When reading a work of literature in your classes, teachers ask you to write a literary analysis to prove your skills and knowledge. To analyze any book or short story, you need to break it down into small parts and examine how they all work. This is when a literary analysis outline will come in handy. It will help you structure your paper and ideas correctly.
This type of writing involves examining each part of your chosen play, novel, or poem (settings, characters, imagery, tones) and deciding how the author used them to create a special effect. You should follow a specific format. Your literary analysis is different from a standard book review because you don’t have to state if you like a work of literature and whether you recommend it to another reader.
Key literature analysis objectives
The main purposes that your literary analysis serves are the following:
- Reading a specific literature work critically and use it as your foundation for support;
- Documenting all sources of information that you use within your text;
- Using excellent writing skills to support and express your views;
- Using available technology tools to research and make a coherent analysis.
What should your excellent analysis fulfill?
To ensure that you fulfill everything in this type writing, use an effective literary analysis outline and do the following:
- Provide background data related to your topic in the introductory paragraph and lead into a clear thesis that indicates specific themes, settings, characters, and symbolism;
- Structure the body that clearly focuses on a major problem or question;
- Use a logical order instead of the chronological one;
- Use authors’ words or relevant quotes to make your analysis of revealing, striking, and memorable phrases that support your thesis;
- Make references to critical opinions and incorporate them into your own viewpoint;
- Paraphrase or summarize to defend your thesis with all kinds of supportive facts where quotes aren’t essential;
- Use proper spelling, grammar, and formatting in analysis;
- Show your understanding of authors’ methods and goals;
- Use transition words for a smooth flow of your analysis;
- Write a concluding paragraph to provide readers with a sense of finality, state the importance of your analysis, and relate back to a thesis.
Important parts of your winning essay
- A catchy title;
- The opening paragraph;
- Body paragraphs;
- The concluding section.
How to write the introduction?
Use a helpful outline for literary analysis writing to write the introduction that includes a catchy hook, main characters, authors, titles, your thesis, and a short summary. Its beginning should catch readers’ interest or attention. There are different ways that you can use to start your literature analysis creatively, such as using:
- Startling facts;
- Meaningful quotes;
- Vivid or rich descriptions;
- Metaphors or analogies.
Your introduction must identify the chosen work of literature, give its background information, and present your main idea briefly. It should suggest that it describes something interesting.
How to write body paragraphs?
Their basic purpose is to fully and logically develop and support your thesis statement, and each one should focus only on one key idea. Ensure that each literary analysis paragraph contains:
- Topics sentences;
- Context for quotes;
- Concrete details;
- Useful commentaries;
- Concluding sentences or clinchers.
What are topic sentences? They state the main point of each paragraph, serve as its mini-thesis, and can be signposts for readers to alter them about important literary analysis points. Topic sentences relate all paragraphs to your thesis, acts as signposts for your major argument, and define the scope of every section.
Your context for quotes should answer basic questions. Who says that and what is happening in the chosen text? This is what prepares your audience for quotes in your literary analysis by introducing a particular speaker, situation, and settings. Concrete details are all about specific examples from a work of literature that you use to give strong evidence for topics sentence or your thesis.
What are commentaries in a literary analysis? They are your interpretations and explanations of concrete details. Clinchers are its concluding sentences that wrap up the last paragraph by tying all commentaries and concrete details back to a major thesis.
How to write the conclusion?
It’s the last section of your literary analysis that provides you with your last chance to convince readers of your stance and give them a sense of closure. Summarize and extend your major argument. Your sophisticated literary analysis conclusion should not only restate a thesis or sum up the logic of all paragraphs, but it also suggests a broader role of your entire discussion. Why does it matter? Without a logical conclusion, your literary analysis won’t be successful.
Helpful literary analysis writing tips
- Use the third person, write in the present tense;
- Avoid writing a simple plot summary;
- Use different literature terms to discuss your points;
- Avoid confusing the viewpoints of characters and speakers with the ones of authors;
- Include your clear thesis to address something meaningful;
- Support all points with many paraphrases and quotes, but write a literary analysis in your own words;
- Cite critics, poetry, prose, and other sources that you use based on specialized formatting standards.