Excellent Literary Analysis Writing Tips

Literary analysis writing entails a number of steps to be taken in order to create a high-quality paper. They include:

  1. Reading a text properly.

It can be done several times not to miss anything important. Pay attention to the main characters, ideas, interesting and unusual elements.

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  1. Think about a proper topic based on what you have read.

In order to choose a good topic for your analysis, you should think about what you liked about the text, what was interesting to you, ideas you would like to share. In the process of reading, it is strongly recommended to make notes or highlight text that may be useful in future work.

The topic choice should be made on your interpretation of what was said by the author in a book.

Here are important things that need to be considered while preparing literary analysis:

  • Character/s

Think about the main characters and what you can say about them: their behavior, deeds, what they symbolize, and what their roles are. What challenges do they experience? Is there something wrong with what they do? Was your first impression about the characters correct? What is the attitude of the author towards the characters?

  • Setting

Does the setting represent the overall mood of the book? Does it add value to the main theme of the work? How does it influence the main characters and their behavior?

  • Plot

Is the beginning intriguing? Does it set the tone of the literary work? Does it hint at what is going to happen? How is the plot built up? Is there a logical sequence of events in the work? Does the writer use some special techniques in the process of writing (flashback, etc.)? Do the events discussed lead to the climax logically? 

  • Theme

What is the core idea of the work? Does the author develop it properly? How are the characters affected by the theme? Is there any symbolism in the theme of the literary work? What is the connection between the theme of the work and its title?

  • Dialogues

Are there enough dialogs in the work? Are they effective and meaningful? What are they used for? How do the dialogues help uncover the major ideas?

  • Images

Are there any images in the work? What are they used for? How do they explain the events occurring in the work? To what extent are these images important in the literary work? Do they have any symbolic meaning?

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  • Figures of speech

Are there any metaphors, hyperboles, etc. in the work? What are they used for? Are figures of speech often used in the text? Are they used to emphasize something? What exactly?

  • Tone

What is the tone of the work (serious, formal, playful, etc.)? Why do you think the author uses such a tone? Is there any influence of the author’s tone on the major ideas and messages of the text? Is the tone achieved by the author? How?

  • Rhyme

Is rhyme presented in the work? How does the author create rhyme?

  • Viewpoint

Do the main characters support some point of view? Is it important for the literary work plot and theme? Is it important for characters' development? Is there any difference between the point of view of the analysis writer and the author?

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  1. Reflect on the message the author is trying to convey

Think about the idea behind the text. Why is this idea interesting/important? How do the ideas of the writer reflect what is provided in the text? How is the text influenced by their vision? What the author’s response may be to the question about their own work? How would they evaluate it?

  1. Make sure you can find enough evidence to support your topic

It is not enough to just write an analysis based on personal opinion. The writer should be able to support the ideas with the appropriate evidence. The information may go either directly from the literary text or other credible sources.

  1. Create a thesis statement

A thesis is an important part of writing, as it reflects the main idea of the argument. However, it should not be a solid statement but it should let the readers make their own conclusions regarding the topic.

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  • The thesis may be debatable.

A debatable thesis is a thesis that allows readers to question it and encourages them to look for the right answer. For example, Frankenstein’s Monster is pure evil and its existence had to be stopped at any cost. This thesis is debatable because the readers may argue the idea of Monster’s evilness. Is it really so evil or is it just a product of human activity? Who created the Monster: the genius professor or the society he lived in?

  • The thesis may be non-debatable.

A non-debatable thesis contains a statement that cannot be questioned. For example, The book Frankenstein is about a professor who creates a Monster that later leads to his death.

This statement contains information about the book that is merely informative and cannot be argued.

  1. Choose the pieces of evidence that fit the topic best

It is recommended to find as much supportive information on the topic as possible to be able to choose the strongest arguments.

  1. Check whether your thesis connects with the supportive materials you have found.

  2. Organize information in your analysis

Make sure the evidence you provide is logically presented and connected to the thesis. Avoid using information that does not support it.

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  1. Prove explanations to the evidence

Please remember that literary analysis is not a summary of the text but its analysis. You need to provide an interpretation of the literary work and explain why your interpretation is correct. For this reason, you have to explain how each piece of evidence you use fits your argument.

  1. Write a draft

Writing a draft is an important step that makes further work easier. Still, there are different methods of draft writing with the most popular of them being the following:

  • Write an Outline

An outline is created to help the writer establish a backbone for their future work. In such a way, the writing process will be properly organized and there is very little possibility that some information will be missed out.

  • Freewriting

This activity entails writing down all central ideas and thoughts during ten minutes of writing. At this point, such issues as grammar, punctuation, and spelling do not matter. The main idea of this method is to gather all thoughts in one place to turn them into a professional analysis later.

  • Bubble map

In this method, each idea should appear in the paper in a separate bubble. Later, these bubbles need to be connected with each other based on their relevance. It will help establish the connection between the ideas and make the transition from one idea to another more fluent.

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  1. Revision

Revision is an important step that follows draft writing. In the process of revision, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the thesis clear enough?
  • Does the evidence provide support the thesis?
  • Is the main idea properly supported in the analysis?
  • Is the third-person viewpoint used throughout the paper?
  • Has a proper tense form been used in the paper (the present tense for analysis and the past tense for discussing the author’s background)?
  • Does the analysis contain direct quotes? Are they properly formatted?
  • Does the analysis follow the rules of a specific formatting style (MLA, APA, or any other)?
  • Were the shreds of evidence that do not support the thesis removed?
  • Does the paper have proper transitions between paragraphs?
  1. Proofreading

Once the paper is ready based on the previous steps, it needs to be rechecked for minor and major mistakes, misprints, etc. You can do it by slowly reading your own paper aloud.

In case you have anyone to read the paper for you, you can ask this person to do it and provide feedback. It is also recommended to proofread the paper several times to eliminate all or at least most of the mistakes that can compromise the quality of your analysis.

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