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Literature Analysis

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Phone: 253-535-8709

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Writing Center, Library 220 Tacoma, WA 98447-0003

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You can now make writing center appointments online. Go to and click “schedule an appointment.”  Appointments are made for either 30 or 60 minutes depending on the length and complexity of your paper. Free feel to contact us with any questions!

Literature analysis is the cornerstone of many college classes, in subjects ranging from English literature to history. Literature analysis papers as you to consider how and why a literary text was written and conveys some kind of message. The ability to take apart a text and break it down into its separate parts enables you to judge how effective an author’s argument is, what symbols or motifs are important throughout the novel, poem or other text, and ultimately, to understand the text in a more holistic way.  Therefore, knowing how to craft a good argument and defend it well using textual evidence is an important skill to learn in preparing for your college career.

The most important things to consider when writing a literary analysis paper are: what is your argument? Are you expressing it correctly via a well-placed thesis statement ? Do you support your argument well throughout your essay? Support for an argument typically involves using lots of evidence from the text in the form of quotations from a close reading of a passage (for more on how to successfully use quotations, see our “Integrating Quotations” support guide). Often this also involves reading, analyzing, and using outside research to support what you are arguing. Learning the basic structure of literary analysis will be helpful for writing many different kinds of essays.

Helpful Links

Here are a few links to get you started on writing your literature analysis paper:

What is literature analysis (including a glossary of literary terms)?

  • Purdue Owl: What Makes a Good Literature Paper?
  • Roan State: The Elements of Literature

Tips on writing effective literature analysis essays.

  • How to Write a Literature Analysis Essay Handout (from Bucks County Community College)
  • Writing a Paper on Fiction in 9 Steps (from UNC Chapel Hill)

How do I support my argument?

  • Using Evidence (from UNC Chapel Hill)
  • How to do a Close Reading (from Carson-Newman University)

what is part of a literary analysis essay

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Literary Analysis Essay

Cathy A.

Literary Analysis Essay - Step by Step Guide

15 min read

Published on: Aug 16, 2020

Last updated on: Jul 21, 2023

Literary Analysis Essay

On This Page On This Page

Literature is an art that can inspire, challenge, and transform us. But how do we analyze literature in a way that truly captures its essence? 

That's where a literary analysis essay comes in. 

Writing a literary analysis essay allows you to delve into the themes, characters, and symbols of a literary work. It's a chance to engage with literature on a deeper level and to discover new insights. 

In this comprehensive guide, we will take you through the process of writing a literary analysis essay, step by step. Plus, you’ll get to read some great examples to help you out!

So let’s dive in!

What is a Literary Analysis Essay?

Literary analysis is a process of examining a literary work in detail to uncover its meaning and significance. 

It involves breaking down the various elements of a work, such as plot, character, setting, and theme. And then analyzing how they work together to create a specific effect on the reader.

In other words, literary analysis is an exercise in interpretation. The reader of a work asks questions about what the author means to say, how they are saying it, and why. 

A literary analysis essay is an essay where you explore such questions in depth and offer your own insights.

What is the Purpose of a Literary Analysis Essay?

In general, the purpose of a literary analysis essay is as follows: 

  • To gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the work.
  • To be able to think critically and analytically about a text. 

Content of a Literary Analysis 

A literary analysis essay delves deep into the various aspects of a literary work to examine its meaning, symbolism, themes, and more. Here are the key elements to include in your literary analysis essay:

Plot Analysis 

Plot refers to the sequence of events that make up the storyline of a literary work. It encompasses the main events, conflicts, and resolutions that drive the narrative forward. 

Elements of Plot Analysis 

The elements of a plot typically include:

  • Exposition: The introduction of the story that establishes the setting, characters, and initial circumstances.
  • Rising action: A set of events or actions that sets the main conflict into motion, often occurring early in the story.
  • Conflict: The series of events that build tension and develop the conflict, leading to the story's climax.
  • Climax: The turning point of the story, where the conflict reaches its peak and the outcome hangs in the balance.
  • Falling Action: The events that occur after the climax, leading towards the resolution of the conflict.
  • Resolution: The point in the story where the conflict is resolved, providing closure to the narrative.

Character Analysis 

Character analysis involves studying the role, development, and motivations of the characters in a literary work. It explores how characters contribute to the overall narrative and themes of the story.

Elements of Character Analysis 

  • Identification of major and minor characters.
  • Examination of their traits, behaviors, and relationships.
  • Analysis of character development and changes throughout the story.
  • Evaluation of the character's role in advancing the plot or conveying themes.

Symbolism and Imagery Analysis 

Symbolism and imagery analysis focuses on the use of symbols, objects, or images in a work. It analyzes and explores the use of literary devices to convey deeper meanings and evoke emotions. 

Elements of Symbolism and Imagery Analysis 

  • Identification of key symbols or recurring motifs.
  • Interpretation of their symbolic significance.
  • Analysis of how imagery is used to create vivid mental pictures and enhance the reader's understanding and emotional experience.

Theme Analysis 

Analyzing the theme involves exploring the central ideas or messages conveyed in a literary work. It examines the underlying concepts, or messages that the author wants to convey through the story.

Elements of Theme Analysis 

  • Identification of the main themes or central ideas explored in the text.
  • Analysis of how the themes are developed and reinforced throughout the story.
  • Exploration of the author's perspective and the intended message behind the themes.

Setting Analysis 

The Setting of a story includes the time, place, and social context in which the story takes place. Analyzing the setting involves how the setting influences the characters, plot, and overall atmosphere of the work.

Elements of Setting Analysis 

  • Description and analysis of the physical, cultural, and historical aspects of the setting.
  • Examination of how the setting contributes to the mood, atmosphere, and themes of the work.
  • Evaluation of how the setting shapes the characters' actions and motivations.

Structure and Style Analysis 

Structure and style analysis involves studying the organization, narrative techniques, and literary devices employed by the author. It explores how the structure and style contribute to the overall impact and effectiveness of the work.

Elements of Structure and Style Analysis 

  • Analysis of the narrative structure, such as the use of flashbacks, nonlinear timelines, or multiple perspectives.
  • Examination of the author's writing style, including the use of language, tone, and figurative language.
  • Evaluation of literary devices, such as foreshadowing, irony, or allusion, and their impact on the reader's interpretation.

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Paper due? Why Suffer? That's our job.

How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay?  

Writing a great literary analysis piece requires you to follow certain steps. Here’s what you need to do to write a literary essay:

Preparing for Your Essay 

The pre-writing process for writing a literary analysis essay includes the following:

  • Choosing a literary work to analyze
  • Reading and analyzing the work
  • Taking notes and organizing your thoughts
  • Creating an outline for your essay

Choosing a Work to Analyze 

As a student, you would most probably be assigned a literary piece to analyze. It could be a short story, a novel, or a poem.  However, sometimes you get to choose it yourself.

In such a case, you should choose a work that you find interesting and engaging. This will make it easier to stay motivated as you analyze the work and write your essay.

Moreover, you should choose a work that has some depth and complexity. This will give you plenty of material to analyze and discuss in your essay. Finally, make sure that your choice fits within the scope of the assignment and meets the expectations of your instructor.

Reading and Analyzing 

Once you’ve chosen a literary work, it's time to read the work with careful attention. There are several key elements to consider when reading and analyzing a literary work:

  • Plot - The sequence of events that make up the story. Analyzing the plot involves examining the structure of the story, including its exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
  • Characters - The people or entities that populate the story. Analyzing characters involves examining their motivations, personalities, relationships, and development over the course of the story.

Want to learn more about character analysis? Head to our blog about how to conduct character analysis and learn easy steps with examples.

  • Setting - The time, place, and environment in which the story takes place. Analyzing the setting involves examining how the atmosphere contributes to the story's overall meaning.
  • Theme - The underlying message or meaning of the story. Analyzing themes involves examining the work's central ideas and how they are expressed through the various elements of the story.

Moreover, it's important to consider the following questions while analyzing:

  • What is the central theme or main point the author is trying to make?
  • What literary devices and techniques has the author used?
  • Why did the author choose to write this particular work?
  • What themes and ideas are present in the work?

These questions will help you dive deeper into the work you are writing about.

Take Notes and Gather Material 

As you read and analyze the literary work, it's important to take notes so you don’t forget important details and ideas. This also helps you identify patterns and connections between different elements of the piece.

One effective way to take notes is to list important elements of the work, such as characters, setting, and theme. You can also use sticky notes, highlighters, or annotations to mark important passages and write down your ideas.

Writing Your Literary Analysis Essay 

Once you have read a piece of literature and taken notes, you have all the material you need to write an essay. Follow the simple steps below to write an effective literary analysis essay.

Create an Outline for Your Essay 

Firstly, creating an outline is necessary. This will help you to organize your thoughts and ideas and ensure that your essay flows logically and coherently.

This is what your literary essay outline would look like: 

Writing the Introduction 

Writing your essay introduction involves the three following parts:

  • Begin the introductory paragraph with an engaging hook statement that captures the readers' attention. An effective hook statement can take many different forms, such as a provocative quote, an intriguing question, or a surprising fact. 

Make sure that your hook statement is relevant to the literary work you are writing about. Here are a few examples of effective hooks:

  • Afterward, present the necessary background information and context about the literary work. For instance, 
  • Talk about the author of the work or when and where it was written. 
  • Give an overview of the work or why it is significant. 
  • Provide readers with sufficient context so they can know what the work is generally about.
  • Finally, end the introduction with a clear thesis statement . Your thesis statement should be a concise statement that clearly states the argument you will be making in your essay. It should be specific and debatable, and it should provide a roadmap for the rest of your essay.

For example, a thesis statement for an essay on "Hamlet" might be: 

Watch this video to learn more about writing an introduction for a literary analysis essay:

Writing the Body 

Here are the steps to follow when writing a body paragraph for a literary analysis essay:

  • Start with a topic sentence: 

The topic sentence should introduce the main point or argument you will be making in the paragraph. It should be clear and concise and should indicate what the paragraph is about.

  • Provide evidence: 

After you have introduced your main point, provide evidence from the text to support your analysis. This could include quotes, paraphrases, or summaries of the text.

  • Explain and discuss the evidence:

Explain how the evidence supports your main point or argument or how it connects back to your thesis statement.

  • Conclude the paragraph: 

End the paragraph by relating your main point to the thesis and discussing its significance. You should also use transitions to connect the paragraph to your next point or argument.

Writing the Conclusion 

The conclusion of a literary analysis essay provides closure to your analysis and reinforces your thesis statement. Here’s what a conclusion includes:

  • Restate your thesis statement: 

Start by restating your thesis statement in a slightly different way than in your introduction. This will remind the reader of the argument you made and the evidence you provided to support it.

  • Summarize your main points: 

Briefly summarize the main points you made in your essay's body paragraphs. This will help tie everything together and provide closure to your analysis.

  • Personal reflections:

The conclusion is the best place to provide some personal reflections on the literary piece. You can also explain connections between your analysis and the larger context. This could include connections to other literary works, your personal life, historical events, or contemporary issues.

  • End with a strong statement: 

End your conclusion with a strong statement that leaves a lasting impression on the reader. This could be a thought-provoking question, a call to action, or a final insight into the significance of your analysis.

Finalizing your Essay

You’ve completed the first draft of your literary analysis essay. Congratulations!

However, it’s not over just yet. You need some time to polish and improve the essay before it can be submitted. Here’s what you need to do:

Proofread and Revise your Essay 

After completing your draft, you should proofread your essay. You should look out for the following aspects:

  • Check for clarity: 

Make sure that your ideas are expressed clearly and logically. You should also take a look at your structure and organization. Rearrange your arguments if necessary to make them clearer.

  • Check for grammar and spelling errors: 

Use spelling and grammar check tools online to identify and correct any basic errors in your essay. 

  • Verify factual information:

You must have included information about the work or from within the work in your essay. Recheck and verify that it is correct and verifiable. 

  • Check your formatting: 

Make sure that your essay is properly formatted according to the guidelines provided by your instructor. This includes requirements for font size, margins, spacing, and citation style.

Helpful Tips for Revising a Literary Essay 

Here are some tips below that can help you proofread and revise your essay better:

  • Read your essay out loud:

Reading your essay out loud makes it easier to identify awkward phrasing, repetitive language, and other issues.

  • Take a break: 

It can be helpful to step away from your essay for a little while before starting the editing process. This can help you approach your essay with fresh eyes and a clearer perspective.

  • Be concise:

Remove any unnecessary words or phrases that do not add to your argument. This can help to make your essay more focused and effective.

  • Let someone else proofread and get feedback: 

You could ask a friend or a teacher to read your essay and provide feedback. This way, you can get some valuable insights on what you could include or catch mistakes that you might have missed.

Literary Analysis Essay Examples 

Reading a few good examples helps to understand literary analysis essays better. So check out these examples below and read them to see what a well-written essay looks like. 

How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay

Literary Analysis Essay Example

Sample Literary Analysis Essay

Lord of the Rings Literary Analysis

The Great Gatsby Literary Analysis

Literary Analysis Example for 8th Grade

Literary Analysis Essay Topics 

Need a topic for your literary analysis essay? You can pick any aspect of any work of literature you like. Here are some example topics that will help you get inspired:

  • The use of symbolism in "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
  • The theme of isolation in "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger.
  • The portrayal of social class in "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen.
  • The use of magical realism in "One Hundred Years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
  • The role of women in "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood.
  • The use of foreshadowing in "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding.
  • The portrayal of race and identity in "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison.
  • The use of imagery in "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy.
  • The theme of forgiveness in "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini.
  • The use of allegory in "Animal Farm" by George Orwell.

To conclude,

Writing a literary analysis essay can be a rewarding experience for any student or writer, But it’s not easy. However, by following the steps you learned in this guide, you can successfully produce a well-written literary analysis essay. 

Also, you have got some examples of essays to read and topic ideas to get creative inspiration. With these resources, you have all you need to craft an engaging piece. So don’t hesitate to start writing your essay and come back to this blog whenever you need.

The deadline is approaching, but you don’t have time to write your essay? No worries! Our analytical essay writing service is here to help you out!

At, we have a team of professional and experienced literature writers who can help you craft a compelling literary essay. Our affordable and reliable paper writing service focuses on the high-quality and timely delivery of your essay.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 4 components of literary analysis.

The four main components of literary analysis are: 

  • Conflict 
  • Characters 
  • Setting 

What is the fundamental characteristic of a literary analysis essay?

Interpretive is the fundamental characteristic of a literary analysis essay. 

Cathy A. (Literature, Marketing)

For more than five years now, Cathy has been one of our most hardworking authors on the platform. With a Masters degree in mass communication, she knows the ins and outs of professional writing. Clients often leave her glowing reviews for being an amazing writer who takes her work very seriously.

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The Fundamental Elements of a Literary Analysis


If you're a college student, graduate student, or you have a job or internship that requires or asks you to write literary analysis, you might be wondering what the heck that is and how to tackle it.

Fundamentally, a literary analysis is an essay that closely examines a particular text. However, it should not be confused with other essays like rhetorical analysis, book report, or book summary. It's an in-depth argumentative essay that focuses on a piece of literary writing, such as a novel, a novella, a collection of poetry, a play. The literary analysis identifies a point, or argument—in other words, your thesis—that is the bases of the essay, and the examination of the text will allow you to gather the evidence you need to explain or prove that point.

This essay focuses on how the text was written, homing in on the plot development, characters, tone, writing style, and other devices the writer employs to tell the story. It does not focus on the content in terms of judging the idea, writing about how interesting—or not—the text was, or if the writer enjoyed it. The literary analysis focuses on the technical aspects of writing and storytelling to determine what makes the story effective.

So, if you've got a literary analysis in your future, or you'd like to write one for your own personal use, we've got some tips to make the process a little easier.

Choose your thesis

The thesis is the argument of your essay. In other words, it's the foundation on which your essay will be written. You'll want to pick a thesis you already have some strong feelings about . Perhaps you want to focus on a text's use of an unreliable narrator . Or maybe you want to focus on the way they've written the story in second-person perspective. Perhaps you've read a novel that has two storylines happening concurrently, and you want to examine this device from the perspective of it adding clarity rather than confusion to a story. Whatever the case, choose a specific point that address some facet of the writing mechanics.

Ideally, you'll choose a thesis based on an opinion that began germinating while you read the book. This will allow you to approach the selection of your thesis more easily, and allow you to tackle the writing itself with more clarity.

