Writing the Literary Analysis Paper

Thinking about Your Topic

The literary analysis paper is meant to gauge your understanding of what you have read, to demonstrate your ability to evaluate the literary elements of the text, and to communicate your ideas in a manner appropriate in a college freshman-level essay.Your interpretation should come from your own reading and thinking about the work—not from a critical or literary analyses you have read about it. The following questions will help you find and explore a topic for analysis. I recommend keeping these questions in mind as your read.


Developing a Thesis

After you have answered the questions for "Thinking about your Topic," think about which of those questions interested you the most? Your answer to that question is your thesis. You may need to rewrite the answer as a concise and affirmative thesis statement.

Gathering the Evidence

Search the text for evidence to support your thesis. You should be looking for passages in the text that are relevant to your argument.

Writing the Paper