by formulating your topic as a question, which you’ll then try to answer in your essay. The best questions invite critical debates and discussions, not just a rehashing of the summary. Remember, you’re looking for something you can prove or argue based on evidence you find in the text. Finally, remember to keep the scope of your question in mind: is this a topic you can adequately address within the word or page limit you’ve been given? Conversely, is this a topic big enough to fill the required length?

Good questions

“Are Romeo and Juliet’s parents responsible for the deaths of their children?”

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“Why do pigs keep showing up in Lord of the Flies?”

“Are Dr. Frankenstein and his monster alike? How?”

Bad questions

“What happens to Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird?”

“What do the other characters in Julius Caesar think about Caesar?”

“How does Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter remind me of my sister?”

2 Collect Evidence

Once you know what question you want to answer, it’s time to scour the book for things that will help you answer the question. Don’t worry if you don’t know what you want to say yet—right now you’re just collecting ideas and material and letting it all percolate. Keep track of passages, symbols, images, or scenes that deal with your topic. Eventually, you’ll start making connections between these examples and your thesis will emerge.

Here’s a brief summary of the various parts that compose each and every work of literature. These are the elements that you will analyze in your essay, and which you will offer as evidence to support your arguments. For more on the parts of literary works, see the Glossary of Literary Terms at the end of this section.

Elements of Story

These are the whats of the work—what happens, where it happens, and to whom it happens.

  • Plot
    All of the events and actions of the work.
  • Character
    The people who act and are acted upon in a literary work. The main character of a work is known as the protagonist.
  • Conflict
    The central tension in the work. In most cases, the protagonist wants something, while opposing forces (antagonists) hinder the protagonist’s progress.
  • Setting
    When and where the work takes place. Elements of setting include location, time period, time of day, weather, social atmosphere, and economic conditions.
  • Narrator
    The person telling the story. The narrator may straightforwardly report what happens, convey the subjective opinions and perceptions of one or more characters, or provide commentary and opinion in his or her own voice.
  • Themes
    The main ideas or messages of the work—usually abstract ideas about people, society, or life in general. A work may have many themes, which may be in tension with one another.

Elements of Style

These are the hows—how the characters speak, how the story is constructed, and how language is used throughout the work.

  • Structure and organization
    How the parts of the work are assembled. Some novels are narrated in a linear, chronological fashion, while others skip around in time. Some plays follow a traditional three-or five-act structure, while others are a series of loosely connected scenes. Some authors deliberately leave gaps in their works, leaving readers to puzzle out the missing information. A work’s structure and organization can tell you a lot about the kind of message it wants to convey.
  • Point of view
    The perspective from which a story is told. In first-person point of view, the narrator involves him or herself in the story. (“I went to the store”; “We watched in horror as the bird slammed into the window.”) A first-person narrator is usually the protagonist of the work, but not always. In third-person point of view, the narrator does not participate in the story. A third-person narrator may closely follow a specific character, recounting that individual character’s thoughts or experiences, or it may be what we call an omniscient narrator. Omniscient narrators see and know all: they can witness any event in any time or place and are privy to the inner thoughts and feelings of all characters. Remember that the narrator and the author are not the same thing!
  • Diction
    Word choice. Whether a character uses dry, clinical language or flowery prose with lots of exclamation points can tell you a lot about his or her attitude and personality.
  • Syntax
    Word order and sentence construction. Syntax is a crucial part of establishing an author’s narrative voice. Ernest Hemingway, for example, is known for writing in very short, straightforward sentences, while James Joyce characteristically wrote in long, incredibly complicated lines.
  • Tone
    The mood or feeling of the text. Diction and syntax often contribute to the tone of a work. A novel written in short, clipped sentences that use small, simple words might feel brusque, cold, or matter-of-fact.
  • Imagery
    Language that appeals to the senses, representing things that can be seen, smelled, heard, tasted, or touched.
  • Figurative language
    Language that is not meant to be interpreted literally. The most common types of figurative language are metaphors and similes, which compare two unlike things in order to suggest a similarity between them— for example, “All the world’s a stage,” or “The moon is like a ball of green cheese.” (Metaphors say one thing is another thing; similes claim that one thing is like another thing.)

