How to Write a Successful Literary Essay 

You can’t go through school without having to wrote a literary analysis essay, it’s simply impossible. We know it’s not something any student enjoys but, just like with anything else in life, you need to find ways to make your task easier. In this article we will provide a lot of helpful info on how to compose the best literary essay possible. But before we jump into helpful techniques and topics for your essays, let’s first understand what is a literary analysis essay.

Literary Analysis Essays – What are They

It’s a task you get when you’re a student and it implies analyzing or evaluating a famous work of literature. It’s a task that is generally viewed as time-consuming and sophisticated but as long as you apply the following structure and tips, your life should be easier. Since the main goal in a literary analysis essay is to show the readers that you are fully aware of the action in the literary work and you can totally support the idea you are pushing forward regarding the work, you should start with reading the literature piece and make sure you have your barring set.

Literary Analysis

It’s pretty straight forward that a literary analysis is basically an in-depth analysis of a piece of literature work. You need to examine it carefully and break it into smaller pieces that will help you understand the events and also writing about them in a more efficient way. Make sure you don’t confuse literary analysis with a plot summary as it’s not the point of a literary analysis at all. Of course, including a summary in your analysis is not a bad idea but that shouldn’t be the focus.

How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay

Finally, we’ve reached the part in which we take the elements of a good literary analysis essay and decompose them into small bits so that you properly understand what you have to do. If you make sure to follow these steps and pay attention to the helping tips you will receive over the entire article, chances are you’re going to be able to compose an awesome literary essay without too much of a struggle. Ready? Here we go!

Read the Book / Poem / Novel Carefully

It may seem like pretty redundant but the point of this quite self-explanatory instruction is to make sure that you actually read the work you’re going to write the essay on. There’s no working around it, no magic summary you can read if you want to compose a good-quality essay. Only by reading the entire source of your essay you will be aware of the details and specifics that will matter so much when you start writing your essay.

Make Literary Terms Reviews and Remember to Take Notes

In case you aren’t a genius, it may prove to be quite hard to remember the details and all the action in a 600-page novel. This is why you should always have pen and paper near you when reading the literary work. You will be able to write important information down and highlight the moments you’ll be returning back to.

Take Some Time to Properly Understand the Assignment

In certain situations, writing the literary analysis essay will require writing about your own personal and original opinion on the piece you just read so you won’t have to bother about additional sources to back-up your ideas and support your thesis. But most of the literary essays that are handed out by teachers nowadays will require you to do an extensive research and also use opinions from experts and other sources. Make sure you properly understand the task at hand before getting started since that will greatly influence the way you prepare for the task.

The Thesis Statement and Introduction

Now it’s tie to go through the actual structure of an literary analysis essay and we’ll start with the introduction, of course. The introduction contains one of the most important pieces of the essay and that is the thesis statement.

You should reach out for the readers’ attention right from the start with a solid introduction. Opening the essay with a question that will be then answered in your work is a great idea. Another useful approach to the introduction of your essay when using outside sources as well is to start with a shocking or interesting quote from a source.

After you get their attention and you feel pretty confident that they will be listening by now, it’s time to wrap-up the introductory part with a specific and clear thesis statement. This bit will have a role similar to a road map of the entire paper and lets the reader in on some focus subjects of the paper. A thesis statement should provide readers with focus, either if you’re going for symbolism or the theme of the book you are reviewing. Once you’re done and 100% content with your thesis statement, it also gives you a road map on how you will go on with the rest of the essay. It’s now time to move on to the actual analysis of the book or novel you are writing about.

Analyzing of Literary Devices

Using the notes, you gathered during reading the literary subject of your analysis, you should start to review all the observations you noted on literary devices such as characters, theme or symbols. Take each of them individually and fully understand the role they play in the complete work. If you’re doing it right it will fill like putting together a puzzle, examining each individual piece will help you form the bigger picture.

If we were to take The Lord of the Rings as an example with a thesis statement that goes more or less like this “ The symbol of power in The Lord Of The Rings is none other that the ring itself, symbolizing unlimited power”. Judging by the thesis in the above-given example, it’s clear that it will be a paper that focuses on symbolism and the role this ring plays in influencing the entire plot and the characters that have contact with it. You could go as far as talking about the corruption that comes with power and a lot of side-tracks that you can explore.

Even though at first it may seem like an awful thing that you have to do an essay on a very big piece of literature, it’s actually a blessing when it comes to writing the actual literary analysis. These big works will often include a lot of characters that are inter-connected and you can use all their paths in the original work to sustain your idea and give relevant examples from their actions or their desires and goals. As long as you take enough time to read the entire thing and take coherent and precise notes that will help you with the writing part, it won’t matter if the book has 1000 pages, you will be just sailing through all the information and you will have the luxury of choosing what to include in your essay and what not. Opposed to small books or novels where you will have to keep looking for more context or inspiration for your essay.


Just as important as the thesis statement, ending your literary analysis essay with a good conclusion is a must. Try to sum up all the main ideas and, once again, appeal to the original thesis statement. If you were writing about what the ring symbolizes in The Lord of the Rings, for example, your conclusion will emphasize on the importance of the ring as the main symbol of power and how it shapes the characters and the quest itself through the entire book.

The final lines of the conclusion can just as well include a personal opinion on the literary work backed-up by some external sources. Or, you can simply go with another quote that should continue the one you used in the introduction and emphasize on the same idea. You need to be clear and concise in your conclusion since you don’t want to leave the impression that you still had something more to say.

Final Words on How to Compose a Literary Analysis Essay

Getting the proper exercise of composing an analysis essay takes a lot of revision and practice so don’t expect it to happen too fast. You will need to possess great time-management techniques and budget your time very wisely since you will have to read and sometimes go back on certain chapters of the book. Taking notes as you read and organize the ideas efficiently are also quite time-consuming and a must at the same time.

Also, if you ever get stuck on choosing a proper topic or literary work to compose your review on, here’s a list of ideas that should help you get started. The range of available literary pieces for reviewing is almost endless so starting with these literary analysis essay examples you should be able to compose some of your own without too much effort.

  1. Light and darkness in ‘Anatomy’ – an Anne Cason Narrative Poem
  2. An Emotional Journey through ‘The Great Gatsby’
  3. ‘Paradise Lost’ and ‘Clockwork Orange’ – Structure and Chaos
  4. Conflict between aestheticism and morality in ‘The Picture of Dorian Grey ‘
  5. The first literary current of the 21st century, trans realism against ‘consensus reality’. What is the process that this genre was established?