It's also important to note here that you want to choose a thesis you can readily write about and argue. You don't want to choose a thesis that leaves you stumped while you're sitting at the computer, if you have a say in the matter. Occasionally, a thesis will be provided to you, particularly if you're in school, which can present some challenges. You may need to read the text more than once and do some research to better understand the thesis you are being asked to write about.

Elements of the literary analysis

No matter what your thesis is, whether you've chosen it yourself or it has been assigned to you, you'll want to start organizing the elements of the text you plan to analyze to argue your thesis. Common elements of an analysis of a text include:

  • Type: This element focuses on what kind of text you're analyzing—whether it's a novel, a novella, a memoir, a short story, a collection poetry or a single poem, a play.
  • Genre: This element is usually fiction and its various subgenres , like literary fiction, historical fiction, etc. Non-fiction that has creative elements, like memoirs or creative non-fiction, are also good choices due to the creative element and use of literary writing devices and techniques.
  • Characters/character development: This element might focus on the role of the characters in the story, what they represent, how they act for or against the main character, how they further the plot development, and criticisms of their development.
  • Plot/plot development: This element may address the complexity of the plot, whether or not it is fully developed, whether or not any plot holes exist, if it builds tension at an adequate pace, if the climactic event feels developed and adequately positioned in the novel, etc.
  • Use of plot devices: This element focuses on their usage and effectiveness within the text. Some examples include the red herring (a fake-out), plot voucher/Chekov's Gun , love triangle, quest, cliffhanger, and deus ex machina. Some plot devices are frowned up, and others are celebrated, so considering the various devices a particular text uses may help you determine whether the plot device was adequately or inadequately applied to the text.
  • Use of literary devices: This element differs from the plot device, in that where a plot device is immediately connected to the story or text you're reading, a literary device is used to deepen the meaning of themes and ideas. Examples include symbolism allegory, foreshadowing, satire, and others.
  • Writing style: This element can include writing tense (e.g., past, present), point of view/perspective (e.g., first person, third person), tone, voice, language. Writing style plays arguably the largest role in storytelling, as it's the vehicle that carries every other element of the story. While a literary analysis shouldn't focus on whether or not you "liked" the writing style, you can argue its effectiveness or lack thereof.
  • Structure of the novel/text: This element addresses how the novel is organized. Is it told linearly? Does it make use of flashbacks? Is it told through news articles or letters or blog posts? When analyzing the structure of a text, you'll want to do so through the lens of how effective it was in conveying the story/plot/narrative.

This will be an intensive and time-consuming part of the literary analysis, wherein you will go through the text in detail to pull out passages, sentences, paragraphs that highlight your thesis. For instance, if your thesis is about the use of the plot devices and you're addressing the use of Chekov's Gun in a particular novel, you might reference passages as evidence that highlight the places where the "gun" was "placed on the table" that tie into when it is finally "fired" later in the novel. Or, conversely, you might reference various things that seem like they're Chekov's Guns, but never "fire" in the story at all, which creates a confusing and frustrating reading experience.

You'll want to ensure you're selecting passages that directly speak to your thesis, one way or the other. You will want to make notes while you're reading and researching. You might want to read reviews of the work, articles about the work, and articles about the writer. There might be analytical information available that deal with your thesis and the writing, explaining why the writer made a decision to include or not include something in their text. Explore resources outside of the text but that directly relate to the text so that you can gather a robust collection of evidence that will help you argue your thesis.

During the evidence-collecting phase, you may discover that your thesis needs to change. An entirely different thesis may come to you as a much better point for you to argue, or you may need to tweak your currently thesis slightly to be more specific or pointed. If you were assigned a thesis, make sure to check with your instructor before altering your thesis.


Now that you have your thesis and your evidence, it's time to organize your essay. This is an important step to take before writing, so that the writing process will go much more smoothly.

Start with an outline to organize the general flow of your essay. There are plenty of resources online that can offer guidance on how to do this— this is a good one . In general, your essay will comprise three parts: introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction will introduce your thesis—why you're writing the analysis. The body will present all of the evidence you gathered in a logical, progressive flow. Your conclusion should restate the thesis and answer the question within the thesis (it should not introduce any new information).

How To Write a Concluding Paragraph

Once you have your thesis developed, your outline detailed and organized, and a conclusion drawn, it's time to write—and having a well-developed and highly detailed outline will make the writing much easier!

Writing a literary analysis whether you want to write it or because you've been assigned to write it can seem daunting, but following the steps above will ensure you have the proper tools to execute it confidently. It's a good idea to give yourself adequate time to complete your analysis—from reading the material to researching it to organizing your ideas. This isn't something you'll want to tackle the night before the deadline, so give yourself plenty of time to conduct your research and write your analysis.

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Literary Analysis Essay Writing

Cathy A.

Literary Analysis Essay - A Complete Guide With Examples

Published on: Sep 15, 2018

Last updated on: Dec 21, 2022

literary analysis essay writing

On This Page On This Page

Writing a literary analysis essay is an essential part of academics. High school and college students often get assigned this type of paper. A literary essay is a form of academic writing that requires good analyzing and writing skills. Writing a literary essay helps develop good interpretive skills and strong analyzing abilities.

This article is written to give a complete understanding of how a literary analysis essay is drafted. Start writing your literary essay using the examples and tips provided below.

Literary Analysis Essay Definition

In a literary analysis essay, students share their opinion about the theme and other literary elements. These views and opinions are then supported with evidence from the relevant work.

The literary piece of writing can be a short story, poem, or any other fictional or non-fictional work. It also has the same sections as different essay types. But it may not have a thesis statement, especially if it is just an informative essay type.

The method used to analyze literary work can differ depending upon the type of work being analyzed. It is essential to break down the work into various components to understand and study better.

The fundamental characteristics that make a literary analysis essay different from other essays are:

  • A literary analysis essay includes a narrative
  • It is interpretive
  • It doesn’t have an arguable thesis
  • It is a report

What is the Purpose of a Literary Analysis Essay?

A literary analysis essay helps the students in finding and explaining the essential elements of fiction. It aims at presenting the details and all-sided analysis of a specific piece of literature work.

In this essay, the writer considers the content, language, effect on the audience, and the writing style in literature.

As a literature major, it is mandatory to learn literary elements and analyze them as per your understanding.

Elements of Literature

Elements of literature are the ideas or devices that make up a story. In other words, they are the elements that are used to develop the story. In a literary analysis essay, explaining these elements is essential, and without them, no literary essay is complete.

Some literature elements are more prominent, while others do not have any significant role in the chosen literary work.

The plot is one of the most significant elements of the literary essay. It provides insight into how the story unfolds and discusses the pattern of events that eventually make up a story.

Sometimes, the authors use a nonlinear plot, i.e., they include flashbacks or future events to make the story more captivating. You have to pay attention to this point while writing a literary analysis essay.

Having a point of view is essential in the work of literature. It communicates to the readers who is narrating the story. This section attempts to explain why the author has selected a particular perspective.

The setting highlights the specific period and the region in which the characters are moving and performing. Just like characters, settings are also essential to analyze. As the author expresses his/her opinion on a particular character, what they think about places can also be provocative.

Characters are the backbone of any piece of literature, and no story is complete without them. While writing the literary essay, you need to concentrate on how the characters develop and how they are portrayed.

In most literary works, there are three types of characters.

  • Protagonist:  Hero.
  • Antagonist:  Villain or the bad guy.
  • Catalyst:  An important character who is not the protagonist or antagonist.

Just stating what the characters are doing will be of no use. You have to think beyond and try to explain why the characters are the way they are.

The imagery is used as a symbol, and many of the story’s main elements are hidden in them. Therefore, it is an essential aspect of literary work. In it, the author attempts to draw a picture in the reader’s mind.

In the literary analysis essay, talk about the impact of the use of imagery on the story. Also, consider the work of literature, the development of the story, and its effect on the characters.

Symbolism is another aspect of literature. It is not explained in words but is hidden in the text and explained through different means. In simple words, it is used when an object is meant to represent an idea more significant than the object itself.

The irony is one of the most impactful elements that leave an impression on the readers’ memory. It is opposite to the expectations or even to the desires of some specific characters and readers.

The authors often try to hint at the future or the expected events through their descriptions. It is known as foreshadowing. The writer provides hints to the readers about what they can expect from the characters or the story’s plot. Impress your teacher by presenting your point of view and analysis of such an incident.

How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay?

Writing a literary analysis essay requires a writer to follow a proper process. The process includes planning as well as writing. If the planning of the essay is done correctly, the writing process gets easier and more effective.

To write your literary analysis essay successfully, follow the steps provided below:

1. Read Thoroughly

The first step in the writing process of a literary analysis essay is thoroughly read the chosen text. It is important to analyze and understand every little detail of the original text to effectively draft your literary essay.

Carefully read and understand the author’s view and the message he/she is providing through writing. A simple trick to analyzing the text is to answer the questions provided below:

  • Which parts of the content are substantial?
  • Which literary devices were used by the author?
  • Why did the author choose those literary devices?
  • How are the characters developed in the content?

Identify every detail, including the ideas, plot, characters, settings, etc., and analyze them attentively.

2. Choose A Topic

Once you have understood the text, come up with a topic for your literary analysis essay. Make sure to choose an interesting essay title to grab the reader’s interest in your work. Choosing a  literary analysis essay topic  can be a tricky business, but a good topic will ensure strong essay content.

3. Form A Thesis Statement

The next step is to form a thesis statement. A thesis statement is the writer’s stance on the chosen piece of work. After reading the entire content thoroughly, the writer will be clear about his/her claim on the text. Forming a strong thesis statement is important as it shapes the entire essay.

4. Collect Evidence

After forming a thesis statement, collect supporting information from the text to back up your stance. Collect strong evidence, facts, and expressions from work and present it in your essay. The evidence and data can be taken from other similar pieces of work to support the claim.

5. Form A Literary Analysis Essay Outline

Structure in literature work is fundamental. One should devote enough time to creating the essay structure/outline. Drafting an essay outline plays an important role in deciding the paper’s success. Generally, a  literary analysis essay outline  contains the following elements:

5.1 Introduction

This section introduces the topic to the reader by including interesting information to catch their attention. Writing a good essay introduction is essential when drafting a strong essay.

Arrange your data in this section so that a reader gets an idea about the work and your stance on it. This is done by presenting background information on the text. In the end, close your introductory paragraphs with a thesis statement that you developed earlier.

5.2 Body Paragraphs

The body part of the essay contains all the details and explanations about the text. This is developed by proving the thesis statement. Arrange all the supporting data in this part of the outline to justify your stance.

5.3 Conclusion

It is the last and most important part of the essay. It presents the way your literary work reflects the plotline and ideas of the author. It is important to keep in mind the length when writing a conclusion of your essay.

The conclusion sums up the discussion, making the audience clear about the chosen text. it also provides the reasons behind the writer’s stance.

When moving from your outline to writing, focus on all the features of the literary work you will analyze. This might be difficult for you, so take the expert’s assistance. To make sure that the writing process is effective, seek help from an essay writing service.

Following is an example provided by our experts to help you draft an outline effectively.

Literary Essay Outline Example (PDF)

6. Start Writing

Once you have planned out the entire essay and have a concrete outline to follow, start writing it. A literary analysis essay is started by writing a hook statement that is a part of the introductory paragraph. This is a catchy opening statement that grabs the reader’s attention and motivates them to read the essay.

Present the background and brief information about the plot, ideas, and purpose of the original text. Following this comes a thesis statement that is presented at the end of the introduction section.

In the body paragraphs of a literary analysis essay, a writer takes references from the text to support his argument. This can be done using the quoting and paraphrasing method, depending on the writer’s choice.

Writing the body of your essay includes a topic sentence, sub-arguments, and supporting evidence. All of the arguments in the body paragraphs should collectively back the main idea of the essay.

For the conclusion of the literary analysis essay, restate the thesis statement. After that, provide a summary of the main ideas to prove your point. It is important to keep in mind that the conclusion’s length should not exceed the introduction’s length.

7. Proofread And Edit

After finishing the writing process, revise and proofread the essay to ensure that the work is free from errors. Check for mistakes and fix them right away before submitting your assignment.

Ensure that the language, tone, syntax, vocabulary, punctuation, grammar, and structure complement the content.

Literary Analysis Topics

Choosing a strong topic is important to draft a good literary essay. Following are some topic examples that you can use for your literary essays:

  • Can inequality be avoided?
  • Advantages and disadvantages of playing video games for children
  • Is addiction a personal choice or disease?
  • How does single parenting affect the physical and psychological well-being of a child?
  • How are upbringing and personality-related?
  • Effect of peer pressure on a child’s personality
  • How can education standards be increased?
  • Analyze the main character of a book
  • Analyze the main plot of a novel
  • The significance and analysis of a particular piece of literature.

Literary Analysis Essay Example

The main objective of a literary analysis paper is to examine and evaluate different parts of the text. Here you can find a literary analysis essay example to help you better understand the writing process.

Sample Literary Essay (PDF)

Literary Essay Rubric (PDF)

If you want expert help in drafting your literary essay, go through the free essay samples at We are a professional essay writing service that offers top writing services at the best prices. You will get professionally written essays and papers on several literary analysis topics from our analytical essay writer . 

You can place your order to get your customized essay written by professional essay writers at Hire our analytical essay writing service today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What should a literary analysis essay include.

A good essay will have an explanation of the author's ideas and evidence from their text (short story, poem) to support those thoughts. Textual information includes a summary, paraphrase as well specific details like direct quotations in summaries or extracts where they are relevant for clarification on certain points.

Why literary analysis is important?

By analyzing literary work, students can see that successful art is more than just self-expression. It may serve a purpose beyond the creator's intent whether it be to inform or evoke empathy in its audience and even inspire them at times.

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Literary Analysis Essay

Leanne R.

Literary Analysis Essay - An Ultimate Writing Guide

Published on: Nov 19, 2019

Last updated on: Jan 20, 2023

Literary Analysis Essay

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Are you having difficulty writing a literary essay? Hold onto your seats; you are at the right place.

The endless pursuit of knowledge is what every student desires. The world has so many amazing stories to tell, and it's up to you to explore them. But where do you start?

It can be quite daunting when faced with the prospect of writing a literary analysis essay for school. Don't worry, though!

This blog post will teach you everything you need to know about how these essays work. It includes the benefits of analyzing literature!

Stop being worried and learn to write a flawless essay from this guide.

What is a Literary Analysis Essay?

A literary essay carefully examines and analyzes a piece of literature to make it easy to understand. It breaks the subject into parts and analyzes each part separately.

According to a literary analysis essay definition:

“It is a type of essay that carefully evaluates a work of literature to understand it better.”

This essay closely studies a piece of text, interprets its meaning, and explores why the writer has made certain choices. The analysis could be of a movie, book, short story, novel, poem, play, or any other form of literature.

Fundamental Characteristics of a Literary Analysis Essay

There are four fundamental characteristics of a literary analysis essay.

1. The Elements

There are four main elements of a literary essay:

Plot:  It is the pattern of events that make up a story.

Character:  They are the people that play a role in the story.

Conflict:  It is a dispute between two parties.

Setting:  It is where the actions take place.

A literary analysis essay should include these elements because they make up the whole essay. Therefore, no element should be missing from the essay.

2. The Focus

The focus of this essay is on the literary devices, symbols, and metaphors of the literary work. It closely analyzes the symbols and metaphors of a literary work to interpret their meaning.

3. Literary Analysis Essay Structure

The basic structure of a literary essay is similar to other kinds of essays. It consists of an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

4. Literary Analysis Essay Format

The essay format tells how the parts of the work are assembled. Usually, the MLA format is followed to write a good literary essay.

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Literary Analysis Essay Rubric

Literary Analysis Essay Rubric

Literary Analysis Essay Outline

The outline helps in organizing the information in a proper structure. The outline structure for a literary analysis essay is as follow:

  • Hook statement:  Grab the reader’s attention with a strong hook statement.
  • Background:  Educate the reader about the topic.
  • Thesis statement:  Set the tone of the essay and tell your reader what they should expect.
  • Topic sentence:  Introduce a line of argument.
  • Supporting evidence:  Support the argument with facts and evidence.
  • Transition statement:  Move to the next argument.
  • Revision:  Restate the thesis statement.
  • Summary:  Summarize the whole analysis.
  • Comment:  Make a relevant comment about the literary work

How to Start a Literary Analysis Essay?

The purpose of a literary analysis essay is to analyze a literary work. Therefore, when you start writing a literary analysis essay, follow these prewriting steps to do a good analysis.

Choosing the Text to Analyze

The first and foremost thing is to choose the text that you want to analyze. It could be a book, novel, short story, movie, or any other literary text.