3 Construct a Thesis

When you’ve examined all the evidence you’ve collected and know how you want to answer the question, it’s time to write your thesis statement. A thesis is a claim about a work of literature that needs to be supported by evidence and arguments. The thesis statement is the heart of the literary essay, and the bulk of your paper will be spent trying to prove this claim. A good thesis will be:

  • Arguable.

    The Great Gatsby describes New York society in the 1920s” isn’t a thesis—it’s a fact.

  • Provable through textual evidence.

    Hamlet is a confusing but ultimately very well-written play” is a weak thesis because it offers the writer’s personal opinion about the book. Yes, it’s arguable, but it’s not a claim that can be proved or supported with examples taken from the play itself.

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  • Surprising.

    “Both George and Lenny change a great deal in Of Mice and Men ” is a weak thesis because it’s obvious. A really strong thesis will argue for a reading of the text that is not immediately apparent.

  • Specific.

    “Dr. Frankenstein’s monster tells us a lot about the human condition” is almost a really great thesis statement, but it’s still too vague. What does the writer mean by “a lot”? How does the monster tell us so much about the human condition?

Good Thesis Statements

Question: In Romeo and Juliet , which is more powerful in shaping the lovers’ story: fate or foolishness?

Thesis: “Though Shakespeare defines Romeo and Juliet as ‘star- crossed lovers’ and images of stars and planets appear throughout the play, a closer examination of that celestial imagery reveals that the stars are merely witnesses to the characters’ foolish activities and not the causes themselves.”

Question: How does the bell jar function as a symbol in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar?

Thesis: “A bell jar is a bell-shaped glass that has three basic uses: to hold a specimen for observation, to contain gases, and to maintain a vacuum. The bell jar appears in each of these capacities in The Bell Jar, Plath’s semi-autobiographical novel, and each appearance marks a different stage in Esther’s mental breakdown.”

Question: Would Piggy in The Lord of the Flies make a good island leader if he were given the chance?

Thesis: “Though the intelligent, rational, and innovative Piggy has the mental characteristics of a good leader, he ultimately lacks the social skills necessary to be an effective one. Golding emphasizes this point by giving Piggy a foil in the charismatic Jack, whose magnetic personality allows him to capture and wield power effectively, if not always wisely.”

4 Develop and Organize Arguments

The reasons and examples that support your thesis will form the middle paragraphs of your essay. Since you can’t really write your thesis statement until you know how you’ll structure your argument, you’ll probably end up working on steps 3 and 4 at the same time.

There’s no single method of argumentation that will work in every context. One essay prompt might ask you to compare and contrast two characters, while another asks you to trace an image through a given work of literature. These questions require different kinds of answers and therefore different kinds of arguments. Below, we’ll discuss three common kinds of essay prompts and some strategies for constructing a solid, well-argued case.

Types of Literary Essays

Compare and contrast

Compare and contrast the characters of Huck and Jim in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

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Chances are you’ve written this kind of essay before. In an academic literary context, you’ll organize your arguments the same way you would in any other class. You can either go subject by subject or point by point. In the former, you’ll discuss one character first and then the second. In the latter, you’ll choose several traits (attitude toward life, social status, images and metaphors associated with the character) and devote a paragraph to each. You may want to use a mix of these two approaches—for example, you may want to spend a paragraph apiece broadly sketching Huck’s and Jim’s personalities before transitioning into a paragraph or two that describes a few key points of comparison. This can be a highly effective strategy if you want to make a counterintuitive argument—that, despite seeming to be totally different, the two objects being compared are actually similar in a very important way (or vice versa). Remember that your essay should reveal something fresh or unexpected about the text, so think beyond the obvious parallels and differences.

Trace

Choose an image—for example, birds, knives, or eyes—and trace that image throughout Macbeth.

Sounds pretty easy, right? All you need to do is read the play, underline every appearance of a knife in Macbeth, and then list them in your essay in the order they appear, right? Well, not exactly. Your teacher doesn’t want a simple catalog of examples. He or she wants to see you make connections between those examples—that’s the difference between summarizing and analyzing. In the Macbeth example above, think about the different contexts in which knives appear in the play and to what effect. In Macbeth, there are real knives and imagined knives; knives that kill and knives that simply threaten. Categorize and classify your examples to give them some order. Finally, always keep the overall effect in mind. After you choose and analyze your examples, you should come to some greater understanding about the work, as well as your chosen image, symbol, or phrase’s role in developing the major themes and stylistic strategies of that work.

