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How To Write Literary Analysis Essay

A literary analysis essay is not to be confused with a book review because, you are not being asked if you like the book; rather, you are to go over a book or a literary work. This type of essay is different from other essays because it requires you to read a book and write using the correct format. Before you begin reading or writing you need to ask yourself the question below.

What is the Purpose of a Literary Analysis Essay?

  • A literary analysis essay will show whether you have gone over closely and figured out a literary work from various perspectives. Keen reading will help you to understand the book deeply by considering elements such as the subject, style, strength and flaws of characters, the connection between the main plot and the subplot, form, and main theme. Most assignment questions require you to focus on one aspect like a literary analysis essay example requiring you to evaluate a character's strengths and weaknesses.

  • Unlike a book review that focuses on feelings only, a literary analysis essay will require you to spend a lot of time studying to focus on the themes and ideas used.

  • Your objective will be to prove to the reader your analysis is accurate from the points you provide.

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How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay

Wondering how to write a literary analysis essay? Before starting you should be aware of the specific styles and organization used to write a literary analysis essay. The steps below will help you to get organized.

  • When given writing prompts, select the one you that will captivate you. This will give you an easier time reading and writing your essay. In case you have to come up with a topic, look for patterns. Irony, scenes that stay in your mind, and notice how the main characters behave.

  • Collect all the information you need to help you write the essay. Notice how symbols, passages, and images are connected to the topic.

  • Provide a thesis statement that can be proven for example don't write about the author's view of the book because it cannot be backed by the story or play. It will help the reader to be aware of what to anticipate in the essay because it describes the main point. Your literary essay is based on this paramount idea. Make the statement surprising and clear.

The Layout of a Literary Analysis Essay

When you are aware of the meaning of a literary essay and all the aspects to be included you will be ready to write your essay - which is a simple account of the details that will make up your whole essay. A literary analysis essay follows the same format as all essays. It includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

  1. The Introduction

Start your introduction by impressing the reader directing their focus to the main point. This where you address the topic as well as show an idea of what elements you are going to tackle. You may choose to start with a quote to emphasize the central point. It is also acceptable to include some background information about the writer of the work you are analyzing. Include the thesis statement sentence at the end of your introduction to make it straightforward. How long your introduction is going to be depends on the length of your essay. Overall, the introduction gives the reader a view of what to anticipate in the essay, answer the question of why the topic is relevant, and show the thesis statement. Choose a thesis statement that can be verified by reading the text. While writing the introduction you should ask yourself, what is the purpose of a literary analysis essay? This will keep you focused on the main idea.

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  1. The Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs contain the description of the ideas and themes of the book or play being analyzed. Start each paragraph with a sentence that will notify your reader about the points to be tackled and the evidence to support them. Each idea is presented in its own paragraph so that the essay can be neat and enjoyable.

  1. Conclusion

Your conclusion summarizes the details of the essay and this will convince the readers to either agreed or differ with you. Show the readers how your essay will help them to better understand the book or play. Your conclusion should describe the connection between your analysis and the book through the use of the ideas, characters and style of the author. Show how specific characters shape the direction of the book. In a sample literary analysis essay on Romeo and Juliet, show the way these characters affect the outcome of the play. Remember new points should be avoided at this stage.

Sample Literary Analysis Essay

F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

The American Dream: Money Nightmare

The American dream symbolizes wealth, success and peace. However, F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby represents this in a different light by pointing out the people who use this for their own selfish ends. Fitzgerald portrays Jay Gatsby as a man who blows this dream out of proportion and confuses his reality with his wealthy lifestyle which is false. This novel demonstrates how people's desire for wealth and power brings down the concept of this vision.

Jay Gatsby is overwhelmingly rich and belongs to the class of the extremely rich. He is an inspiration to many people who want to be rich. Nick Carraway implies that Gatsby has a glorious presence and that he is more likely to achieve the most out of life. Many people notice that Gatsby seems to achieve the status of wealth and fame, therefore, fulfilling the American dream. But Gatsby out of his greed decides to create the "Platonic conception of himself" (89) and become the ultimate god of wealth that he pretends to be. The America dream could mean a lot of things, but Gatsby centers on the concept of money and prestige which blinds him from the fact that he can improve through hard work and dedication. One obvious aim of the American dream is to improve oneself in order to reach a better status. Similarly, most people in our society just like Gatsby strive to achieve status through money but end up leading unfulfilled lives. He believes in his "unreality of reality" that "the rock of the world is founded securely on a fairy's wings" (89) Gatsby happiness revolves around his dreams and fantasies of wealth that give him pleasure and satisfaction. Finding solace in such wealth, changes Gatsby into a cold person who demonstrates this by coveting money and other asset. Many wealthy Americans just like Gatsby do not to understand that the American dream is not about money and greed but finding fulfillment in living.

Gatsby choose to follow his dream of acquiring great wealth instead of achieving the American dream of achieving happiness. He uses his wealth to bring fulfillment and meaning to his hollow life. His behavior causes the society to shun him when he leaves them penniless. Gatsby believes that wealth and riches make him a "son of God" (89) He believes himself to be a deity who is carrying out his father's business through the acquisition of material wealth at the expense of happiness. He uses devious means like exploitation and involvement in illegal activities to acquire wealth. Jay Gatsby's unfair rise to the top of the society paints America as the nation of the wealthy instead of all people. In this false America, Gatsby's goal "must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it" (159) He fails to realize that his dream is already behind so he continues with his quest to get more wealth. He finds it difficult to achieve happiness even with all his wealth.

Gatsby tries to fix his failures by using money without realizing that this approach will not work. He tries to get Daisy Buchanan whom he could not pursue before because of his wealth status. Although it looks like Gatsby's "number of enchanted objects have been reduced by one"(84) he is surprised by Daisy's attraction to luxury. He fails to see that he love for material possession echoes his own. He refuses to give up his wealth even after he realizes his life lacks meaning. He refuses to change his condition by realizing that America is a nation where one can start over.

A life that lacks happiness is hollow and meaningless. Likewise is the life of Jay Gatsby a man whose destruction comes from the very things he treasures. This demonstrates the fact that money does not necessarily equate to happiness.


Writing a literary essay is not easy, but through deep scrutiny of the book and by following the required format it can be the opposite. Also, constant writing and reading will make you an expert in this area. If you still need help with this, contact us for personalized help.

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