Reading the Text

Carefully read the text and try to understand what the reader wants to convey through the text. Pay attention to every little detail and make initial notes. Look for the surprising and confusing things in the writing; these are the things that you can dig into your analysis.

Identifying Literary Devices

The objective of a literary essay is not just simply explain but to examine the text on a deeper level. Therefore, identify the literary devices that the writer has used to convey his message and create effects.

  • Coming Up With a Good Title To get started with the analysis, you need to select a suitable topic for your essay. This essay prompt could be simple, or you can be creative with it. For example, “How effective is the role of Shams in the forty rules of love?”

How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay?

When you write a literary essay, you need to remember that you are not writing a report or a summary. Instead, you are doing an argumentative analysis where you have to examine every perspective of the text.

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Here is the writing process of a literary analysis essay:

Literary Analysis Essay Introduction

The introduction tells the reader what your essay is all about. It provides a quick overview of the main argument. Here, you are supposed to introduce the text that you are going to analyze.

Start the introduction with a strong hook statement that grabs the reader’s attention immediately. Give a general idea about the author and the text and lead to the thesis statement.

Write a good thesis statement that indicates to the reader what’s coming up in the body section. A literary analysis essay thesis is a precisely worded declarative statement that tells the purpose of the essay.

Literary Analysis Essay Body

The body section is used for the development of the central idea of the essay. Usually, it consists of three paragraphs that support the thesis statement. It contains the explanation of the ideas and evidence from the text that support those ideas.

While writing the body, begin each paragraph with a topic sentence that presents a specific idea about the text. Support the topic sentence with facts, evidence, and logic that helps the reader understand the text. Each body paragraph’s substance includes summaries, explanations, quotations, and specific details that you need to support the topic sentence.

Literary Analysis Essay Conclusion

The conclusion paragraph should give a sense of completeness and let the reader know that he has come to an end. Don’t introduce any new ideas here; just wrap up the whole discussion.

Restate the thesis statement and summarize the main points of the essay. Finally, make a relevant comment about the work that you have analyzed.

Literary Analysis Essay Examples

Now you have a complete guide for writing a literary essay, check out the following example to get a clearer idea. These sample essays give you a deeper understanding of the essay structure.

Literary Analysis Essay Sample

Sample Literary Analysis Essay for Middle School

Sample Literary Analysis Essay for High School

Literary Analysis Essay Example for College

A Rose for Emily Literary Analysis Essay

The Great Gatsby Literary Analysis Essay

To Kill a Mockingbird Literary Analysis Essay

The Story of an Hour Literary Analysis Essay

Literary Analysis Essay Topics

Here are some amazing  literary analysis essay prompts  for your help:

  • Analyze ‘10 minutes and 38 seconds in this strange world’ main character
  • Analyze the historical context of ‘War and Peace.’
  • Analyze ‘A tale of two cities’ main ideas
  • Fate and love in ‘Romeo and Juliet’
  • Women and misogyny in ‘Hamlet.’
  • Analyze ‘Into the Wild’ themes
  • What message does Elie Wiesel convey in ‘Night.’
  • Analyze the evidence provided in ‘The History of the Decline: And Fall of the Roman Empire.’
  • Analyze the narrative presented by J. M. Coetzee in ‘Waiting for the Barbarians’
  • Evaluate the mood of ‘Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

A good way to approach this essay is to summarize the text’s main argument and stress the conclusion. If you find any difficulty in doing the analysis, hire an expert  essay writer .

We at  work 24/7 to help you with all types of academic writing assignments. Check out the free essays given on our website and get some inspiration to take help from us. Our writers are highly professional and experts at their work.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What should a literary analysis essay include.

A good literary analysis essay should include an explanation of your idea and evidence from the text that supports it. Textual evidence is when you talk about what happened in the story, summarize it, or give specific details. You can also quote the author.

What should be the tone of the literary analysis essay?

The tone of an essay is the attitude of the writer. In a literary analysis essay, a writer can be direct by stating his opinion, or indirect, by using words that have a certain feeling.

How many types of literary analysis are there?

There are six types of literary analysis, which are:

  • Cultural Analysis
  • Feminist Analysis
  • Historical Analysis
  • New Criticism Analysis
  • Psychological Analysis
  • Reader Response Analysis

What are the seven literary standards?

Literary standards are very important to determine whether the work done is literary or not. Following are the seven essential standards:

  • Suggestiveness
  • intellectual value
  • spiritual value
  • Universality

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Leanne is one of the most experienced writers on our platform and holds a Ph.D. degree from Cambridge. She has worked as a journalist, an editor, and a content creator for newspapers, magazines, and websites around the world. Leanne’s research and writing skills are unsurpassed making her one of the best-reviewed writers on our platform.

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what is part of a literary analysis essay

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what is part of a literary analysis essay

beginner's guide to literary analysis

Understanding literature & how to write literary analysis.

Literary analysis is the foundation of every college and high school English class. Once you can comprehend written work and respond to it, the next step is to learn how to think critically and complexly about a work of literature in order to analyze its elements and establish ideas about its meaning.

If that sounds daunting, it shouldn’t. Literary analysis is really just a way of thinking creatively about what you read. The practice takes you beyond the storyline and into the motives behind it. 

While an author might have had a specific intention when they wrote their book, there’s still no right or wrong way to analyze a literary text—just your way. You can use literary theories, which act as “lenses” through which you can view a text. Or you can use your own creativity and critical thinking to identify a literary device or pattern in a text and weave that insight into your own argument about the text’s underlying meaning. 

Now, if that sounds fun, it should , because it is. Here, we’ll lay the groundwork for performing literary analysis, including when writing analytical essays, to help you read books like a critic. 

What Is Literary Analysis?

As the name suggests, literary analysis is an analysis of a work, whether that’s a novel, play, short story, or poem. Any analysis requires breaking the content into its component parts and then examining how those parts operate independently and as a whole. In literary analysis, those parts can be different devices and elements—such as plot, setting, themes, symbols, etcetera—as well as elements of style, like point of view or tone. 

When performing analysis, you consider some of these different elements of the text and then form an argument for why the author chose to use them. You can do so while reading and during class discussion, but it’s particularly important when writing essays. 

Literary analysis is notably distinct from summary. When you write a summary , you efficiently describe the work’s main ideas or plot points in order to establish an overview of the work. While you might use elements of summary when writing analysis, you should do so minimally. You can reference a plot line to make a point, but it should be done so quickly so you can focus on why that plot line matters . In summary (see what we did there?), a summary focuses on the “ what ” of a text, while analysis turns attention to the “ how ” and “ why .”

While literary analysis can be broad, covering themes across an entire work, it can also be very specific, and sometimes the best analysis is just that. Literary critics have written thousands of words about the meaning of an author’s single word choice; while you might not want to be quite that particular, there’s a lot to be said for digging deep in literary analysis, rather than wide. 

Although you’re forming your own argument about the work, it’s not your opinion . You should avoid passing judgment on the piece and instead objectively consider what the author intended, how they went about executing it, and whether or not they were successful in doing so. Literary criticism is similar to literary analysis, but it is different in that it does pass judgement on the work. Criticism can also consider literature more broadly, without focusing on a singular work. 

Once you understand what constitutes (and doesn’t constitute) literary analysis, it’s easy to identify it. Here are some examples of literary analysis and its oft-confused counterparts: 

Summary: In “The Fall of the House of Usher,” the narrator visits his friend Roderick Usher and witnesses his sister escape a horrible fate.  

Opinion: In “The Fall of the House of Usher,” Poe uses his great Gothic writing to establish a sense of spookiness that is enjoyable to read. 

Literary Analysis: “Throughout ‘The Fall of the House of Usher,’ Poe foreshadows the fate of Madeline by creating a sense of claustrophobia for the reader through symbols, such as in the narrator’s inability to leave and the labyrinthine nature of the house. 

In summary, literary analysis is:

  • Breaking a work into its components
  • Identifying what those components are and how they work in the text
  • Developing an understanding of how they work together to achieve a goal 
  • Not an opinion, but subjective 
  • Not a summary, though summary can be used in passing 
  • Best when it deeply, rather than broadly, analyzes a literary element

Literary Analysis and Other Works

As discussed above, literary analysis is often performed upon a single work—but it doesn’t have to be. It can also be performed across works to consider the interplay of two or more texts. Regardless of whether or not the works were written about the same thing, or even within the same time period, they can have an influence on one another or a connection that’s worth exploring. And reading two or more texts side by side can help you to develop insights through comparison and contrast.

For example, Paradise Lost is an epic poem written in the 17th century, based largely on biblical narratives written some 700 years before and which later influenced 19th century poet John Keats. The interplay of works can be obvious, as here, or entirely the inspiration of the analyst. As an example of the latter, you could compare and contrast the writing styles of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Edgar Allan Poe who, while contemporaries in terms of time, were vastly different in their content. 

Additionally, literary analysis can be performed between a work and its context. Authors are often speaking to the larger context of their times, be that social, political, religious, economic, or artistic. A valid and interesting form is to compare the author’s context to the work, which is done by identifying and analyzing elements that are used to make an argument about the writer’s time or experience. 

For example, you could write an essay about how Hemingway’s struggles with mental health and paranoia influenced his later work, or how his involvement in the Spanish Civil War influenced his early work. One approach focuses more on his personal experience, while the other turns to the context of his times—both are valid. 

Why Does Literary Analysis Matter? 

Sometimes an author wrote a work of literature strictly for entertainment’s sake, but more often than not, they meant something more. Whether that was a missive on world peace, commentary about femininity, or an allusion to their experience as an only child, the author probably wrote their work for a reason, and understanding that reason—or the many reasons—can actually make reading a lot more meaningful. 

Performing literary analysis as a form of study unquestionably makes you a better reader. It’s also likely that it will improve other skills, too, like critical thinking, creativity, debate, and reasoning. 

At its grandest and most idealistic, literary analysis even has the ability to make the world a better place. By reading and analyzing works of literature, you are able to more fully comprehend the perspectives of others. Cumulatively, you’ll broaden your own perspectives and contribute more effectively to the things that matter to you. 

Literary Terms to Know for Literary Analysis 

There are hundreds of literary devices you could consider during your literary analysis, but there are some key tools most writers utilize to achieve their purpose—and therefore you need to know in order to understand that purpose. These common devices include: 

  • Characters: The people (or entities) who play roles in the work. The protagonist is the main character in the work. 
  • Conflict: The conflict is the driving force behind the plot, the event that causes action in the narrative, usually on the part of the protagonist
  • Context : The broader circumstances surrounding the work political and social climate in which it was written or the experience of the author. It can also refer to internal context, and the details presented by the narrator 
  • Diction : The word choice used by the narrator or characters 
  • Genre: A category of literature characterized by agreed upon similarities in the works, such as subject matter and tone
  • Imagery : The descriptive or figurative language used to paint a picture in the reader’s mind so they can picture the story’s plot, characters, and setting 
  • Metaphor: A figure of speech that uses comparison between two unlike objects for dramatic or poetic effect
  • Narrator: The person who tells the story. Sometimes they are a character within the story, but sometimes they are omniscient and removed from the plot. 
  • Plot : The storyline of the work
  • Point of view: The perspective taken by the narrator, which skews the perspective of the reader 
  • Setting : The time and place in which the story takes place. This can include elements like the time period, weather, time of year or day, and social or economic conditions 
  • Symbol : An object, person, or place that represents an abstract idea that is greater than its literal meaning 
  • Syntax : The structure of a sentence, either narration or dialogue, and the tone it implies
  • Theme : A recurring subject or message within the work, often commentary on larger societal or cultural ideas
  • Tone : The feeling, attitude, or mood the text presents

How to Perform Literary Analysis

Step 1: read the text thoroughly.

Literary analysis begins with the literature itself, which means performing a close reading of the text. As you read, you should focus on the work. That means putting away distractions (sorry, smartphone) and dedicating a period of time to the task at hand. 

It’s also important that you don’t skim or speed read. While those are helpful skills, they don’t apply to literary analysis—or at least not this stage. 

Step 2: Take Notes as You Read  

As you read the work, take notes about different literary elements and devices that stand out to you. Whether you highlight or underline in text, use sticky note tabs to mark pages and passages, or handwrite your thoughts in a notebook, you should capture your thoughts and the parts of the text to which they correspond. This—the act of noticing things about a literary work—is literary analysis. 

Step 3: Notice Patterns 

As you read the work, you’ll begin to notice patterns in the way the author deploys language, themes, and symbols to build their plot and characters. As you read and these patterns take shape, begin to consider what they could mean and how they might fit together. 

As you identify these patterns, as well as other elements that catch your interest, be sure to record them in your notes or text. Some examples include: 

  • Circle or underline words or terms that you notice the author uses frequently, whether those are nouns (like “eyes” or “road”) or adjectives (like “yellow” or “lush”).
  • Highlight phrases that give you the same kind of feeling. For example, if the narrator describes an “overcast sky,” a “dreary morning,” and a “dark, quiet room,” the words aren’t the same, but the feeling they impart and setting they develop are similar. 
  • Underline quotes or prose that define a character’s personality or their role in the text.
  • Use sticky tabs to color code different elements of the text, such as specific settings or a shift in the point of view. 

By noting these patterns, comprehensive symbols, metaphors, and ideas will begin to come into focus.  

Step 4: Consider the Work as a Whole, and Ask Questions

This is a step that you can do either as you read, or after you finish the text. The point is to begin to identify the aspects of the work that most interest you, and you could therefore analyze in writing or discussion. 

Questions you could ask yourself include: 

  • What aspects of the text do I not understand?
  • What parts of the narrative or writing struck me most?
  • What patterns did I notice?
  • What did the author accomplish really well?
  • What did I find lacking?
  • Did I notice any contradictions or anything that felt out of place?  
  • What was the purpose of the minor characters?
  • What tone did the author choose, and why? 

The answers to these and more questions will lead you to your arguments about the text. 

Step 5: Return to Your Notes and the Text for Evidence

As you identify the argument you want to make (especially if you’re preparing for an essay), return to your notes to see if you already have supporting evidence for your argument. That’s why it’s so important to take notes or mark passages as you read—you’ll thank yourself later!

If you’re preparing to write an essay, you’ll use these passages and ideas to bolster your argument—aka, your thesis. There will likely be multiple different passages you can use to strengthen multiple different aspects of your argument. Just be sure to cite the text correctly! 

If you’re preparing for class, your notes will also be invaluable. When your teacher or professor leads the conversation in the direction of your ideas or arguments, you’ll be able to not only proffer that idea but back it up with textual evidence. That’s an A+ in class participation. 

Step 6: Connect These Ideas Across the Narrative

Whether you’re in class or writing an essay, literary analysis isn’t complete until you’ve considered the way these ideas interact and contribute to the work as a whole. You can find and present evidence, but you still have to explain how those elements work together and make up your argument. 

How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay

When conducting literary analysis while reading a text or discussing it in class, you can pivot easily from one argument to another (or even switch sides if a classmate or teacher makes a compelling enough argument). 

But when writing literary analysis, your objective is to propose a specific, arguable thesis and convincingly defend it. In order to do so, you need to fortify your argument with evidence from the text (and perhaps secondary sources) and an authoritative tone. 

A successful literary analysis essay depends equally on a thoughtful thesis, supportive analysis, and presenting these elements masterfully. We’ll review how to accomplish these objectives below. 

Step 1: Read the Text. Maybe Read It Again. 

Constructing an astute analytical essay requires a thorough knowledge of the text. As you read, be sure to note any passages, quotes, or ideas that stand out. These could serve as the future foundation of your thesis statement. Noting these sections now will help you when you need to gather evidence. 

The more familiar you become with the text, the better (and easier!) your essay will be. Familiarity with the text allows you to speak (or in this case, write) to it confidently. If you only skim the book, your lack of rich understanding will be evident in your essay. Alternatively, if you read the text closely—especially if you read it more than once, or at least carefully revisit important passages—your own writing will be filled with insight that goes beyond a basic understanding of the storyline. 

Step 2: Brainstorm Potential Topics 

Because you took detailed notes while reading the text, you should have a list of potential topics at the ready. Take time to review your notes, highlighting any ideas or questions you had that feel interesting. You should also return to the text and look for any passages that stand out to you. 

When considering potential topics, you should prioritize ideas that you find interesting. It won’t only make the whole process of writing an essay more fun, your enthusiasm for the topic will probably improve the quality of your argument, and maybe even your writing. Just like it’s obvious when a topic interests you in a conversation, it’s obvious when a topic interests the writer of an essay (and even more obvious when it doesn’t). 