Debate

Is the society depicted in 1984 good for its citizens?

In this kind of essay, you’re being asked to debate a moral, ethical, or aesthetic issue regarding the work. You might be asked to judge a character or group of characters ( Is Caesar responsible for his own demise?) or the work itself ( Is Jane Eyre a feminist novel?). For this kind of essay, there are two important points to keep in mind. First, don’t simply base your arguments on your personal feelings and reactions. Every literary essay expects you to read and analyze the work, so search for evidence in the text. What do characters in 1984 have to say about the government of Oceania? What images does Orwell use that might give you a hint about his attitude toward the government? As in any debate, you also need to make sure that you define all the necessary terms before you begin to argue your case. What does it mean to be a “good” society? What makes a novel “feminist”? You should define your terms right up front, in the first paragraph after your introduction.

Second, remember that strong literary essays make contrary and surprising arguments. Try to think outside the box. In the 1984 example above, it seems like the obvious answer would be no, the totalitarian society depicted in Orwell’s novel is not good for its citizens. But can you think of any arguments for the opposite side? Even if your final assertion is that the novel depicts a cruel, repressive, and therefore harmful society, acknowledging and responding to the counterargument will strengthen your overall case.

5 Write the Introduction

Your introduction sets up the entire essay. It’s where you present your topic and articulate the particular issues and questions you’ll be addressing. It’s also where you, as the writer, introduce yourself to your readers. A persuasive literary essay immediately establishes its writer as a knowledgeable, authoritative figure.

An introduction can vary in length depending on the overall length of the essay, but in a traditional five-paragraph essay it should be no longer than one paragraph. However long it is, your introduction needs to:

  • Provide any necessary context.

    Your introduction should situate the reader and let him or her know what to expect. What book are you discussing? Which characters? What topic will you be addressing?

  • Answer the “So what?” question.

    Why is this topic important, and why is your particular position on the topic noteworthy? Ideally, your introduction should pique the reader’s interest by suggesting how your argument is surprising or otherwise counterintuitive. Literary essays make unexpected connections and reveal less-than-obvious truths.

  • Present your thesis.

    This usually happens at or very near the end of your introduction.

  • Indicate the shape of the essay to come.

    Your reader should finish reading your introduction with a good sense of the scope of your essay as well as the path you’ll take toward proving your thesis. You don’t need to spell out every step, but you do need to suggest the organizational pattern you’ll be using.

Your introduction should not:

  • Be vague.

    Beware of the two killer words in literary analysis: interesting and important. Of course the work, question, or example is interesting and important—that’s why you’re writing about it!

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  • Open with any grandiose assertions.

    Many student readers think that beginning their essays with a flamboyant statement such as, “Since the dawn of time, writers have been fascinated with the topic of free will,” makes them sound important and commanding. You know what? It actually sounds pretty amateurish.

  • Wildly praise the work.

    Another typical mistake student writers make is extolling the work or author. Your teacher doesn’t need to be told that “Shakespeare is perhaps the greatest writer in the English language.” You can mention a work’s reputation in passing—by referring to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as “Mark Twain’s enduring classic,” for example—but don’t make a point of bringing it up unless that reputation is key to your argument.

  • Go off-topic.

    Keep your introduction streamlined and to the point. Don’t feel the need to throw in all kinds of bells and whistles in order to impress your reader—just get to the point as quickly as you can, without skimping on any of the required steps.

6 Write the Body Paragraphs

Once you’ve written your introduction, you’ll take the arguments you developed in step 4 and turn them into your body paragraphs. The organization of this middle section of your essay will largely be determined by the argumentative strategy you use, but no matter how you arrange your thoughts, your body paragraphs need to do the following:

  • Begin with a strong topic sentence.

    Topic sentences are like signs on a highway: they tell the reader where they are and where they’re going. A good topic sentence not only alerts readers to what issue will be discussed in the following paragraph but also gives them a sense of what argument will be made about that issue. “Rumor and gossip play an important role in The Crucible ” isn’t a strong topic sentence because it doesn’t tell us very much. “The community’s constant gossiping creates an environment that allows false accusations to flourish” is a much stronger topic sentence— it not only tells us what the paragraph will discuss (gossip) but how the paragraph will discuss the topic (by showing how gossip creates a set of conditions that leads to the play’s climactic action).

