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How To Write a Literary Analysis Essay

How to write a literary analysis essay. Writing is the sharpened, focused expression of thought and study. As you develop your writing skills, you will also improve your perceptions and increase your critical abilities.

Writing ultimately boils down to the development of an idea. Your aim in writing a literary analysis essay is to convince the person reading your essay that you have supported the idea you are developing.

How To Write a Literary Analysis Essay

Unlike ordinary conversation and classroom discussion, writing must stick with great determination to the specific point of development. This kind of writing demands tight organization and control.

Therefore, your essay must have a central idea (thesis), it must have several paragraphs that grow systematically out of the central idea, and everything in it must be directly related to the central idea and must contribute to the reader’s understanding of that central idea.


A literary analysis is more than just a synopsis of a piece of literature. An argument about a piece of writing is one that reflects a writer’s personal perspective on the work and interpretation, judgment, and critical appraisal of the work.

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An examination of literary methods, word choices, or other literary elements performs this.

The author employs a variety of literary structures throughout the piece. In literature, the goal of a literary analysis is to show your understanding of why the author used specific concepts or words or writing structures to communicate his or her message.


The Statement of the Thesis

The thesis statement informs your reader about what to expect from your essay: it is a condensed, clearly phrased declarative sentence that defines the goal of your essay — the argument you are attempting to prove.

An essay has little chance of being successful unless it has a well-thought-out thesis statement.

The first paragraph is titled Introduction.

You should make an effort to pique the reader’s interest in your literary analysis essay’s opening.

It’s possible that you’ll want to start with a quotation, followed by a provocative question, followed by anecdotes, followed by a surprising statement, or a combination of these to draw attention to your issue.

Include any pertinent background information that is important to your thesis and necessary for the reader to comprehend your point of view.

In addition, you must include the title of the work of literature as well as the name of the author in your citation.

The main body of the essay.

The body of a literary analysis essay is a term that is frequently used to refer to the development of the core concept of the essay.

For a 500-750 word essay, you should give at least three paragraphs that support your thesis statement in this area.

In order to write a good literary analysis essay, you must first explain your thoughts, then provide evidence from the text (short story, poetry, drama) to support those ideas.

Textual evidence includes summaries, paraphrases, exact information, and direct quotations from the source text.

Each paragraph should begin with a topic phrase (often the first line of the paragraph) that mentions one of the themes related with your thesis, followed by an assertion about how the topic will support the major idea of the paragraph.

The Concluding Remarks

When writing your literary analysis essay, you should include a concluding paragraph that offers your paper a sense of completion while also letting your readers know that they have reached the end of the paper.

If you want to offer a meaningful statement on the literary work you are evaluating, your ending paragraph could restate your thesis summarizes the major arguments you have made, or summarize the main points you have made. In your conclusion, refrain from introducing a new topic.

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Generally speaking, the objective of a literary analysis essay is to critically investigate and occasionally even evaluate a piece of literature or an aspect of a piece of literature.

The same as with any other type of analysis, you must first break the subject down into its constituent elements.

Understanding and appreciating the various aspects of a piece of literature is not an end in itself, but a process that will help you better appreciate and comprehend the piece of literature as a whole.

Consider the following examples: an analysis of a poem might deal with the various sorts of imagery contained within the poem or with the relationship between the form and content of the work.

To analyze (debate and explain) a play, you can look at the relationship between a subplot and the main plot, or you might look at the tragic hero’s character flaw and how it is revealed during the play’s acts.

Identifying a specific theme (such as the difficulty of transitioning from adolescence to adulthood) and showing how the writer suggests that theme through the point of view from which the story is told are examples of short story analysis.

You might also explain how the main character’s attitude toward women is revealed through his dialogue and/or actions.


1. Read the book multiple times, paying special attention to the details.

Concentrate on the concepts that are being discussed. Consider the development of the characters, as well as the author’s writing style and method.

In what ways may something be regarded intriguing, uncommon, or significant?

2. Make a List of Potential Topics that you’re interested in. 

Important passages in the book should be highlighted, and notes should be taken on these passages.

Later on, when writing the paper, these notes should assist the writer in recalling which aspects of the story piqued his or her interest at the time of reading.

Always choose a topic that is based on the writer’s interpretation of the author’s message, rather than the author’s message itself.

Listed below are some things a writer might want to think about when brainstorming ideas for a literary analysis essay:


What observations might a writer make about the characters? Are there discrepancies in what they think, say, or do? Are the observations a writer makes different from what other characters say? How does the author describe the characters?

The characters appear to be “dynamic” (a dynamic character is a character who undergoes significant changes throughout the course of the work).

Are the characters “static” characters (a static character is a character who remains the same throughout a piece of literature)?

The characters are either “flat” characters (a flat character is a character who does not have any vivid character qualities) or “round” characters (a round character is a character who does have some vivid character traits).

Is the behavior of the characters symbolic or reflective of any universal feature or characteristic? Is it possible that two characters in the text might be compared or contrasted with one another?

There appears to be a connection between the environment of the work and the tone of the work. Is the environment consistent with the concept of the work?

What effect does the setting have on the characters? Is it possible that a change in the setting will impact the atmosphere, the characters, or the conflict?


How may the work’s introductory scene be perceived differently? What methods does the author use to create suspense?

Is the author employing literary devices such as foreshadowing or flashbacks? Is there a pattern of course-and-effect correlations that can be identified?

Do events take place in a logical sequence? Identify and analyze the sequence of events that lead up to the climax and determine how the piece concludes?


What is the overarching idea or theme that runs through the work? What is the author’s method of conveying this theme?

Is there a deeper meaning to the details that have been provided? What effect do the characters’ emotions have on the overall theme?

