How to Write Literary Analysis- 7 Easy Steps

    February 3, 2023

How to Write Literary Analysis

How to Write Literary Analysis

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What is Literary Analysis?

Literary analysis is the practice of examining and interpreting a literary work to comprehend its value and significance. It entails thoroughly reading the text to identify and evaluate literary aspects, such as characters, setting, story, themes, and techniques. Also, the literary analysis considers the cultural, social, and historical context in which the work was produced, as well as the author’s own experiences, views, and objectives. The literary analysis aims to illustrate how the parts of the text interact to generate a certain impact and to communicate a certain message to the reader. 

Common Types of Literary Analysis 

Literary analysis necessitates an in-depth comprehension of the text being analyzed and an awareness of which components must be examined. There is no correct technique for literary analysis, as the only guides you need are the ideas and interests that motivate your research. However, five basic approaches might help you write a literary analysis:

  1. Theoretical: This analysis applies one or more theories to the piece and examines their relationships. The theoretical literary analysis examines the author’s assertions through these theories.
  2. Close Reading: This method examines the literary work in detail to find hidden meanings. This analysis reveals the author’s language usage, scene information, and other details that may need to be included in a quick read.
  3. Applied: An applied analysis is a deeply personal essay investigating how various work components relate to the author’s experiences.
  4. Comparative or Synergistic Analysis: This sets the literary work in a broader perspective by comparing it to comparable works or works by the same author.
  5. Historical or Contextual: This concentrates on external aspects relevant to the work, such as the historical context or social traits of the period and where the tale takes place. 

Steps to Write Literary Analysis 

Here are the steps to help you write a successful literary analysis.

  1. Read the literary work thoroughly: Begin by reading the piece of literature many times. Take notes about the themes, characters, setting, and narrative. Pay close attention to the work’s style, language, and tone. Consider how the author’s use of literary techniques contributes to the text’s meaning.
  2. Develop a clear thesis statement: Your statement should provide a distinct and detailed interpretation or analysis of the content. This should be the primary argument you make in your analysis. Ensure that your thesis is focused, pertinent, and debatable.
  3. Use textual evidence: You need to find specific examples from the text to prove your thesis. Choose quotes that directly back up your point and help the reader understand it. Use APA, MLA, or another suitable format to list your sources.
  4. Analyze the elements of the text: Talk about the parts of the story, such as the characters, the plot, the setting, the themes, and the symbols. Describe how each piece makes the work as a whole better. Talk about how the characters know each other and how their actions and reasons add to the text’s meaning.
  5. Consider the historical, cultural, and social context: Comprehending the cultural, historical, and social context can reveal the author’s themes and perspective. 
  6. Evaluate the use of literary devices: Consider literary devices like metaphor, imagery, and symbolism. Describe how these literary devices play a part in the text’s meaning and affect the reader’s experience. 
  7. Conclude your analysis: Restate your thesis statement and the main points you have made to conclude your analysis. Discuss the importance of your analysis and its effect on the reader.

Outline of Literary Analysis

A literary analysis outline is a structure that helps organize and present the writer’s thoughts and ideas in a clear and organized manner. The following is a general outline for a literary analysis essay:

I. Introduction

A. Background information on the literary work and the author

B. Thesis statement: A clear and specific interpretation or analysis of the text.

II. Body Paragraphs

A. Paragraph 1: Analysis of the first element of the text, such as characters, setting, or plot.

B. Paragraph 2: Analysis of the second element of the text.

C. Paragraph 3: Analysis of the third element of the text.

D. And so on, until all elements of the text have been analyzed.

III. Use of Literary Devices

A. Analysis of the use of literary devices, such as imagery, metaphor, and symbolism.

B. Discussion of how these devices contribute to the meaning of the text and impact the reader’s experience.

IV. Historical, Cultural, and Social Context

A. Discussion of the historical, cultural, and social context in which the work was written.

B. Consideration of the time period, cultural and social norms, and events that may have influenced the author’s writing.

V. Conclusion

A. Summary of the analysis and main points made.

B. Discussion of the significance of the analysis and the impact of the text on the reader.

C. Restatement of the thesis statement.

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