Remember, you’re looking for something you can prove or argue based on evidence you find in the text.Finally, remember to keep the scope of your question in mind: is this a topic you can adequately address within the word or page limit you’ve been given?Maybe you’re looking for inspiration, guidance, or a reflection of your own life.
” “Why do pigs keep showing up in Lord of the Flies ? ” “How does Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter remind me of my sister?
” Once you know what question you want to answer, it’s time to scour the book for things that will help you answer the question.
A literary essay also isn’t like the kind of book report you wrote when you were younger, where your teacher wanted you to summarize the book’s action.
A high school- or college-level literary essay asks, “How does this piece of literature actually work? ” and, “Why might the author have made the choices he or she did?
If it fascinated you, chances are you can draw on it to write a fascinating essay. Maybe you were surprised to see a character act in a certain way, or maybe you didn’t understand why the book ended the way it did.
Confusing moments in a work of literature are like a loose thread in a sweater: if you pull on it, you can unravel the entire thing.Conversely, is this a topic big enough to fill the required length? ” “What happens to Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird ?“Are Romeo and Juliet’s parents responsible for the deaths of their children? ” “What do the other characters in Julius Caesar think about Caesar?Ask yourself why the author chose to write about that character or scene the way he or she did and you might tap into some important insights about the work as a whole. Is there a phrase that the main character uses constantly or an image that repeats throughout the book?If you can figure out how that pattern weaves through the work and what the significance of that pattern is, you’ve almost got your entire essay mapped out. Great works of literature are complex; great literary essays recognize and explain those complexities.Literary analysis involves examining all the parts of a novel, play, short story, or poem—elements such as character, setting, tone, and imagery—and thinking about how the author uses those elements to create certain effects.A literary essay isn’t a book review: you’re not being asked whether or not you liked a book or whether you’d recommend it to another reader.Eventually, you’ll start making connections between these examples and your thesis will emerge.Here’s a brief summary of the various parts that compose each and every work of literature.Maybe the title Happy Days totally disagrees with the book’s subject matter (hungry orphans dying in the woods).Maybe the main character acts one way around his family and a completely different way around his friends and associates.