Detailed Guide on Writing Literary Analysis Essay

Whether you study at university, college or school you will definitely
have a writing task that will be connected with analysis. One of the popular
assignments is a literary analysis essay, especially for humanitarian students.
It is aimed at training your analytical skills and helping you in better
understating literature pieces.

If you know how to write a great essay on the literary analysis you can express your thoughts and views to its best and impress your teachers and mates with the level of your analytical abilities and the depth of your personality. In this article, you will find useful tips for writing this type of academic task.

Literary Analysis Essay: Definition

This is a type of academic writing that requires a deep analysis of a
piece of literature. Your task here is to examine and estimate a book, play,
novel and so on and provide your vision of its main idea, characters, setting,
tone, style and other features of a text.

This task exists to teach students to analyze things and ideas. And
literature is a great thing for this analysis as it is multidimensional and
everybody understands it differently. But the best thing here is that there are
no wrong points as soon as you can prove your statements with decent arguments.

The Content of a Literary Analysis Essay

The number and the type of paragraphs in this type of an essay are not
specified and you are the one who decides what aspects to describe in your
text. Also, the set of paragraphs can be determined by the type of literature
you analyze and what requirements were specified by your teacher. The size of
the text can also vary depending on the size of the piece of literature as well
as a number of aspects you describe.

However, we have prepared a list of aspects you can describe in your
essay analyzing literature:

  • type and genre it is written in;
  • character analyzing and description;
  • stating and analyzing the main idea and the plot of
    the text;
  • reviewing the theme;
  • pointing out symbols in text and their meaning;
  • estimating and describing the structure and a style of
    writing used.

You can also add if needed an explanation of denotations and images if
this analysis is important for a deeper understanding of this piece of
literature ideas.

Writing A Literary Analysis Essay: Guide

For productive work, you have to prepare for writing first. Design a good plan in order to organize and ease all your further work. We suggest you start with our example of a plan that consists of five steps. But you can add steps and expand them adjusting it to your needs.

Focus on the topic

Read carefully the text you are about to analyze. This step is important
for a deeper understanding of the author’s ideas, characters, and plot. It is
better to read it more than once in order to notice things you might have
missed during the first read. After it, find answers to the following

  • What episodes were the most remarkable?
  • What was the purpose of the used literary means?
  • What the development process characters have done?

Connect the detected ideas and plot elements or characters’ features and
define what meaning they have for the text in general.

Collect proofs

To make your analysis persuasive you should provide facts, thoughts,
claims and other info and materials that can show your conclusion is
reasonable. Make notes while reading a text and save aspects you should use in
your essay as an example or evidence. Check the info about the author as well.
Facts from biography or some peculiarities of the writer’s worldview may help
you in understanding some valuable points.


This step is important for organizing your thoughts and making your text
coherent and the flow of thoughts understandable. You also will see the
approximate structure and size of your essay. Moreover, all your ideas will be
included without missing anything.

Form the thesis of your essay

The single but meaningful sentence must reflect the main idea of your
essay. A thesis is aimed at showing the significance of your work and the
connection between presented arguments.

Writing and revision

When the materials are ready you can start writing. Divide your text into paragraphs according to the number of arguments or statements. After completing your essay you should revise it. We recommend to have some rest after the actual writing process and to reread your essay after a while in order to have a fresh look. This approach will help you to look at your work as a reader and estimate it. Also, this is how you can spot grammar or spelling mistakes. Read it out loud in order to make sure all sentences are written in a language understandable for a target audience.

Outline of the Essay

As we already mentioned, outlining is an important stage for producing
an interesting and deep literary analysis essay. The success of your work can
depend on a good outline. At first, write down your ideas and things you want
to disclose in your essay. Basically, in outlining you should think of the
following parts for the future essay.

  • Intro. Catching phrases to intrigue and motivate
    readers to continue.
  • Body paragraphs. Disclosing main ideas, arguments, and
    proofs of your thesis.
  • Conclusion. Here you restate your thesis claim and
    conclude your text in a few sentences.

Discover some examples of outlines to see what info you can include in

Literary Analysis Essay Structure

As any other essay, this type of academic writing has a typical

  1. Intro. The beginning of your essay should attract the
    reader and inform him/her about the content of your text. It should be creative
    but meaningful. Do not be afraid to experiment as soon as it is appropriate in
    your topic.
  2. Body. This is the main part where you show all the
    analytical work you have done. Here you present your ideas and the attitude to
    the piece of literature and provide proof for your statements.
  3. Conclusion. Here you sum up all the material. You can
    restate the thesis but do not copy ideas from the body. Make a conclusion that
    will connect all the thoughts from above and provide a decent ending for your

Final words

Now you have basic info on how to write a literary analysis essay. And we are sure you can cope with it. But if you still think you might need assistance on any stage of writing an essay or maybe you do not have time and you want to delegate the task to the professional, you can find what you need here.

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