How to Write a Literature Essay

how to write a literary analysis
Category: Essay Writing

Literature can be easily likened to science which gives anyone writing about it boundless freedom-even when you work with such a subjective discipline as history, you must take facts into consideration.

Writing on literature, you deal with people and events that have never existed in the real life and you have the right to make any speculations that don’t contradict what is written in the book you work with.

The typical characteristics of this sort of writing are the following:

  • Your subject material is restricted to the text itself, its author and his/her life and viewpoints, critical works on the book, and your own thoughts. What you will resort to most depends on your personal choice and the topic you have been distributed.
  • Your thoughts must be backed up by referring to the text or one of the critical works; if it is possible, use a quotation.
  • The style is required to be formal but do not write too formally and keep in mind that it must be colloquial in no way.

If you aim to write a top-notch literature essay, you should not be afraid of reading and analyzing a lot before starting your writing. You will definitely excel in your literature essay writing if you are interested in your piece of work. Otherwise, you will have to fall back on other people’s thoughts and ideas which in turn may influence your paper badly.

Here are some more tips to consider:

  • Reread your essay while writing and after you have finished. If you are bored with it, anyone will be.
  • Pay particular attention to the length of paragraphs and sentences. If you lose the line of thought half-way to the end of one of them, it is a bad sign – try to break them up.
  • Do not retell the book itself – a few words when it is necessary will suffice.

Writing a literary analysis essay

Having enrolled for the literature course, you may expect the involvement of academic writing. Aside from reading and discussing books in a class, you will also analyze them in writing. The problem is the professors will assign you to write a paper on a certain book without even explaining how to do it. Interestingly enough, you cannot write like a blogger and copy reviews on the Internet. Your task is to read a certain book and write a good-quality literary essay that would satisfy your professor.

To write an efficient literary essay, take into account these steps:

  • Getting the grasp of the purpose of a literary analysis;
  • Understanding the format (find out what this sort of assignment must encompass in its content);
  • Planning;
  • Writing;
  • Edition.
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The Purpose of a Literary Analysis Essay

The chief purpose of such sort of an essay is to show that you have thoroughly investigated and evaluated the book from different angles. For starters, it is essential to understand the concept of an analysis. It means dividing something into its key components, and analyzing how their features constituted the general impression.

For instance, you are dealing with Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. As it is a very renowned book, you will find lots of reviews of it on the web. However, they are all personal and convey the way the reader perceives the book. Surely, you can also mention your own thoughts about the book in a literary analysis but they must be a part of a more structured format. Your task is to analyze all components of the book.

While reading for pleasure, your focus of attention will be emotions and visualizations of the scenes and characters. However, when reading a book to make an analysis, you will also consider such elements as:

  • Subject;
  • Form;
  • Style;
  • Dominant theme;
  • The interrelation between form and content;
  • The interrelation between the main plot and the subplot;
  • Characters’ strong and weak points;
  • Storyline advantages and disadvantages.

In the majority of cases, the professor will want you to center around one aspect of analyzing a book. For instance, he/she can ask you to analyze the strong and weak points of Gatsby’s character.

Tips on writing a college essay on literature:

  • Writing a literature essay requires sticking to a specific format and style. To prove your knowledge of special terminologies related to the literary works, mention some historical facts and landmarks.
  • When writing an essay, be objective and unprejudiced. In a word, your essay must be accurate, engaging, and gripping to make the reader read it.
  • To assure flow and validity in your essay, be comprehensible and logical. You must display an evident understanding of literature and convey its uniqueness and richness. For this type of an essay, being able to evaluate and assess a literary work is indispensable.
  • Avoid copying information which you derive from literary works. Put forward your own standpoint and think outside the box. This can be achieved by building your essay on what you have understood and concluded yourself.
  • Collect as much information on your topic as possible. It will surely come in handy when writing a top-quality literature essay.

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How to end a literary analysis essay?

Undoubtedly, your essay needs a powerful and persuasive conclusion. It will make your essay complete and well-grounded. But other from that, it will give the reader an impression that you presented a clear statement that they can agree or disagree with.

How to write such a conclusion?

  • Do not bring up new points of the discussion in the last paragraph.
  • It must sum up and restate the key points you presented. You can provide a comment written from a different perspective, or restate your thesis to display how your arguments backed it up.

In summary, one can add that your essay must display a deep interest in the subject you are writing about. Pay attention to such stylistic devices as anaphora, epiphora, onomatopoeia, assonance, etc, and analyze them at every possible opportunity.


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