What is a literary analysis essay?|Course hero helper

Posted: March 15th, 2023

First pdf is instructions and tips.

Second pdf is the THING you have to analyze.

  • Complete the THING Analysis of a Published THING: “Emotions in The Story of an Hour” assignment. Formulate and submit a two to three paragraph analysis. This activity will help you get an informal introduction to what a literary THING looks like as well as to better your understanding of the text being written about. In your analysis:
    • Identify the thesis and the supporting reasons for the reader’s thesis claim.
    • Comment on how well the author proved the thesis and provide a general assessment of the THING: Is it well-written and organized?
    • Analyze the argument: What are its strengths and weaknesses?

    SIDE NOTE: This is just an overview, I will pay you to do the outline next week, the rough draft the week after, and the final draft after that week.

    LIT1100 Introduction to Literature University of Northwestern – St. Paul

    The Literary Analysis Essay In-text documentation refers to Roberts, E. V. (1999). Writing about literature (9th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

    What is a literary analysis essay? It is a carefully organized set of paragraphs that develop and enlarge a central idea about a literary text (22). Your essay needs to be at least 1000 words (approximately 4 typed pages) but should not be longer than 1500 words (approximately 6 pages). What is the purpose of this type of essay? The purpose is to convince your readers that your central idea is valid by demonstrating how selected details from the text relate to and support your central idea (22). Upon what should my central idea focus? The central idea should focus on a particular literary element in the text, e.g., character, setting, plot, point of view, theme, irony, symbolism, or allegory. For a lengthy essay, the central idea may include more than one literary element. What characteristics would make a central idea strong? The central idea should be an interesting, insightful assertion about a literary element and its significance in the text. It should be a specific idea, able to be proven with evidence from the text itself. In what form will this central idea appear in my essay? The central idea will appear as the thesis statement in your paper. The thesis, which should be included in your introduction, will be composed of three parts:

    Title and author (unless previously stated in the introduction) Assertion: the interesting, insightful idea about a literary element in the text Forecast: a preview of the main topics you will use to develop your assertion

    Sample Thesis Statements: Character: In Susan Glaspell’s Trifles, the protagonist Minnie Wright changes from passivity to destructive assertiveness. This change in character is indicated by her clothing, her dead canary, and her unfinished patchwork quilt. Setting: In “The Cask of Amontillado,” Edgar Allan Poe uses many details of setting to create a mood of horror and repulsion; his readers are both fascinated and repulsed by the mood of ghastliness and heartlessness that the author establishes through his vivid descriptions of underground rooms, space, and sound. Theme: In “The Story of an Hour,” Kate Chopin uses the foreshadowing of a spring setting, the transformation in the protagonist’s feelings, and the ironic ending to suggest that an individual’s need for self-assertion or personal freedom is even more basic than his or her need for love.



    LIT1100 Introduction to Literature University of Northwestern – St. Paul

    Plot: In “The Demon Lover,” Elizabeth Bowen crafts a plot that manipulates the readers’ emotions of fear and suspense; her deliberate and clever use of foreshadowing, conflict, and flashbacks heightens the readers’ feelings of anxiety and dread, which she leaves ultimately unresolved even at the end of the story. *NOTE: The thesis statement should NOT be a description of the story or a statement of obvious fact.

    Invalid Thesis Statements: In “The Minister’s Black Veil,” Nathaniel Hawthorne portrays an interesting character who wears a veil for unclear reasons. (description of story) In “Young Goodman Brown,” Nathaniel Hawthorne uses an ambiguous narrator. (statement of fact)

    How can I come up with a strong central idea for my essay? Because the central idea is the glue that will hold your entire paper together, it deserves careful consideration. Coming up with a strong central idea is often the most difficult part of writing the literary analysis paper. Here are some generating strategies: 1. You may write about any of the short stories, plays, poems or the novel we have read

    (however, with the novel, you will need to read ahead and finish it). Consider writing about a text that you had a strong reaction to and were interested in.

