Maybe you’re looking for inspiration, guidance, or a reflection of your own life.
” No one is born knowing how to analyze literature; it’s a skill you learn and a process you can master.
As you gain more practice with this kind of thinking and writing, you’ll be able to craft a method that works best for you. Do yourself a favor and pick a topic that interests you.
” “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?
These are the elements that you will analyze in your essay, and which you will offer as evidence to support your arguments.
For more on the parts of literary works, see the Glossary of Literary Terms at the end of this section.
When you read a work of literature in an English class, however, you’re being asked to read in a special way: you’re being asked to perform literary analysis.
To analyze something means to break it down into smaller parts and then examine how those parts work, both individually and together.