  • Fully and completely develop a single thought.

    Don’t skip around in your paragraph or try to stuff in too much material. Body paragraphs are like bricks: each individual one needs to be strong and sturdy or the entire structure will collapse. Make sure you have really proven your point before moving on to the next one.

  • Use transitions effectively.

    Good literary essay writers know that each paragraph must be clearly and strongly linked to the material around it. Think of each paragraph as a response to the one that precedes it. Use transition words and phrases such as however, similarly, on the contrary, therefore, and furthermore to indicate what kind of response you’re making.

7 Write the Conclusion

Just as you used the introduction to ground your readers in the topic before providing your thesis, you’ll use the conclusion to quickly summarize the specifics learned thus far and then hint at the broader implications of your topic. A good conclusion will:

  • Do more than simply restate the thesis.

    If your thesis argued that The Catcher in the Rye can be read as a Christian allegory, don’t simply end your essay by saying, “And that is why The Catcher in the Rye can be read as a Christian allegory.” If you’ve constructed your arguments well, this kind of statement will just be redundant.

  • Synthesize the arguments, not summarize them.

    Similarly, don’t repeat the details of your body paragraphs in your conclusion. The reader has already read your essay, and chances are it’s not so long that they’ve forgotten all your points by now.

  • Revisit the “So what?” question.

    In your introduction, you made a case for why your topic and position are important. You should close your essay with the same sort of gesture. What do your readers know now that they didn’t know before? How will that knowledge help them better appreciate or understand the work overall?

  • Move from the specific to the general.

    Your essay has most likely treated a very specific element of the work—a single character, a small set of images, or a particular passage. In your conclusion, try to show how this narrow discussion has wider implications for the work overall. If your essay on To Kill a Mockingbird focused on the character of Boo Radley, for example, you might want to include a bit in your conclusion about how he fits into the novel’s larger message about childhood, innocence, or family life.

  • Stay relevant.

    Your conclusion should suggest new directions of thought, but it shouldn’t be treated as an opportunity to pad your essay with all the extra, interesting ideas you came up with during your brainstorming sessions but couldn’t fit into the essay proper. Don’t attempt to stuff in unrelated queries or too many abstract thoughts.

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  • Avoid making overblown closing statements.

    A conclusion should open up your highly specific, focused discussion, but it should do so without drawing a sweeping lesson about life or human nature. Making such observations may be part of the point of reading, but it’s almost always a mistake in essays, where these observations tend to sound overly dramatic or simply silly.

FAQs

What are the 5 components of a literary analysis? ›

The elements to be analyzed are plot, setting, characters, point of view, figurative language, and style.

How do you start a literary analysis essay? ›

Start with a topic sentence stating what the paragraph is about. Avoid long phrases with complex grammar in the first sentence. It gives the reader a glance at the section and helps to orient in your text. Transition words can smooth the transition from one idea to another.

What are some things you should avoid when writing a literary analysis? ›

Let's quickly recap on the 7 most common literature review mistakes.
  • Over-reliance on low-quality sources.
  • A lack of landmark/seminal literature.
  • A lack of current literature.
  • Description instead of integration and synthesis.
  • Irrelevant or unfocused content.
  • Poor chapter structure and layout.
  • Plagiarism and poor referencing.

How many paragraphs is a literary analysis? ›

A typical structure for a high school literary analysis essay consists of five paragraphs: the three paragraphs of the body, plus the introduction and conclusion. Each paragraph in the main body should focus on one topic.

What are the 4 elements of a literary analysis? ›

The elements are the plot, conflict, characters and the setting. Plot is the pattern of events that make up a story. In your literary analysis, you'll want to focus on whether or not these events are significant to your claim.

What are the three basic parts of literary analysis? ›

There are three basic components to literary analysis. They include comprehension, interpretation, and analysis. There are seven steps to analysis including identifying and analyzing the setting, characters, plot, and the language the author uses.

What makes up a good analysis? ›

Asking the kinds of questions that will lead to critical thought can access good analysis more easily. Such questions often anticipate what a reader might want to know as well. Questions can take the form of explaining the evidence or expanding on evidence; in other words, questions can give context or add meaning.