How many allusions do you think there are in the work? Is there a pattern or symbol that keeps repeating? What does the title convey about the subject matter?


What is the objective of the conversation? Do you think the dialogue is appropriate in terms of the words used and the length of sentences?

What is the impact of the dialogue on the characterization? Are there techniques the author employ to convey the emotions of the characters through dialogue?

What role does this play in conveying the author’s message? What effect does the dialogue have on the plot?


How might an image or group of photos be evaluated in more detail than others? What could be the best way to explain the evolution of pictures throughout the work?

Are the images essential to understanding the meaning of the work? What is the relationship between images and one another?

What are the Literary Elements?

Similes, metaphors, and hyperboles are all examples of figures of speech. How are they used throughout the passage? What role do these figures of speech play in conveying the meaning of the text is not immediately obvious. Is there a relationship between figures of speech and other literary elements?

The author’s attitude and the tone of the work can both be described in terms of tone. Is the tone serious, playful, casual, formal, or somber? What is the tone of the text? What methods does the author use to attain this tone?

Or what effect does the author’s tone have on his or her message? Is it possible that the author says one thing but means something else? Is the subject matter taken seriously or is it treated casually by the author?

For rhyme and rhythm, do you notice that the author’s phrases, sentences, and paragraphs all seem to follow a similar rhyming pattern?

What kind of rhythm does it appear that the author is attempting to create? What effect does the author’s message have on the rhyme and rhythm? Is the author employing diverse rhymes and rhythms as a sonic strategy in his or her literary creation? What method does the author use to do this?


From what point of view do the characters observe things? Which comes first, second, or third? Is there a connection between this point of view and the work’s topic, storyline, or conflict? When writing an analysis, how may the author’s point of view influence the writer’s conclusions?

The character’s first-person point of view could allow a writer to feel as though he or she is listening to a personal narrative, and this might lead him or her to sense a personal connection with the character, as well.

A writer could have the impression that the author is narrating the story because of the author’s third-person point of view, however, this is not always the case.

Another possibility is that it will lead a writer to assume that the narrator is an omniscient being who is remote but who understands the thoughts and feelings of the characters.

3. Consider what the author is attempting to communicate. 

What is the significance of this? If a writer were to look at this piece of work as a work of art, what would be their initial reaction? What do you think a writer’s reactions to the ideas provided in the work would be like?

Are these beliefs true or relevant to today’s world, and if so, how? The following is an example of how a writer would react if asked what they thought of this work. What kinds of arguments could a writer make?”

4. Choose a topic that has a significant amount of evidence to support it. 

A writer should make sure they include certain particular facts to support the issue being discussed.

Use the passages of the book that have been highlighted as evidence to support the topic that has been chosen.

5. Create a working thesis statement. 

The analysis will require a solid thesis that not only states a writer’s point of view, but also allows for argument on that point of view.

The thesis statement should express the writer’s point of view, but it should also provide readers with the opportunity to reach their own conclusions.

6. Make a longer list of evidence to support your claim.

You can should seek additional evidence from the text to support the working thesis. After that, choose the evidence that will be included in the essay.

7. Revise and improve your thesis.

Check to see if the theory is consistent with the evidence that has been provided.

8. Prepare the evidence in a logical manner.

Match the evidence to the thesis in the same sequence as it appears in the thesis. Remove any of the original textual supports that do not appear to be supporting the thesis any more, and acquire fresh evidence if necessary.

9. Interpret the evidence in your favor.

When writing a literary analysis, it is critical for writers to offer their own unique perspective of the work, which they should do in their own words.

Make sure that the literary analysis does not serve as a summary.

10. Make a preliminary draft of your essay.

When writing a rough draft, there are a number of techniques that may be used to help the writer produce a solid final draft.

11. Proofread.

Once the essay’s content has been thoroughly established, it should be thoroughly reviewed for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. Out loud reading the newspaper slowly and clearly can be really beneficial. If at all feasible, have someone else listen in and read along with you while the document is being read.

The paper should be printed and proofread multiple times before a final copy that is completely accurate is prepared.

Always be on the lookout for typical grammar mistakes such as sentence fragments, comma splices, and run-on phrases. To ensure that your writing is properly formatted and referenced, consult your style manual. If you require additional guidance, group workshops and individual visits are available at no cost through the Academic Center for Excellence.


Finally, the ‘necklace approach’ is a technique that has been shown to be effective.

This is the point at which you establish a connection between your starting sentence and your concluding paragraph, reaffirming and adding an additional dimension to what you mentioned at the beginning.

Suppose you began with an intriguing statement about what is now pushing you to pursue your chosen degree course. In your conclusion paragraph, you might refer back to that line, perhaps by stating why you would like to pursue this further at university.


What is a good literary analysis?

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 long is a literary analysis?

Keep the body of your introduction relatively short. A paragraph in a literary analysis essay should be between eight and 12 sentences long. In the introduction, write three to four sentences generally describing the topic of your paper and explaining why it is interesting and important to the book you read.

Why write a literature review?

A lit review can serve several purposes:

  • Orient the reader to a topic of study in order to validate the need for a new study.
  • Reveal patterns or problems in previous research, which is its own kind of “finding” or result.

How should I organize a literature review?

Typically, literature reviews are organized thematically, not chronologically or source by source. This means that you will need to identify several sub-topics and figure out how to group sources to tell a story in themes.

What is the difference between a literature review and an annotated bibliography?

There is not just one way to write a literature review or an annotated bibliography, so differences vary. However, one of the main differences is that an annotated bibliography is typically organized source by source—each one has its own paragraph of explanation, analysis, etc.

In a literature review, the writing is organized thematically, often with multiple sources addressed in each paragraph, and there is an overarching narrative driving the review.

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