Your topic ideas should also be specific, unique, and arguable. A good way to think of topics is that they’re the answer to fairly specific questions. As you begin to brainstorm, first think of questions you have about the text. Questions might focus on the plot, such as: Why did the author choose to deviate from the projected storyline? Or why did a character’s role in the narrative shift? Questions might also consider the use of a literary device, such as: Why does the narrator frequently repeat a phrase or comment on a symbol? Or why did the author choose to switch points of view each chapter? 

Once you have a thesis question , you can begin brainstorming answers—aka, potential thesis statements . At this point, your answers can be fairly broad. Once you land on a question-statement combination that feels right, you’ll then look for evidence in the text that supports your answer (and helps you define and narrow your thesis statement). 

For example, after reading “ The Fall of the House of Usher ,” you might be wondering, Why are Roderick and Madeline twins?, Or even: Why does their relationship feel so creepy?” Maybe you noticed (and noted) that the narrator was surprised to find out they were twins, or perhaps you found that the narrator’s tone tended to shift and become more anxious when discussing the interactions of the twins.

Once you come up with your thesis question, you can identify a broad answer, which will become the basis for your thesis statement. In response to the questions above, your answer might be, “Poe emphasizes the close relationship of Roderick and Madeline to foreshadow that their deaths will be close, too.” 

Step 3: Gather Evidence 

Once you have your topic (or you’ve narrowed it down to two or three), return to the text (yes, again) to see what evidence you can find to support it. If you’re thinking of writing about the relationship between Roderick and Madeline in “The Fall of the House of Usher,” look for instances where they engaged in the text. 

This is when your knowledge of literary devices comes in clutch. Carefully study the language around each event in the text that might be relevant to your topic. How does Poe’s diction or syntax change during the interactions of the siblings? How does the setting reflect or contribute to their relationship? What imagery or symbols appear when Roderick and Madeline are together? 

By finding and studying evidence within the text, you’ll strengthen your topic argument—or, just as valuably, discount the topics that aren’t strong enough for analysis. 

what is part of a literary analysis essay

Step 4: Consider Secondary Sources 

In addition to returning to the literary work you’re studying for evidence, you can also consider secondary sources that reference or speak to the work. These can be articles from journals you find on JSTOR, books that consider the work or its context, or articles your teacher shared in class. 

While you can use these secondary sources to further support your idea, you should not overuse them. Make sure your topic remains entirely differentiated from that presented in the source. 

Step 5: Write a Working Thesis Statement

Once you’ve gathered evidence and narrowed down your topic, you’re ready to refine that topic into a thesis statement. As you continue to outline and write your paper, this thesis statement will likely change slightly, but this initial draft will serve as the foundation of your essay. It’s like your north star: Everything you write in your essay is leading you back to your thesis. 

Writing a great thesis statement requires some real finesse. A successful thesis statement is: 

  • Debatable : You shouldn’t simply summarize or make an obvious statement about the work. Instead, your thesis statement should take a stand on an issue or make a claim that is open to argument. You’ll spend your essay debating—and proving—your argument. 
  • Demonstrable : You need to be able to prove, through evidence, that your thesis statement is true. That means you have to have passages from the text and correlative analysis ready to convince the reader that you’re right. 
  • Specific : In most cases, successfully addressing a theme that encompasses a work in its entirety would require a book-length essay. Instead, identify a thesis statement that addresses specific elements of the work, such as a relationship between characters, a repeating symbol, a key setting, or even something really specific like the speaking style of a character. 

Example: By depicting the relationship between Roderick and Madeline to be stifling and almost otherworldly in its closeness, Poe foreshadows both Madeline’s fate and Roderick’s inability to choose a different fate for himself. 

Step 6: Write an Outline 

You have your thesis, you have your evidence—but how do you put them together? A great thesis statement (and therefore a great essay) will have multiple arguments supporting it, presenting different kinds of evidence that all contribute to the singular, main idea presented in your thesis. 

Review your evidence and identify these different arguments, then organize the evidence into categories based on the argument they support. These ideas and evidence will become the body paragraphs of your essay. 

For example, if you were writing about Roderick and Madeline as in the example above, you would pull evidence from the text, such as the narrator’s realization of their relationship as twins; examples where the narrator’s tone of voice shifts when discussing their relationship; imagery, like the sounds Roderick hears as Madeline tries to escape; and Poe’s tendency to use doubles and twins in his other writings to create the same spooky effect. All of these are separate strains of the same argument, and can be clearly organized into sections of an outline. 

Step 7: Write Your Introduction

Your introduction serves a few very important purposes that essentially set the scene for the reader: 

  • Establish context. Sure, your reader has probably read the work. But you still want to remind them of the scene, characters, or elements you’ll be discussing. 
  • Present your thesis statement. Your thesis statement is the backbone of your analytical paper. You need to present it clearly at the outset so that the reader understands what every argument you make is aimed at. 
  • Offer a mini-outline. While you don’t want to show all your cards just yet, you do want to preview some of the evidence you’ll be using to support your thesis so that the reader has a roadmap of where they’re going. 

Step 8: Write Your Body Paragraphs

Thanks to steps one through seven, you’ve already set yourself up for success. You have clearly outlined arguments and evidence to support them. Now it’s time to translate those into authoritative and confident prose. 

When presenting each idea, begin with a topic sentence that encapsulates the argument you’re about to make (sort of like a mini-thesis statement). Then present your evidence and explanations of that evidence that contribute to that argument. Present enough material to prove your point, but don’t feel like you necessarily have to point out every single instance in the text where this element takes place. For example, if you’re highlighting a symbol that repeats throughout the narrative, choose two or three passages where it is used most effectively, rather than trying to squeeze in all ten times it appears. 

While you should have clearly defined arguments, the essay should still move logically and fluidly from one argument to the next. Try to avoid choppy paragraphs that feel disjointed; every idea and argument should feel connected to the last, and, as a group, connected to your thesis. A great way to connect the ideas from one paragraph to the next is with transition words and phrases, such as: 

  • Furthermore 
  • In addition
  • On the other hand
  • Conversely 

what is part of a literary analysis essay

Step 9: Write Your Conclusion 

Your conclusion is more than a summary of your essay's parts, but it’s also not a place to present brand new ideas not already discussed in your essay. Instead, your conclusion should return to your thesis (without repeating it verbatim) and point to why this all matters. If writing about the siblings in “The Fall of the House of Usher,” for example, you could point out that the utilization of twins and doubles is a common literary element of Poe’s work that contributes to the definitive eeriness of Gothic literature. 

While you might speak to larger ideas in your conclusion, be wary of getting too macro. Your conclusion should still be supported by all of the ideas that preceded it. 

Step 10: Revise, Revise, Revise

Of course you should proofread your literary analysis essay before you turn it in. But you should also edit the content to make sure every piece of evidence and every explanation directly supports your thesis as effectively and efficiently as possible. 

Sometimes, this might mean actually adapting your thesis a bit to the rest of your essay. At other times, it means removing redundant examples or paraphrasing quotations. Make sure every sentence is valuable, and remove those that aren’t. 

Other Resources for Literary Analysis 

With these skills and suggestions, you’re well on your way to practicing and writing literary analysis. But if you don’t have a firm grasp on the concepts discussed above—such as literary devices or even the content of the text you’re analyzing—it will still feel difficult to produce insightful analysis. 

If you’d like to sharpen the tools in your literature toolbox, there are plenty of other resources to help you do so: 

  • Check out our expansive library of Literary Devices . These could provide you with a deeper understanding of the basic devices discussed above or introduce you to new concepts sure to impress your professors ( anagnorisis , anyone?). 
  • This Academic Citation Resource Guide ensures you properly cite any work you reference in your analytical essay. 
  • Our English Homework Help Guide will point you to dozens of resources that can help you perform analysis, from critical reading strategies to poetry helpers. 
  • This Grammar Education Resource Guide will direct you to plenty of resources to refine your grammar and writing (definitely important for getting an A+ on that paper). 

Of course, you should know the text inside and out before you begin writing your analysis. In order to develop a true understanding of the work, read through its corresponding SuperSummary study guide . Doing so will help you truly comprehend the plot, as well as provide some inspirational ideas for your analysis.

what is part of a literary analysis essay

Literary Analysis: A Guide to Writing a Perfect Literary Analysis

The process of learning how to write a literary analysis can be daunting and overwhelming at first, but as you gain more practice with this kind of thinking, you can craft a method that works best for you.

Literary Analysis Essay

A literary analysis essay is an argumentative analysis that carefully examines a piece of literature by looking at the characters of the story, theme, tone, setting as well as the plot and other literary devices used to narrate the story. It encourages a reader to think about how and why a novel, poem or play was written. It’s meant to be an analysis of a key element in the literature thus you should refrain from writing a paper that explains every single point of the plot of the story. An argument can be raised by looking at the author’s intentions and attempting to explain their significance or from a personal perspective in which case the original text has to defend and account for the argument to the reader.


The Purpose of a Reading Analysis

The purpose of a literary analysis is to demonstrate why the author used specific characters, themes, settings, imagery, etc. to persuade the reader in a story. It tries to identify an important theme and then investigates the literary devices that the author used to reveal that theme. The literary analysis also helps to develop critical thinking skills in students by challenging them to look beyond the literal meanings by dissecting the story to see how the pieces fit together.

Literary Analysis vs. Reading Analysis

From a general view, literal analysis delves into the why and tries to understand the obvious and hidden meanings that lurk beneath the main plot. It causes one to not only reflect on the story itself but to understand the bigger picture of history, human condition etc. Reading analysis, on the other hand, is the act of reading to extract information.

5 Steps on How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay

The process of learning how to write a literary analysis can be daunting and overwhelming at first, but as you gain more practice with this kind of thinking, you can craft a method that works best for you. Here is a guide that outlines everything you need to know to write a good literary analysis.

1. Choose and Focus on the Topic

First, you need to read the work thoroughly and ensure you understand the plot of the play, poem or novel and who the characters are. An analysis is only possible when you have a clear understanding of the story. Always pick a topic that interests you as it is easier to start off with something you enjoy. Brainstorm a list of potential topics (themes) by asking yourself questions like, What was striking in the text? Why did the author write this? How are characters developed? How are the literary devices used? and try to look for connections and patterns by mapping out the different aspects of the chosen element.

2. Gather Evidence

It’s important for students to research the topic before writing. Collect enough material to help you answer or support your question.

3. Introduction to a Literary Analysis Essay

The introduction to a literary analysis essay makes the first impression on a reader so it’s essential that you bring it out in a clear and concise manner. A good introduction to a literary analysis essay should provide relevant information about a particular aspect of a work of literature and orientate the reader to what will follow. The introduction must, therefore, include a book, author, title, main characters, short summary, and thesis. A thesis appears as the last sentence in the first paragraph and will mainly allude to the three main points you wish to address in the main body of the essay.

Here is an example of a good thesis statement for literary analysis:

In a Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens demonstrates the process by which an unfruitful and wasted life can be redeemed. Sidney Carton’s intense love for Lucie Manette transforms him from a hopeless man into a hero and star whose life and death bring so much meaning.

4. The Body of a Literary Analysis Essay

After the introduction, you will move towards the body of your essay where you present the paragraphs (usually three paragraphs for a 500-750 word essay) that support your thesis statement. Each paragraph in the body should include a topic sentence, textual evidence (paraphrase or quotation), commentary/explanation and a concluding sentence.

5. Conclusion of a Literary Analysis Essay

This is the last paragraph in your essay which should reflect how your essay topic relates to the book as a whole. You will need to summarize all that you have discussed in the essay without introducing any new ideas.

Formatting a Literary Analysis

Literary analysis papers are generally written using MLA citation style formatting guidelines unless specified otherwise by your professor.

Writing literary analysis is often a time-consuming activity that requires a lot of research and skill. With the use of our writing services, you will not only receive quality literary analysis essays even on the most challenging topics, but you will create a more professional piece that depicts you as one with a deep understanding of literature. Get an expert writing assistance today, place an order and leave your worries behind.

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  • The four main types of essay | Quick guide with examples

The Four Main Types of Essay | Quick Guide with Examples

Published on September 4, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

An essay is a focused piece of writing designed to inform or persuade. There are many different types of essay, but they are often defined in four categories: argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive essays.

Argumentative and expository essays are focused on conveying information and making clear points, while narrative and descriptive essays are about exercising creativity and writing in an interesting way. At university level, argumentative essays are the most common type. 

In high school and college, you will also often have to write textual analysis essays, which test your skills in close reading and interpretation.

Table of contents

Argumentative essays, expository essays, narrative essays, descriptive essays, textual analysis essays, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about types of essays.

An argumentative essay presents an extended, evidence-based argument. It requires a strong thesis statement —a clearly defined stance on your topic. Your aim is to convince the reader of your thesis using evidence (such as quotations ) and analysis.

Argumentative essays test your ability to research and present your own position on a topic. This is the most common type of essay at college level—most papers you write will involve some kind of argumentation.

The essay is divided into an introduction, body, and conclusion:

  • The introduction provides your topic and thesis statement
  • The body presents your evidence and arguments
  • The conclusion summarizes your argument and emphasizes its importance

The example below is a paragraph from the body of an argumentative essay about the effects of the internet on education. Mouse over it to learn more.

A common frustration for teachers is students’ use of Wikipedia as a source in their writing. Its prevalence among students is not exaggerated; a survey found that the vast majority of the students surveyed used Wikipedia (Head & Eisenberg, 2010). An article in The Guardian stresses a common objection to its use: “a reliance on Wikipedia can discourage students from engaging with genuine academic writing” (Coomer, 2013). Teachers are clearly not mistaken in viewing Wikipedia usage as ubiquitous among their students; but the claim that it discourages engagement with academic sources requires further investigation. This point is treated as self-evident by many teachers, but Wikipedia itself explicitly encourages students to look into other sources. Its articles often provide references to academic publications and include warning notes where citations are missing; the site’s own guidelines for research make clear that it should be used as a starting point, emphasizing that users should always “read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says” (“Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia,” 2020). Indeed, for many students, Wikipedia is their first encounter with the concepts of citation and referencing. The use of Wikipedia therefore has a positive side that merits deeper consideration than it often receives.

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An expository essay provides a clear, focused explanation of a topic. It doesn’t require an original argument, just a balanced and well-organized view of the topic.

Expository essays test your familiarity with a topic and your ability to organize and convey information. They are commonly assigned at high school or in exam questions at college level.

The introduction of an expository essay states your topic and provides some general background, the body presents the details, and the conclusion summarizes the information presented.

A typical body paragraph from an expository essay about the invention of the printing press is shown below. Mouse over it to learn more.

The invention of the printing press in 1440 changed this situation dramatically. Johannes Gutenberg, who had worked as a goldsmith, used his knowledge of metals in the design of the press. He made his type from an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony, whose durability allowed for the reliable production of high-quality books. This new technology allowed texts to be reproduced and disseminated on a much larger scale than was previously possible. The Gutenberg Bible appeared in the 1450s, and a large number of printing presses sprang up across the continent in the following decades. Gutenberg’s invention rapidly transformed cultural production in Europe; among other things, it would lead to the Protestant Reformation.

A narrative essay is one that tells a story. This is usually a story about a personal experience you had, but it may also be an imaginative exploration of something you have not experienced.

Narrative essays test your ability to build up a narrative in an engaging, well-structured way. They are much more personal and creative than other kinds of academic writing . Writing a personal statement for an application requires the same skills as a narrative essay.

A narrative essay isn’t strictly divided into introduction, body, and conclusion, but it should still begin by setting up the narrative and finish by expressing the point of the story—what you learned from your experience, or why it made an impression on you.

Mouse over the example below, a short narrative essay responding to the prompt “Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself,” to explore its structure.

Since elementary school, I have always favored subjects like science and math over the humanities. My instinct was always to think of these subjects as more solid and serious than classes like English. If there was no right answer, I thought, why bother? But recently I had an experience that taught me my academic interests are more flexible than I had thought: I took my first philosophy class.

Before I entered the classroom, I was skeptical. I waited outside with the other students and wondered what exactly philosophy would involve—I really had no idea. I imagined something pretty abstract: long, stilted conversations pondering the meaning of life. But what I got was something quite different.

A young man in jeans, Mr. Jones—“but you can call me Rob”—was far from the white-haired, buttoned-up old man I had half-expected. And rather than pulling us into pedantic arguments about obscure philosophical points, Rob engaged us on our level. To talk free will, we looked at our own choices. To talk ethics, we looked at dilemmas we had faced ourselves. By the end of class, I’d discovered that questions with no right answer can turn out to be the most interesting ones.