How do you Analyse a literary text? ›

Discuss what happens in the passage and why it is significant to the work as a whole. Consider what is said, particularly subtleties of the imagery and the ideas expressed. Assess how it is said, considering how the word choice, the ordering of ideas, sentence structure, etc., contribute to the meaning of the passage.

What must a literary analysis essay include? ›

Good literary analysis essays contain an explanation of your ideas and evidence from the text (short story, poem, play) that supports those ideas. Textual evidence consists of summary, paraphrase, specific details, and direct quotations.

How do you write a good literary analysis hook? ›

7 Tips for Writing a Great Hook
  1. Your title is your first hook. ...
  2. Drop your readers into the middle of the action. ...
  3. Form an emotional connection. ...
  4. Make a surprising statement. ...
  5. Leave your reader with questions. ...
  6. Stay away from description. ...
  7. Once you have your reader's attention, keep it.
1 Sept 2021

Does a literary analysis need a hook? ›

This is essential so that the reader knows which poem, short story or novel you are discussing. Do not start out discussing characters before telling the reader in which work of literature they appear. Hook the reader in the first sentence, just as you would in any other essay.

What are the top 3 common errors made when finding a literature review? ›

There are several mistakes that may happen while writing an effective literature review includes no proper lines like dispute statement, absences of appropriate research, indicating the sources incorrectly, the poor formation of paper, plagiarism checking.

What makes a literature review fail? ›

Poor writing in a literature review is often the result of failing to integrate arguments into the review. Many people make the mistake of simply summarising their readings. Avoid using words like 'are reported'. These types of words often lead to descriptive writing.

Why is writing a literature review so hard? ›

A long listicle of your reading is problematic because lacks the kind of meta-commentary that is needed to guide the reader through your interpretation of the field, and the texts most relevant to your research. You have to know how to write without laundry-listing. Knowledge about the process of writing.

Can you use i in a literary analysis? ›

Use formal, academic diction (word choice) in a literary analysis. Therefore, write in the third person. First person (I, me, our, we, etc.) and second person (you) are too informal for academic writing, and most literature professors prefer students to write in third person.

How do you introduce a quote in a literary analysis? ›

Use an introductory phrase naming the source, followed by a comma to quote a critic or researcher. Note that the first letter after the quotation marks should be upper case. According to MLA guidelines, if you change the case of a letter from the original, you must indicate this with brackets.

How do you start an analysis paragraph? ›

The best introductions start with a hook such as a rhetorical question or a bold statement and provide global context, outlining questions that your analysis will tackle. A good introduction concludes with a thesis statement that serves as the north star for the entire essay.

What are the six basic elements of literary analysis? ›

Literary Elements are the foundational building blocks of all stories. Students will learn to identify six basic elements (setting, point of view, plot, character, conflict, theme), and to evaluate and analyze whether an author has used them...

What is the main goal of writing a literary analysis? ›

The purpose of a literary analysis is to demonstrate why the author used specific ideas, word choices, or writing structures to convey his or her message.

How do you analyze a story? ›

When analyzing fiction, you should consider the plot, setting, characters, point of view, imagery, symbolism, tone, irony, and the theme. Plot refers to what happens in the story - events and thoughts which make up the story's basic structure.

What type of writing is literary analysis? ›

A literary analysis essay is a type of essay which includes an argumentative analysis of a piece of literature. In this kind of essay, the author examines the book, novel, play, etc. analyzing the idea, plot, characters, tone, writing style, devices which the writer uses to narrate his story.

How do you conclude a literary analysis? ›

Include a brief summary of the paper's main points, but don't simply repeat things that were in your paper. Instead, show your reader how the points you made and the support and examples you used fit together. Pull it all together.

How do you start an analysis sentence? ›

In general, an analysis paragraph can have the same format as other types of paragraphs. The first sentence would be the topic sentence and state your main analysis of the essay. That would be followed by examples from the essay to support that main point.

How do you answer an analysis question? ›

Apply the following steps to all question analysis:
  1. Read the whole question twice. It is important that you interpret the question accurately and clearly. ...
  2. Look for instruction words. ...
  3. Look for topic words (or keywords) ...
  4. Look for any other words that restrict the topic in any way. ...
  5. Rewrite the question.

