How to write literary analysis essay

How to write literary analysis essay

You have been assigned a task to come up with an excellent literary analysis essay. Will you find the assignment complex? Will it consume a large portion of your time? You don’t have to worry. Every year, thousands of students in high schools, universities and colleges all over the world encounter essay writing challenges.

Literary analysis thesis is an important part of a student’s life. It helps them analyze and comprehend strings of text as parts of their education process. This plays a major role in development of students and their capability to think critically.

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This article provides the best ways and means to compose a good thesis for literary analysis. We will explain what a literary analysis essay is and discuss challenges scholars face when writing these essays. We will also look for the best ways of how to write a literary analysis essay outline.

What is a literary analysis essay?

Anytime you encounter works of literature like books, poems, plays, reviews or other formats, you will see that every author employs very unique elements. You also note that writers present these great ideas to convey a message. This is not common at first, but good concentration and understanding of literature will aid in comprehending and noting every element that is uniquely placed into the piece of work.

Various writers are known for employing different techniques when writing literary analysis thesis statements. Amazingly, they have produced unbelievable results which are readable and concise. This makes understanding easier for readers.

A literary analysis essay or literary essay is a type of assignment that examines and evaluates a certain work of literature or specific characteristics of a given piece of literature. It aims to make the reader aware of the main perspective or theme of your literary analysis essay topic. It gives them the reason of the writer in developing thesis for literature analysis.

A literary paper may be book-based or related to any other literature analysis essay topic. The capability to produce an excellent literary analysis essay enables a student to present his/her ideas. They are also able to keenly analyze any work of literature they have read. It also displays your ability to write effectively.

When you experience hick-ups on how to write a thesis statement for literary analysis, don’t be afraid to look for professional help. Qualified professionals will guide you through important steps. They will also ensure that your paper attains the best standards of writing at affordable rates.

Problems encountered when writing literary analysis essays

literature analysis essayWhen writing a good literary analysis essay example, you are required to know all challenges and mistakes that students face. These problems hinder you from producing high-quality essays. Large groups of students employ complex languages or jargons. This makes it hard for your audience to get the meaning of your piece of work.

It can be very hard when carrying out an analysis and most of the students cannot start writing their papers. When you seek professional writing help, you will get tips on how to express your opinions in a literary analysis essay which will make you score admirable grades. Common challenges that students face include:

Summarization of the plot


It has been noted that most students make a summary of the topic rather than conducting a good analysis and discussing an assertion when writing a literary analysis thesis example. This is the most common setback students encounter which leads to failure in their papers. This is because they are just rewriting the topic in question rather than analyzing it.

After making their argument, many students fall into temptations of using the plot as proof which is regarded as a wrong approach.  They should make the analyzed text used self-explanatory. They should not concentrate too much on discussing and explaining to the audience why they made that argument and what might happen.

Learning how to effectively make a summary of the plot is a challenge to many scholars. It requires guidance and a lot of practice. The correct approach is to explain their assertions properly while avoiding the use of plot summary. Students should learn how to share their impressions in a literary essay thesis statement.

Use of improper tense

As you learn the best approaches to writing literary analysis thesis, you need to use the right tense in your paper. For learners new to writing a literary analysis essay, it seems easy to use past tense as the text they are analyzing may have been done by another author. It might also be challenging to grasp why the use of present tense is encouraged in these kinds of essays.

Writing in present tense relates to how you read and understand the literary analysis text. This is why it should be used. Another reason is that actions in the text reveal themselves as you explain events using the present tense. Past tense is only allowed if you are discussing past events.

Failure to quote materials they have used

It is quite a challenge to quote the resources used in the best way. Most students fail to understand the importance of using quotes to their advantage. Ultimately, this leads to getting poor grades. When thinking about components of a good literary analysis essay, you should discover that direct quotes are among the important components.

Direct quotes give direct proof or support to their assertions. They show that you understand the use of various phrases in developing the main theme. It is also a necessity to learn how to properly include quotes in your paper, not just incorporating them randomly. You should know when to paraphrase some text and when to quote them in your essay.

Failure to provide evidence for their assertions and arguments

Most students don’t understand the need of providing strong evidence or support for their arguments when writing essays. When you fail to include these required parts in your thesis for literary analysis, you leave a blank such that no audience will comprehend your paper.

Assertions and arguments are key elements in a literary analysis essay. On providing strong proof to your assertions and arguments, you demonstrate understanding and knowledge of what you are doing. This translates to a high score in your paper.