The experience has taught me to look at things a little more “philosophically”—and not just because it was a philosophy class! I learned that if I let go of my preconceptions, I can actually get a lot out of subjects I was previously dismissive of. The class taught me—in more ways than one—to look at things with an open mind.

A descriptive essay provides a detailed sensory description of something. Like narrative essays, they allow you to be more creative than most academic writing, but they are more tightly focused than narrative essays. You might describe a specific place or object, rather than telling a whole story.

Descriptive essays test your ability to use language creatively, making striking word choices to convey a memorable picture of what you’re describing.

A descriptive essay can be quite loosely structured, though it should usually begin by introducing the object of your description and end by drawing an overall picture of it. The important thing is to use careful word choices and figurative language to create an original description of your object.

Mouse over the example below, a response to the prompt “Describe a place you love to spend time in,” to learn more about descriptive essays.

On Sunday afternoons I like to spend my time in the garden behind my house. The garden is narrow but long, a corridor of green extending from the back of the house, and I sit on a lawn chair at the far end to read and relax. I am in my small peaceful paradise: the shade of the tree, the feel of the grass on my feet, the gentle activity of the fish in the pond beside me.

My cat crosses the garden nimbly and leaps onto the fence to survey it from above. From his perch he can watch over his little kingdom and keep an eye on the neighbours. He does this until the barking of next door’s dog scares him from his post and he bolts for the cat flap to govern from the safety of the kitchen.

With that, I am left alone with the fish, whose whole world is the pond by my feet. The fish explore the pond every day as if for the first time, prodding and inspecting every stone. I sometimes feel the same about sitting here in the garden; I know the place better than anyone, but whenever I return I still feel compelled to pay attention to all its details and novelties—a new bird perched in the tree, the growth of the grass, and the movement of the insects it shelters…

Sitting out in the garden, I feel serene. I feel at home. And yet I always feel there is more to discover. The bounds of my garden may be small, but there is a whole world contained within it, and it is one I will never get tired of inhabiting.

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what is part of a literary analysis essay

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Though every essay type tests your writing skills, some essays also test your ability to read carefully and critically. In a textual analysis essay, you don’t just present information on a topic, but closely analyze a text to explain how it achieves certain effects.

Rhetorical analysis

A rhetorical analysis looks at a persuasive text (e.g. a speech, an essay, a political cartoon) in terms of the rhetorical devices it uses, and evaluates their effectiveness.

The goal is not to state whether you agree with the author’s argument but to look at how they have constructed it.

The introduction of a rhetorical analysis presents the text, some background information, and your thesis statement; the body comprises the analysis itself; and the conclusion wraps up your analysis of the text, emphasizing its relevance to broader concerns.

The example below is from a rhetorical analysis of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech . Mouse over it to learn more.

King’s speech is infused with prophetic language throughout. Even before the famous “dream” part of the speech, King’s language consistently strikes a prophetic tone. He refers to the Lincoln Memorial as a “hallowed spot” and speaks of rising “from the dark and desolate valley of segregation” to “make justice a reality for all of God’s children.” The assumption of this prophetic voice constitutes the text’s strongest ethical appeal; after linking himself with political figures like Lincoln and the Founding Fathers, King’s ethos adopts a distinctly religious tone, recalling Biblical prophets and preachers of change from across history. This adds significant force to his words; standing before an audience of hundreds of thousands, he states not just what the future should be, but what it will be: “The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.” This warning is almost apocalyptic in tone, though it concludes with the positive image of the “bright day of justice.” The power of King’s rhetoric thus stems not only from the pathos of his vision of a brighter future, but from the ethos of the prophetic voice he adopts in expressing this vision.

Literary analysis

A literary analysis essay presents a close reading of a work of literature—e.g. a poem or novel—to explore the choices made by the author and how they help to convey the text’s theme. It is not simply a book report or a review, but an in-depth interpretation of the text.

Literary analysis looks at things like setting, characters, themes, and figurative language. The goal is to closely analyze what the author conveys and how.

The introduction of a literary analysis essay presents the text and background, and provides your thesis statement; the body consists of close readings of the text with quotations and analysis in support of your argument; and the conclusion emphasizes what your approach tells us about the text.

Mouse over the example below, the introduction to a literary analysis essay on Frankenstein , to learn more.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, protagonist Victor Frankenstein is a stable representation of the callous ambition of modern science throughout the novel. This essay, however, argues that far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to portray Frankenstein in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as. This essay begins by exploring the positive portrayal of Frankenstein in the first volume, then moves on to the creature’s perception of him, and finally discusses the third volume’s narrative shift toward viewing Frankenstein as the creature views him.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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At high school and in composition classes at university, you’ll often be told to write a specific type of essay , but you might also just be given prompts.

Look for keywords in these prompts that suggest a certain approach: The word “explain” suggests you should write an expository essay , while the word “describe” implies a descriptive essay . An argumentative essay might be prompted with the word “assess” or “argue.”

The vast majority of essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Almost all academic writing involves building up an argument, though other types of essay might be assigned in composition classes.

Essays can present arguments about all kinds of different topics. For example:

  • In a literary analysis essay, you might make an argument for a specific interpretation of a text
  • In a history essay, you might present an argument for the importance of a particular event
  • In a politics essay, you might argue for the validity of a certain political theory

An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.

An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.

The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept.

Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays , and similar writing skills can apply to both.

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How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay: Purposes, Outline, Samples

literary analysis

Tia - The Writer Expert

Firstly to understand what a literary analysis essay means, it’s a way to determine and understand the work of an author, even if it is a single work or an entire body of work. Literary criticism is a description, analysis, evaluation, or interpretation of a particular literary work or an author’s writings as a whole.

Many students, writers, and english scholars are told to write essays on different literary analysis essay topics because this type of assignment helps and makes writers to think about the reason why a poem, short story, novel, or play was written. To analyze literature, writers will need to remember that authors have specific decisions for particular reasons. Your essay should point out the author’s decision and try to explain their intentions.

what is part of a literary analysis essay

Learn how to write a book review and check out related guides: poem analysis essay , poetry analysis essay or critical lens essay at EssayHub blog.

What Is A Literary Analysis Essay?

The most comprehensive literary analysis definition goes as follows. It is a text that objectively analyzes the weak and strong points of another text. One author shares their opinion on what another author wrote. The most common literary analysis format is an essay.

The writer examines a novel, short story, or another type of fiction created by someone else. They praise or criticize the plot, style, characters, and other aspects of the text. After reading a piece of literary analysis, people should understand whether the book is worthy or not. 

What Is The Purpose Of A Literary Analysis Essay?

When a newbie checks literary analysis examples, they will see that they are very personal. Different people might perceive the same text very differently. It depends on their character, life experience, and cultural background. The aim of writing a literary analysis is to express one’s individual understanding of the text and back it up with facts.

It is not sufficient to say, "I enjoyed every minute of reading this book!" or "It is too dull." All types of literary analysis involve the assessment of both technical and emotional aspects of the text. It implies an impartial balancing of pros and cons.

Imagine that someone is looking for a good book. Their time and finances are limited, so they can afford just one text. They want to avoid hit-or-miss decisions. They prefer an expert to recommend to them what to read.

They do not want this expert to be a high-brow professional critic. They are interested in the opinions of people whose lifestyle and worldview are close to theirs. They read book blogs and unbiased reviews on profile sites. When they finally buy a piece of fiction, they know what to expect of it.

After a reader gains experience, they become ready to share viewpoints with others. They read articles on how to analyze literature and start writing their own reviews. They can post their works in their private blogs or share them on social networks. Plus, literary analysis is an essential part of the educational process in schools and colleges.

Content Of A Literary Analysis Essay

There are many topics for literary analysis, but it all depends on the kind of work that a writer analyzes. For instance, the approach is not the same in poems as it is in the case with a play. Before writing it is important to know what you want to analyze in the literature that you have read. That brings us to types of literature analysis. How can a writer analyze the literature? This is done by:

  • Character Analysis
  • Symbolism Analysis
  • Theme Analysis
  • Setting Analysis
  • Structure and Style Analysis
  • Diction, Imagery, and Denotation Analysis. etc.

How To Write A Literary Analysis Essay?

Read the text critically.

When carrying out literature analysis, a person should read slowly. They should start a notebook where they would put down their thoughts. They should take notes when they find themselves in one of the following situations:

  • disagree with the author;
  • want to praise the author’s skills;
  • come across a plot twist that resembles their own lives;
  • have anything to say on the matter.

When people read an interesting text, they have controversial desires. On the one hand, they want to finish it to get to know what happens in the end. On the other hand, they want to enjoy it for as long as possible. When compiling a literary analysis sample, people should focus on their thoughts and not emotions.

Literary Devices

When newbies ask about how to write a good literary analysis, literary devices become the most challenging aspect for them. These devices involve the following terms and notions:

  • literary elements, such as plot, mood, and protagonists;
  • figurative language, including symbolism and metaphors;
  • literary techniques, such as foreshadowing and repetition.

To be able to analyze these aspects, newbies should read theory in textbooks. Also, they should examine enough sample literary analysis essays. They need to see how other writers handle the overview of literary devices without making their texts too formal.

In a literary analysis paper, it is not enough to say that the author has a masterful command of the word. The writer should concentrate on the following important aspects.

  • Is the language modern, archaic, or full of slang?
  • Does the author use poetic phrases?
  • Are the sentences predominantly long or short? How does the rhythm of the text impact its mood?

It would be wise to answer the following question in a literary analysis essay example. Do all characters speak the same language, or does each one have their particular style? Individual speech manners are significant merits of fiction.

Narrative Voice

A text can be written either from a first-person or third-person perspective. In a literary analysis example, the author should explain the position of the narrator. Are they omnipresent, or does the reader hardly notice them? Are they reliable, or do they share a distorted version of events?

Writers with little experience might ask how to do literary analysis when the narrator is absent. In this case, speak about the tone. Is it neutral, comic, or tragic? What emotions does it evoke in the readers from the first passage? How often does the reader come across exaggerations, irony, or incongruities?

In a novel, the key elements of literary analysis are chapters. In a play, these constituents are acts and scenes. In a poem, these are lines and stanzas. The author of the essay should think of how skilfully the writer divided their text into parts.

Chapters, scenes, and stanzas should be interconnected logically and emotionally. The last line of the previous part should motivate the reader to glance through the next one. The structure of the text helps emphasize its conflicts and build up the tension. The pauses between every two parts might speak louder than a thousand words.

Most examples of literary analysis essay include comments on the timeline of the story. Do the events unfold in chronological order? Does the author make the readers travel back and forth in a time machine? How easy is it to switch between different time layers, and which effect does it produce?

The following types of conflicts are most likely to be present in a literary analysis:

  • one person versus another;
  • person versus society;
  • person versus technology;
  • person versus supernatural forces;
  • an inner conflict within a person (good versus bad intentions).

Instead of one person, there might be a group of people.

Newbies should not get confused about how to write a thesis for a literary analysis. The term "thesis" denotes the main point that they are planning to focus on. Modern books are multifaceted: they feature numerous problems and give readers a lot of food for thought. Yet, the writer should concentrate only on a handful of aspects in their work.

There are three approaches to thesis writing:

  • analytical;
  • argumentative;
  • explanatory.

The literary analysis thesis of the first type strives to answer the questions "why?" and "how?" The writer tries to explain why the author created that book. Why is their perception of the world so unique and innovative? Why do they draw certain parallels and use specific devices?

This sentence might serve as a good example of an analytical thesis: "Outraged by gender inequality in this Eastern country, the author ridicules the problem instead of trying to undermine the traditions."

An argumentative thesis for literary analysis implies that the writer explains their own perception of the text. They take a certain position that might differ from the opinion of the majority. They further prove their point by quoting the book. For instance: "While most critics perceive this novel as an educational one, I believe that the main conflict lies in the lack of tolerance in society."

Literary analysis thesis examples of the explanatory type do not include the author’s opinion at all. They just help other readers understand the message of the book: "The author depicts their ideal political system."

Write A Literary Analysis Essay

Write a title.

After reading the title, the person should understand what the literary analysis paper example is about. The title should contain the digest of the paper. It should reveal the writer’s attitude to the piece of fiction that they criticize. 

Those who do not know how to start a literary analysis can use a popular trick that works for any book genre. They can include a short quote from the book in the name of their essay. Then, they should put a colon and accompany the quote with their own comment.

Write An Introduction

The instruction on how to write literary analysis starts with a clear statement of one’s goals. The author should tell their readers what the book they are going to criticize is about and why they chose it. They should share the title of the text and the name of its writer. They might briefly outline the plot and problems of the manuscript. They might focus the readers’ attention on the main points of their essay — language, characters, or conflicts.

Write A Body

All the best examples of literary analysis essay have an identical structure. Each paragraph is focused on one aspect or topic. In the first sentence, the author briefly outlines this topic. That initial phrase should be concise and unambiguous. 

The last sentence of each paragraph should summarize its essence. It should not contradict the first phrase and overall logic of the passage.

The writer should avoid lengthy and complicated structures. Even if the author of the book prefers compound sentences, a literary analysis sample should be easier to read. One phrase should contain only one thought. To link sentences, the writer should use transition words.

"The book dissects the impact of virtual reality technologies on the life of single people in cosmopolitan cities" — this is an example of a topic sentence that opens a paragraph. "Nevertheless, its target audience is not geeks or die-hard gamers" — here, the word "nevertheless" serves as a transition.

In any literary analysis template, the writer should back up their opinion with textual evidence. They should quote parts of the original texts only if they contain no more than 30 words. Otherwise, they should reword the quotes to deliver the essence of large passages.

Write A Conclusion

The answer to the question "How to conclude a literary analysis?" is very simple. The writer needs to reword and sum up everything that they have said above. They should share no original quotes and introduce no new thoughts. It is enough to summarize their main ideas logically and concisely.

How to analyze literature

Literary Analysis Essay Outline


Introduction should be sophisticated and creative, and it should catch the reader’s attention, so they can read the rest of the essay. A literary analysis should not sound boring. It should create some enthralling and fascinating quotes, reflection or motives. The main sentences of the introduction should give backdrop facts so that the analysis will make sense; facts such as Title of the Book, Name of Author and little information about the book. Don’t write bulky details of the book the reader would have read this book and they just want to read the analysis. Make sure that your backdrop information and your thesis statement are short and transitional. To make the reader understand and connect to the literature and what exactly is been analyzed. The analysis or thesis statement is what you will prove in your essay, and it should come at the end of your introductory paragraph. The Intro could be more than one paragraph but about 5 important sentences.

The body must be very convincing. Here start rendering evidences of the argument. A convincing body will have at least three to four paragraphs or more. Also, do not go out of context the question has to be related. How does it relate to the overall theme of what the analysis? Make emphasis on the ways in which these elements bestow to the entire quality of the book. Emphasize one major point per paragraph in this section. No need to rush all of your evidence into one idea. Do more reading and analyze different factors in your literary analysis. Argue on a character's development, for example how the individual changes from the beginning to the end of the book. Center core on a character's fatal flaw and query or question the person's mistakes.

The conclusion should end dynamically and energetically. Start rounding up the literary essay paper in the last paragraph. It should include all the major points that have been made in the aforementioned statements of your literary analysis. Also, make emphasis on the on the implications of your argument.

Literary Analysis Essay Example

Symbolism Manifestation in Little Prince By Antoine De Saint-Exupery

The storyline arose from the author's personal experience. He survived an airplane accident in a desert. It happened when the writer served as a pilot during World War II.

A seemingly simple-hearted fairy tale has two main plotlines that uncover deeper problems. The leading one is the pilot-narrator line, lined up with the metaphor of adult reality. The second line dwells on the adventures of the Little Prince. Two protagonists travel to different planets, get acquainted with various characters, both positive and negative. 

Each planet introduces the readers to a different philosophical conundrum. Each item and being in the book bear unique symbolic meaning. 

The Pilot impersonates the author in his adult years. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was, in fact, a pilot and survived a plane crash in the desert.

The sudden encounter of an adult and a child (both are metaphors for inner psychological states) occurs in the desert, symbolizing the disastrous inner state of the narrator. The story unravels during the repair of the plane. The maintenance itself is a metaphor for mending the inner traumas through direct dialogue with the inner child.

The Little Prince

The description of the Little Prince gives the readers a hint of its relation to the author in his childhood years. Antoine de Saint-Exupery came from an impoverished aristocratic family. Through the Little Prince, the author shows himself. He reveals his struggle to survive within the boring world of adults. 

