how to write literature essay

how to write literature essay

Mastering the Art of Writing a Literature Essay

1. Introduction to Literature Essays

The secrets to achieving greatness in many things start from the moment you say it, and literature essays are no exception. Most people seem to be under this misled notion that a literature essay is any essay about a piece of literary work. All you would be doing is to discuss, criticize, and analyze the work. This is not true. Whether you are writing about a play, novel, or short story, you have to have a specific question you are trying to answer. All pieces of literature can be grouped into categories: novels, poetry, short stories, and plays. Each is a separate category unto itself. A common mistake among students is that they lose focus of what they are writing about. You would tend to break away and form a category of essays about literature. You must ensure that the title of your essay is asking a question. How to write ignorance! If you find yourself straying, always remember, literary essays answer the question before them!

Writing a literature essay is not one of those things that many students enjoy doing. Come to think of it, hardly anybody gets a kick out of doing something they are not 100% good at. However, at the end of the day, we must admit that you were either cut out for this or not. This kind of skill is a gift, but it is one that will serve you well later on in life. Mastering the art of writing a literature essay takes a lot of time and diligent practice, minor in literature or not.

2. Analyzing and Understanding the Text

After successfully answering the “who, where, when, and what” questions, it is important to move into the matter of why the author decided to write the content he has chosen. In doing so, the different aspects precluding a deeper understanding of the text and the universal actions and experiences associated with them make analysis easier. The definition of subject matter is to be carried out. Then, the holistic and unified combination of key areas that carry global meaning through thematic and linguistic stages are to be examined. Also, the author’s life and background relevant to the selection of their study could be reviewed and formulated coherently. The analysis is to be carried out with the main goal being to analogize previously recognized violence through the definition of physical and mental violence emphasizing textual evidence in order to support higher comprehension of the text. Dig deeper through the writing, critically.

In order for understanding of the text to be achieved, it is important to read the text more than once and in each case, a different level of understanding is aimed for. It is good to start by doing the first reading of the text in silence. In case of a play, it is vital that you get to read the text without referring to any notes first. On this first reading, the following observations can be done: the “who, where, and when” questions can be answered; the theme of the text is noted and a short description of the topic of the text is written; characterization is noted and descriptions drawn on the different characters involved; and the plot that the author has unfolded is noted, taking into account the way his characters act and are reacted on his/her story ends, obtaining the desired.

3. Crafting a Strong Thesis Statement

While brainstorming or planning your introductory paragraph, brainstorm to create a few strong options initially, and then try to zero in on one. Make bold, strong claims in your thesis statement about the text’s details and why they are important in regards to your argument. Make sure that all statements you make in the thesis statement include the purposes. The thesis statement is not the topic. For example, if you are analyzing the theme of self-awareness in the novel Huckleberry Finn, your local idea is not about the idea of self-awareness but where it actually shows up in the novel. If your thesis statement answers why it is locally important, then it should be supported with three specifics – where self-awareness is evidenced in the texts, why it is supportive of your argument, and why it is influential to the entire work.

The one sentence that seems to dominate all others when talking about essay writing is the thesis statement. In other types of writing, the thesis statement is a topic sentence at the end of the first paragraph that highlights the central argument. From there, the next paragraphs are a series of proofs that back up the argument. In literature essays, we don’t deviate too far from this formula, but the thesis statement itself takes on a new form. It is the leading thought – without any proofs or supports – that you will use to structure all of your essays. Just the same as any type of essay, your literature essay needs to have an argument. Just tossing around the name of a character or a theme and discussing the text linearly won’t assist in making your point clearly and concisely.

4. Building a Coherent Argument

Mind-mapping is a potentially useful tool for planning a paper. Harvest your ideas and collect them in a large computer file. Start moving them around and allow time for in-depth consideration and discussion. Do not make the common mistake of running out of material after 1000 words and be guided by the structure of your opening paragraphs. But spare enough time between the next two stages of the work. Select your guide cautiously – they should know guiding, they should be giving, they should have vision, they should have time. Having too much advice is actually much better than having too little. Your best companion might not be the most influential academic. Too influential a figure may not have time or motivation to aid a student. Many able guides exist in disguise in teaching personnel, administrative and technical staff, and student bodies. They are true assets. They are appreciated. Use them.

Let’s focus on a single problem and group together the arguments that relate to it closely. Each paragraph should represent a different aspect of the problem but should build on the others in a coherent manner and should lead nicely onto the next paragraph, producing good effective essay structure. Keep referring back and forth to what has gone before – you are making the case in stages. When working in this way, it is important to allow enough space to develop each theme properly, to move in stages from description to analysis, offering a balanced blend of illustrative evidence and theoretical reflections. Each stage of your argument should form the springboard for the next, and each stage should certainly be linked to earlier and later ones.

5. Concluding with Impact

You must have noticed that while writing literature essays, most student writers try to discuss heavy topics and touch upon many aspects of the subject. Therefore, a vast and exhaustive introduction leads to a vast and unwieldy body of the essay. Inexperienced writers jump to make such introductions thinking that a reader will be overwhelmed by the regal and erudite language, theories, and much else. On the contrary, the opposite is true. The first paragraph always sets the tone, and by going along an avenue that may not be correct to follow, a reader won’t quite know what to decide. Your entire introduction must stand by and prepare the reader’s mind for what is to come. Upon this threshold, there should be uniformity lest it does not provide a pillar to fall back upon, should there be a delay in clarity for some reason. So, a well-formulated introduction makes quite a huge difference.

The final paragraph or conclusion is perhaps more important than the opening introduction, since whatever has been stated or illustrated should ultimately be drawn to a logical conclusion or summing up of the points being forwarded concerning the subject. Over discussing is something that is not desirable; keep focus on discussing relevant points only, and once that has been done, the feeling of having said it all is a good sign that your conclusion or summing up will be equally good. Long conclusions with new ideas or loose ends are never good. Rather, the conclusion should be more direct and straightforward.

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