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How To Write A Literary Analysis?

A literary analysis is an essay that examines the component parts of a work of literature and how they all work together to create meaning. The thesis statement of the essay should describe the meaning that the essay writer seeks to elucidate and at least three elements of the work that contribute to that meaning. The analysis should include an interpretation of the work, which is often related to the work's theme.

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You may be asked to write a literary analysis of a story, novel, poem, or other work of literature. Usually you'll be given an assignment sheet that tells you what your instructor is looking for. In general, to write a good literary analysis, you should work backward. Think about the meaning of the piece for you. This could be the work's theme, a universal truth about life that becomes clear through the work. Alternatively, it could be how the work relates biographically to the author or how it exemplifies a literary movement, such as Romanticism or Aestheticism.

Once you've chosen a meaning to write about, look back at the work to find the techniques that the author used to create that meaning. In a short story, for example, you should examine each element of the story arc: characters, setting, inciting incident, problem or conflict, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. In a poem, you should consider poetic devices such as alliteration, rhyme, rhythm, meter, onomatopoeia, consonance, enjambment, and caesura. For all literary works, consider symbolism, irony, and point of view.

Once you have thought through how the various elements of the work contribute to the meaning you have chosen to write about, choose three that seem to be the strongest. Now you can construct a thesis statement. For example, you might want to show how Alfred, Lord Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott" reflects the plight of the Victorian woman. Your thesis statement could be as follows:

Although Alfred, Lord Tennyson did not necessarily write it for that purpose, "The Lady of Shalott" reflects the plight of the Victorian woman through the poem's setting, climax, and symbolism.

The first part of the statement that begins with "although" is known as the concessions clause. This is not always necessary in a thesis statement, but if you believe readers might object to your interpretation, you can concede anything that isn't strong about your argument in that clause.

Now the structure of your essay has been laid. Write an introduction paragraph that ends with your thesis statement. Write one section showing how each of the elements you chose adds to the meaning you are writing about. Add a conclusion paragraph that briefly summarizes your points and explains why the topic you've written about is important. Be sure to end with a strong statement that reinforces your point in new words. Create an interesting title that ties in to your final sentence. As with any writing project, take time to revise your work and proofread before submitting it.

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