What is a literary essay and why do we need it?

Often a college piece of writing needs to deal with some piece of literary work – a play, a novel, French poetry and so on. Your ability to analyze and assess pieces of literary writing can be directly addressed in such tasks by your professor. It is a very frequent task for students of many humanitarian faculties, but even a technical syllabus may contain an art history paper or a literary analysis essay that you may have to deal with, even if you don’t have any special skills in writing and have never written any type of essay before.

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So what is a literary analysis essay? The basic definition is: it is a piece of writing, measuring around 250-300 words (but otherwise may be specified by your teacher or professor, so make sure to check the requirements) that analyzes a literary work. It may analyze each and every aspect of, say, a novel: the style, the contribution to the literature in general, reflection of the author’s biography in the essay, the plot, the literary language and so on. Or, alternatively, it may focus on one of a few aspects which have just been mentioned. The idea of a literary essay is very close to how to write an article critique. However, the object of your critical analysis will not be an article, but a literary work.

Before writing any literary essay, you will need to read the literary work that has been given to you for analysis. You may try reading shorter versions of it, specifically designed to help students tackle their literature tasks in shorter spans of time. Select characters and plot pieces that seem the most important to you and read more general information about the style and form of literary composition that you are going to write about, like prose, poetry, drama. All of them have their distinctive features and you may need to analyze them globally in order to cope with your literary essay task better. Always remember that any literary piece must be analyzed in a many-sided way, from every angle there is. Also, a good idea would be to collect relevant quotes from the literary work while reading, because then you’ll be able to refer to these or mention them in your essay, even quoting straight away. Anyways, you will need to come back to the text of the novel or poem several times while writing, because the focus of your essay may change and may need adjustments as you proceed.

The plan for developing the text of your essay includes the following stages:

  • decide how many paragraphs you want to have
  • decide how many main points will sufficiently cover the task given
  • plan your essay
  • produce the writing part
  • check and proofread your essay

The number of paragraphs mostly depends on the tasks you’ve been given. Several tasks may require several paragraphs: for instance, one paragraph for style features of the novel, one for the plotline and its analysis, one for the main characters, one for your own opinion (in case you’ve been asked to give any). The introduction and the conclusion are mandatory parts or any written work, so if you add up everything, you will get a decent essay outline which we can see in almost any literary analysis essay example. When I need someone to write my paper, I usually writing services and ask them for any relevant examples or pay them for writing a literary analysis essay for me.

When you’re done planning, the next logical step would be to try to produce a continuous text on the given assignment. Some students experience difficulty with beginning their essay, because words just seem to be missing and they can’t come up with any decent ideas, but that’s what planning is actually for: you can start with any part you want, and finish with the hardest one. If you already know what you want to write in any of the paragraphs you have planned, it’s ok to go there right away and just write what you know best. As you can see in a sample book report, the style of your essay needs to be pretty formal. You are writing to your teacher, and it is an official document, so avoid any informal language, much personal information or any exclamatory punctuation.

Formally, a literary essay should contain information about the parts of a literary work and the general structure of the text, the form and the style it was written in. It is a good idea to mention the specificity of the language which the author used in the original, and the specific features of his author’s style (because, as we know, each author has their own unique way of conceiving their literary work, which may add value to the literary piece you’re analyzing). To get a better idea about the value of his work, get acquainted with the artistic styles and the characteristic features of the époque which the writer represents, in this way you will be able to understand it better and also make more points about how successful his work was. Always analyze the plot not only from the position of being interesting or intriguing, but from the position of the underlying philosophical message as well. Every great book has multiple hidden subtexts, and everybody perceives them at their own level. Make sure you do your best to identify those points and dwell upon them. And finally, express your opinion about the text in a subtle manner. Don’t claim you know everything and that your opinion is the ultimate truth. Always mention what other opinions exist about this literary piece and why you may be wrong, however, use factual information from the text to prove your points. And, of course, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you need help with your literary essay, Digital Photography homework help or 3D Art homework help, you can always address the services that will gladly help you out.

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