His visit to our planet is a symbol of birth. The return to the home planet occurs through physical death from the poison of a snake. Here, we can observe the impact of Christian religious thinking on the plotline. The physical death of the protagonist is a reference to the religious idea of an immortal soul. Thus, after receiving knowledge about life from the Fox and Pilot, Little Prince has to die to be reborn into a new state.

The line telling about the love of the Little Prince and Rose shows an allegorical depiction of love. It reveals the ironic unsimilarity of how men and women see and express this feeling. 

Rose gets introduced to the readers as a proud and beautiful character who has power over the Little Prince and his feelings. Gentle, timid, dewy-eyed Little Prince suffers from the frivolity of Rose. Because of his naïve perception, the protagonist struggled to see that it was necessary to love her for her essence – for the aroma and the joy she brought him.

When the protagonist sees that roses are abundant in the gardens on Earth, he feels disappointed. Later, he meets the Fox who serves as the guide to the little lost being. Fox explains to the protagonist some basic philosophical truths. He teaches the Little Prince to look with his heart, not his eyes, and be responsible for those we have tamed.

When Little Prince absorbs the knowledge imparted by his new friend, he becomes mortal. This transition symbolizes him growing up and shaking off idealistic world perception.

Planets And Their Inhabitants

The author shows his readers two sorts of evil. The first kind of evil reveals itself in the negative sides of separate people. 

The inhabitants of different planets, visited by the protagonist, reveal the most dangerous human vices. It seems relevant to note that all of them are adults. Drunkards, politicians, and selfish people seem quite morally bankrupt.

The author exposes life devoid of meaning as a common vice. The only relatable person to the protagonist is a lamplighter. He differs because his craft is good for others.

Baobab Trees

Another element of evil in the book is macro-evil. Baobabs represent evil in general. This image is a metaphor for fascism. Saint-Exupery gently leads the readers to the idea that such evil endangers the world. It should be extinguished like undesirable plants.

The main idea of the used allegories is the presentation of true values. The author contrasts naive and rational ways of world perception, the individual, and the crowd. In the tale, the unraveling of the main themes is connected with compositional structure, metaphors, and similes used by the author. 

The author dwells on deep philosophical issues through similes and symbols. He emphasizes such topics as true love, friendship, and loneliness.

Romantic traditions play a keynote role in the plot formation. Unraveling the deep problems of humanity in a form of the fairytale is the main sign of that. It comprises all typical elements of this genre: child protagonist, fairy-tale characters, and a fantastic journey. These symbolic characters and items introduce the depth to the plot. They make readers see deeper into the book and reconsider their perception of reality.

Do you need assistance with request " help me write my essay " in writing a literary analysis essay or any other kind of essay, academic papers? EssayHub is a genuine essay writing services , providing students with online assistance. We have essay writers who can provide you with an argumentative essay writing service on any topic you want, in any format and at a superior quality. Check the customer reviews who buy essays online and pay for essay on our platform. Seeing is believing. Try it out!

what is part of a literary analysis essay

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Literary Analysis Essay

Literary Analysis Essay Writing

Last updated on: May 21, 2023

Literary Analysis Essay - Ultimate Guide By Professionals

By: Cordon J.

Reviewed By: Rylee W.

Published on: Dec 3, 2019

Literary Analysis Essay

A literary analysis essay specifically examines and evaluates a piece of literature or a literary work. It also understands and explains the links between the small parts to their whole information.

It is important for students to understand the meaning and the true essence of literature to write a literary essay.

One of the most difficult assignments for students is writing a literary analysis essay. It can be hard to come up with an original idea or find enough material to write about. You might think you need years of experience in order to create a good paper, but that's not true.

This blog post will show you how easy it can be when you follow the steps given here.Writing such an essay involves the breakdown of a book into small parts and understanding each part separately. It seems easy, right?

Trust us, it is not as hard as good book reports but it may also not be extremely easy. You will have to take into account different approaches and explain them in relation with the chosen literary work.

It is a common high school and college assignment and you can learn everything in this blog.

Continue reading for some useful tips with an example to write a literary analysis essay that will be on point. You can also explore our detailed article on writing an analytical essay .

Literary Analysis Essay

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What is a Literary Analysis Essay?

A literary analysis essay is an important kind of essay that focuses on the detailed analysis of the work of literature.

The purpose of a literary analysis essay is to explain why the author has used a specific theme for his work. Or examine the characters, themes, literary devices , figurative language, and settings in the story.

This type of essay encourages students to think about how the book or the short story has been written. And why the author has created this work.

The method used in the literary analysis essay differs from other types of essays. It primarily focuses on the type of work and literature that is being analyzed.

Mostly, you will be going to break down the work into various parts. In order to develop a better understanding of the idea being discussed, each part will be discussed separately.

The essay should explain the choices of the author and point of view along with your answers and personal analysis.

How To Write A Literary Analysis Essay

So how to start a literary analysis essay? The answer to this question is quite simple.

The following sections are required to write an effective literary analysis essay. By following the guidelines given in the following sections, you will be able to craft a winning literary analysis essay.


The aim of the introduction is to establish a context for readers. You have to give a brief on the background of the selected topic.

It should contain the name of the author of the literary work along with its title. The introduction should be effective enough to grab the reader’s attention.

In the body section, you have to retell the story that the writer has narrated. It is a good idea to create a summary as it is one of the important tips of literary analysis.

Other than that, you are required to develop ideas and disclose the observed information related to the issue. The ideal length of the body section is around 1000 words.

To write the body section, your observation should be based on evidence and your own style of writing.

It would be great if the body of your essay is divided into three paragraphs. Make a strong argument with facts related to the thesis statement in all of the paragraphs in the body section.

Start writing each paragraph with a topic sentence and use transition words when moving to the next paragraph.

Summarize the important points of your literary analysis essay in this section. It is important to compose a short and strong conclusion to help you make a final impression of your essay.

Pay attention that this section does not contain any new information. It should provide a sense of completion by restating the main idea with a short description of your arguments. End the conclusion with your supporting details.

You have to explain why the book is important. Also, elaborate on the means that the authors used to convey her/his opinion regarding the issue.

For further understanding, here is a downloadable literary analysis essay outline. This outline will help you structure and format your essay properly and earn an A easily.


Types of Literary Analysis Essay

  • Close reading - This method involves attentive reading and detailed analysis. No need for a lot of knowledge and inspiration to write an essay that shows your creative skills.
  • Theoretical - In this type, you will rely on theories related to the selected topic.
  • Historical - This type of essay concerns the discipline of history. Sometimes historical analysis is required to explain events in detail.
  • Applied - This type involves analysis of a specific issue from a practical perspective.
  • Comparative - This type of writing is based on when two or more alternatives are compared

Examples of Literary Analysis Essay

Examples are great to understand any concept, especially if it is related to writing. Below are some great literary analysis essay examples that showcase how this type of essay is written.





If you do not have experience in writing essays, this will be a very chaotic process for you. In that case, it is very important for you to conduct good research on the topic before writing.

There are two important points that you should keep in mind when writing a literary analysis essay.

First, remember that it is very important to select a topic in which you are interested. Choose something that really inspires you. This will help you to catch the attention of a reader.

The selected topic should reflect the main idea of writing. In addition to that, it should also express your point of view as well.

Another important thing is to draft a good outline for your literary analysis essay. It will help you to define a central point and division of this into parts for further discussion.

Literary Analysis Essay Topics

Literary analysis essays are mostly based on artistic works like books, movies, paintings, and other forms of art. However, generally, students choose novels and books to write their literary essays.

Some cool, fresh, and good topics and ideas are listed below:

  • Role of the Three Witches in flaming Macbeth’s ambition.
  • Analyze the themes of the Play Antigone,
  • Discuss Ajax as a tragic hero.
  • The Judgement of Paris: Analyze the Reasons and their Consequences.
  • Oedipus Rex: A Doomed Son or a Conqueror?
  • Describe the Oedipus complex and Electra complex in relation to their respective myths.
  • Betrayal is a common theme of Shakespearean tragedies. Discuss
  • Identify and analyze the traits of history in T.S Eliot’s ‘Gerontion’.
  • Analyze the theme of identity crisis in The Great Gatsby.
  • Analyze the writing style of Emily Dickinson.

If you are still in doubt then there is nothing bad in getting professional writers’ help.

We at can help you get a custom paper as per your specified requirements with our do essay for me service.

Our essay writers will help you write outstanding literary essays or any other type of essay. Such as compare and contrast essays, descriptive essays, rhetorical essays. We cover all of these.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What should a literary analysis essay include.

A good literary analysis essay must include a proper and in-depth explanation of your ideas. They must be backed with examples and evidence from the text. Textual evidence includes summaries, paraphrased text, original work details, and direct quotes.

What are the 4 components of literary analysis?

Here are the 4 essential parts of a literary analysis essay;

No literary work is explained properly without discussing and explaining these 4 things.

How do you start a literary analysis essay?

Start your literary analysis essay with the name of the work and the title. Hook your readers by introducing the main ideas that you will discuss in your essay and engage them from the start.

How do you do a literary analysis?

In a literary analysis essay, you study the text closely, understand and interpret its meanings. And try to find out the reasons behind why the author has used certain symbols, themes, and objects in the work.

Why is literary analysis important?

It encourages the students to think beyond their existing knowledge, experiences, and belief and build empathy. This helps in improving the writing skills also.

What is the fundamental characteristic of a literary analysis essay?

Interpretation is the fundamental and important feature of a literary analysis essay. The essay is based on how well the writer explains and interprets the work.

Cordon J.

Law, Finance Essay

Cordon. is a published author and writing specialist. He has worked in the publishing industry for many years, providing writing services and digital content. His own writing career began with a focus on literature and linguistics, which he continues to pursue. Cordon is an engaging and professional individual, always looking to help others achieve their goals.

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Literary Analysis Essay: 4 Easy Steps for Writing a Paper

18 August 2023

last updated

A literary analysis essay is a document that allows a student to read a novel, poem, short story, or other text to examine how the author utilizes some knowledge, such as literary devices, and interpret its significance to society. Principally, this article is a guideline on how to write a literary analysis essay because it offers valid insights, including possible topics, a sample outline, and step-by-step technical details, which one should observe to produce high-quality work.

General Aspects for Writing an Outstanding Literary Analysis Essay

The academic activity of writing provides students with the intellectual capacity to produce various documents to meet the requirements of educational institutions, including high schools, colleges, and universities. As such, gaining insights into how to write all types of papers is critical to their academic success. Practically, different papers have unique essay structure , essay outline , and content, explaining why individuals must embrace a culture of reading guidelines on how to write various academic texts. Reading this article is essential because it equips learners, scholars, researchers, and anyone who uses writing to communicate ideas and concepts about how to write a literary analysis essay.

Definition of What Is a Literary Analysis Essay

A literary analysis essay is a scholarly document that analyzes a text to explore the author’s writing approach and interpret the meaning of their work. In this case, students must understand that a literary analysis essay is different from other types of essays , including an analytical essay and a cause and effect essay , because it explores a written text to interpret its implication to society. Typically, individuals may not see a direct connection between poems, novels, and plays and what happens in real life in their communities. Therefore, a literary analysis essay helps students to analyze the information that authors put across in such texts to draw a connection between their content and real-life scenarios like immorality.

How to Write a Good Literary Analysis Essay in 4 Easy Steps

The Focus of a Good Literary Analysis Essay

Students should focus on how the author utilizes literary devices to emphasize the plot, themes, and protagonists’ attitudes and behavior when writing literary analysis essays. The primary devices include allegory, metaphor, simile, symbolism, flashbacks, foreshadowing, hyperbole, imagery, personification, and motif. Because each device makes a poem or short story relevant in exploring a societal issue, focusing on each helps to shape a literary analysis essay. Ideally, students writing such papers must educate readers about rhetorical devices and how it empowers the author to contextualize an issue in contemporary society.

Top 10 Literary Devices for Writing Analysis Essays

1️⃣ allegory.

Authors utilize allegory to incorporate a deeper meaning, concept, or idea. As such, readers may fail to grasp its application in the text if they do not analyze the work from a literary perspective. An example of an allegory is George Orwell’s depiction of animals fighting for equality in his novel “Animal Farm.” A casual reading may result in a different interpretation of this text from the author’s intention of depicting the Russian Revolution. Therefore, when writing a literary analysis paper, students should highlight how the text they are analyzing uses this device to hide the deeper meaning of an idea or concept.

2️⃣ Metaphor

Metaphor is standard in short stories and other texts because authors use it as a figure of speech to describe an object or action in a manner that defies literal understanding of nature or the world. An example of a metaphor is, “I could observe a white blanket of snow running into the horizon along the streets of New York.” While it is true that snow can cover entire streets, it is a lie to conclude that the snow is a blanket. Therefore, when writing a literary analysis essay, students must address how the author of the text uses metaphors to express ideas better. They should discuss how this device gives readers a striking image that arouses their intellectual curiosity.

When reading a specific text for analysis, students must notice how the writer utilizes similes as figures of speech that compare two things by emphasizing their similarities. One can identify this device by assessing contexts where the text uses the terms ‘like’ or ‘as’ to establish a relationship. An example of a simile is when a paper includes: “He ran as fast as a cheetah.” In this case, the author compares the individual’s ability to run with a cheetah, which humanity considers the fastest animal on Earth. When conducting a literary analysis of a document, individuals should explain how the author uses the characteristics of one object to compare it with another.

4️⃣ Symbolism

Symbolism depicts authors’ traditions of using symbols to emphasize deeper meanings and qualities within their texts. When writing a text for a literal analysis essay, students should focus on how the writer uses words to depict hidden ideas and concepts. An example of symbolism is an author’s statement, “Tears of joy flowed freely in the faces of everyone who witnessed the wedding.” While people associate tears with sadness, this statement depicts them as evidence of happiness in a multitude. From this perspective, students performing a literary analysis of a novel should emphasize how the author uses words to symbolize deeper meanings.

5️⃣ Flashback

Flashback allows authors to emphasize the significance of past events or experiences to the present. An example of this device is when a writer of a novel claims, “She stood on the podium, reflecting on how her childhood experience with domestic violence had shaped her illustrious career as an activist.” In this statement, the author introduces the activist’s past as essential in understanding why they chose their career path. In this respect, individuals conducting a literary analysis essay should explain how the author uses past events to convey to the audience important information that helps one to understand a character’s background and how it shaped their present reality.

6️⃣ Foreshadowing

Foreshadowing is a writing technique that allows authors to inform the audience about an event yet to happen in the story. An example of a flashback in a novel is when the author states, “As the boys retreated to their respective rooms, the vocal one vowed to revenge the abuse visited upon them by the school bully.” This statement prepares readers for a later event where one person acts to punish another individual who occasionally bullies students. Therefore, when writing a literary analysis essay, learners should highlight how the author speaks of events that will unfold later in the story.

7️⃣ Hyperbole

When writing stories, authors often use hyperboles to exaggerate or stretch the truth to express a feeling or emphasize an idea or concept. However, what they put across is literary impossible. An example of this writing technique is when a novelist claims, “Students were dying of thirst.” While the writer intends to emphasize the deep thirst that students had, probably because of going for long without drinking anything, the literal meaning of the text is that students were dying because of thirst, which is not valid. As such, when undertaking a literary analysis of a novel, writers should explain how the novelist uses words to exaggerate ideas or concepts, defying literal understanding of the scenario.

8️⃣ Imagery

Imagery is a writing technique where authors use powerful sensory language to evoke the reader’s imagination or emotions. An example of imagery is when a poet states, “The odor from his sweaty shirt was a sufficient repulsive agent.” Upon reading this line, one imagines a shirt stinking because of sweat to the point of making someone avoid it. So, when writing a literary analysis essay, students should emphasize how the writer uses words that compel the audience to visualize an imaginary world and feel part of the story.

9️⃣ Personification

Authors use the literary device of personification when they want to give an object, animal, or something nonhuman human-like qualities. An example of personification in a sentence is when an author of a short story writes, “The flowers in the decorated pots were begging for water.” This sentence equates flowers with human beings by describing them using the human-like quality of begging. Naturally, plants do not beg because they cannot speak or gesture. Therefore, when writing a literary analysis essay, people should describe how the author utilizes personification by identifying sentences describing objects, animals, and other things using qualities that nature assigns to humans.

Novelists utilize motifs when they incorporate a recurring pattern, such as an idea, throughout the story to reinforce their plot or a particular theme. An example of a motif is when the author of Harry Potter highlights Harry’s scar several times throughout the text. In this respect, readers get the idea that the scar is central to understanding the story, specifically the role of Harry and his experiences. Therefore, when students are literary analyzing a short story, they should explain how the author utilizes motifs in the story to reinforce an idea, a theme, or the plot.

