Introduction: Be accurate but concise. Include a brief outline of the essay and specify the results you intend to achieve.
Paragraphing: As you are working on your literature essay, you will have to identify a minimum of three and a maximum of six points to support your thesis statement. Each point will need to be covered in a paragraph or two. Do not forget about using transition sentences to link your paragraphs to each other.
Evidence: Every time you make a claim, use evidence to support it. Just imagine that you are in court, and you are defending your client. You cannot simply say that your client is not guilty. You must prove it. The same goes with literary essay writing – you must refer to textual evidence to support your stance. Use direct quotes where possible, but do not forget to include a page number.
Quotes: Format and cite direct quotes appropriately. If the quote is larger than 40 words, you will have to format it as a block quotation. That is, you will have to indent and cite it correctly. Always include some introductory word before you quote the text. Do not overload the text with direct quotes. Rather, paraphrase and analyze.
Selection: One of the biggest mistakes made when writing a literature essay is when students simply summarize or retell the story. Also, be thorough when choosing the most appropriate evidence from the text. You should limit yourself only to those pieces, which actually support your thesis.
Support Your Thesis: Quite often, students forget about their thesis and research question, as they delve deeper into the study of the target text. Therefore, it is essential that you monitor every word you write. Once you are done with a paragraph, read it and see if it links to your thesis statement. Otherwise, rewrite it to support your main points.
Conclusion: Now you can easily wrap up the argument and bring the main points together to create a full picture of the argument.
Style: Your literature essay must be formal. You cannot use first-person pronouns in this kind of work. Stay away from subjective meanings. Choose a formal tone and context for your paper.
Creativity Matters: The best literature essay works are based on originality, creativity, and outstanding thinking. You must be objective, but you must also be able to look beneath the obvious meanings. Try to find something new, something that other people did not notice or did not pay attention to. Impress and surprise your audience.
Now check if you have successfully coped with your tasks:
1. Have you properly formatted your title page?
2. Have you included transition sentences between paragraphs?
3. Have you used enough evidence to substantiate your points?
4. Have you used enough direct quotes?
5. Have you answered your research question?
Analyzing a novel
Here, you may want to focus on any of the following: plot, main theme, secondary themes, characters, setting, or style. Try to see any bias in how the author presents the events of the story. Include an analysis of the author's introduction and intent. Define the components, which contribute to a better understanding of the plot and its meaning.
If you are writing a superb literature essay on some drama, you may also discuss anything from the major theme and setting to the plot, technique, and characters. If you decide to focus on the drama technique, you may also want to discuss the way it influences and changes the whole story.
In a poetry essay, you are ready to focus the style, theme, or technique. In terms of the latter, the range of topics is virtually unlimited, from assonance and alliteration to rhythm and metaphors.
Whenever you mention the title of the selected work in your paper, it must be italicized or underlined. In most cases, italicized text is a preferred option. You will not have any difficulties with it if you use a word processor. Avoid using both italics and bold at once. If you have any doubts as to how you should format your literature essay properly, it is better to ask your professor. With poems, articles, and short stories, use quotation marks when you cite their titles.
Verbs and Subjects Also Matter
Whenever you can, and even when you cannot, choose active voice over passive. Do not use some abstract words or meanings. Be specific and persuasive. Enrich your vocabulary. Choose strong words to defend your position. Your task is to analyze a piece of fiction literature, and you will have to be particularly inventive in your writing. Besides, do not forget about the quotation marks whenever you include a direct quotation. Page numbers are also needed. Do not be too critical. Do not use clichés or some standardized boring phrases. Moreover, do not try to repeat what other critics have said before you. What is expected from you is being creative and innovative. Read the story you are analyzing over and over again. Find something unique and remarkable about it. Assume responsibility for managing and reviewing what others have written. Put yourself into the shoes of the author and imagine how you could interpret different aspects and elements of the story. Be honest with your audience. If you misunderstand something – say it. Learn from your mistakes. Enjoy your writing progress. Become an advanced literary critic. Narrow down your argument and persuade your audience that you have read the novel or poem enough times to make grounded judgments about it.