Literary analysis can be complicated not only to the blonde girl but to a lot of students too. It does take some critical thinking. Wait a minute, what does literary analysis mean? The purpose of the literary analysis is to examine, evaluate and analyze a specific aspect within a written piece of literature regardless of genre. The goal is to focus on one specific attribute within the writing and to develop it well. Stop googling “write my essay for me” and “how to write a literary analysis fast”. Let us start to work on it.
How to Write Literary Analysis and What to Begin With?
It is one of the hardest parts for students. How to systematize all the ideas you have just read? How to put everything into a couple of pages? First of all, we highly recommend you write literary analysis only from the point of view of your problem, but not all possible directions which are at least somehow connected to your theme. Critically analyze the piece of literature which has the relation to what you writing about. How to do that? Firstly, we need to talk about transiting from reading to writing a literary analysis. Here are things you need to do before you start writing to ensure you have a rock star literary analysis essay.
Go over the prompts. In theory, you have already done this at the beginning of your reading, but now once you have finished your reading, the prompts are going to make a lot more sense to you. It will help you understand how to organize all the information you gathered while you were reading. The prompt shows you the type of information you will need to compile in your literary analysis. So, make a bookmark that contains the prompt and read it every time you read the book to remind you of the purpose for reading.
Reread Your Notes
You can do this in one of two ways. First one, read your thematic issues first to narrow down the type of quotes you want to use (if you already have an idea of what theme you want to discuss). Option B you should employ if you still really do not have any idea about the theme of the novel. That is why you need to quotes first to determine a thematic issue.
Find a Relevant Theme
Look at literary analysis elements. The two easiest elements are changes in character that include characterization or the hero's journey and conflict (what the protagonist is fighting for). Let us take the novel about Gilgamesh by Stephen Mitchell as an example. Twelve stages that the main character goes through in trying to become his most actualized self is the hero's journey, this is how he changes over time.
The type of conflict your protagonist is engaged in also leads you to a better understanding of what the author is trying to say about all people. So, if they are engaged in a conflict that is internal, the conflict with themselves, it speaks differently than if they are engaged in a war over a political battle. So, keep an eye out for what the main character is fighting for.
Here are some additional ways to find a theme – look for some symbols, things that represent themselves but also represent larger concepts. For example, just a brick can represent a relationship and rollercoaster can describe the ups and downs of the protagonist’s life. Look for the archetypes – universal symbols, like color, weather, nature which are constant throughout time and never change. Believe me, every time you see a storm that means something. Look for allusions – references to earlier works, namely the Bible.
To analyze the literature, you need to identify a particular theme (like the difficulty of making the transition from adolescence to adulthood) and show how the author of the book suggests that theme through the point of view from which the story is told. Look at how the writer explains the main character's attitude toward people, how it revealed through his dialogue and actions.
Methods of Writing the Literary Analysis
The secret ingredient to writing a great literary analysis is what we call “quote sandwich”. You are taking the quote, a piece of textual evidence and you are putting into a sandwich with the context (what is going on in the story), your analysis, and interpretation. So, instead of just throwing evidence at readers, you present to them this sandwich of evidence which shows why that quote supports your position. The same question, how to do that? Here are some methods of writing the literary analysis.
The simplest way to work with literature is to make notes and add your comments to them (once again, from the perspective of your theme, you do not want to write about all possible literary analysis topics). While making notes, do not forget to link them to your source. You want to record page numbers to build evidence to support your point. Believe me, accuracy is a key feature here. You do not want to take a quote out of its context and deliver a completely different message. Pay attention to the secondary quoting in your literature analysis.
Have you ever read the annotation before buying the book? I do that all the time because I have to know what I am paying for. Take care of your readers as well, you should present the background information in your literary analysis at the beginning, just like all the professional authors do.
Paraphrasing is retelling the same idea in your own words. It is different from the annotation just because paraphrasing does not necessarily compress the information as annotation does. All you need to do is to adapt the piece of literature to make it clearer for yourself and your target audience.
Literary Analysis Outline
Yes, the literary analysis also has the structure. It will take you just a couple of minutes to understand.
You have always heard of a hook. You need the hook in the introduction because it is a way to get your reader into the paper. To understand what I am talking about I will give you the examples from the novel “The Lord of the Flies” by William Golding. Make sure you mentioned the author and the title of the piece as well as the essential background information, a brief plot synopsis. And lastly, you have to provide your argument or a thesis statement.
So, we are going to start with a startling fact:
“Nearly 60 million people died during World War II. William Golding, the author of the “Lord of the Flies”, faced the evils of humanity first hand as a soldier in WWII, and in his novel, he explores the depths of human depravity”.
You can also start with a meaningful quotation:
“Man is the cruelest animal” (Nietzsche). In William Goldring's novel “Lord of the Flies”, evil comes in many forms, and surprisingly, children represent the latent evil in all humanity”.
The quote should foreshadow what the literary analysis is going to be about. In literary analysis, you want to start with a big idea everyone can agree with, that everyone has had experience with, which also relates to the main idea.
Now that you have your introduction completed, you have a lot of the hard work completed. The introduction paragraph ends with a thesis statement. In the literary analysis essay, the thesis statement must include the title of the text, the author, and the idea you will write about.
So, the first step after you have completed your introduction is to outline your arguments (evidence).
It is basically the main meat of your literary analysis. Your body paragraphs have a number of functions but their main one is to support the theme. How do you do this? Use hard evidence from the literature. What should it include? Topic sentence (explains what your body paragraph will discuss), textual evidence #1-3 (with lead-in and commentary) and concluding the sentence. So, these are the elements that every body paragraph should possess.
The first sentence of the first body paragraph must relate directly to the thesis. The thesis serves as a “road map” to the reader and conveys the content, purpose, and the organization of your essay.
So, the structure of the body paragraphs of your literary analysis will look like this:
1. Topic Sentence
2. Lead-in to textual evidence 1
3. Textual evidence 1
4. Commentary/ Explanation
5. Transition and lead-in to the textual evidence 2
6. Textual evidence 2
7. Commentary/ Explanation
8. Concluding sentence
Literary Analysis Essay Conclusion
The final step of every literary analysis is the conclusion. Your final paragraph should not have the highest number of words, it has to have the most accurate sentences. To write a great conclusion in the literary analysis, all you need to do is to squeeze well-known “hook”, key points and arguments of your literary analysis, and impressive last sentence. Word of advice, to write a conclusion, think of the reader as the person with a short memory, so you need to remind them what is your main idea as well as give your personal opinion about the theme.