What is an example of analysis? ›

The definition of analysis is the process of breaking down a something into its parts to learn what they do and how they relate to one another. Examining blood in a lab to discover all of its components is an example of analysis.

What should be done first in analyzing a literary work? ›

“The first step in the analysis is to break the story into its literary elements. Let's start with identifying the characters.” “Make a list of the main characters.” The groups will most likely list the three pigs and the wolf.

How do you write a 10th grade literary essay? ›

How do I write a literary essay? - YouTube

What does a literary analysis look like? ›

Literary analysis involves examining all the parts of a novel, play, short story, or poem—elements such as character, setting, tone, and imagery—and thinking about how the author uses those elements to create certain effects.

What should a strong conclusion in a literary analysis always include? ›

Whether you are writing about a novel, short story, poem or play, the conclusion to your literary analysis essay needs to connect your thesis statement to the end of your essay. Summarizing your points is necessary, but the conclusion needs to synthesize all the different elements of the work you analyzed.

How do you write a literary response? ›

Directions
  1. Focus on one story.
  2. Identify & analyze at least three literary devices such as character, plot, setting, metaphor, and so forth.
  3. Use either objective third-person or first-person “I”
  4. Present tense verbs, informal tone.
  5. Quote & paraphrase the text using MLA Works Cited + In-Text citation.
15 Sept 2021

What are the 5 types of hooks? ›

5 examples of essay hooks
  • 1 Statistic hook.
  • 2 Quotation hook.
  • 3 Anecdotal hook.
  • 4 Question hook.
  • 5 Statement hook.
14 Jan 2021

What is a good hook sentence? ›

A strong statement hook is a sentence that makes an assertive claim about your topic. It connects to the thesis statement and shows the importance of your essay or paper. A strong statement is a great technique because it doesn't matter if your reader agrees or disagrees with your statement.

What are some good hook sentences? ›

63 lovely hook sentences.
  • I lost my arm on my last trip home. ...
  • A screaming comes across the sky. ...
  • It began the usual way, in the bathroom of the Lassimo Hotel. ...
  • Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress. ...
  • We slept in what once had been the gymnasium. ...
  • It was love at first sight.
20 May 2019

How do you write a literary analysis proposal? ›

  1. 1 Contextualize your study. Contextualize your study in terms of the research that is already out there. ...
  2. 2 Give a concise account. Give a concise account of what question or questions you seek to answer and why this is important. ...
  3. 3 Provide a provisional answer to the questions. ...
  4. 4 Provide some information.

Whats a good hook for an essay? ›

A hook is an opening statement (which is usually the first sentence) in an essay that attempts to grab the reader's attention so that they want to read on. It can be done by using a few different types of hooks, which are a question, quote, statistic, or anecdote.

Do you give your own opinion in a literature review? ›

Again, for the same reasons you do not use emotional phrases in a literature review, you also don't insert your own personal opinions. The literature review is supposed to be an unbiased display of already-existing thought and research around your topic. It is supposed to be objective, never subjective.

What does a good literature review look like? ›

A good review does not just summarize the literature, but discusses it critically, identifies methodological problems, and points out research gaps [19]. After having read a review of the literature, a reader should have a rough idea of: the major achievements in the reviewed field, the main areas of debate, and.

How do you know if a literature review is good? ›

A good literature review shows signs of synthesis and understanding of the topic. There should be strong evidence of analytical thinking shown through the connections you make between the literature being reviewed.

How many pages should a literature review be? ›

The length of a literature review varies depending on its purpose and audience. In a thesis or dissertation, the review is usually a full chapter (at least 20 pages), but for an assignment it may only be a few pages.

Can we use pictures in literature review? ›

A literature review can have pictures, diagrams, or graphics if they help to better present the arguments and findings of the secondary research. Diagrams and graphs can help a writer summarize or analyze the findings of other writers about a subject.

What is the hardest part in writing a literature review? ›

“Introduction” is the hardest part. You must write from the inside to outside. Then reorganize each section to make a coherent “story”. The introduction is the last section to be written.

When starting literature review what is the first step? ›

The very first step of any research process is to choose a topic. With a literature review, the parameters will be set by a central research question. Always keep in mind the purpose of a literature review is to represent previously conducted research and its developments related to a specific research question.

