English Resources Writing a Literary Analysis | Improve Your Writing Skills

English Resources Writing a Literary Analysis | Improve Your Writing Skills

Writing a literary analysis can be a challenging task, but with the right resources, you can improve your writing skills and create a thoughtful and logical paper. The analysis of a book or a piece of literature requires careful examination of its themes, symbols, and images, as well as citing specific evidence to support your arguments. In this article, we will show you how to write a literary analysis, providing you with insightful examples and step-by-step instructions.

When writing a literary analysis, it is important to have a clear thesis statement that names the book and the specific aspect you will be examining. For example, in Laura’s Plath’s “The Mouth Through Which the Baby Speaks: An Analysis of Symbols,” the thesis is focused on analyzing the symbols used in Plath’s novel. This thesis sets the scope for the analysis and gives the reader an idea of what to expect in the paper.

Furthermore, when analyzing a literary work, it is essential to support your arguments with evidence from the text. This can be done by providing citations or in-text citations from the novel or other relevant sources. For example, when citing evidence from “The Mouth Through Which the Baby Speaks,” the writer may mention specific quotes or passages from the book that support their analysis of the symbols used.

In addition to citing evidence, a good literary analysis also includes a careful examination of the themes and ideas presented in the book. This involves analyzing the characters, their thoughts and actions, and the events that occur in the narrative. For example, in “The Mouth Through Which the Baby Speaks,” the analysis may explore the themes of motherhood, identity, and the discovery of self. By analyzing these themes, the writer can provide further insight into the meaning of the novel.

English Resources for Writing a Literary Analysis

1. Sample Essays

One of the best ways to understand how to write a literary analysis is by having examples to turn to. Many high school and college English literature courses offer sample essays that analyze specific themes or events within well-known works of literature. These essays can serve as a guide for structuring your own analysis and help you see how to cite evidence from the text.

2. In-Text Citations

When writing a literary analysis, it’s important to cite specific evidence from the text to support your thesis. In-text citations allow you to provide specific examples and quotes that back up your ideas. Understanding the proper format for in-text citations, such as MLA or APA style, is essential for academic writing.

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For example, if you’re writing an analysis of Sylvia Plath’s novel “The Bell Jar,” you could cite a specific passage where the main character, Esther Greenwood, reflects on her childhood by the shores of a lake, stating, “Suddenly I felt my childhood background of silver lakes and bright, open freedom come over me like a wave and I wanted to reach out and touch it instead of having to go back to Lauras really terrible name and life” (Plath 30).

3. English Literature Guides

In addition to sample essays, English literature guides can offer step-by-step instructions on how to write a literary analysis. These guides often provide tips on analyzing narrative structure, discovering underlying themes, and developing a strong thesis statement. They can also help you understand how to analyze a specific author’s style and techniques, such as Edgar Allan Poe’s use of symbolism in his poems.

Furthermore, these resources can offer further examples and explanations of specific literary devices and concepts, such as foreshadowing or irony, which can enhance your analysis and give your paper more depth and maturity.

By utilizing these English resources and taking the time to improve your writing skills, you can enhance your ability to analyze literature and write a strong literary analysis. So, whether you’re writing an analysis of a classic novel or a contemporary poem, make sure to utilize these resources to support your ideas and make your analysis shine.

Improve Your Writing Skills

1. Expand Your Reading

The more you read, the more exposure you have to different writing styles and techniques. Reading a wide range of literature opens your mind to new ideas and perspectives, which can greatly enhance your own writing.

For example, if you are writing a literary analysis on Sylvia Plath’s works, reading other books by poets such as Edgar Allan Poe or Emily Dickinson can help you understand different approaches to poetry and provide you with examples to support your analysis.

2. Develop a Strong Thesis Statement

A good thesis statement is the backbone of any well-written paper. It is a clear and concise statement that outlines the main argument or point of your analysis.

For instance, if you are analyzing the symbolism in “The Lady of Shalott” by Alfred Lord Tennyson, your thesis statement could be: “Through the use of symbols such as the mirror, the tapestry, and the boat, Tennyson explores the theme of isolation in the poem.”

3. Provide Strong Evidence

When writing a literary analysis, it is important to back up your arguments with evidence from the text. This evidence can include in-text citations, quotes, and specific examples from the literary work.

For instance, if you are analyzing the narrative structure in “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger, you could provide evidence by discussing the use of first-person narration and the impact it has on the reader’s understanding of the main character.

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4. Use Logical and Coherent Arguments

To improve your writing skills, it is essential to present logical and coherent arguments. Each paragraph should flow smoothly from one idea to the next, and your analysis should be supported by a clear line of reasoning.

For example, if you are examining the theme of maturity in “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, you could start by analyzing how Scout’s experiences throughout the novel lead to her personal growth and understanding.

