Creating A Literary Analysis Essay: Main Factors To Consider

Introduction: Literary Essays – A Whole Different Animal

Writing a literary analysis will be different from any essay you ever write and it has all kind of rules and constraints that other essays do not follow.

For example, informative essays, argumentative essays, comparison and contrast essays, persuasive essays – all of these are essays which you write in a certain structure but they are organized in a very set structure and are typically in an informative type of voice.

In literary analysis, you will be analyzing the work of another author, not creating your own, so you have to come up with a thesis on the book, essay, or poem of the author you are discussing and then prove to your reader, through evidence from the fictional work in question AND the theories from literary critics about this work of fiction--- both of which will help you prove that your theory or interpretation is better than all the others.

How to Structure and Compose a Literary Essay

A literary essay always begins with an introcuctory paragraph. In this first paragraph, you’ll want to work in, at the very beginning, the autohor and name of the fictional work in a few introductory and attention-getting first sentences.

For example,

“Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a whirlwind of witches, intrigue, supernatural occurrences, jealousy, betrayal, and an obsession with power.”

The Thesis, The Thesis, The Very Very Important Thesis

Okay, sorry for all the repetition but even literary essays need a thesis statement. The thesis statement, since you are discussing someone else’s creation, will be slightly different for this type of essay than it would be for any other type of essay.

For example, you need to come up with a unique, narrow angle of interpretation on your fictional work which you can then back up with solid evidence from the text and critics of the text – by critics—we don’t mean people who have negatively criticized the book but literary analysis who, like you, are trying to analyze the work and tease out its most urgent themes, analyze its characters or discuss the work from a historical perspective. and combine those with solid research and quotes from critics who have also read the book and share your interpretation for it.

A thesis might look like this: In this essay, I will discuss Hemingway’s use of the River as Symbol in his Short Stories.”