How to Analyze a Literary Piece, Rules and Tips

It’s important to understand how to write correctly because it helps you to develop critical thinking abilities. Though sometimes it may be arguable if a literary analysis is valid or not, it allows you to write more up to the point.

Whatever your task is, to write an essay with critical analysis or just an analytical paragraph, you should see the events by the eyes of the author. You should understand the point of view of the author when he wrote his masterpiece. To understand the symbolic meaning of the events described in the author’s work is one of your primary aims. You should clearly understand the motives of the characters, why they act the way they do. Explaining it to the reader of your thesis statement is necessary to uncover the main message of the text analyzed.

Before you write your next critical analysis of any written work you’ve read, you should understand:

1. What message of the whole piece of literature does the author try to convey? Look at the whole plot and try to formulate the main idea intended for the reader.

2. What are the most important traits of the main characters? Who are they? What circumstances surround them? What literary and expressive means are used to depict them and how does the author convey the valuable message of the book through its main characters?

3. What stylistic and expressive devices are used and how? Is the message of the book valuable and does it teach the reader anything? How do the characters and the events of the book help to convey its message to the reader? When you write a critical analysis you should investigate, go deep into the matter while writing about the described events and their underlying reasons.

What Does the Term ‘Literary Analysis’ Mean?

As we stated above, an essay that gives a thorough study of an author’s work is called a literary analysis. It plunges into events, investigates the characters and their specific traits, researches stylistic methods to better understand the main message the literary work contains. A textual analysis is a bit different, though. To write a literary analysis you may have to divide the literary work into several parts to be able to understand the work as a whole. If you analyze a poem you may need to pay attention to the types of imagery used or how they are formed and the message contained in the poem correlate. If you analyze a play, you might need to distinguish between its main plot and the subplot or track how the traits of certain characters gradually change over time.

It’s more interesting to analyze a novel though, but it’s also more work and takes more time. There are a lot of topics for analysis and you can choose whatever direction you are more interested in.

How Literary Analysis Is Defined

By a literary analysis, we understand the studying of parts of a literary work to define how they correlate with each other and what influence they make on it. Such a structured analysis deals with literary devices that the author uses to create the underlying message of the work, the main characters, plot, theme, etc. Don’t forget to definitely outline the aim of your literary analysis and the main thought that is conveyed in the theme.

The Outline of Literary Analysis

The structure of a literary or critical analysis is the same as in most academic essays, as it has an introductory part, a thesis, a body, and a conclusion.

To structure your literary analysis correctly you can use the following tips:

  • Begin the introduction by outlining the background of your analysis. You should include the author’s name, the title of the literary work that you will analyze, additional information that will allow you to back up the thesis and the following arguments.
  • Your thematic statement should be expressed because it is the main problem, the main thought the author tries to convey. The introduction ends with the thesis. It should include a brief explanation of Who did What and Why. Don’t forget to mention the main question you are going to answer in your critical essay.
  • If you are in search of writing help we can offer it to you, don’t wait another day to contact us. To put it in a nutshell, the introduction should contain:
  • The author’s name (who), the answer to the stated request (what), the way the message is described (how), what is the underlying meaning, the main message conveyed in the literary work (why).
  • The body should contain more than two paragraphs, each paragraph starting with a definite statement concerning the thesis. Every paragraph should express one special thought.
  • You can use appropriate quotes to prove your statements, including dialogues or narratives, they should back up your main point of view.
  • If you point out a certain literary method and provide an example of it, you should necessarily explain how it use correlates with the main problem of your analysis.
  • Every paragraph should end with a powerful argument expressing its main thought.
  • To point out the theme in the paragraphs of the body is a good idea, but you should stick to answering the main question.
  • Your conclusion may start with your thesis that you put in other words, carefully reword it. You should clarify the main questions and problems that are pointed out in the body of your analysis.
  • In your conclusion, you underline the message the author is trying to convey and how it is connected with the illustrations that you’ve used in the body of your critical essay. You can use our plagiarism checker tool to be 100% confident that your paper is unique. It is convenient to use and free!

What Are the Main Types of Literary Analysis?

Depending on the task of your assignment, several various types of literary analysis can be used. They may seem rather similar if we briefly compare them.

Here we mention several most often used types of literary analysis that you may come across in a usual educational environment.

1. In a comparative essay, you compare several elements of a literary piece, for example. You analyze similarities or differences of parts of the same work or various literature pieces, maybe, previously studied. You can analyze different works of one author or works of different authors within one genre. Your main aim in such an essay is to compare and to formulate a conclusion from what you’ve found out.

2. When your assignment is to write a theoretical paper, you study a certain theory or two separate theories and compare or oppose them to each other. There may be a task to explore the literary work using various concepts and to make up a scope that is typical for the author’s arguments.

3. When you read a piece of literature and pay special attention to details, it’s called close reading. You can pay attention to some specific character traits or gestures, voice or reactions to different events. These little details help to understand the whole picture, they are stylistic and expressive devices used to help to better understand the message of the author’s work.

To write a thorough literary critical analysis it’s necessary to use close reading of the literary piece under the question. It will be necessary to do more research that will back up your thesis statement, the analysis usually concentrates around the historical or societal context. The thesis statement is of the most importance, like in other types of essays. To explore the historical or societal background of the literary piece analyzed and to write an argumentative thesis explaining the correlation between the writing and the background is your main purpose.

4. Not so formal comparing to any other type of critical analysis is an applied analysis, though as critical as all the others. If you write an applied essay, you will have to mention a certain literary piece and state how its main message might influence your experience.

An Example of a Literary Analysis

When the author is required to study questions of personal identity or gender and how they refer to his/her private life that may be an example of applied analysis.

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