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How to Write a Literary Analysis

Here's How to Write a Literary Analysis: It's Not Very Difficult

Writing a critical essay is, more often than not, seen as quite a difficult task. If you learn to write a literary analysis well, then it may not seem like the Herculean project that you have envisioned it to be. In this article, we tell you how you can write the same and how you can ensure that the task does not seem daunting.
Tulika Nair
Last Updated: Mar 9, 2018
Getting an assignment to write a literary analysis can have most students tearing their hair out. After all it is not easy to critique a literary work, that has been appreciated by many. Studying a brilliant piece of literature, then coming up with your own interpretations about this literary work can be nothing but daunting. After all it is difficult to comment on a famous author's work with the authority that is required. This is probably the biggest misconception about literary essays or critical essays as they are better known.
Writing such an essay in no way means that you need to develop an authoritative document which is the final word on the subject. The point of writing it is to present your own views and opinions about the fictional piece you are studying.
The Writing Process
You will first and foremost need to pick a literary work of your choice. While most teachers or instructors may assign a specific fictional work, occasionally you may have the choice to pick a book that you like. Remember to never choose a work because you think that it may impress your teacher. Also never commit the mistake of choosing a book that you think, will be extremely easy to study. Choose a work of literature that will force you to think, and work harder.
Once you have chosen a book and read it completely, it is time to choose those literary aspects of the book that you would want to write a literary analysis paper on. As a student, the literary features you will be looking at are characterization, plot, narration, setting, fictional themes, and symbolism in the book. Start making notes about each of these features. Ask questions about the same and think of how the author may have worked out the situations in the book. Questioning the different twists in the tale, the characterization, the plot, etc., will allow you to come up with several interesting points of view.
Focus on the topic or literary feature that interests you the most in the book or story. This will take you the next step which is to write a thesis statement. Write down the hypothesis that you have reached about the literary work. Remember that there is no necessity for the answer to be right. It is okay if at the end of writing the analysis, you learn that your hypothesis was flawed. Your job is to support your hypothesis with evidence that supports your claim and to provide your reader with an argument that is watertight. While writing a thesis statement, remember to be as precise as possible. This will help you while listing out the evidence that supports your hypothesis.
Next you will need to start gathering evidence from the text, in the form of quotes from the book to support your claim. Once you have your tools and evidence in place, write your introduction. Next, you write the body of the analysis. It is here that you will need to present your evidence that supports your claim. Express yourself succinctly and present your arguments in a logical manner. In the concluding paragraph, remember to restate your thesis statement. When you write the conclusion you will also need to include a summary of the evidence that you have presented in the paper.
It is important to remember that what is most important is originality of thought. Try and present fresh ideas and arguments in a logical manner. Before you submit the literary analysis, you have to proofread and revise the document. Check for any spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors.