Things to Remember While Writing a Literary Analysis Essay

The first thing to know about how to write a literary essay is that you are essentially required to critically examine and carefully evaluate a piece of literature (e.g., a poem, a play, a novel, or a speech). Like in other forms of analytical assignments you will need to break a work down to several of its most important parts in order to best understand and appreciate the piece of literature as a whole. The following are some more things you should keep in mind when learning how to write a literary essay:

  • Composing a Great Thesis Statement
    The thesis statement is one of the first things you learn about when you write any kind of academic assignment. The trouble is that many students get a little lazy about this one sentence that they often skip out on composing good ones. It should, clearly and concisely, state exactly what you will be discussing in your paper. It should be something that is arguable (something which the reader can argue against if he or she felt compelled).
  • Writing an Informative Introduction
    The thesis statement should come at the very end of the introduction, but all preceding sentences are just as important in providing the reader with the appropriate background context in which you are writing your paper. You should first hook the reader with a solid opening statement, then proceed to identify the work you have analyzed and will be presenting on.
  • Use Textural Evidence for Support
    In order to successfully present a great argument you will need to provide plenty of textual support – this is usually accomplished by using direct quotations, summaries, and paraphrases. However, you shouldn’t rely too heavily on these in lieu of presenting your own ideas from your analysis. Most instructors can see right through this technique which often indicates that you haven’t spent the time analyzing the text and are looking for ways to provide “filler.”
  • Building a Well-Structured Body
    All great academic writing should be well-structured and logical, presenting one idea that easily transitions into the next. Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence that describes exactly what you will be discussing. Next, state your original idea followed by textual evidence. Expand on this idea and evidence and finally end the paragraph with a transition statement that signals the close of this topic.
  • Ending with a Great Conclusion
    Serving as the last thing the reader will see, conclusions are among the most important pieces of well-written academic assignment. It’s your final opportunity to make a lasting impression by successfully revisiting the main topics of the paper and synthesizing the information so the reader know exactly what you have accomplished with your analysis. Never introduce new information in the conclusion, always stick with what has already been written. Finally, end the conclusion with statement that will have the reader thinking about your subject for some time afterwards.

These are the most important things you need to remember about putting together a solid essay assignment. You can find some valuable additional resources on this and other academic writing topics at this site.