How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay

December 11, 2016 How To Write
How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay

The purpose of a literary analysis essay is to examine an element in the work of literature. Consequently, conducting an effective literary analysis requires the writer to break down the subject into its parts.

What is a literary analysis essay?

Literary analysis is a scholarly evaluation of literature work based on the authors’ perspective. The main objective of the analysis is carefully evaluated individual components of literature materials as expressed by the author, (Shanafelt, 2011).

Common topics of literal analysis

There is no limit to the number of subjects that one can choose from in a work that involves analysis. Literary analysis is no exception to this rule. However, the following topics can be viewed as the most common in literary analysis.

  • Death in literature
  • Love in literature
  • Friendship in literature
  • War in literature
  • Gender roles in literature
  • Race in literature
  • Politics in literature
  • Satire in Literature
  • Sex in literature
  • Ten reasons why guns should be introduced in schools
  • Online dating demystified
  • Movie review of Titanic

Outline and Summary of a literal analysis essay

The outline of a literary analysis paper is as indicated in the structure composed of the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.


Use of a descriptive title that will capture the reader’s attention, (Stobaugh, 2013). For example, “Ten proofs the federal reserve is a financial scheme.”


This is the first paragraph of the essay. It begins with an artistic statement to catch the reader’s attention. It also provides the relevant background information about the literary work. Additionally, the introduction should lay the groundwork for the thesis of the paper.
Body paragraphs: These are the support paragraphs of the essay. They are structured in a way that each section presents a single analytical idea about the literary work. They should be organized in a cohesive manner so that they support the thesis of the paper.

The introduction of the essay should hook the reader to want to read the document. It should invoke a desire to read that piece of text for the intended audience. Many scholars have developed an elaborate method to achieve this, either by posting a brief question, writing a startling statement or writing an anecdote. The goal is to create a first time lasting impression. For example in the case of a newspaper article clipping will read: what will turn a decorated army reserve officer to butcher his family in cold blood and later turn himself to the authorities. Not only does the title captures what the article is about, but it also invokes a deep desire to read the entire article to find out what the veteran serviceman did.

The body

After hooking the reader’s attention, the objective is to develop an elaborate the idea as vivid as possible. At this level, artistic tools like imagery, irony and should be employed to develop the theme of the article. Keen caution should be taken not to deviate from the objective of the body. In a nutshell, do not under explain what the article is about or use long, boring sentences that are redundant (Stobaugh, 2013). It is advisable that the author uses a standard paragraph structure, that is, an introduction topic sentence followed by an explanation part and a conclusion. At all times it is advisable to employ the use of suspense in subsequent paragraphs.


This is the last paragraph of the essay. The conventional way to begin the conclusion is to echo the main thesis of the article. The conclusion should also go further and give the impact of making the literary analysis.

Like any good text, the author should always give his or her two cents on the subject in question. The conclusion should acknowledge previous works that have touched on the topic in question.


A literal essay can be described as a conversation between the author and the reader. The author should, therefore, have this in mind and develop his thesis with a language level that the audience understands. For example, when addressing a semi-educated audience, they should have this in their mind, (Stobaugh, 2013).

Direct quotation and in-text citations. By using direct quotations from the source, it will show proof of subject mastery and make it easier for the reader to connect different pieces of the article.

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