writing a literature essay

writing a literature essay

Analyzing Literature: A Guide to Writing Essays

1. Introduction

Tone is the speaker’s attitude towards his subject and/or audience. By using the following activities, activate what you know and do not know about the author before the reading. Do you find that his tone is bitter, sentimental, enthusiastic, or something else? Does the author’s tone change? Why or why not? What are the potential implications of the change? How can you identify biases in the author’s tone? How does the tone affect you as a reader and/or change your reading experience? In a critique, should the reviewer discuss the practical consequences or applications of the author’s tone? If so, how do the practical implications change if the reviewer has a different tone than the author? Remember that too much common sense will not communicate your understanding of tone to others. It’s like mentioning chocolate and not providing a lively description of how delicious it tastes. Have you ever noticed that most reviews of novels are not so excitingly dry?

Welcome to the first edition of my guide to analyzing literature. This guide is intended to serve as a reference of how to analyze literature rather than as a compilation of literary topics and indexes. It was created partially in reaction to the abstract approach that was taken by the literature class instructors that I took in high school. They, unfortunately, taught revisionist history and critical pedagogy rather than literature. Don’t get me wrong—those other things are important in their own right, but not nearly as important as the ability to discuss literature at its core. This guide will teach you how to analyze literature effectively by using the fundamental elements of literature. The fundamental, universal elements of literature are elements which we use to build analysis, and include: Tone, point of view, character, setting, geometry, exclusion, period, presentation, theme, and parabolic elements. Just as a throat is a fundamental part of the human body and a fundamental element of a chicken’s carcass’s body, these elements are also fundamental, universal aspects which we talk about literature.

2. Choosing a Topic

If a brief analysis based on one or a few details cannot provide a substantial reason for your choice of topic, the analysis will be superficial, and your essay will lack development. Basic inquiries about subjects for essays: what specific topic does the teacher ask us to develop? Where can I find some ideas about this topic: in plot or in theme? How can I begin to work with literature and with style, imagery, characters, symbolism, and so on? Should I count on supplementary readings? If, for example, the teacher asks us to compare Jane Austen’s explanation of love in Pride and Prejudice with the modern concepts of love, we must focus our attention on her concept of love. We must discover her attitude towards love in order to answer shrewdly why some concepts from modern society might or might not coincide with her theory. It might be useful to read bits of some critical interpretations too.

If you choose a topic you enjoy, writing your essay will be easier and more pleasant. The most difficult part in writing is not how to do it, but doing it with a little interest. However, consider the difficulty of the different topics and choose the one that can be developed best and most easily, even if the topic does not deeply interest you. For instance, a topic that asks you to compare and contrast Elizabeth with Darcy might interest you, but it will force you to search for difficult arguments. Choose rather a topic that asks you to follow the development of Darcy’s love for Elizabeth. Remember, your thesis must reflect a judgment that can be discussed. For example, the thesis “Darcy’s pride dwindles every day is developed” is too obvious for an essay, and it will not organize the discussion. Rewrite your thesis until you get one with which you feel comfortable and at ease and that you judge interesting. Don’t forget that a topic has mainly to be developed, not only explained.

3. Crafting a Thesis Statement

One of the pleasures of reading is that you can disagree with the how to be a thesis statement can love encountering other works and disagreeing with their ideas. Once you are sure of your audience, write a sentence about the key idea that you believe denotes him. All the characters in the Harry Potter series are teens who keep secrets from the adults in their world (just as teens in the real world tend to do). Now my reader knows that teens harboring secrets is my idea. Before the end of the topic at hand, I should plan to give examples of secrets that Harry, Ron, and Hermione keep from adults and the reasons they keep the secrets. Ideally the Harry Potter books are so famous you should not need to ask yourself so much that the reader will not actually be interested. Give some background information about Harry Potter in order to the personal statement of the key idea that already have.”

“Your thesis summary idea should be a single sentence that encapsulates the main idea that you believe to be important about how to be a thesis for literature. It must be concise. Properly locating the thesis in your paper will prepare your reader for the essay of your message. Many students craft theses to simply answer questions or finished assignments rather than simply writing about what they have read. Summary will allow you to understand what the writer is saying without falling into pet phrases or opinion. What should you conclude at the vicarious end of the reading? Not very helpful. In a byzantine way. To do this, give your reader a section to the material that meets your argument. Since you are writing about works that were living of written a writing ago, you think are free to paraphrase your affair.

4. Supporting Your Argument

Critical essays help, I believe, because enough of these are compelling to provide a groundswell of secondary material underpinning the class for many who do not know how to begin. And for those who have no problem with this, critical essays inspire them to perform as well as, or better than, those who depend upon the information found in these essays to get going. Throughout an academic year, special literary works are addressed in chunks, and are covered and reviewed just as larger works are, but for open-book exams privacy is the best policy. In most instances students are given the either/or option of responding to open-book exam questions about any of the works they have read in class thus far in the semester. While readings are spread seamlessly throughout a course, the class that is focused on a common reading involves all members in an in-depth discussion of the work at hand and/or a related critical essay.

I am a firm believer in open-book exams, simply because if one has read widely in a subject, he/she should not need to memorize everything, but instead learn how to think about and use what has already been read in different ways to answer specific questions. Writing essays frequently and reading other works critically is the best way to become adept at dealing with other texts on exams. In the case of reading larger works of literature, reading critical essays on them works effectively to dispel some of the deadening quality that occurs when the only voice heard in the history class is one’s teacher’s.

5. Conclusion and Final Thoughts

You should remember a lot of daily usage language is not appropriate in a literary discussion. That is because it neither represents a complex-thinking audience nor works to persuade them. Moreover, good essays have clear-cut beginning, middle, and end. Do not jumble ideas in just two or three paragraphs. One other good beginning is to simply “restate” the topic phrase on the first paragraph. By the way, we have left the topic free so you can have the opportunity to investigate the great number of themes present in the novel. The essay will probably start to write itself. In the final part of an essay, you should summarize what was being talked about and establish how all that was discussed fits together and concludes. Or, considering all that, one might even be able to mediate a discussion with another theme or the novel’s characters, propose a resolution for the novel’s conflict. The most important thing is to find a good conclusion that will satisfy the reader and consolidate the opinions you are pushing with your argument.

Writing an essay: what does it all mean? Essays are a way to show your understanding and reasoning skills. Instead of using merely memory-catching and descriptive language, you analyze the conflict. The point is to find a topic you care about and investigate it critically. That is why you must think carefully about selecting a thesis. You’ll spend pages justifying your point of view, and you must stay on topic and concentrate the “argumentation” on it. You must also use examples from the novel and others (that is, “quotations”) to illustrate your point of view. Use examples that establish a pattern. In fact, develop a whole paragraph around them. Also, use formal language. You should summarize the novel’s plot intelligently and quickly, the essay must persuade the reader that having read the novel is not as important as discussing its themes, its conflicts, and its pertinence.

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