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How to write a literary analysis essay

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Ellen Birkett Morris
Ellen Birkett Morris
ScamFighter Expert
Former college customer turned freelance writer, shares insider insights on the essay industry.

As the name implies, the main idea of literary analysis is to analyze. Dealing with the project may be complicated, especially for inexperienced learners who have never worked on similar projects. What is a literary analysis? What are the elements to be included? What is the perfect word count? What is the purpose of a literary analysis essay? How should the text be formatted? These are the most common questions learners need to answer before diving into the writing process. 

Is this the first time you need to examine the literary work and come up with your own conclusions? Check out basic recommendations and effective guidelines that may help you succeed with the undertaking. 

What is a literary analysis?

Literary analysis is an academic writing project the main idea of which is to study the text, interpret its meanings, and explore the reasons why the author made specific choices. It is fundamental to mention that it is not just a brief summary of the text, or its rhetorical analysis. Instead, it is an unbiased and profound paper that contains a deep analysis of various elements, such as the content, literary devices, perspective, language, setting, structure, and others.  

Reading a literary analysis example may help inexperienced students get the main idea of the paper type and single out the critical stages of work that will draw you closer to the desired results.  

What is the purpose of a literary analysis essay?

Are you aware of the paper's definition? Now, you need to discover effective tips on how to start a literary analysis. But, before you dive into the prewriting process, you need to clarify the main idea of the essay creation. 

Working on literary analysis, summarizing the original paper is not enough. Instead, the writer’s purpose is to unveil the most prominent intentions, themes, and perspectives that influence the reader’s perception of the content. Word choice, literary devices, types of sentences, and structure of the text are some of the aspects to be taken into account. 

Types of literary analysis 

When it comes to paper writing, students should consider scanning a literary analysis template that clarifies the structure, formatting, and style of the text. At this point, it is indispensable to mention that most of these elements will also depend on the type of the paper. According to different sources, there are multiple types of literary analysis, with some of them based on the peculiarities of the original paper and others on the required team. Check out some of the most popular types of text that may help you come up with a consistent and relevant essay. 

  • Cultural analysis. The main idea of this literary analysis is to explain the content of the text using certain instruments that represent the values and laws of a specific culture. Time period, belief, and location are the core elements to be taken into account. 
  • Historical analysis. Using the historical lens, the reader strives to understand the events that take place in the paper. The impact of the time period on the writing style of the text is important. 
  • New criticism. Neither historical nor cultural aspects are taken into account here. Instead, all the conclusions are based merely on the text. 

Literary analysis outline

Are you ready to proceed with essay writing? Do you know how to do a literary analysis? Let’s start with a consistent and well-structured literary analysis essay outline that will guide you through the writing process. 

  • Introduction. The goal of the introductory passage is to intrigue and allure the readers. Start with catchy sentences that will make the audience eager to read the full text. 
  • Main body. There are lots of little aspects to be analyzed in the main body. Divide the text into paragraphs to keep it easy to read and comprehend. 
  • Conclusion. If you take the time to analyze a literary analysis conclusion example, you will not notice any new information mentioned there. Instead, it will be a brief reiteration of the thesis and a short conclusion about the estimated text. 

How to write a literary analysis essay step by step 

The literary analysis writing is a complex process that takes quite some time. Unlike the vast majority of academic essays, the prewriting stage will take most of the time and will predetermine the success of the paper. 

Analyze the literary work to evaluate

Read the original literary text carefully multiple times and pay due attention to every little detail. Keep in mind that the original work is your main source of information, so you need to understand it to be able to interpret it. 

Read a few literary essay samples

Once you are done with the analysis of the text, you are ready to proceed to the next stage. Working with your custom paper may be challenging, so you should consider reading a literary analysis essay example. It will provide you with extra ideas and concepts to simplify your work and make the result much more effective. 

Make notes

What type of language should be used in a critical analysis essay? What is the structure of the text? How many passages should the body part include? These are trivial questions that can be easily answered after a detailed analysis of a sample paper. 

