How to Write a Literary Analysis: The Process Explained


A literary analysis essay is a task that every school student will recognize. In this type of academic essay, attention is paid to the text analysis using the language. The analysis goes deeper into revealing the characters’ nature and the plot features. Literary analysis can be applied to any literary work: a novel, poem, play, or other writing piece. 

While literary analysis is often confused with rhetorical analysis, in this type of writing, the focus is meant to be on literary devices rather than rhetorical value. However, a literary analysis is also similar to an argumentative essay. You must provide solid arguments in both cases to prove your thesis statement. So let’s dive into the literary analysis writing process.

What is Literary Analysis?

A literary analysis essay is a type of essay in which the writer chooses a specific text and analyzes it. The piece of writing is analyzed by the character developments, the plot, and the figurative language used to create a unique effect on the audience. In the literary analysis, the writer focuses on explaining the purpose of using specific language devices in the text, their meaning, and their impact. 

Together with explaining your opinion on the work of literature, in literary analysis, it is essential also to explain the relevance of using the language, the characters, and other details in the text. So whether you plan on writing a literary analysis, you must conduct a deep analysis of the text you write your essay about. 

Literary Essay: What Does It Consist Of?

There are no established rules as to which details should be described in a literary essay. It often depends on the type of literary text you analyze. However, some components are common to write about in every literary analysis. Here they are:

  • Analysis of the main characters and their characteristics
  • The analysis of the plot and its parts in literary work
  • Forms of symbolism used in a literary work and its analysis
  • The motivation of the main character and his actions during the plot
  • An examination of the style used during the creation of the text

How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay: Main Steps to Follow 

It may look like a really challenging piece of work if you have never written a literary analysis before. When receiving an assignment for a literary analysis essay, many students may become confused since they do not know from which point they need to start their academic paper. If you recognize yourself in the previous line and need to write your sheet of literature work quickly, our next piece of advice will be helpful. So let’s start with our list of steps.

Read the Text

If you want to succeed in the literary analysis essay, you need to understand that knowledge of the source is crucial in this matter. That’s why you must read the literary work before starting your writing or even preparing. Please read your text twice because it’s essential to be aware of the plot and understand the text itself. Of course, many students do not want to spend a lot of time reading, but we advise you to spend more time on it, and the result will surprise you. 

Create the Thesis Statement

Once you finish reading the text, you can start analyzing it. We recommend the method of brainstorming when you will write the main points of the text. It’s better to brainstorm your ideas as soon as you read the text so you will remember the key points of a text. After you outline the key ideas, you need to choose an idea that will describe the text’s central idea concisely and logically. That idea will be your thesis statement.

Create a Rough Structure

To facilitate the writing process, you must create a structure for your future writing. First, think about the content that your paper will include. After that, you can approximately create future parts of your literary analysis. Be free to add everything into this pre-draft since it’s only a plan to help you write an essay you have created in your head. As a result, it will be much easier for you to write an essay introduction and other structural parts, including the body and conclusion

Review the First Draft

After creating the very first version of your literary analysis, it’s better to review it in a couple of days in order to get a fresh perspective on the piece. While reading your work after some time, you’ll quickly detect mistakes, logical inconsistency, and other issues that would require your attention.

How to Start а Literary Analysis

We all know that the most challenging part of any paper is when you’re looking at a blank piece of paper and do not know how to start your writing. But it would be best if you did not worry about that because if you follow our tips and put in some effort, you will be able to start your literary analysis as quickly as you have been writing essays for years. So what are the essential tips to make your analysis successful? 

Provide General Information

The introduction of your analysis should not be long, but it needs to be informative and provide your readers with the critical points of the discussed text. You first need to provide general information about the text itself. Then, you can tell the readers about the author, the writing process, and some general moments that will provide understanding to the users. You should understand that the introduction should not be protracted. Instead of this, just focus on catching the attention of your readers.  

Explain Your Position

After you provide the general information about the text to your readers, you can start the explanation of your position. Just remember that you need to explain your position in a logical and short form. It would be perfect if you could include your position and reasons why you decided to analyze the exact text, along with the thesis statement. By writing this analysis, you can also outline the main tasks you want to solve. And that’s it, do not try to include the body parts in the introduction because it will only confuse your readers. 

Make a Smooth Transition

Another important part of introduction writing is transitioning to the body part of your literary analysis. For example, suppose you want to create an informative and readable literary analysis. In that case, you need to create a smooth transition from your introduction to the body part of your literary analysis. This transition may not be easy to write, but as a result, you will receive a flowing transition, from the introduction directly to introducing the body part. Spend a little more time on it, and the result will not disappoint you. 

How to Write Literary Essay Conclusion?

The brief conclusion of your literary analysis essay will not differ much from the conclusions of other essay types. Like a conclusion for some comparing and contrasting essays, your literary analysis will include the critical points of your research. But we’d like to emphasize that the conclusion of your essay is not a part where you will be able to relax since it’s one of the main essential parts of your essay where you should provide a clear conclusion for your paper. So how should you catch up on your literary analysis?

Remind of Your Thesis

The conclusion of your literary analysis should be ended with the thing from which it started, namely your thesis statement. After reading the body part of your paper, readers may forget about the thesis. That’s why you need to remind them of the main idea and purpose of your writing. 

Do Not Repeat Yourself

The conclusion is not just another repeat of some points and facts you have already mentioned in your body. The conclusion of your literary analysis is a little, but the separate section where you will not only sum up everything previously stated but also provide a conclusion to some answers that you wanted to answer during your literary analysis

Finish With Your Impression

A perfect way to sum up your conclusion is not only to write something that is expected of you but also to share your impression on the discussed subject. That’s why the conclusion is the best place to share your thoughts on the whole literature text and your impression of it. 


What is the purpose of a literary analysis essay?

The purpose of the literary analysis essay is to explain your reader’s main ideas, purposes, and tools used by the author during the writing process of the chosen text. In addition, you can also explain the literary devices and word choices. 

This academic work allows students to fully showcase their ability to analyze the literature pieces and detect how authors convey their ideas.

How to do a literary analysis?

To write a literary analysis, you need to:

  • Choose the text and learn about its writing history
  • Read the text carefully, paying attention to its language
  • Analyze the critical points of the literary analysis essay based on the chosen text
  • Learn more about the author’s idea and the creators’ literary devices

How to write a literary analysis thesis?

The literary analysis thesis will not differ from the thesis statements of usual essays. However, like any other thesis, your literary essay thesis should provide the main idea of your paper, so you need to draw your attention to this during the writing process. 

How long should a literary analysis be?

Your paper’s length is not the main thing to which you should draw your attention. It can easily be of average length, but the only thing that matters is the content of your literature analysis. 

How to write an introduction for a literary analysis essay?

In the introduction of your paper, you should briefly describe the purpose and the main idea of your literature analysis. Also, you should mention the general information about the text and, of course, do not forget to outline the thesis.

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