How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay

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How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay

A literary analysis essay may not be the most assigned task in college. But in no way should one undermine its importance. A literary paper requires taking a set of actions to compose a coherent and informative piece. This article provides a step-by-step guide to writing a literary analysis essay. Read on to learn more.

Carefully reading a literary piece

Many confuse a literary essay with a synopsis, summarizing what the original work is about. A professional essay writer gives a piece of advice: “Retell only as much of the work as needed to back up your point. And make sure to cite your source correctly, letting the readers review it afterwards and get a bigger picture of your thought.” You have to remember that a literary essay isn’t a summary. Its primary purpose is to carefully examine and evaluate a work of literature, like a poem, story, novel, or play. Therefore, the first step you should take is reading and understanding the piece.

Determining key verbs

Literary essays in academia usually comprise prompts. They entail the requirements along with instructions necessary to complete the task. One of the main elements determining the actions the writer has to take is key verbs. They identify the scope of work, so make sure to locate them and understand what they mean. Among all the keywords, assess, discuss, evaluate, explain, compare, contrast, and describe are prevalent.

Analyzing the audience

Once you identify the key verbs and your main task, proceed to analyze the audience. When you are a student, it is the teacher who reads and evaluates your work. However, it would be best to imagine writing an essay for a larger, highly educated audience. Try answering the following questions:

 How old is my audience?
 What interests does it have?
 Would it find my paper exciting and debatable?
 What language does it use?
Answering them will help you adjust to the readers and find the most effective writing strategy.

Formulating a thesis and outlining the work

A thesis statement is a sentence that falls at the end of the introductory paragraph. It has to be restricted to several ideas you will develop in the body part. When building a thesis statement, make sure it is declarative and carries the paper’s purpose. Also, keep in mind that it has to be arguable. Otherwise, it isn’t an analysis but a widely-known fact.

Once you compose a thesis, it is time to organize your writing session and map out the breadth of work. By creating an outline, you don’t only project the steps you have to complete. You also speed up your writing and maintain productivity. Aside from that, you prevent yourself from including additional information, which can pose a particular danger to literary analysis and its coherence.

Using textual evidence

A literary analysis essay, like any other academic work, relies on credible sources. Without them, your arguments lose their reliability and can be easily refuted. Upon writing a topic statement, it is essential to develop a specific idea from a thesis statement. Apply the SPI technique–State the point, Provide evidence, explain the Importance–to exhaustively develop an argument and back it up with scholarly sources.

Using transitions to bridge ideas

When writing a literary paper, think of each section as a pillar that holds the essay’s main point. Even though every paragraph might revolve around different ideas, they should be integral. They should also ensure the idea is clear and doesn’t fall down. Using transitions will help you compare, argue, and explain thoughts from the preceding section. Ultimately, it will glue your paper together, making your essay cohesive and easily readable.

A literary analysis essay is a demanding task. Apart from reading the original piece, don’t forget to analyze your potential readers, learning the most effective writing strategy you need to follow. The other mentioned steps are equally essential, so ensure completing them when working on this paper type.

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