Rather than just paraphrasing and quoting content from your text and citing examples, you should support your assertions using a variety of materials. Secondary materials related to your topic are well preferred for providing evidence. A student must have the ability to show strong connections between their arguments and evidence when composing literary analysis thesis.

Failure to read your content correctly

Failure to read materials properly leads to poor understanding of your assignment. To most students, this a major stumbling block in their writing. Students fail to take their time to read and understand the text before beginning to write their paper. This always has a bad impact on the quality of paper you deliver.

When it involves a literary analysis thesis statement, you should take enough time and resources required to properly grasp the message being delivered. Avoid making any assumptions. Always ask for explanations where you do not understand.

Make sure you identify all characters used in the literary text, you can summarize the plot and comprehend the writer’s point of view. Doing this effectively enables you to avoid many challenges when carrying out your analysis for literary thesis.

Before you start writing your essay, make an outline indicating every key element. This makes it easy to include every required element as you write your essay. It is difficult to compose a literary analysis essay when you don’t have the elements and proper understanding. When this information seems overwhelming and hard to grasp, look for professional help from experts to guide you as you write your paper.

Outline structure for literary analysis essay

Literary analysis is studying a text accurately, understanding its meaning and researching why the writer made some choices. It applies to novels, poems, short stories or other forms of writing.

literature analysis thesis

Literary analysis is not similar to rhetorical analysis, a book review or summary of a plot. It is an argumentative essay where you analyze elements like perspective, language, text structure, and show how the writer utilizes literary devices. This aims at portraying an idea and creating effects.

Before writing a literary analysis essay, you should read the text carefully and formulate a thesis statement that will keep you focused in your essay. When writing, use the structure of an academic essay:

  1. Begin with an introduction to show your reader where you will place your focus
  2. Include a body, divided into paragraphs, that discusses its arguments using proof from the text
  3. A conclusion that summarizes your main point of discussion in the essay

The following steps will guide you in writing a good literary analysis essay:

Going through the text while noting literary devices used

The first step is carefully going through the texts while noting down some notes. When reading, pay proper attention to those elements that are more surprising, intriguing or confusing in the paper. This might be the things you should use in your analysis.

Your goal when writing literary essay examples is not to explain events discussed in the text. It is to analyze and discuss the writing itself and how the composition works on a deep level. Normally, you are looking for literary devices. These are elements used by the author to showcase meaning and for effect creation. If there is a comparison between multiple texts, you can find the connections among the various texts.

Before beginning your analysis, you should focus on several important areas. As you perform analysis of every aspect of a text, try to figure out how they are related to each other. Notes or highlights will help track important points and quotes from the text.

Choice of the language

Understand the language style the author employs. Are sentences complex and poetic or are they simple and short?

What choices of words are rare or of interest? Are phrases symbolically used to portray meaning other than the usual one? Symbolic language includes the use of metaphors and similes.

Look out for use of imagery in the text. Imagery is the use of repetitive pictures that brings out a specific atmosphere or represent an important event. Note that language used in literary analysis thesis conveys more information than it would normally do.

Narrative voice

Consider the following questions:

  1. Who is narrating the story?
  2. How is he/she narrating the story?

Is the story told in the first person or it is the third person telling the story from a distance?

Know the perspective of the narrator? Are they omniscient, i.e. they know all about the events and characters? Is the narrator unreliable, i.e. we should not take value in them? Often, writers give a clue that the narrator might provide untrue or distorted information.

Consider the tone of the text. Is the composition tragic, comic or cool? Can funny topics be treated as serious? Is your story a fantasy or reality?


Understand the structure of the text and how it correlates to the narrative being told.

  • Novels are mostly partitioned into chapters and divisions
  • Poems may be divided into cantos, stanzas or lines
  • Plays can be divided into acts and scenes

Understand why the writer divided the text into different parts and how he did it. There are other less important factors that can be taken into account. Does the story follow a chronology of events or it moves up and down in time? Does it start in the middle of the text? Is there a well-defined climax where the narrative advances?

In poetry, note how rhyme and meter are used to convey meaning in the text and to change the tonal impression. Reading the poem can help in a better understanding.

When analyzing a play, understand how relationships among characters are developed in different scenes and relationships between the setting and action. Look out for dramatic irony, this is where audiences know details that characters don’t, creation of double meaning, thoughts and actions.

