Do you know what is a literary analysis? In its essence, this paper is a thorough evaluation of the particular literary text by interpreting the author`s messages and clearly identifying the main strengths and weaknesses of the work. Literary analysis can be written on a novel, a short story, a poem, a play, or any other manuscript.

Keep in mind that a literary analysis is not a rhetorical analysis. Besides, it is different from the literary review task or a simple summary. Basically, it is a type of an argumentative essay in which you will need to analyze the language, perspective, author`s style, the structure of the text, as well as explain what literary devices are used in order to reach the anticipated goal.


Before you start writing your literary analysis, you will need to study the text carefully and come up with a good thesis statement that will help you keep your essay maximally focused. Pay attention that your literary analysis paper should follow the classic structure, which includes an introduction, the main body, and a conclusion. 

  • An introduction will clearly state what piece you are analyzing and what is the main focus of your work;
  • The main body of your paper, divided into a couple of paragraphs, will help you build your arguments using solid evidence form the text;
  • A conclusion will summarize your paper without introducing new arguments.
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Writing a Literary Analysis Essay: Content

Although there are no clear requirements to writing the content of the literary analysis essay and every tutor has their own guidelines, you should know that there are certain criteria that should be followed if you want to receive a good grade for your paper. Of course, when analyzing a novel, you will need to take another approach than when analyzing a lengthy novel. Below, you will find a common list of points that should be mentioned in your paper regardless of its type:

  • Genre of literature;
  • Main characters;
  • Main ideas;
  • Plot;
  • Themes discussed by the author;
  • Symbolism;
  • Writing style.

We highly recommend you check some well-written literary analysis papers to gain a better understanding of how such a paper should be written. 

Literary Analysis Outline

A literary analysis follows the same format as many other academic papers. This means that it should contain an engaging introduction with a strong thesis statement, an analytical main body, and a strong conclusion. Have a closer look at the classic literary analysis outline that will help you organize your paper properly:


Your introduction should include a full title of the work, the name of its author, the publisher, the date of publication, as well as any other important supplementary information that will enable you to strengthen your analysis. At the end of an introduction, you need to write a strong thesis statement that will help your reader understand what is your main focus. If you feel that some background information should be included to contextualize your literary analysis, make sure to put it in your introductory paragraph. 

Main Body

Your main body should be divided into a couple of paragraphs in accordance with the number of points discussed in your paper. Make sure to include accurate and relevant quotes to back up your arguments. Don`t simply tell about the literary techniques used by the author but analyze them from different perspectives explaining why these techniques were used. Make sure to move from one idea to another with the help of smooth transitions. In such a way, you will make your paper comprehensive and easy-to-follow. 


Your conclusion is a great instrument for summarizing all the points mentioned in the previous parts of your literary analysis. By the common criteria accepted in academic writing, you are not allowed to introduce new information in your conclusion because its primary goal is to wrap up your analysis.

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Writing a Great Literary Analysis Essay: 10 Tips

Although a literary analysis is a pretty short academic paper, it should be maximally detailed, interesting, and comprehensive. Such an assignment is often given to students because it allows teachers to evaluate their analytical and interpretive skills, enrich their vocabulary, and help them learn about various literary devices. If you have never worked on such a task before, most probably, you will experience some difficulties with it. However, you may have a look at our handy tips provided below and they will help you organize your writing process properly:

  1. Plan your work before you start writing your literary analysis. In fact, brainstorming is a great technique that will help you figure out what points should be included in your essay. Thorough planning will help you avoid spontaneous writing, thus get a better outcome;
  2. Make sure to create a strong thesis statement. In academic writing, a thesis statement is not only a central idea of the paper but it is also a statement that should grab the reader`s attention and convince them that your paper is worth reading;
  3. Write an outline. The importance of having a good outline cannot be underestimated since it will help you focus on the most meaningful points of your paper skipping the meaningful details. A smart student knows than an outline allows to make the essay well-organized and thesis-driven;
  4. Make your introduction impressive. Pay attention that a good introductory paragraph is the only chance to grab your reader`s attention. Thus, you need to do your best to make it maximally interesting and catchy;
  5. Use evidence from the text. When writing a literary analysis, it is particularly important to support all of your ideas and arguments with sufficient evidence from the text. Pay attention that when you cite something, you need to follow the formatting style requested by your teacher;
  6. Be consistent in what you write. You cannot move from one paragraph to another without proper transitions because it will distract your reader. Thus, you need to make the flow of your ideas logical and consistent;
  7. Avoid repetitions. As well as any other piece of academic writing, your literary analysis should follow the latest writing standards. In accordance with these standards, you need to avoid repetitions and awkward phrases because they overburden your paper;
  8. When working on your essay, don`t bother yourself with typos and other mechanical flaws. It is highly recommended to focus on the content of your paper first. Nevertheless, you will need to spend a considerable amount of time fixing these mistakes later. Only when you are certain that your paper is free from any grammatical mistakes and logical fallacies, you may submit it;
  9. Finalize your essay with a good conclusion. Pay attention that you don`t have to include new ideas or quotes in your final part. All you need to do is just restate your thesis and summarize the main points;
  10. Make your paper unique. In the present-day academic environment, all papers are carefully scanned through plagiarism-detection tools. If your professor notices some unoriginal ideas in your document, you will definitely receive a failing grade. As such, we highly recommend you make sure that your paper is totally original.

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