What is the most difficult part of writing an essay? ›

Invention. Often the most difficult part of writing is starting to write. The process of choosing a broad topic and narrowing it down to a thesis can be both daunting and frustrating.

How do you write a 10th grade literary essay? ›

How do I write a literary essay? - YouTube

What is the main goal of writing a literary analysis? ›

The purpose of a literary analysis is to demonstrate why the author used specific ideas, word choices, or writing structures to convey his or her message.

What do you Analyse in a literary analysis? ›

When analyzing a novel or short story, you'll need to consider elements such as the context, setting, characters, plot, literary devices, and themes. Remember that a literary analysis isn't merely a summary or review, but rather an interpretation of the work and an argument about it based on the text.

What are the examples of literary writing? ›

Examples of literary works:
  • fiction.
  • nonfiction.
  • manuscripts.
  • poetry.
  • contributions to collective works.
  • compilations of data or other literary subject matter.
  • dissertations.
  • theses.

What tense should a literary essay be written in? ›

Literary works, paintings, films, and other artistic creations are assumed to exist in an eternal present. Therefore, when you write about writers or artists as they express themselves in their work, use the present tense.

How do you write a Grade 11 essay? ›

Basics of Writing Essays in 11th Grade - Chapter Summary and Lesson Objectives
  1. Write and proofread an article in a timed situation.
  2. Avoid logical fallacies in writing.
  3. Refute opposing views in an essay.
  4. Correctly respond to an essay prompt.

How do you answer a literature essay question? ›

Identify exactly what the Literature question you are about to answer requires from you. Have a brief outline or plan for your Literature answer. Begin your Literature essay with a direct reference to the main point of the Literature question. State and develop each point of your answer in separate paragraphs.

What should a strong conclusion in a literary analysis always include? ›

Whether you are writing about a novel, short story, poem or play, the conclusion to your literary analysis essay needs to connect your thesis statement to the end of your essay. Summarizing your points is necessary, but the conclusion needs to synthesize all the different elements of the work you analyzed.

What are the seven steps in the literary analysis process? ›

The Seven Steps
  1. Ask questions.
  2. Collect evidence.
  3. Construct a thesis.
  4. Develop and organize arguments.
  5. Write the introduction.
  6. Write the body paragraphs.
  7. Write the conclusion.

How do you find the source of a literary analysis? ›

Databases for literary criticism articles
  1. MLA International Bibliography with Full Text. Produced by the Modern Language Association (MLA), the electronic version of the bibliography dates back to the 1920s. ...
  2. JSTOR. ...
  3. Project Muse. ...
  4. Gale Literature Criticism Online. ...
  5. Gale Literary Databases.
16 Aug 2022

What are the three basic parts of literary analysis? ›

There are three basic components to literary analysis. They include comprehension, interpretation, and analysis. There are seven steps to analysis including identifying and analyzing the setting, characters, plot, and the language the author uses.

What must a literary analysis essay include? ›

Good literary analysis essays contain an explanation of your ideas and evidence from the text (short story, poem, play) that supports those ideas. Textual evidence consists of summary, paraphrase, specific details, and direct quotations.

How do you organize a literary analysis essay? ›

How to Write A Literary Analysis Essay?
  1. Focus on the topic. Read the work which you have to analyze thoroughly, make sure that you completely understand the author's idea, the plot and the characters. ...
  2. Collect evidence. ...
  3. Write an outline. ...
  4. Develop your main thesis statements. ...
  5. Writing process and revision.

What are the literary techniques? ›

A literary device refers to a literary technique employed by the author to produce an effect (tone, irony, figurative language, symbolism, foreshadowing). You don't need to know the difference between the two.

What makes a literary writing? ›

Literary writing is, in essence, a 'response', a subjective personal view which the writer expresses through his themes, ideas, thoughts, reminiscences, using his armoury of words to try to evoke, or provoke, a response in his reader.

What is the best literature ever written? ›

The Greatest Books
  1. 1 . In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust. ...
  2. 2 . Ulysses by James Joyce. ...
  3. 3 . Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. ...
  4. 4 . One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. ...
  5. 5 . The Great Gatsby by F. ...
  6. 6 . Moby Dick by Herman Melville. ...
  7. 7 . War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. ...
  8. 8 . Hamlet by William Shakespeare.

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