A Guide to Writing the Literary Analysis Essay


Every essay has its structure, requirements, and purpose. To complete an assignment, one has to research, find relevant sources, and stick to the requested format. These instructions also cover a literary analysis essay. This paper aims to analyse and assess a literary work as a whole or its separate parts. It goes without saying that you can’t write an analysis in a block format, such as an abstract. Otherwise, your paper is doomed to fail. If you don’t want that to happen, professional essay writers at WritingCheap are always ready to serve, explaining every paper’s details. However, today, we will discuss a literary analysis essay, how to write it, its structure, and other worthwhile hints.


First and foremost, a literary analysis essay comprises the introduction, body, and conclusion. Each of them has its word limit, tips, and structure. These elements cover the topic you are writing about, convey a central idea to the reader, and enrich the reader’s knowledge area. Let us examine these components in a broader scope.


The Introduction

 This is the first paragraph of your paper. It should be compelling and draw a person’s attention. In other words, this section must catch the reader’s interest and provide a solid background about the work you will be examining. Remember that the introduction should contain the opening sentence, necessary information about the subject, and a thesis statement. The latter is considered the most crucial part of the entire paper, as it includes arguments you will explain and support by credible sources within the paper.


The opening statement

 As we have already defined, the introduction should be gripping and start with the opening sentence. Various methods can implement this. For instance, your paper’s first sentence might be a story, a fact, statistics, quotation, anecdote, or, exclusively in literary analysis essays, a shortened dialog between two characters. Say you want to analyse Jack Kerouac’s attitude toward travelling and parties. You may well then start your paper with his quotation:


It’s time for me to quietly watch the world and even enjoy it, first in the woods like these, then just calmly walk and talk among people of the world, no booze, no drugs, no binges, no bouts with beatniks and drunks and junkies and everybody. This famous quotation sheds light on Kerouac’s mental fatigue from endless parties, alcohol, and drugs and the overall lifestyle Beatniks used to lead.


A thesis statement

This should be the last sentence of your introduction. Make it as concise and clear as possible, forming only the aspects you will stick to in your body paragraphs. With regard to a literary analysis essay, a thesis sentence must apply to the literary work and explain how this subject the author discloses.

Note: make sure it is a one-sentence thesis statement that does not exceed 25 words. Otherwise, it will be cumbersome, and you will have to coin more than one sentence, which is not desirable.


Body Paragraphs

 Because your thesis is brief, it needs to be unveiled fully further on. This is the main purpose of body paragraphs. Usually, there are three body sections in a five-paragraph essay. Each of the body parts must contain textual proof to make a paper reliable. Other than credible sources, ensure following this structure of each body:

  1. Topic sentence
  2. The first point from a thesis statement
  3. The first shred of evidence
  4. Your comment
  5. Transitional phrase
  6. The second shred of evidence supporting the first point
  7. Your comment
  8. Condensed conclusion


Topic Sentence

 Simply put, when starting a body paragraph, identify your argument in the first place.

Textual Proof

 Like every essay, you have to include evidence to demonstrate that your arguments are true. Usually, these proofs are presented in the form of direct quotations of parentheses (Note: check a relevant formatting style beforehand).

Your Comment

 Even though you are not an academician and no one will use your work, citing it, you have to express your opinion (in a formal way!). So, after every piece of evidence, you have to explain and interpret it using formal and plain English. The readers want to know what a specific proof means and how it can relate to a thesis statement’s points.


Important: your comment needs to be twice as long as proof. For example, your one-sentence evidence should be followed by a two-sentence comment.



 To make a paper coherent, glueing different parts together, you should encompass transition phrases. Consider adding the following devices in your written discourse:

  • However
  • Finally, in the climax
  • On the contrary
  • In contrast to her/his/their/this behaviour
  • On no condition, on no account, not only… but also… (different inversions and cleft sentences to intensify something)
  • Moreover
  • Conversely


Short Conclusion

 To stamp your argument and evidence in the reader’s mind, you should attach a brief concluding sentence to each body section.


The Conclusion

 This is the last paragraph of your essay. The same as with the introduction, it has three sections. Each of them carries out a specific action. They are:


  • Restating a thesis
  • Encapsulating content from the body part
  • Adding a powerful closing sentence


Restating a thesis

 You have to rephrase your thesis in the first sentence of your conclusion. Try to make this sentence as similar to your thesis statement as possible. However, do not rewrite it entirely. If you face troubles with that, you are free to employ useful tools and augment your vocabulary. For example, try Thesaurus Synonyms to perfect your writing.


Encapsulating content

You always have to be ready to hear a “so what?” question. Providing the reader with shortened information from body paragraphs, you will answer this inquiry.


Closing sentence

To end your paper successfully, you have to write an impressive and convincing sentence. It can contain your predictions, connect back to your opening sentence, or stimulate a discussion.


This is all you should know about a literary analysis essay. The mentioned structure can help you in composing a peerless paper. Aside from that, don’t forget to follow a relevant format your educational institution requires. Depending on that, your last page should be called Works Cited or References and correspond with the references you used within the essay.

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