A good literary analysis essay example should be written in an organized and concise way. It should argue for/against a well-defined thesis statement and use the text as evidence.
Skip to the end to read the example but if you would like to know more about how to write a great literary analysis essay, keep reading!
Writing a Literary Analysis Essay
What is a literary analysis essay?
A literary analysis essay is a type of writing where the writer analyzes, interprets, and discusses the text. It is usually written about literature such as novels and poems. In order to write an effective literary analysis essay, the writer must read carefully and pay attention to the details in the text.
The more knowledge you have about how authors write, what their intentions are for their work, and what it means on its own terms; the better your analysis will be. One way to think about what this type of paper does is that it helps readers understand the meaning behind the story by exploring deeper ideas found within.
Writers use different techniques such as symbolism, allegory, and allusion in their writing. Literary analysis essays help readers understand these techniques by exploring them further with evidence from the text. You may want to point out any examples of symbolism, allegory, or allusion that were used throughout the novel or poem. You can also explore themes in the book like loneliness, fear, or hope which are often explored through imagery or other forms of figurative language.
How to write a literary analysis essay
You’ll need to do several things in order to write an effective literary analysis essay. Before you start, it’s important to choose your text very carefully. You may want to find an author that you know well and select one of their books or poems for your paper. If you don’t already have much knowledge about that author and their body of work, then consider reading another piece by them or at least something else they’ve written.
Once you’ve selected your text, make sure that you have time to focus solely on reading it before starting. Read the whole thing at least twice so that you get a sense of the story and overall message that the author is trying to convey. Make note of any interesting words or passages and jot them down in the margins. When you’re finished reading, take some time to review your notes again and think about what those words might mean.
Now you’re ready to start writing!
Follow these steps to help you write an effective literary analysis:
Write an Attention-grabbing Literary Analysis Introduction
Start your literary analysis with an introduction paragraph that explains the main points of your paper. Tell readers what text you will be analyzing (usually a novel, short story, or poem), who wrote it, and when it was published. The introductory paragraph should also tell readers why you chose the text and if there are any major events that happen early on.
For instance, if it’s a novel, mention why you picked it and whether or not there’s been a lot of action up until this point in the story.
If it’s a poem, mention how many stanzas there are and how long each stanza is. Then provide some background information about the author so readers have context for your interpretation. You’ll want to include information about the author’s background, education, and influences. This will allow readers to see how these factors could have shaped the text that you’re analyzing.
Use this paragraph to set the stage for your interpretation. You can go into detail about certain characters later but for now, just provide enough information so readers know who you’re talking about.
At the end of the introduction include a thesis statement. This statement summarizes the main argument you will be making in the rest of the essay. A good thesis statement answers the question, What’s the point of this essay? It doesn’t give away your answer, but it tells readers what you’re going to argue. For example, I believe that Tom Robinson represents the oppressed people of America in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. That sentence would give readers a general idea of what to expect.
Write Body Paragraphs for the Literary Analysis Essay
The body paragraphs will all support your thesis statement.
For example, in my thesis statement above, I argue that Tom Robinson represents the oppressed people of America. In my next paragraphs, I’ll support this idea with examples from the book that demonstrate how he suffers because he lacks social status. Paragraph 2 will discuss his lack of education and legal representation; Paragraph 3 will talk about his impoverished state, and Paragraph 4 will show how Bob Ewell bullies him throughout the book. Let’s say you want to talk about the character Scout in a novel.
The key idea here is that all body paragraphs should support your thesis statement. Remember to use transition words in body paragraphs like however or on the other hand. These words will help readers follow your thoughts and connect ideas. Transition words will also make your essay easier to read. Transition phrases like therefore, in contrast, and for this reason show a clear connection between ideas, which will make it easier for readers to follow you and understand what you’re saying.
Conclude the Literary Analysis
The conclusion of a literary analysis should restate your thesis statement and provide some final thoughts. Remember to state what you accomplished in your essay and remind readers why it was so important. A good literary analysis essay conclusion will summarize the whole essay by summarizing the points you made in earlier body paragraphs.
Think back to your body paragraphs and summarize them here as well. This isn’t always easy because sometimes there is more than one theme explored in literature but try to focus on one major theme that drives your discussion. After finishing your essay, check to make sure you answered the question What’s the point?
Don’t forget to proofread!
Literary analysis Example 1: To Kill a Mockingbird
The following example illustrates how to write a literary analysis of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. The essay argues for the thesis, “Tom Robinson represents the oppressed people of America.” It then lists four points that are evidence of this statement.
All these points support the thesis statement as they are meant to show how marginalized he is in society through language, economic standing, lack of education and limited access to justice.
Here is the Essay :
Harper Lee’s “To kill a Mockbird” is one of the most famous American novels ever written. There are many themes discussed in the book that relate to society today such as racial inequality, discrimination against those without an education, and corruption among law enforcement officials. One of these themes that are prevalent throughout the novel is the oppression of those who have no power over their lives such as Tom Robinson- a black man accused of raping a white girl at first glance. Overall, Tom Robinson represents the oppressed people of America.
Oppression, throughout the novel, can be seen through three different aspects of Tom’s life. First, he lacks any kind of formal education due to where he came from and this leads to his low socio-economic status when compared to other characters in the novel. Education is essential in life. Without the ability to read, think critically, or communicate, a person cannot take full advantage of the opportunities available in society. When Tom Robinson cannot afford to pay for school and tries to get educated on his own, he is ridiculed by Bob Ewell- a racist alcoholic. This demonstrates how those with money believe they are entitled to live different lifestyles than those without money. As someone who doesn’t come from privilege, Tom faces hardship simply because of where he came from.
Second, throughout the trial of Tom Robinson, he never really has a voice and he is not given the opportunity to defend himself properly. Although Atticus Finch defends him to the best of his abilities, it seems like every time Atticus speaks up for him something happens out of nowhere which makes it difficult for Tom’s case to win. He is said to have been, barefoot and ragged and hungry, a creature driven and derided by a lash, which reveals just how difficult his life has been up until now. With the way he’s being treated in the courtroom, it is hard to see how he could expect a fair trial. He also doesn’t even seem to understand English. This makes it impossible for him to fully participate in his own defence and so he is automatically deemed less than worthy of being treated as a human being.
The last way Tom Robinson is shown to be oppressed is by the fact that he is unable to seek justice for his crimes. With the limitations of a black man in the 1930s, it’s nearly impossible for him to get justice from a jury that consists only of white men. Even if he did happen to make it past the jury and onto a judge, Tom would still be stuck because he couldn’t afford a lawyer. This is why he is denied a proper trial and he eventually pays the price for his crimes. This is what separates Tom Robinson from the rest of the world, his lack of social and economic privileges. Tom’s history shows that he is a victim of his environment and that he was born into a disadvantaged race.
In conclusion, Harper Lee’s novel shows how the oppressed are those that don’t have social and economic privileges. Tom Robinson is a prime example of this because he lacked education, was discriminated against for his race, and had little to no access to justice. It is clear to the reader that his fate had already been determined before he even went to court. His treatment in the courtroom, his uneducated state, and his financial situation all contributed to the verdict that he received. Ultimately, Harper Lee’s novel is a window into the very nature of a system that thrives off the oppression of others. It’s important for the reader to know that although the novel takes place in the 1930s, racism and prejudice are still alive and well in today’s society.