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The Keystones of Writing an Outstanding Literary Analysis Essay

Literature teachers are notorious for assigning literary analysis essay projects. Unfortunately, students often end up writing summaries that include little to no analysis at all. If students understand the basis of writing an analysis, they will be able to easily complete the assignment without having to resort to writing a summary. There are a few keystones that are needed to write a successful literary analysis essay.

Breaking Down the Text

The entire idea of writing an analysis is to break down the components of the piece of literature. Teachers want to see that their students can recognize the components of literature, like characterization techniques, plot diagrams, and components of the setting and mood. When students. Students need to be able to include examples from the text as well as explanations about how those parts help construct the whole piece of literature.

Focus on Author’s Intent

The most challenging part of writing a literary analysis is showing why the author included the various parts of the literature. The best literary analysis papers include characterization techniques, like dialogue, description, and interactions with other characters. Students need to show what is revealed about the characters and what those revelations show about the rest of the text. In some cases, students will be able to show what the characterization reveals about the writer, especially if students know the writer’s background.

Diagram the Plot

Another important aspect of every literary analysis is the plot diagram. Students are often tasked with breaking down the exposition, rising action, turning point, falling action, and resolution. They usually need to find where those parts of the story begin and end, so students need to find the inciting incident as well as the moment with the climax occurs and the direction of the story changes. Instructors usually want examples from the story, so students should include paraphrases because the moments are usually too big to directly quote.

Remember the Literary Devices

Other instructors will ask their students to write about other literary devices like mood, tone, and figurative language. Since all of these literary device work to make novels unique. They show the author’s style and the beauty of the language. Students should use direct quotes when writing about literary devices and their effects on the novel as a whole. Focusing on literary devices is actually an interesting way to analyze a literary text.

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