    2. Initially, brainstorm ideas by writing down what you liked most about a text and/or what you found to be most problematic.

    3. Narrow your focus on the text by choosing two or three literary elements in the text that you feel are significant. Choosing more than one literary element as you begin your work with the text will provide more opportunities for you to come up with a strong central idea. However, if you are certain of one literary element you want to work with, you may focus only on that one element. Read through the next page for ways to write about literary elements.

    4. Read through the story several times, carefully annotating any reference to these literary elements. Using a different colored pen, pencil, or highlighter for each literary element, under- line or highlight words, phrases, or sentences; circle or box significant words or phrases; connect important items with lines; place related page and paragraph numbers in the margins; and write comments or questions in the margins or on a separate sheet of paper as you read. As you annotate, try to find connections and patterns that provide insight into the story.

    5. Reflect on and write about the patterns and connections you discovered as you annotated. Narrow

    your focus on the element that seems to generate the most interesting ideas. 6. Draft several versions of a thesis statement making sure you have a strong assertion

    and a clear forecast of the topics you will discuss to support your idea.



    LIT1100 Introduction to Literature University of Northwestern – St. Paul

    Ideas for Literary Analysis Essays From Kemper, D., Sebranek, P., & Meyer, V. (2001). Writers INC (p. 231). Wilmington, MA: Houghton Mifflin.


    1. Does the author seem to be saying something about ambition…courage…greed…jealousy…happiness?

    2. Does the selection show you what it is like to experience racism, loneliness, and so on. 3. Does the author have a point to make about a specific historical event?


    4. How does the main character change from the beginning to the end? 5. What forces or circumstances make one of the characters act in a certain way? (consider

    the conflict, setting, other characters, etc.) 6. What are the most revealing aspects of one of the characters? (Consider his or her

    thoughts, words and actions.) 7. Do the characters’ actions seem believable within the story? 8. Does the main character have a confidant, someone he or she relies on? (How

    important or reliable is this person?) Plot:

    9. What external or internal conflict affects the main character? 10. How is suspense built into the story? 11. How does the climax change in the story? 12. Are there any twists in the plot? (What do they add to the story?) 13. Does the plot follow a basic pattern of fiction?


    14. What effect does the setting have on the characters? 15. Does the setting expand your understanding of a specific time and place? 16. Is the setting new and thought provoking?


    17. How does the writing -descriptive phrases, images, and so on- create an overall feeling or tone in the selection?

    18. Is dialogue or description used effectively? (Give examples) 19. Is there an important symbol that adds meaning to the selection? (How is this symbol

    represented in different parts of the story?) 20. Are there key figures of speech such as metaphors and similes? (What do these add to

    the writing?)


    • The Literary Analysis Essay
      • What is a literary analysis essay?
      • What is the purpose of this type of essay?
      • Upon what should my central idea focus?
      • What characteristics would make a central idea strong?
      • In what form will this central idea appear in my essay?
      • Sample Thesis Statements:
        • Character:
        • Setting:
        • Theme:
        • Plot:
      • How can I come up with a strong central idea for my essay?
    • Ideas for Literary Analysis Essays
      • Theme:
      • Characters:
      • Plot:
      • Setting:
      • Style:
    • In addition to the central idea, what other elements should my essay include? Your essay should also include a brief summary of the text to provide context for your analysis, as well as specific examples and evidence from the text to support your central idea. You should also provide analysis and commentary on how these examples and evidence relate to your central idea and the overall meaning or message of the text. Additionally, your essay should have a clear and logical structure, with each paragraph focusing on a specific aspect of your central idea and supporting evidence.

Expert paper writers are just a few clicks away

Place an order in 3 easy steps. Takes less than 5 mins.

Calculate the price of your order

You will get a personal manager and a discount.
We'll send you the first draft for approval by at
Total price: