Nova A.
Nova A.

How to Write Literary Analysis Essay: Step-by-Step Guide

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Published on: May 14, 2021

Last updated on: Dec 22, 2022

Literary Analysis Essay Outline

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Students in literature classes are often required to write a literary analysis essay. These papers provide the framework for a rigorous study about how authors use characters, settings, or plots. It also considers many other aspects, including themes conveyed by an author through various devices (such as figurative language).

This assignment’s ultimate goal isn't just determining what was happening at any given time. Rather it understands why certain events cropped up where they did during your read-through?

This will help you make connections between different parts within each work being analyzed. By this, all relevant details come together into one cohesive message when we put them all together later down.

Continuing reading the blog to learn how you can write a perfect literary analysis essay for your assignment.

Literary Analysis Essay Definition

In literary analysis essays, students are required to analyze the content and share their views about it. They should also back these up with relevant evidence from other sources such as stories or poems. It is not only to create an interesting discussion on the topic but also to lead others.

The method used to analyze the different work components can differ depending upon what type of literature you're analyzing. To do analysis, these various pieces must be broken down into chunks to understand them better. Also, in this way, they don't get lost among other more general information about an author or text itself.

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The following are the primary characteristics that distinguish a literary analysis essay from other types of essays:

  • A narrative is included in a literary analysis essay.
  • It is interpretive.
  • It lacks a debatable thesis.
  • It's a report.

What Should a Literary Analysis Essay Include?

A good literary analysis essay includes:

  • Explain your ideas and evidence from the text (short story, poem, or play) that supports those ideas.
  • Textual evidence includes summaries, specific details, paraphrases, and direct quotations.

Purpose of a Literary Analysis Essay

A literary analysis essay helps students to find and explain the essential elements of fiction. In addition, it gives insight into how authors create specific pieces with special care for both their content and style.

In this essay, the writer considers how to analyze various aspects of literature to understand them better.

Components of Literary Analysis

When you analyze a literary text, you will deal with basic components of literature:

    • Plot

The plot is one of the most important components of the literary essay. It discusses the events that eventually make up a story and gives insight into how the story unfolds.

    • Character

Characters are the foundation of any work of literature, and no story would be complete without them. Therefore, while writing a literary essay, you should pay attention to how the characters develop and are portrayed.

Characters in most literary works fall into one of three categories.

      • Protagonist: A hero.
      • Antagonist: A villain or a bad guy.
      • Catalyst: An important character who is not the protagonist or antagonist.
    • Point of View

In literary work, having a point of view is essential. It tells the readers who is narrating the story. This part aims to explain why the author chose a particular viewpoint.

    • Setting

The setting emphasizes the specific time and place in which the characters are performing. Thus, the setting, like characters, is essential for analysis.

What the author thinks about places can be as provocative as what they think about a particular character.

    • Irony

The irony is one of the most noteworthy elements that stick with the reader. It contradicts the expectations or even desires of some specific characters and readers.

    • Imagery

The imagery in a story is essential because it helps the author draw pictures for their readers. In this way, you can imagine what happens on every book page with just these images as inspiration.

    • Symbolism

In literature, symbols are used to represent ideas more significant than an object itself. They do this by being hidden in the text and revealed through different means. Sometimes, appear directly as with allegories or metaphors.

    • Foreshadowing

The authors often try to hint at the future or expected events through their descriptions. This is referred to as foreshadowing, and you can impress your teacher by thoroughly analyzing such an incident.

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How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay?

Writing a literature analysis essay requires the writer to follow certain steps. The first step is planning, where all aspects and details are considered before starting to write.

When the essay is properly planned, the writing process becomes easier and more effective.

1. Read Thoroughly

The first step in the writing process of a literary analysis essay is thoroughly reading your text. Then, carefully analyze and understand every little detail on an author's view, tone or message. Then, it can be effectively conveyed through storytelling and will make drafting easier for you.

Answering the following questions is a simple trick for analyzing the text:

      • What parts of the content are important?
      • Which literary devices did the author employ?
      • What factors influenced the author's decision to employ those literary devices?
      • How are the characters in the content developed?

Look at every detail, from the ideas to plot characters and settings. Pay close attention so that you can analyze them all in-depth.

2. Select a Topic

How do you come up with the perfect topic for your essay?

A good title will ensure strong content. Having a clear idea of what makes an interesting and relevant topic can help with this tricky business.

3. Create a Thesis Statement

It is important to form a strong thesis statement. This will shape the entire essay and make your point clear for readers.

The best way to summarize a piece of writing is with an engaging thesis statement. The purpose behind these short, declarative sentences is that they guide and energize your readers.

4. Gather Evidence

After forming a thesis statement, take the time to back up your stance with strong evidence. Collect facts and expressions from work that support your argument.

5. Make a Literary Analysis Essay Outline

The structure is the key to success in any type of writing. Outlining your essay before you start can be helpful for structure and organization.

It will ensure that each part has enough room, so there are no gaps or leftover information at the end.

Introduction: This section of the essay provides interesting information about the topic so that readers can engage.

How do you write a literary analysis introduction?

Present background data and then close with a strong thesis statement.

You can make your paper more interesting for readers by efficiently presenting data to understand. Arrange the information, so readers get an idea of what work you are talking about.

      • Body Paragraphs: The body part of the essay contains all the details and explanations about how you evaluate a text. This is done by proving your thesis statement. Organize every supporting data in this section of the outline to justify your stance.
      • Conclusion: The conclusion is where you summarize the argument of your paper. It should reflect what was discussed in each section. Furthermore, it should be written in an engaging tone, so readers should get excited about learning more.

Remember the length when writing the conclusion of your essay. Summarize all that has been discussed throughout without sounding boring or repetitive with the information at hand.

When you move from your outline into writing, make sure that a good piece of literature comes across the features.

Here is an example to assist you in creating an effective outline.

    1. 6. Begin Writing

How to start a literary analysis essay?

The first step in writing an essay is planning out everything and having a concrete outline to follow. Once you have these two things written down, begin with your hook statement, a strong introduction that grabs readers' attention.

A good hook is a key to a successful introduction. It must have the potential of motivating your reader and encouraging them to continue reading.

The introduction should be engaging and present the background information about a text. The thesis statement is at its end, where you summarize what was discussed in each section of your paper.

In writing the body paragraphs, writers take references from texts to support their argument. This can be done using either quoting and paraphrasing or just about any other technique depending on the author's choice.

The body of your essay includes a topic sentence, sub-arguments, and supporting evidence. All three parts should be cohesive to back up the main idea in the introduction paragraph.

The conclusion of the essay should summarize what was said to prove your point. Make sure that it doesn't take up more space than the introduction paragraph.

7. Proofread and Edit

After finishing the writing process, revise and proofread your essay to ensure that it's free from errors. Check for mistakes immediately before submitting your text so you can get a high-quality paper without any last-minute fussing.

Literary Analysis Essay Examples

The primary goal of a literary analysis paper is to examine and evaluate various aspects of the text. It can be challenging, but it will be much easier with this essay example as a guide.

Literary Analysis Topics

The world of literature is a vast and complex one. With so many different genres to choose from, finding the right topic can be difficult for you. How do you decide on something interesting? Here are some examples of literary analysis essay topics to choose from:

  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
  • The portrayal of fate in Romeo and Juliet
  • Literary works during WWI
  • The portrayal of women in the 'Little Women'
  • The symbols used to describe nature by William Wordsworth
  • The ideas of love and trust in 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?'
  • Social injustice in Oliver Twist
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • The Republic by Plato
  • Lies and deceit in 'The Godfather'

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the types of literary analysis?

There are 6 types of literary analysis:

  1. Cultural Analysis
  2. Feminist Analysis
  3. Historical Analysis
  4. New Criticism
  5. Psychological Analysis
  6. Reader Response Analysis

2. Why is literary analysis important?

Literature analysis can help students understand that art is not just for the artist's benefit but also has many other purposes. It informs or inspires others to entertain them with stories and pictures in books. Literature teaches us about all aspects of creativity.

3. Is literary analysis hard?

The concept of literary analysis can be challenging, even for English majors. Talking about what happened in the literature is hard. But it's not analysis itself that poses a difficulty. Instead, it’s coming up with good arguments and insights to share.

Nova A.


Nova A. (Literature, Marketing)

Nova Allison is a skilled Digital Content Strategist with eight years of experience in crafting scientific and technical content. What makes Nova’s online content plans stand out is her perfect mix of engaging and informative writing styles. Her years of writing experience have polished her skills in writing accurate technical content.

Nova Allison is a skilled Digital Content Strategist with eight years of experience in crafting scientific and technical content. What makes Nova’s online content plans stand out is her perfect mix of engaging and informative writing styles. Her years of writing experience have polished her skills in writing accurate technical content.

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