5. Follow a Structured Outline

Having a well-structured outline can significantly improve your writing. It helps you organize your thoughts and ensures that your analysis stays focused and on track.

Sample Literary Analysis Essay for Middle School or High School

In “Mary’s Morning,” Lake Shores offers an intriguing look into the intricacies of childhood events. The paper explores the nameless character’s sudden turn of thought and the symbols that are backed by specific evidence within the text. This essay will show how Shores skillfully utilizes literary devices to enhance the reader’s understanding of Mary’s experience.

Analyze the Textual Evidence

One way to analyze a literary work is by citing specific examples from the text and providing in-text citations. For example, when the book opens, Mary is described as having a “thoughtful mouth.” This description offers insight into her character and sets the tone for the narrative. By analyzing how this description is supported by further evidence within the text, we can discover the deeper meaning behind it.

Furthermore, the examination of symbols used within the narrative adds to the overall scope of the essay. For instance, the symbol of the lake throughout the book represents tranquility and reflection. By analyzing how the lake is described and its significance within the story, we can gain a deeper understanding of Mary’s experiences and emotions.

Outline the Essay

Having a clear outline is crucial for writing a well-structured literary analysis essay. Here is a sample outline for this essay:

  1. Analysis of Mary’s character
  2. Explanation of the symbol of the lake
  3. Discussion of the themes presented in the book

By following this outline, the essay will have a logical flow and provide a comprehensive examination of the book’s elements.

Writing a literary analysis essay can be challenging, but by following the steps mentioned above and using textual evidence effectively, students can improve their writing skills and gain a deeper understanding of the works they analyze. By having a thoughtful and insightful analysis, the essay not only offers an examination of the book but also offers a guide for readers to discover their own interpretations. Through the process of writing this essay, students can develop critical thinking skills and appreciate the intricacies of literature.

Tips for Writing a Strong Literary Analysis

1. Choose the right topic: When writing a literary analysis, it is important to choose a topic that you are passionate about and that has enough scope for examination. Make sure that you have read the text thoroughly and have a clear understanding of its themes, symbols, and imagery.

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2. Develop a strong thesis: The thesis statement is the central argument of your paper, so it is crucial to have a clear and specific thesis that is supported by strong arguments. Make sure your thesis is focused and offers a unique insight into the text.

3. Use textual evidence: When making arguments in your analysis, it is important to support them with evidence from the text. Citing examples, quotes, or specific events from the text can strengthen your analysis and make it more persuasive.

4. Analyze the structure and narrative: Pay attention to the structure of the text, the plot development, and the use of literary devices. Analyzing the author’s choices in structuring the narrative can offer further insight into the themes and ideas of the text.

5. Follow a logical flow: Make sure that your analysis follows a logical structure and flows smoothly from one point to another. Use topic sentences to guide your readers through each paragraph and provide transitions to connect your ideas.

6. Provide examples: Examples are a great way to illustrate your points and provide concrete evidence for your arguments. Use specific quotes or passages from the text to support your analysis and strengthen your overall argument.

7. Format your paper properly: Follow the guidelines of the MLA format for citing sources and formatting your paper. This includes using in-text citations for all borrowed ideas or quotes and providing a works cited page at the end of your paper.

8. Edit and revise your work: Once you have written your literary analysis, take the time to review and revise your work. Check for errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Make sure that your ideas are clear and well-developed.


What is a literary analysis essay?

A literary analysis essay is a type of essay where you analyze a piece of literature, such as a novel, poem, or play. You examine the themes, characters, symbolism, and other literary elements to gain a deeper understanding of the text.

How do I write a thesis statement for a literary analysis essay?

To write a thesis statement for a literary analysis essay, you should clearly state your main argument or interpretation of the text. It should be specific and focused, and it should provide a roadmap for your analysis.

What should I include in the conclusion of a literary analysis essay?

In the conclusion of a literary analysis essay, you should summarize your main points and restate your thesis statement. You can also offer some final thoughts on the significance of your analysis and its implications for understanding the text.

What is a literary analysis essay?

A literary analysis essay is a type of academic writing where you analyze a specific piece of literature and interpret it in your own way. It involves examining various elements of the literature such as theme, character, symbolism, and writing style, and presenting your analysis in a coherent and organized manner.

How do I write a literary analysis essay?

To write a literary analysis essay, you should first choose a literary work that you want to analyze. Then, you should develop a thesis statement that presents your main argument or interpretation of the literature. Next, you need to gather evidence and examples from the literature to support your thesis. Finally, you should organize your analysis in a structured way, with clear paragraphs and a logical flow of ideas.

Alex Koliada, PhD

By Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for studying aging, genetics, and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics. His scientific research has been published in the most reputable international magazines. Alex holds a BA in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California, and a TEFL certification from The Boston Language Institute.