Developing a thesis

This is the main point you will make about the text. It is the main assertion that provides direction to your literary analysis essay. It prevents your thesis from being a boring collection of observations by making it intriguing to the audience.

literary analysis essay

If a prompt is provided to your thesis for literary analysis, it should have a relationship with the prompt or answer it. It should not be a yes or no answer but a detailed statement of why you are for or against a case.

When you have the freedom to select your topic, you must develop an original thesis. Use what you understood from the text, demonstrate elements that were of interest to you, and knowing how you should discuss them.

A literary analysis thesis statement should be more of an argument, i.e. something you want to be true concerning the text but it is not a matter of fact. It should not be simple. It should be complex so that arguments and evidence can be developed throughout your essay. You should revise your thesis statement during the writing process. This makes it easy to formulate. It also maintains your concentration during text analysis.

Finding textual evidence

You will be using textual evidence to give support to your thesis statement for literary analysis. Textual evidence is a particular part of a text that showcases your point. It is analyzed and quoted during the writing process to show your argument.

You should go through the texts looking for relevant quotes before beginning the writing process. You may not employ everything you find in your essay and also you might have to go back to get more evidence. It is advisable to gather textual evidence at the beginning to help you structure your assertions. It also helps assess whether your arguments are convincing.

Forming the title and writing introduction

A good title and a catchy introduction are necessary for your literary analysis essay. A title must show the focus of your analysis. Sometimes it consists of the name of the author and texts to analyze. Make your title is as engaging and clear as required.

A good approach to writing a title is to take a relevant quote, followed by a colon, then your title. It may be hard to create a good title at first. Don’t panic as it becomes easier when you start writing your essay and when you gain an understanding of your arguments. If you encounter problems when writing your title, ask for help from experts.

An introduction to an essay gives an overview of your argument and where you will be taking it. It includes summarization of your essay structure and thesis statement.

A common structure of an introduction is to start with a generic statement relating to the text and author. This general statement takes you into your thesis statement. You may use a typical idea about the text, then demonstrate how you will contradict it in your thesis statement. You can also show a specific device you wish to focus on.

Conclude your introduction by providing a brief statement of what is expected in the body. This process is known as signposting. It should cover a wider area in large essays but only a single sentence in less than five-paragraph essay.

Some writers consider writing their introductions late in the process which is not bad. It helps one identify every format for all your arguments. When you first write the introduction, make sure to revisit it to ensure it talks about what you have written in your essay.

Formatting the body of your essay

This is all information between your introduction and conclusion. It consists of all your assertions and arguments and textual evidence supporting them.

Structure of your paragraphs

A college literary analysis essay contains at least five paragraphs. These are at least three body paragraphs and an introduction and conclusion.

Every paragraph in the literary essay must concentrate on a specific topic. In a five-paragraph essay, divide your essay into three paragraphs, where each part explains a section of your argument. They should link to your thesis statement. Keep in mind that only proper analysis will scale up your argument.

When it’s a long essay, you can still apply a similar principle. This is where you divide your argument into three sentences. Every sentence should be supported by one or two paragraphs. Remember to start every new paragraph when introducing a new idea or where there is a turn of your arguments.

Topic sentences

Always place a topic sentence when writing a new paragraph. This ensures you are focused during the writing process. Well-crafted topic sentences signal to your reader what that paragraph is about. It may introduce a new argument, compare and contrast different paragraphs. Using words such as however and often develops smooth transitions between arguments.

Use of textual evidence

The most important part of literary analysis essays is to back up your assertions with evidence relevant to the text. This includes using quotes and indicating their importance to your main point. It is good practice to use quotes and explain their importance in your literary analysis essay example. Introduce and analyze them. Don’t treat them as self-explanatory.

Quoting is important when demonstrating the author’s language. It is not mandatory to use them. When quotes feel unnatural to use, consider paraphrasing or summarizing parts of the text.

Writing your conclusion

You should never bring new ideas, arguments or quotations in your analysis conclusion. Writing conclusions involve finishing up or polishing your essay.  A writer sums up important points and shows their importance to the audience.

An approach to writing a compelling conclusion is to wrap up your arguments and insist on the conclusion they have led you to. Also, point out the new side of the argument your thesis gives.

Key takeaway

This guide has walked you through important concepts to understand when writing literary analysis essays. You have learned the challenges encountered in the process and how to avoid them. Using a literary analysis essay sample will also help in structuring your thesis correctly.

If you still face setbacks when analyzing a text for literary analysis, consider looking for online help from professionals.

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