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” No one is born knowing how to analyze literature; it’s a skill you learn and a process you can master.As you gain more practice with this kind of thinking and writing, you’ll be able to craft a method that works best for you. Do yourself a favor and pick a topic that interests you.When you read a work of literature in an English class, however, you’re being asked to read in a special way: you’re being asked to perform literary analysis.
But until then, here are seven basic steps to writing a well-constructed literary essay: When you’re assigned a literary essay in class, your teacher will often provide you with a list of writing prompts. You’ll have a much better (not to mention easier) time if you start off with something you enjoy thinking about. Take a deep breath and start by asking yourself these questions: What struck you?
If you are asked to come up with a topic by yourself, though, you might start to feel a little panicked. Did a particular image, line, or scene linger in your mind for a long time?
If it fascinated you, chances are you can draw on it to write a fascinating essay. Maybe you were surprised to see a character act in a certain way, or maybe you didn’t understand why the book ended the way it did.
Confusing moments in a work of literature are like a loose thread in a sweater: if you pull on it, you can unravel the entire thing.
These are the whats of the work—what happens, where it happens, and to whom it happens.
When you’ve examined all the evidence you’ve collected and know how you want to answer the question, it’s time to write your thesis statement.Maybe you’re looking for inspiration, guidance, or a reflection of your own life.There are as many different, valid ways of reading a book as there are books in the world.Conversely, is this a topic big enough to fill the required length? ” “What happens to Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird ?“Are Romeo and Juliet’s parents responsible for the deaths of their children? ” “What do the other characters in Julius Caesar think about Caesar?You can help direct your reading and brainstorming by formulating your topic as a question, which you’ll then try to answer in your essay.The best questions invite critical debates and discussions, not just a rehashing of the summary.These are the elements that you will analyze in your essay, and which you will offer as evidence to support your arguments.For more on the parts of literary works, see the Glossary of Literary Terms at the end of this section.” “Why do pigs keep showing up in Lord of the Flies ? ” “How does Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter remind me of my sister?” Once you know what question you want to answer, it’s time to scour the book for things that will help you answer the question.