How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay That Earns an A+

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When conducting a literary analysis, it is important to do more than just summarize the story's plot. Instead, the author should develop a unique argument about the text. This type of analysis requires a deep dive into the writing techniques and choices of the author, as well as an exploration of the motivations behind these decisions and how they impact the reader's understanding of the text.

How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay

A literary analysis essay is an academic form of writing that thoroughly explores literature (such as a novel, poem, or play) to analyze its components, interpret its message, and make a case about how the author utilizes literary techniques to convey those messages. Instead of just providing a brief overview, a literary analysis essay provides an original viewpoint and backs up its arguments with examples from the text.

Creating a strong literary analysis can be challenging. Some students may focus on their own opinions rather than a thorough critique of the text. It is common for students to simply summarize the content without offering their perspective. If you are struggling with these issues, using an easy essay writer can help you get guidance from professional writers. Let's review the eight steps for writing a stellar literary analysis essay.

1. Start with Close Reading 

Before starting your essay, it is essential to thoroughly analyze the literary piece you are studying, whether it be a poem, short story, novel, play, or any other form of written art. When dealing with a shorter piece like a poem, it is crucial to read it multiple times to understand the message the author is trying to convey fully. If the material is more extensive, marking important sections during the first read-through is recommended to help establish a clear focus for your essay when you begin writing.

Ignoring this step could result in negative consequences. Make sure to dedicate enough time to carefully examine and go back over the text, laying a strong foundation for an excellent literary analysis essay.

2. Pinpoint Your Preferred Topic 

After finishing the assigned reading, the next step is to choose a suitable topic. This can be difficult for some students as it requires a critical and creative approach. Your instructor may have provided some questions to help guide you in selecting a topic. If not, consider using the following prompts to help narrow down a subject for your analysis.

  • How can you connect this piece of literature to elements of society?
  • What stood out to you as particularly interesting or confusing?
  • Did the use of visual or descriptive language strongly impact you?
  • A deeper look at the factors that influenced your strong reaction to something.
  • How do you interpret the message the writer is trying to convey in this piece of work? Do you believe they were successful in getting their message across, or do you think it was a failure?
  • Think about the situation. If the story happened in a different time or place, what differences would there be? Contemplate the motivations behind why the writer chose the specific time and setting for their story.
  • Think about the personalities of the characters in the story. What motivated them to act the way they did and make their choices? Are there any characters who have similar or contrasting characteristics that can be compared? Did any characters represent symbolic meanings or recurring themes in the story?
  • What were the main themes that were consistently present throughout the work, and how did they help you better understand the overall significance of the piece?

3. Gather and Analyze the Evidence

While brainstorming your idea, evaluate the available information for each potential topic. It is important to think creatively and choose a not too obvious concept. However, be careful not to select a broad topic that is difficult to support your argument.

Start collecting evidence to support your main point. The initial steps of highlighting and reading thoroughly will be beneficial. You can begin crafting your thesis when you feel confident that you have gathered enough evidence to strengthen your argument. Also, make sure to consider evidence that may contradict your argument. It is possible to use conflicting information actually to support your main point.

4. Come Up with a Thesis Statement

Your thesis is your essay's central argument and the most important aspect of your work. Defending your thesis is probably more essential than choosing a unique topic to analyze.

It is important to ensure that the perspective you convey in your thesis can be debated. Your thesis should go beyond just stating a fact. An example of a weak thesis would be something like:

In her novel Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen delves into the themes of love, marriage, and social status.

This argument is ineffective because it merely points out common themes without offering a distinct point of view. It fails to propose a debatable or controversial statement.

Remember that a literary analysis is more than just a story recap. A stronger thesis statement might be formulated as:

In her depiction of Elizabeth Bennet's changing views on marriage, Jane Austen criticizes the expectations society put on women during the early 1800s in England, suggesting that true happiness can be found beyond just wealth and status.

The thesis statement centers on Elizabeth's personal growth, presenting a debatable assertion about Austen's examination of societal norms and providing a roadmap for the essay that will delve into aspects such as character analysis, social critique, and the depiction of marriage.

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5. Focus on building stronger arguments.

After collecting the required information and formulating a main argument, it is time to organize it into a coherent essay. Create a plan to see how each evidence supports your central argument. You may need more evidence to strengthen your case at this stage.

After analyzing the text more closely and identifying sections that support your argument, you may find that your initial thesis needs to be adjusted or revised. It's okay to modify your thesis based on new evidence as long as it still meets the requirements of a strong thesis statement.

6. Draft Your Literary Analysis Essay 

Finally, now is the moment to allow your thoughts to pour out freely! Begin by creating a rough draft of your literary analysis. Don't stress having flawless grammar or using elaborate sentences at this stage - concentrate on jotting down your analysis. This is your opportunity to delve deeper into your argument and witness the connections you identified during your close reading take shape. The refining and revising can be done later on!

Focus on articulating your stance and providing thorough support for each point. Identify where further clarification is necessary and seek out passages in the text that can bolster your argument. Organize your essay in a coherent structure. You can always refine it for perfecting later on.

7. Edit and Polish Your Writing 

Once you have written down your thoughts, refining and assessing them is important. Check for repeated sentences and consider if you can express your ideas more concisely. Upon closer inspection, you may find that some of the information you gathered does not fit as seamlessly as you originally thought.

When revising your first draft, be ruthless and thorough. Pay close attention to grammar, sentence construction, and how your arguments are presented. Keep checking your main thesis to ensure your essay stays on track. Consider whether each paragraph supports the argument you have established in your thesis statement.

8. Seek Feedback and Complete Your Essay

Before turning in your essay, have someone else read it. Getting a fresh viewpoint can help catch small mistakes and improve the overall quality of the paper. Ensure to the reviewer that you are looking for honest feedback and are willing to accept constructive criticism without offending.

Collaborating with a professor and peers can be extremely beneficial when creating a strong thesis, supporting it with detailed textual evidence, and presenting your argument effectively.

Final Thoughts 

Crafting an excellent literary analysis essay requires thorough preparation and careful execution. It is important to remember that the objective is not just to summarize the plot but to delve into how the author constructs meaning. By formulating a compelling thesis, providing evidence to support your arguments, and refining your writing skills, you can create an analysis beyond simply meeting the minimum requirements. If you feel you need extra assistance, do not hesitate to seek feedback or consult with experienced writers.

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