Writing the Literary Analysis Essay
The best pattern to follow for writing any kind of school essay is the five-paragraph essay model – introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. As your essay-writing skills mature, you can certainly move beyond this model (and by the time you do university courses, you will be expected to do so), but it’s a good basic model to start with.
An expository essay is an essay that explains or gives information about a topic.In this type of essay, each of the three body paragraphs introduces one major piece of information about the topic, so that the essay as a whole makes three main points.
An analytical essay is a particular type of expository essay, the purpose of which is to explain or give information about a work of literature.In this type of essay, each of the three body paragraphs will contain one main example from the text to support the essay’s thesis.
INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH: This paragraph should tell the reader what your paper is going to be about.The following information (not necessarily in this order) needs to be included in an introductory paragraph:
1. a way to draw the reader in, create interest
2. author of the text
3. title of the text (underlined or italicized for novels and plays; in quotation marks for short stories and poems)
4. general statement about the literary work
5. necessary background information about the story (very little)
6. thesis statement (your main idea – this should be closely linked to the essay question you are answering.
For example, you might be assigned the following question about Macbeth:
Explore the idea of “manhood” in Macbeth.What does it mean to “be a man” in this play?
Your opening paragraph might read something like this.The numbers in brackets show where the items from the list above have been included in the paragraph:
Real men don’t cry … or watch soap operas … or wear pink.Or do they? Every society has certain ideas attached to what it means to be “manly” or “womanly.” (1) Shakespeare’s great tragedy Macbeth, the story of a Scottish lord who kills the king in order to become king himself, is no exception. (2, 3, 4, 5).Throughout this play, characters constantly make reference to manhood and the idea of “being a man.”In Macbeth, manhood is always associated with physical courage and sometimes even with cruelty. (6)
BODY PARAGRAPHS: These should answer the question “why?” by giving more information about your topic.Each paragraph should be between three and six sentences long and each should have one single, clear main idea.
Each paragraph needs to include specific examples and direct quotes from the work of literature you’re discussing.A body paragraph should include:
1. topic sentence – like a mini-thesis statement, explaining what the main point of this paragraph will be
2. context of the quote you are using (where in the story does it appear? in what situation? etc.)
3. introduction to the quote – who says it? To whom are they speaking? Use a comma before the quote, and enclose the entire quote in quotation marks.
4. the quote itself followed by a page number in parenthesis (for a Shakespearean play, you can give act and scene number instead of page number).
5. explanation of the quote in your own words.
6. analysis of the quote – why it is important and how it relates to your thesis.Be specific about how the quote connects to your thesis.Analysis should be the largest part of your paragraph.
For example, imagine that you are continuing the Macbeth essay on manliness with the first body paragraph.You might write something like this:
Lady Macbeth uses the idea of “manliness” to motivate her husband to commit murder. (1) Before Macbeth murders King Duncan, he begins to have doubts about what he is doing. (2) Lady Macbeth challenges him by saying, (3) “When you durst do it, then you were a man” (Act I, Sc. 7) (4). She says that when Macbeth was willing to kill Duncan, then he was acting like “a real man” in her opinion (5).It is clear that Lady Macbeth associates manhood with courage – specifically, the courage to kill.She follows this up by saying that she would even be willing to kill her own infant while nursing it if necessary – demonstrating that her “womanly” feelings can be overcome by “manly” courage.Manhood, to Lady Macbeth, means physical courage and violence, and she uses this view to motivate her husband. (6)
The next two body paragraphs for this essay might include the following examples:
· Paragraph 3: Macbeth uses the idea of manliness to motivate his hired murderers to kill Banquo.
· Paragraph 4: Macbeth demonstrates “manly” courage by fighting to death at the end of the play even when all is lost.
It is always wise to create a brief outline with point-form summaries of each paragraph before you begin to write.Make sure each paragraph sticks to its main point.
CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH: Restate what you told the reader and leave him/her with something to think about.Your conclusion should include:
· a restatement of your thesis
· summary of your main points
· statement that leaves the reader thinking about the ideas in your essay
Somehow in the high school, your teacher stated something like an analytical essay, defined it as a type of writing that tries to analyze a text in an already established topic. This sounds like a perfect simplified mode of writing that just summarizes the events or characters but in practice, it can prove to be hectic. So, before learning how to write a good analytical essay, need have to have a clear understanding of what it actually is.
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By definition, it’s an academic writing that separates the ideas and facts, gives the meaning to the facts to enable the reader to understand them easily. From this definition, it is very clear that it is not just a summary of the text, but an arrangement of how themes and characters align in a narrative. Analytical essay assists the reader to have a larger scope of understanding than it would be provided in a summary, as the facts are scrutinized and examined closely to portray the actual meaning of the text in a broader clearer picture.
How to write a good analytical essay
Writing a successful paper is not as automatic as you might think, thus, it requires some critical considerations. Remember that every word appealing and also helpful to the reader. The first genuine step is by studying examples of analytical essays considered successful.
This step sets a clear understanding of how to arrange the ideas and facts, and how to present them in the analysis. Of course, you are not confined to write exactly the way other samples outline, but it a great way to kick start your learning process.
Once an idea has been incepted in your memory, scrutinize the topics to have a clear understanding of the facts at hand.
There are several writing outlines but generally, three general parts namely the Introduction, the Body and the Conclusion incorporated in every essay. The three make the general format of an essay.
Plays an integral part of the overall writing. The first sentence should be interesting and attractive to the reader so that it can instill a motivation to continue studying the analysis. There are several options available to kick start your creative writing like making a compromising statement, giving interesting breathtaking facts or even asking a rhetorical question. This style draws the inspiration and the reader cannot wait to see the content in the whole review. After this, create a proper thesis statement that now introduces the reader to the main subject as it is.
The last bit is the proof of how you the thesis statement are supported throughout your analysis. It is from the introduction where you develop a list of ideas and topics to be included in the body.
- is the PowerPoint of the entire writing so creativity should be portrayed at its best here. Typically, the body should not have less than three paragraphs depending on the topic under scrutiny but a writer can incorporate as many as deemed fit with his work.
The structure of the body mainly involves a topic sentence, a claim and the evidence. This is the general template of an analytical essay. The topic sentence introduces the reader on what the paragraph entails. The claim narrows down on more specific details concerning the topic sentence. And finally, the evidence section supports the claim. The three should allow the reader to understand the topic under consideration leaving no loopholes along. The evidence should directly relate to the claim to give a good flow of ideas in the topic.
It is a summary of your essay stating your main points indirectly.
This is the finishing point of any paper. This section should be literary good to prompt the reader to go over the topic again and again to probably get some facts right about a misunderstood section. It’s a point of reference and review. The reader can use it as a guide to refer back to the topics discussed. It is better if the conclusion can leave the reader satisfied and contented with the facts and evidences outlined on the essay.
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It is important
From the above points, analytical essay writing follows the outlined general structure. It is the effort of the writer to make it as persuasive as possible so as to accomplish the intended purpose in its meaning. It is important to review the whole work after done writing to see and improve on the ideas outlined in the whole statement.