Examples of Top 6 Conflicts for Writing a Literary Analysis Essay

Conflict is a theme that novelists, poets, and authors of short stories or poems often use to make their literary work relevant to the audience. In a simple definition, conflict is a literary device that writers use to depict a struggle between opposing forces. Moreover, its purpose is to create contrast in the story. From this view, conflict in literature includes privilege versus lack, nature versus humanity, protagonist versus society, human versus technology, hero versus fate, and person versus self.

1️⃣ Privilege Versus Lack

In most short stories, authors contrast people from a wealthy background who appear privileged and those from a poor background who suffer from lack. Typically, this contrast happens when writers emphasize the significance of material things in the story, such as a car and a house, or social status, like a good education and a secure neighborhood.

2️⃣ Nature Versus Humanity

When writing a short story, authors may create a scenario where nature conflicts with humanity, such as when natural events, like floods and earthquakes, cause irreversible damage to communities. Essentially, this contrast emphasizes the danger of human encroachment into natural habitats, including forests through deforestation and oceans through offshore oil drilling.

3️⃣ Protagonist Versus Society

Authors of various texts, particularly novels and short stories, depict a struggle between the protagonist and society. In this conflict, the main character challenges acceptable societal norms, practices, or values, although they are against humanity’s progress. As such, an example is where a protagonist fights against corruption in public service or immorality in society despite everyone else being comfortable with the status quo.

4️⃣ Human Versus Technology

In today’s age of technology, writers produce texts that highlight a conflict between humans and various systems. An example is where the author emphasizes the drawbacks of social media by emphasizing their negative impact on adolescents’ academic performance and sociability. While some authors may hail technology as critical to human progress, they pinpoint its harmful impacts on individuals’ physical, mental, or social well-being.

5️⃣ Hero Versus Fate

Most novels and short stories have a hero who defies nature or the status quo and suffers a painful fate at the end, such as death. This scenario depicts conflict because society expects heroes to survive anything that comes their way, including battles and disease. Therefore, by showing heroes as subject to fate, authors emphasize that humans are limited and no one can defy nature.

6️⃣ Person Versus Self

When writing fiction, authors tend to depict individuals’ struggles with some aspects of their personality, such as greed for material wealth or hunger for power. This conflict helps readers to understand human frailty and its implications on individuals, their families, and society. In most instances, people utilize this writing approach to emphasize a moral lesson to readers.

Upraising a Literary Text

After reading novels or short stories, students can upraise the author’s literary work by evaluating their effectiveness in communicating a central idea, the relevance of plot twists, the choice of characters, and the relevance of their texts to contemporary society. In essence, upraising a literary work involves judging it across various dimensions to show whether the writer produced a text of good quality and relevance.

Communicating a Central Idea

Authors make their literary work relevant and impactful when effectively communicating a central idea, such as the value of sacrifice. Notably, effective communication entails many things, including using the correct language, incorporating examples, establishing a background, and making the audience feel part of the story.

Relevance of Plot Twist When Writing a Literary Analysis Essay

The plot of a story is the guideline that directs the audience’s intellectual engagement with the literary work. Simply put, the plot is what the story is all about. However, authors often introduce a plot twist in their work for various reasons, including intensifying the audience’s emotions. While such twists are essential to make the story captivating, they should be relevant to avoid disrupting the logical flow of the text or having logical fallacies . For example, a plot twist where the protagonist develops a severe sickness should not end with their death because it would disrupt the entire story. However, such a twist can enrich the story by depicting the main character as resilient.

The Choice of Characters

Characters make any literary text, like a novel or short story, riveting because they are action figures. Authors assign different characters various roles, although some of them take on multiple roles. When writing a literary analysis essay, students should explain whether the author has assigned every role to the character it deserves. It would be frustrating for the audience to encounter a scenario where a particular hero in a story is cowardly and naïve. In such a scenario, people should judge the choice of characters as inappropriate.

Relevance of the Text

Although fiction depicts unreal situations, it aims to stimulate the readers’ intellect by allowing them to draw certain conclusions. Essentially, this outcome involves drawing a connection between some ideas in the text and what happens in real life. Hence, a novel or short story that does not allow readers to make such connections fails to stimulate the intellect because it is irrelevant to the real world.

10 Most Common Types of Literary Analysis Essays

When reading a text for literary analysis, students should decide what type of paper they want to produce. Generally, students focus on two outcomes when writing a literary analysis essay: interpreting or evaluating the text. The focus that students choose determines the type of analysis they will conduct. The following literary analyses are the most common because they focus on the text (the first four) and its relevance to society (the last six).

  • Character analysis
  • Theme analysis
  • Structure analysis
  • Style analysis
  • Discourse analysis
  • Cultural analysis
  • Psychological analysis
  • Reader response analysis
  • Feminist analysis
  • New criticism

Examples of Literary Analysis Essay Topics

When writing a literary analysis essay, students should choose a topic relevant to the work they seek to analyze. Doing so requires them to read the text and determine what theme most likely fits their purpose of writing an analysis. While it is common for students to pick a theme that the author of the work highlights in the title, one can choose literary analysis essay topics . The following topics are appropriate for a good literary analysis essay because they suggest the concept of investigation, evaluation, or interpretation.

  • Exploring Symbolism and Other Themes in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”
  • The Significance of Gender in William Shakespeare’s Play “Macbeth”
  • Imagery in William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet”
  • The Structural Features of the Poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost
  • How William Shakespeare Uses Language in “Romeo and Juliet”
  • Betrayal in Mary Shelley’s Novel “Frankenstein”
  • The American Dream Through the Lens of “The Great Gatsby”

A Sample Outline for Writing a Literary Analysis Essay

I. College essay introduction

  • A short summary of the text
  • Thesis statement

II. First body paragraph

  • Topic sentence 1: A sentence that emphasizes an idea in the thesis statement that the writer supports or defends in the rest of the paragraph.
  • Evidence 1: A quote from the text.
  • Analysis 1: Explaining who says the quote and the context of their words.
  • Concluding sentence 1 with a transition to the next paragraph.

III. Second body paragraph

  • Topic sentence 2: A sentence that emphasizes an idea in the thesis statement that the writer supports or defends in the rest of the paragraph.
  • Evidence 2: A quote from the text.
  • Analysis 2: Explaining who says the quote and the context of their words.
  • Concluding sentence 2 with a transition to the next paragraph.

IV. Third body paragraph

  • Topic sentence 3: A sentence that emphasizes an idea in the thesis statement that the writer supports or defends in the rest of the paragraph.
  • Evidence 3: A quote from the text.
  • Analysis 3: Explaining who says the quote and the context of their words.
  • Concluding sentence 3 with a transition to the next paragraph.

Note: Repeat the above pattern for the first, second, and third body paragraphs and add other paragraphs depending on the college essay length of a literary analysis.

V. Conclusion

  • Restate the thesis
  • Summarize the main points presented in body paragraphs
  • Show why the text is important by relating its ideas to society.

Example of a Literary Analysis Essay

Topic: Fear as a Central Theme in William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies”

I. Sample Introduction

Fear is a strong emotion that helps humans to avoid danger. As such, it is an eloquent characteristic of most people’s personalities, meaning it is a foundation for personal weaknesses or strengths. In “Lord of the Flies,” William Golding makes fear a central theme by depicting the main characters, Jack, Ralph, and Piggy, as individuals living in a constant unease state.

II. Example of Body Paragraph 1

Jack is uneasy throughout the story because he believes a beast lives amongst them. For example, he confirms his fear by saying, “We’ll close in and beat and beat and beat—!” While this statement depicts someone ready to face a beast, reading through the text reveals that Jack spoke the words out of fear. In this case, he uses his fear of the beast to control and manipulate his peers. Arguably, he exploits others’ fear to conceal his own.

III. Example of Body Paragraph 2

Although Ralph is also fearful, the cause of his fear is different. While his peers fear the beast, what makes him uneasy is the fear of never being rescued after the boys failed to keep the rescue fire burning. For instance, he exclaims, “I’m chief… There’s no signal showing. There may be a ship out there. Are you all off your rockers?” Basically, he is visibly angry at his peers for failing to realize the importance of fire to their well-being. In essence, Ralph’s attempt to see the fire as a savior is based on his fear of the beast.

IV. Example of Body Paragraph 3

On his part, Piggy is more afraid of Jack than the beast. For example, he says about Jack, “I’m scared of him…but if you stand out of the way he’d hurt the next thing. And that’s me.” His avoidance of Jack is a convenient way of dealing with his uneasiness. To a greater extent, Piggy’s fear of Jack creates another fear: his friends shunning him. Hence, fear is a powerful emotion that shapes Piggy’s experiences in the story.

V. Sample Conclusion

Golding’s novel depicts fear as a powerful influence on the behavior and experiences of the three main characters. Many people can relate the story to their individual lives by seeing how each boy deals with his fear. Ultimately, the novel is relevant to society because it depicts fear as a powerful influence on people’s personalities.

4 Easy Steps for Writing a Literary Analysis Essay

Writing a perfect literary analysis essay is a technical process that requires writers to observe certain procedures. Most importantly, this writing approach helps students to avoid mistakes that may affect the quality or relevance of literary analysis essays. Some of the silent rules that people should observe include preparing oneself for the literary work, setting up the stage for writing a literary analysis essay, starting the writing process, and wrapping up the paper to perfect it.

Step 1: Preparation

At this stage, students prepare to write a literary analysis essay by defining their essay topics . The most important thing that they should consider is the title of the literary work they seek to analyze and its purpose or significance to society. The next action is to prepare ideas for their papers, which requires them to understand their intentions. Typically, ideas come from reading the text one seeks to evaluate or interpret. Furthermore, students should proceed to consider their audience by focusing on their level of education and other characteristics that make them critique the literary work. As a result, this step aims to give students the proper mindset before writing a literary analysis essay.

Step 2: Stage Set Up

In the second step of writing a literary analysis essay, students are ready to begin writing. At this stage, people know their missions and need to make the right arrangements. The first task is to read the text they seek to analyze critically. They should not only reread the text but also make notes of the concepts, ideas, and themes they find useful or relevant to their literary analysis essays. The next task is to create a clear and well-organized outline to guide their writing. In turn, people can improve their literary analysis essays by incorporating research into this stage, which is vital in producing an annotated bibliography to ensure all evidence and quotes taken from credible sources are cited properly to avoid plagiarism.

Step 3: The Writing Process

Writing the first draft of a literary analysis essay is the third step in this journey. In this case, students can write the first draft prone to countless mistakes. The idea of this initial document is to allow writers to capture all the ideas they believe will make their papers impactful. At this stage, students add or delete information and alter the paper’s outline to fit their work. People should ensure the introduction sets the paper’s background and defines its purpose through a strong thesis statement. Then, the body should critically analyze the text by addressing the central themes, characters, and literary devices. In turn, the conclusion should restate the thesis and interpret the literary work by relating its ideas to contemporary society.

How to Construct a Thesis for a Literary Analysis Essay

The purpose of a good literary analysis thesis statement is to give the audience the writer’s agenda: what they seek to accomplish in the text, such as defend an argument, challenge a concept, or critique the text by focusing on the structure or any other quality. Notably, students can choose from different types of theses depending on the type of analysis they seek to undertake. The first type is an argumentative thesis, which applies to an argumentative essay or a persuasive essay with controversial research topics or ideas. The second is an analytical thesis applicable in an analytical essay where learners seek to analyze a concept or idea, such as characters. The third is an explanatory thesis, which is used in an explanatory essay where writers explain a phenomenon, such as technology’s influence on healthcare.

Step 4: Wrapping-Up

This step is the last stage when writing a literary analysis essay, where students focus on perfecting their work. As such, the first task is to read and reread the document to identify mistakes and inconsistencies. They should revise a literary analysis essay to correct such errors, which includes editing and ensuring all essential components are addressed: topic sentences, concluding sentences, transitions, proper style (APA, MLA, Harvard, or Chicago/Turabian) formatting, and proper citations. Simply put, students should ensure their final documents are perfect by eliminating grammatical and formatting mistakes and logical inconsistencies.

Summing Up on How to Write a Perfect Literary Analysis Essay

An excellent literary analysis essay evaluates other works to provide a new perspective on their significance. As a rule, a good literary analysis should have an introduction, thesis statement, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Moreover, body paragraphs should have evidence to support the central concept under investigation. Finally, by considering the conclusion examples , it should summarize the ideas presented in the paper.

  • Based on the information above, students require valid knowledge to write a high-quality literary analysis essay.
  • The first task is to choose a good topic.
  • The second aspect is to read the text under analysis to understand the plot, central themes, characters, and other essential information, including plot twists, literary devices, and climax.
  • Narrow the topic by focusing on one or two elements, such as plots, characters, themes, structures, or concepts.
  • Perfect a literary analysis essay by eliminating all mistakes: grammar, formatting, and illogical flow of ideas and thought.
  • Proofread the final paper before presenting it to readers.

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How to Write Literary Analysis Essay Step-By-Step With Examples

how to write literary analysis essay

Literary analysis essay is a familiar assignment for high-school students and college students, who chose literature as their major at the university. After reading this article, you will know everything that you might need to write a literary analysis essay.

What is Literary Analysis Essay?

Literary analysis essay is a type of writing assignment that aims at analyzing a piece of literature. ­Writers always raise certain problems, introduce interesting characters and use techniques in their works, that could be analyzed in your essay. In order to better understand what literary analysis essay is, we will consider several essay types:

Problematic Literary Analysis Essay

The goal of this essay is to analyze major or minor problem in the piece of literature. The piece of literature is used as a foundation for analysis of social, ethical or research problem. You are also welcome to express your own opinion (of course, supported by the arguments) on the problem of the novel or story. For example, it could be “Generation conflict in Romeo and Juliet”.

Comparison Literary Analysis Essay

This essay can be either focused on two pieces of literature (compare how two authors raise the same problem) or on one work (compare two characters or two events in one novel or story). The final goal is to make some conclusions from your comparison. A possible topic for this essay type is “Comparison of Mr.Darcy and Charles Bingley in Pride and Prejudice”.

Review Literary Analysis Essay

Topics for this essay type are usually quite broad. You should write how the object is portrayed in the work of the author, provide different examples as well as be attentive to details. This essay type is less analytical and more similar to a summary within the topic. It could be “The image of war in For Whom the Bell Tolls».

Quotation Literary Analysis Essay

You can also be asked to write an essay on the quotation from a novel or story. You need to understand the meaning of the quotation that might not be clear from the first sight. This essay is less related to the work itself, however, you should regard the quotation in the context of the piece of literature.

How to Write Literary Analysis Essay Step-By-Step

literary analysis essay


The goal of this part is to explain your reader what your paper is going to be about. You should definitely include the name of the author, the name of his work as well as provide some additional information on the novel or story. Here you also try to attract interest of your reader to your paper, that could be done by asking rhetorical question, providing relevant quote or revealing an unknown fact about the problem or the work. Don’t forget to formulate your statement – the main idea of your paper. It is usually the last sentence of the introduction.

Body is the central part of this essay. Looking at the content of the body, you can say whether the topic is covered fully. One of the most important thing in the body is how you divide it by paragraphs. Each paragraph should be dedicated to a particular minor idea, that will support your statement from the introduction. Those paragraphs should be connected between each other. We can suggest you to use chronological order or “from general to the specific” order in the body of your literary analysis essay. Remember: body could not be just the summary of the work!

Conclusion is the final part of your essay. To make your readers remember your essay, you should work to make it catchy.

There are several types of conclusion that will make your essay more valuable:

This is the most typical and common type of conclusion. You just summarize all the ideas stated in the body and connect them with your statement from the introduction.

2) Rhetorical question

Rhetorical question will take your reader back to the major problem of your essay, this way underlining its relevance.

3) ”Call” to your reader

You could also use more persuasive and emotional tone in your conclusion. It will make your reader to change his mind on the problem of an essay.

You could finish your essay with the quote from either a piece of literature that you are writing an essay about or any other source. However, be careful here, the quote you provide should express your thought clearly.