Learn to make notes that will help you succeed with essay writing. No matter if you analyze the original work, or scan the essay sample, make sure you write important ideas down, so that you can use them later in your essay. 

Create an outline

Excellent structure and proper formatting of the literary analysis are a must. Divide the paper into an introduction, main body, and conclusion. Mention the key ideas to clarify in each passage as you are working on the outline. It will speed up your paper writing and will help you create a much more influential and relevant text. 

Write the first draft 

Follow the outline to come up with a well-structured, consistent, relevant, and informative paper. Keep the introduction and conclusion short. Work on the body part to include as many critical details as possible. Plot, background, setting, language, tone, and symbolism of the original work are some of the most prominent elements to discuss. 

Proofread and edit the analysis

Grammar mistakes, punctuation errors, typos, and other minor issues can ruin the overall impression of the paper. Do not skip the post-writing stage, as it is indispensable for the achievement of flawless results. 

Get qualified help

At some point the essay writing may become overwhelming. The absence of evidence, little experience, trivial writing style, and an array of other issues may prevent learners from the achievement of the desired success. Fortunately, there is always an opportunity to get professional help with the paper creation. Read Speedy Paper reviews to make sure it is the exact service that can help you cope with the whole paper or any of its parts. 

Literary analysis essay topics

Are you ready to follow the guidelines on how to write a literary analysis? No rush, as you need to select a topic first. Are there any guidelines you have received from your professor? Stick to them and opt for the themes that comply with the requirements. If you are given a complete freedom of choice, focus on the literary analysis topics that are not only appealing and relevant, but also interesting for you and your audience. Here are a few examples to consider. 

  1. Pride and Prejudice: women’s portrayal in the text
  2. Edgar Allan Poe and the death representation in his works
  3. Dystopia and Orwell’s 1984
  4. Old Man and the Sea: the vivid portrayal of masculinity
  5. American dream and similar concepts in Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald
  6. Macbeth and the prominence of the supernatural in the content
  7. Things Fall Apart: analysis of the postcolonial themes
  8. The importance of setting in popular world-known tales
  9. Life of Pi: basic principles of survival
  10. Reality and illusion in A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

Excellent literary analysis written by professionals 

Are you still confused about how to start a literary analysis essay? What are the elements to be included? Do you have little writing experience, skills, motivation, and desire to spend your time and effort working on the paper? Never give up, but rather search for the most effective solutions. 

Surfing the web, you may come across essay writing service reviews that will not leave you indifferent. Professional writers provide students with unique chances to deal with the most complicated projects quickly and at competitive costs. Regardless of the literary analysis format, number of pages, academic level, topic, and other aspects, you will get an influential, consistent, and coherent paper worth the highest grade. Make sure you order papers from time-tested and reliable companies only, as it is the only way to eliminate possible risks. 


Writing a literary analysis has become much easier with all the tips and guidelines. Focus on the most prominent aspects that can make critical differences. Opt for the suitable paper type, stick to the structure requirements, and formatting rules that contribute to the quality of the paper. Look through a sample literary analysis essay if you lack ideas, effective writing tools, or inspiration.

Additionally, do not forget about a chance to entrust your success to professionals. Top-quality papers at reasonable costs, 100% anonymity guarantees, free revisions, and minimum deadlines make writepaperfor.me and similar custom essay writing platforms highly appreciated by learners. Contact the support team, discuss the peculiarities of your project, confirm the order, and get the literary analysis accomplished right on time.


The main idea of the paper is to analyze the text from diverse perspectives. It should not be a basic summary of the literary work but rather a profound analysis and critical evaluation of the piece. The goal of the essay is to emphasize the specific concepts, exclusive word choices, and other strategies the writer used to convey the message.

Clarity, simplicity, and transparency are the key principles to apply while working on the title of the literary analysis. Mention the original text you analyze and add some relevant data to keep readers interested in the content.

Literary analysis essay features maximum flexibility of the size. There are definitely instances when the word count is limited by the college requirements, but in general, it may vary from 300 to 3000 words.