Maybe the main character acts one way around his family and a completely different way around his friends and associates.
If you can find a way to explain a work’s contradictory elements, you’ve got the seeds of a great essay.
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.
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?
A high school- or college-level literary essay asks, “How does this piece of literature actually work? ” and, “Why might the author have made the choices he or she did?
” No one is born knowing how to analyze literature; it’s a skill you learn and a process you can master.
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This makes the essay something of a wild ride to read.
To analyze something means to break it down into smaller parts and then examine how those parts work, both individually and together.
Literary analysis involves examining all the parts of a novel, play, short story, or poem—elements such as character, setting, tone, and imagery—and thinking about how the author uses those elements to create certain effects.