Literary Analysis Essay Outline

  • The major problem of an essay
  • The name of a novel/story/poem etc.
  • The name of the author
  • Attract readers’ attention
  • Paragraph 1
  • Arguments (reference to the text)
  • Analysis of text
  • Paragraph 2
  • Restate the major problem
  • Rhetorical question OR
  • Call to action OR

Examples Of Literary Analysis

examples of literary analysis

Literary analysis example of a short story

The old man and the sea – is a short novel, the last major work of Ernest Hemingway. As the years go by, people start thinking more about being old and about loneliness as a part of it. That was the central problem of this story by Hemingway. The main hero of the story is Santiago, an aged fisherman. Most of his time he spends alone in the sea. He used to speak to marine inhabitants as if they were his friends. How does the main hero face the problem of loneliness?

Hemingway is elaborating the problem of loneliness using symbolism. We could find the moment, where Santiago is struggling to save the fish. He is struggling till the very end, he is putting all his forces to achieve the goal. In such a way Hemingway wants to show that a person is stronger than circumstances. Despite that Santiago did not manage to save the fish, he doesn’t give up and he fights till the very end.

The author shows us that Manolin, a young boy, who wants to be a fisherman, behaves as Santiago’s friend. He is the only one who does not call Santiago “salao”. All the actions of Manolin prove that really deep human relationship exists between them.

The central idea of this work is that “a man can be destroyed but not defeated” and that is proved by strong character of Santiago on the example of his fight in the sea and a sincere attitude of a young boy to him.

Literary analysis essay example Romeo and Juliet

Love is amazing and the most mysterious feeling that encourage people from all over the world to do great things. Love is happiness, love is a gift, if you have love, nothing else really matters. «For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo…» – that is what the author of the greatest love story says about it. So, how could love cause such a tragedy? Was love the reason of death of two main heroes of William Shakespeare’s work?

The action is happening in the Middle-Aged Italy, in a small city Verona. Two clans – Montague and Capulet – live here for a long time. Despite the fight existing between two families for many years, Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet fall in love with each other. This love has influenced both of them dramatically. Romeo is amazed by his feelings. Juliette, who was really attached to her parents, becomes more brave and independent. However, their love does not have an influence on the relationship between their family members and even causes several deaths. Even such tragedies don’t break strong feelings existing between Romeo and Juliet. They are sure that their love is stronger than anything else, they don’t care where it goes, if they are together.

Moreover, we could also see the role of fate. A vicious twist breaks their marriage plans. Lorenzo’s emissary doesn’t manage to reach Romeo on time and he receives fake news about Juliette’s death. Even a small action might influence our life.

Thus, we see that love was not the reason of tragedy. We could blame aimless fight and prejudice existed in those times that costed Romeo and Juliette the lives. Besides, they had their chance to be saved, but the destiny had other plans. We might add that by their deaths, wise and cruel fate showed their relatives how blind they were in their fight.

Good luck with your literary analysis essay!

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Exploring Literary Analysis Essay Examples: 20 Insightful Examples

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What is Literary Analysis Essay

A literary analysis essay example is an academic assignment that examines and evaluates a work of literature or a given aspect of a specific literary piece. It tells about the big idea or theme of a book you’ve read. The literary essay may be about any book or any literary topic imaginable.

The purpose of a literary analysis essay is to give the reader a full perspective on the major idea or theme of the literature work. It just presents the main intention of the writer in constructing the piece.

In a literary analysis essay, the writer shares their opinion about the theme and other literary elements of writing .

These views are supported with textual evidence from relevant work to back up what is being said. It may not have a thesis statement depending on whether it’s an informative or argumentative essay type.

Let me break it up into two stages to start the journey. Your job is to synthesize a claimed or thematic statement about the passage and use your essay to support your ideas.

Your professor always reads the text you’re studying, so you don’t have to talk about what happened in the plot.

You reread most of the books before, and you know about them that if they are simply because you merely recite a book’s major characters as proof that you reread them, but the analysis would need more.

There can be many sections in this style, including but not limited to the introduction, body paragraphs supporting claims for your point-of-view (argument), conclusion where these points converge into one strong consensus called “claim.”

The following are the features that distinguish a literary analysis essay from other types of papers:

  • A narrative is included in a literary analysis essay.
  • It is interpretative;
  • It does not contain an argumentative thesis;
  • It is a report.

Writing a literary analysis essay is an essential part of academics.

High school and college students often get assigned this type of paper.

A literary essay is one of the different types of essays that require good analyzing skills, strong analytical abilities, and the ability to write well to be successful as something people want to read.

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  • How to Structure an Essay

What is the Purpose of a Literary Analysis Essay?

The purpose of a literary analysis essay is to carefully examine and sometimes evaluate a work of literature or an aspect of a work of literature. As with any analysis, this requires you to break the subject down into its component parts.

Examining the different elements of a piece of literature is not an end in itself but rather a process to help you better appreciate and understand the work of literature as a whole.

For instance, an analysis of a poem might deal with the different types of images in a poem or with the relationship between the form and content of the work. If you were to analyze a play, you might analyze the relationship between a subplot and the main plot, or you might analyze the character flaw of the tragic hero by tracing how it is revealed throughout the play.

You can choose from many approaches when analyzing a piece of literature. Common literary analysis essay focuses include characterization, structure, setting, language, theme, and symbolism.

Elements of Literature 

Literature is the ideas or devices that make up a story.

These elements are used to develop literary works, and without them, no essay can be complete.

Some of these elements have more prominence than others, which do not play a significant role when it comes down to choosing literature for analysis purposes like I am doing now with this piece called “The Elements Of Literature.”

True analysis means examining the text as if as an investigator.

Set, characters, and setting each leave details of deeper meaning, and the only thing you do is find these out. Characters are useful to analysis because they act to cause and react to an event in a story.

Conflict is the fight between two opposing forces, usually the main protagonist and antagonists.

You may easily understand the setting because authors usually express opinions through character representation of races, religions, or gender.

The author may express some opinions through their characters can have provocative and revealing thoughts as well. In any analysis, sometimes a character gets started.

The plot is one of the essential elements in a literary essay because it provides insight into how the story unfolds and discusses patterns of events that make up a story.

Sometimes authors use nonlinear plots, such as flashbacks or future events- these can help make your work captivating to readers who want more than just an overview.

Make sure you pay attention to this point when writing an analysis paper.  

In most situations, students finish up writing a summary of the plot instead of analyzing and explaining an assertion or developing an argument.

This is one very common mistake, and it fails students since simply retelling stories.

Rather than just using the summary, supporting the claims would be the right approach.

In theory, you should learn to share your impressions in examining literary analysis, which becomes difficult for most students to learn efficiently since instruction and practice are needed. It is typically difficult to know how best to use the plot synoptic because it becomes hard.

2 Point Of View

You can’t get through life without a point of view.

And in the world of literature, your perspective tells us who’s narrating and what their story is all about.

Having a point of view is essential in the work of literature. It communicates to the readers who are narrating the story. This section attempts to explain why the author has selected a particular perspective.

The importance “point-of-view” has on storytelling should not be underestimated because it communicates so much more than just an idea or opinion–it lets readers know which character they are following around as they go about his day (or night).

In other words, you don’t have any control over how someone else sees the world if that person happens to be telling your story from their own experiences.

During a literary analysis – one should have a clear understanding of the point of view and the writer’s ideas.

Assume that links between the ideas and a plot are found between characters’ behavior and character role changes in the text.

Read both if needed. What does the reader think about the characters in this book? What do you know about characters?

The setting of a story is integral to the development and progression, especially when it comes time for Analysis.

The reader can see how characters are affected in certain regions while also understanding their opinion about those areas as well through this technique.  

4 Characters

Characters are the backbone of any piece of literature, and no story is complete without them.

While writing a literary essay, you need to concentrate on how these characters develop throughout the work and how different authors portray them.

There are three sorts of characters in most literary works.

  • Hero is the protagonist.
  • The antagonist is often known as the villain or the evil guy.
  • Catalyst:  A pivotal figure who is neither the protagonist nor the adversary.

The use of imagery in literature is an essential factor, where the author draws pictures and creates scenes for readers to experience through their imagination.

These images are usually used as symbols throughout literary work that often helps convey deeper emotions or messages, which you cannot do with mere words alone.

Without these essential elements, a story would lose its identity much as it did without sound before movies were invented.  

6 Symbolism

Symbolism is a way to represent ideas through objects.

It’s not explained in words but can be found throughout the text, and it’s decoded by looking at other parts of the work.  

One of the most impactful elements that leave an impression on readers’ memories is irony.

It can be just as surprising to a reader, for example, when they find out their favorite character dies in some unexpected way or when something terrible happens despite all their efforts.

One thing about life and storytelling is you never know what will happen next – death comes unexpectedly without warning sometimes, so it’s best not to get too attached.

8 Foreshadowing

The authors often try to hint at the future or anticipated events by making references through their descriptions.

This is called foreshadowing, and it provides hints to readers so they can expect what’s coming for characters, stories, plots. Impress your teacher with your perspectives on this incident in an essay format.

Literary Analysis Essay Outline

A well-written literary analysis essay outline should contain the following elements:


  • Body paragraphs

The introductory part of your paper gives an overview of your argument in detail. It shall contain your thesis statement and summarize the essay’s structure. Sometimes some students prefer to write an introduction more later. It’s a decent idea to do so.

This section includes information to catch the readers’ attention. Writing a good essay introduction is essential when drafting up an engaging essay.

Ensuring that your introductory part is engaging can make or break what it feels like to read a paper. The first thing an essay should do when writing the opening paragraph, typically in the form of one sentence, establishes relevance and context for their audience by hooking them with interesting information.

A strong beginning sets up the tone for how you want readers to feel throughout reading your work.

The introduction is the best way to hook your reader.

It’s also a place where you can make sure they know what this essay is about! Let me show you how in three steps:

  • Introduce my topic and thesis statement (the main point of this paper). I’ll let them see it early, so they don’t get lost later when all those words start getting thrown around like crazy.
  • State points from books or other sources proving why my position makes sense – to make arguments strong, we need good textual evidence for our ideas.
  • Tell them one thing more before closing off with an ending sentence. This will seal the deal because now readers are totally hooked.

Body Paragraphs

After writing the introductory part, you move to the body section of a literary analysis essay, where you present ideas and statements that support your argument.

You can use quoting or paraphrasing methods depending on your preference.

The main points in every body paragraph should refer back to the general thesis statement for continuity throughout the paper.

Essay writing is a process that requires not only skill but the right mindset. The first step to writing an outstanding paper is creating a topic sentence for it- this will be used as the foundation and main argument of your essay.

Each paragraph should start with a topic sentence.

This is the first sentence of your paragraph that introduces which part of the thesis this paragraph will tackle.

After presenting your argument, provide textual evidence. Textual evidence may be a scene that you recount, a small detail or object, or a quote (you should cite this).

Most importantly, explain how the textual evidence supports the topic sentence or the thesis statement. The commentary is your interpretation, analysis, or insight into the text.

Generally speaking, a topic sentence makes it easy for a reader to know about the content a good sentence is about.

It allows new arguments in the argument line and combines with the earlier points or compares them with the preceding one in the argument line. Transition words such as “however” will give a more smooth transition.

Your subpoints will look at different aspects of your subject matter on their you can discuss them in detail before coming back together again with the theme statement you created earlier.

Without these individual arguments being developed fully before bringing them all back into one cohesive unit, readers might miss out on important details about what’s been discussed.

You might think that in literary analysis essays, a different structure of the text would be applied. However, it is essential to make your arguments as convincing as possible by providing enough textual evidence and making sure all claims refer to the thesis statement.

The body of your paper should contain three major sections: introduction (where you establish an argument), middle section with supporting facts or examples from text/literary critic’s review), conclusion (to summarize what has been said).

Sometimes, the text can be hard to define which parts are definite proof of your points.

So don’t forget that literary devices used in a book have motives and deeper meanings, while they might lead you to understand what the author was trying to say.

You should also pay attention not only to metaphors but other figures as well; there is no shortage on this list – allusions, alliterations (think about The Catcher in Rye), hyperboles (exaggerating people’s emotions or actions), and antithesis (a figure where two differing ideas oppose each other).

Keeping track of stylistic devices when reading through any piece, including these few simple ones mentioned above, will help uncover different aspects.

Writing a conclusion

A conclusion is the last and most crucial section of an essay.

It presents your argument about how a literary work reflects its plotline and ideas from the author’s perspective.

Still, it can only do so effectively if kept within a reasonable length limit.

Many people find the conclusion to be one of the most challenging parts of writing a paper.

But actually, it’s not! Your job is to summarize your key arguments and show how they relate to your thesis statement from earlier in the essay.

To write an effective concise conclusion, you needn’t make any new conclusions as all points have been made already; this means that if somebody were reading through what you’ve written so far, they shouldn’t have any unanswered questions about what has just been said – only answers.

The formula for knowing when you’re done with an excellent concluding paragraph is:

if there are no more points left over, then the reader should still feel satisfied at having read everything even though some things may seem unclear.

When moving on to writing this main part after having finished outlining all aspects of your chosen text, take help where you need it- even experts have limits.

Make sure that when working with such significant detail to make an understandable case for what makes up some piece of literature or art, always seek assistance.

Expert writers could aid in making something complex simple enough for anyone else reading quickly to see through their eyes as well as yours.

Following is an example provided by our experts to help you draft a good outline effectively.

Literary Essay Outline Example (PDF)

Literary analysis topics.

Choosing a topic for your essay can be tough. It’s important to know that topics are the backbone of essays, making it easier when you decide what to write about.

Choosing an interesting, engaging, or creative topic is key if you want your essay to succeed in grabbing readers’ attention. Here are some good example ideas:

  • Effect of peer pressure on a child’s personality
  • How can education standards be increased?
  • The significance and analysis of a particular piece of literature.
  • How upbringing and personality are related?
  • How single parenting affects the physical and psychological well-being of a child?
  • Analyze the main plot of a novel
  • Can inequality be avoided?
  • Advantages and disadvantages of playing video games for children
  • Is addiction a personal choice or disease?
  • Analyze the main character of a book

Literary analyses essay Examples

Sample literary analysis essay example for middle school.

This sample essay focuses on the character development of Laura in the book  By the Shores of Silver Lake  by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The thesis statement for this literary analysis essay is, “When her eldest sister loses her sight, Laura Ingalls Wilder must suddenly take on the role of the oldest child in the family and grow in maturity.”

A Rose For Emily Literary Analysis Essay

To kill a mockingbird literary analysis essay, the great gatsby literary analysis essay, the yellow wallpaper literary analysis essay, literary analysis example for 8th grade, the lord of the rings, chopin’s artistry in “the story of an hour”, impressions of ordinary life, plot and character in maupassant’s “the necklace”, the true lord of the rings, the mystery of the mastery, plot vs. point of view in chopin’s “story of an hour”, literary analysis of maupassant’s “the necklace”, a cure for temporary depression, hidden labyrinth ,  untitled: on chekhov’s “the lady with the little dog, get help from the experts with your literary analysis essay.

Are you looking for literary analysis essays? Well, your search is over! We have the best experts in writing literary analysis essays. Our writers are qualified and experienced in writing such kinds of essays. They understand what you need in your essay, and they will deliver a perfect essay according to your specifications.

 Frequently Asked Questions

How do you write a literary analysis essay.

  • An introduction that tells the reader what your essay will focus on.
  • The main body is divided into paragraphs that build an argument using evidence from the text.
  • A conclusion that clearly states the main point that you have shown with your analysis.

  What is a literary analysis essay?

The purpose of a literary analysis essay is to carefully examine and sometimes evaluate a work of literature or an aspect of a work of literature

How do you start a literary analysis paper?

Writing an Introduction to a Literary Analysis Essay.

Start with the title of your work and its author’s name. One or two sentences will suffice. Stress on the main idea of the analyzed work to make these sentences more hooking. Briefly tell what the work is about or how it influenced the world literature.  

What is a literary analysis essay in middle school?

A literary analysis is more than a book report; it goes deeper into the text, examining the themes, literary devices, characters, and more. To write a great literary analysis essay , you need a good thesis and a good grasp of the novel, story, poem, or other literary work you’re discussing.  

What are the 5 components of literary analysis?

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


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what is part of a literary analysis essay

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  1. FREE 9+ Literary Essay Samples in MS Word

    what is part of a literary analysis essay

  2. FREE 9+ Literary Essay Samples in MS Word

    what is part of a literary analysis essay

  3. Literary Analysis Essay Example: Tips for Beginners

    what is part of a literary analysis essay

  4. Literary Essay

    what is part of a literary analysis essay

  5. The Elements of a Literary Analysis Essay

    what is part of a literary analysis essay

  6. Literary Analysis Essay Example: Tips for Beginners

    what is part of a literary analysis essay


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  21. How to Write an Analytical Essay in 6 Steps

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