Some Pointers for Your Literary Analysis Essay

Depending on your course or school curriculum, you may be tasked to do a literary analysis essay.  This assignment requires you to analyze a piece of literature that may have already been assigned in class or something of your choosing. Unlike the usual essays where viewpoints can be easily researched and understood, this requires quite a bit of analytical effort on your end.

So read on to learn about tips to help you create a literary analysis essay.

  1. If given a prompt, choose the prompt you like

Most teachers today assign their class a series of question prompts about the literature pieces they are to analyze. One reason is to ensure the question is challenging.  The second is to make checking easier since the teacher probably has an idea of the answer.

If given such a choice, it is always wise to pick the prompt you like the most.  Since literary analysis requires you to read and reread the text, it is best to select the one you want to go over again.

  1. If not prompt is given, then ask a lot of questions

Now, if no prompts are assigned, it means it is up to you to figure out what is a good part to analyze.  This could be the plot, the setting, the characters, or any subtle or overt themes.  You will need to read the text again and search for interesting areas, confusing sections, particular patterns, strange contradictions, or clear character flaws.

  1. Gather the evidence

Once you know what to analyze, it is time to obtain evidence from the literary text.  So if you are analyzing character flaws, for example, it would be best to go over the book, chapter by chapter, and note the key flaws per main character. You should write down the details along with the page number for quick reference.

  1. Create your thesis statement

Once evidence has been gathered and you have a clear idea of what you are looking at, it is time to make your thesis statement. The whole analysis of your essay will revolve around supporting your thought. The thesis statement should be to the point so that both you and your reader will understand what you are aiming for.

Good thesis: Although Mr. Jones comes across as a very weak and unsociable character at the start, it is his love for the neighborhood children that ultimately transforms him into a better person, not his infatuation for Ms. Cross.

Bad thesis: Mr. Jones became a more loving person because of his various experiences.

  1. Write

Similar to other essays, you will have an Intro, Body, and Conclusion.  Your Intro should include your thesis statement, so your reader knows what you plan on “proving.”  The Body is dedicated to supporting your thesis.  Depending on your topic, you can compare and contrast per paragraph, or you can start with your side first and then make mention of the other side.  In the Conclusion, be sure to tie it all up while emphasizing your position.


The literary analysis essay takes quite a bit more work than the usual essays, but it can be done.  Consider the pointers above to ensure a good result for your literary analysis.