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Literary Analysis Made Easy With Our Tips

A literary analysis essay is a type of written assignment that is designed to test your ability to comprehend and analyze a literary piece. This assignment is commonly given in Literature class, but the skills you obtain when learning how to craft a solid literary analysis paper will also help you with other subjects and tasks.

The reason why so many students need to master the art of creating a literary analysis essay is that this assignment tests a whole range of your skills. In order to deliver a good literary analysis paper, you are required to have a deep understanding of the piece and its features. Moreover, you need to be able to analyze the writer’s work and whether the author was successful in meeting the objectives. In other words, writing a literary analysis turns you into a literary critic.

The most important question you need to answer when writing a literary analysis essay is “Why did the author write this piece?”. To answer this question, first, you need to do an in-depth evaluation of the literary work and the circumstances that surrounded its creation.

The Content of a Literary Analysis Essay

The structure and list of paragraphs that will be in your literary analysis paper differs from assignment to assignment based on the complexity, the type of literary work, and numerous other factors. For example, when analyzing a poem, you will end up with a brief essay, while analyzing a novel will require you to do more work and will make your piece longer. The most widespread aspects that are found in nearly any literary analysis essay are the following ones:

  • The genre of the literary work;
  • Analysis of the plot and the main ideas;
  • Analysis of the main characters;
  • Review of the theme of the work;
  • Analysis of the structure and style used by the author;
  • Analysis of the symbolism in the piece.

If you feel like there are other elements you need to include in your literary analysis paper to make it more thorough and complete, you are always welcome to do so.

Step by Step Guide to Writing a Literary Analysis Essay

Writing a literary analysis work is not the most complex task in the world, but it does require you to take a serious approach to the assignment. Before you begin writing, you need to have a detailed plan of your work and know-how you are going to tackle every element of the writing. These are the elements of a typical literary analysis essay writing process.

Focus on the topic

The first and essential step of creating a literary analysis paper is to thoroughly understand the piece you are about to analyze. If necessary, read the piece several times until you know exactly what the author meant to say with the work. Answer the following questions to have a clear picture of the writer’s intentions and whether he was successful in delivering the message:

  • Which parts of the literary work stood out and why?
  • What were the reasons for the author to use these particular literary devices?
  • How well can you notice the character development?

When reading the piece, you also need to build connections between the characters, plot development, and the details surrounding the narrative — you will use them at the later stages of the writing process.

Collect the evidence

You cannot base your literary analysis essay on your own thoughts and ideas. You always need solid supporting arguments and evidence that can add value to your opinion. The supporting evidence can often be found in the literary work you are analyzing: relevant quotes and facts can help you get your point across. Facts from the author’s biography and quotes by other reviewers of the piece are other common types of evidence.

Create an outline

The outline of a literary analysis paper is like the backbone of the whole work. You need to find the best possible ways to start and finish your essay, as well as provide enough arguments and evidence to support the main idea of your paper.

Write a thesis statement

The thesis statement is often referred to as the most essential sentence in the essay, and this belief is not far from the truth. A strong thesis statement will instantly let the audience know that your argument is valid and important and that you are able to support your claims with some unbreakable evidence.

Write and revise your piece

When you have thoroughly prepared for the writing of your literary analysis essay, you can sit down and create the first draft of your piece. Stay as close to the outline as possible and make your writing appealing and professional. After you finish writing the first draft, leave the essay aside for some time and come back to revise it with a fresh pair of eyes — then you will be able to correct the mistakes and possible inconsistencies you may have missed in the first place.

Literary Analysis Essay Outline

The outline of your essay is an important step in the writing process that will help you always keep the focus on the topic and remember everything you wanted to say in your piece. A typical outline of a literary analysis paper will include the following parts:

  1. Introduction, which is a way for your audience to get acquainted with the subject of your paper. The introduction is often the most important part of the essay because it will either spark interest in your piece or make the reader stop reading altogether.
  2. Body paragraphs (usually 3 to 5), which contain the arguments for your thesis statement with supporting evidence. Each body paragraph should refer to a different argument.
  3. Conclusion, where you sum up everything you have said before and restate why you believe your thesis statement is true. Let the audience know why you were successful in doing your analysis.


If you don’t have any experience in crafting a literary analysis essay, the first time you sit down for this task may feel rather challenging. However, with our helpful guide, you will write a strong literary analysis paper and will be able to successfully put your thoughts into writing.