How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay Step By Step

December 11, 2018

In order to understand how to write a literary analysis essay step by step, read these recommendations. The work of art analysis consists of several stages. First, you need to analyze the following structural components.

The text analysis can be started with a short plot description. Having described the plot, you can assess the text by answering the following questions. Is such a compositional organization important for you? What is the most important thing in the structure for understanding the meaning of a work?

After analyzing the plot, you should consider how the time and place affect the characters and events. It is necessary to pay attention to the external and internal plans of time and place. Such signs as the names of historical epochs, countries, cities, temporary units (year, month, day) and the location of heroes (home, work, street) belong to external time and space. The internal time and space include spatial and temporal narrative techniques. When characterizing space and time, one should try to answer the following questions. In what sequence are events located chronologically (linearly, spirally, in reverse order)? Is there a return to the past, looking to the future, slowing down or speeding up the action? Where does the action take place? Does space change during narration? Then you can give your own assessment of how the perception of space and time in the text influenced you during the process of reading.

How to Do a Literary Analysis

You should make a brief description of the characters to understand how to do a literary analysis properly. In any interpretation, there should be a characteristic of the narrator, the main characters and their relationships. The main personages most of all reveal the theme of the work, affecting the plot. The events occur and the composition develops around them. Therefore, it is very important to analyze the characters and their influence on the external environment. Of course, you must also explore the narrator’s role. There are several types of narrators, such as a raconteur (an impassive observer, distanced from what is happening, acting as a creator), a first-person narrator (who gives information about events neither clearly nor indirectly and who does not reflect on what is happening).

The Subject of the Work

The disclosure of the theme of the work is one of the essential components of the interpretation of a literary work. Simply put, this is your understanding of what the work is written about. After you have analyzed the composition of the work, its time and space, and have described the characters, you can formulate the theme of the book. Based on the information received, it is possible to highlight the main points in the text and compose either a phrase or a sentence revealing the theme of the work.

The Main Motives of the Work

Motives make up the theme of the work, so it is very important to consider several frequently occurring motifs, determining their connection with each other, and their influence on the theme, plot, and characters. For example, if a work is about a trip, the motive of the traveling will be among the most important ones. When determining the role of the motive in the work, it is necessary to identify its main characteristics.

  • The main functions of the motive throughout the entire work. Functions are different; they can be thematic, structure-forming and plot-forming.
  • The main types of motive. The motive may be mythological, motive-situation, motive-action, motive-characteristic, motive-landscape, etc.
  • Features of the language implementation of the motive, that is, with the help of what vocabulary and syntactic structure of the sentence, it appears in the text. For example, a travel motive can have various verbs of movement.

The analysis should be concluded based on the following questions. How did the text affect you? Have you thought about the actions of the characters? Is this topic relevant today? You should not forget to argue your point of view, give as many examples from the text as possible, and draw conclusions.

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