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How to Write A Literary Analysis Essay- Step by Step Guide

Hey you! Do you need help writing a literary analysis essay for school? No need to search anymore because we are here to save the day. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to create a stand-out literary analysis essay that showcases your understanding and appreciation of literature while also discussing the different types of analysis. So, without further delay, let’s get started!

What is a Literary Analysis Essay?

Literary analysis essays are an essential aspect of English literature that students often encounter in middle school, high school, and college.

It is an academic paper that examines and evaluates a piece of literature, such as a poem, short story, novel, or plays. The goal is to break down the work into various components, analyze its literary devices, and provide insight into the author’s intentions and overall meaning. There are several types of literary analysis essays, each with its unique focus:

  • Theoretical Analysis: This type of analysis requires the writer to apply a specific literary theory developed by a scholar or an expert to the literary piece.
  • Close Reading Analysis:This type of analysis involves closely examining a literary piece to identify various literary devices used by the author, such as metaphors, similes, and allusions.
  • Applied Analysis:This type of analysis involves a subjective approach in which you review the literature  while relating it to your personal experiences.
  • Comparative or Synergistic Analysis:This type of analysis involves comparing two or more literary pieces to identify similarities and differences in their themes, characters, settings, and other literary elements.
  • Contextual or Historical Analysis: This type of analysis requires the writer to examine the historical, cultural, or social context in which the literary piece was written.

How Can a Writer Analyze Literature?

There are several methods that a writer can use to analyze literature. Some of the most common ways are:

  • Character Analysis: This involves examining the traits and motivations of the characters in the literary piece.
  • Symbolism Analysis: This involves identifying and analyzing the symbols used in the literary piece and their meanings.
  • Theme Analysis: This involves examining the underlying messages or ideas the literary piece conveys.
  • Setting Analysis: This involves examining the time and place in which the literary piece is set and how it influences the characters and themes.
  • Structure and Style Analysis: This involves examining the structure and style of the literary piece and how they contribute to its narrative.
  • Diction, Imagery, and Denotation Analysis: This involves analyzing the author’s use of language, imagery, and denotation to convey meaning and create the mood.

Steps For a Stand-Out Literary Analysis Essay

Now that you have a solid understanding of what a literary analysis essay entails let’s dive into the step-by-step process to create a masterpiece!

  1. Read the Literary Piece:

The initial step in writing a literary analysis essay is to read the literary piece carefully. Reading the work more than once is essential to better understand its themes, characters, symbolism, and other literary elements.

  1. Gather Evidence:

Collect textual evidence (quotes, descriptions, etc.) that supports your analysis as you read. This evidence will serve as the backbone of your essay. This could include quotes, examples, references from the literary piece, and research from other sources.

  1. Craft a Thesis Statement:

Thesis Statement is included in the introduction. It states your interpretation of the work and how you plan to support your analysis. For example:

“Do you think Joseph Conrad’s novella, Heart of Darkness, is a racist text or not?

The novel has criticized the author multiple times for its racist text. The Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe labels Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness novel as a racist text in the book ‘An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness’ essay for its constant racial discrimination, harsh racist language, and misinterpretation of Africa’s real image in front of the whole world.”


  1. Create an Engaging Title:

The title of a literary analysis essay should be engaging and informative. It should give the reader an idea of what the essay is about and make them want to read more.

  1. Make an Outline:

Before writing the essay, make an outline consisting of an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The introduction should include a thesis statement and provide background information on the literary piece. Everybody paragraph should emphasize a different aspect of the literary work, such as its characters, themes, or symbols. Lastly, add the conclusion to summarize your analysis and provide your final thoughts.

  1. Write a Draft:

Now that you have formulated a begin writing your essay. Remember to use a conversational tone and incorporate your unique insights and interpretations throughout the paper.

  1. Review:

After writing the first draft, review the essay and make any necessary revisions. This could include reorganizing the structure of the paper, adding or removing evidence, and refining the thesis statement. In addition, it is vital to check for grammar and spelling errors and ensure the essay is well-written and easy to understand.

Wrapping Up!

And there you have it! By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to crafting a literary analysis essay that demonstrates your understanding of the work and showcases your unique perspective and analytical skills. So go forth, dear reader, and conquer the world of literary analysis with confidence and flair!



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