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Literary analysis essay example college

Mar 28, 2018

Literary Analysis Research Paper

A literary analysis is a kind of paper that aims to analyze critically a certain work of literature. A literary analysis may be a part of an academic paper or a whole paper itself, for example, a literary analysis research paper.

For some students a literary analysis research paper may be a real challenge especially for those who face it for the first time in their lives. We are eager to help them in this case by providing some useful tips for writing a literary analysis research paper.

Start your literary analysis research paper with defining the main theme of the book. The main theme as a part of your literary analysis research paper may be expressed in one as well as in several sentences. The most important thing is that you should give a clear answer to the question: ‘What is the book about?’

One more essential part of any literary analysis research paper is the section called ‘the main idea of the book’. The vast majority confuse two different terms: theme and idea. In order to avoid possible confusion between these terms, take into consideration the following:

    1. The main theme answers the question ‘What is the story/book about?’
    2. The main idea gives an answer to the question ‘What did the author want to show?’

This section is a transition between the introductory part and the main body of your literary analysis research paper. However, this transition should be logical. That is why after you explain what the main idea the author wanted to convey, get down to the expressive means and stylistic devices used to convey the main idea. So, write down something like:

In order to convey the main idea of the book/story/novel/play, the author resorts to the following expressive means… .

In this part of your literary analysis research paper, you have to name the expressive means used and give examples from the text. Usually, the following expressive means are used:

The following stylistic devices are also used in the text… .

In this part of your literary criticism research paper, you should also give examples of stylistic devices that can be found in the text. Very often, the following devices are used:

A good literary criticism research paper should also have your ideas about the internal and external conflict in the book as well as the points of view of other researchers about it.

Take into consideration the information given, and you are sure to make a really good literary criticism research paper.

If you’ve been asked to analyze a piece of literature, try following these steps:

  1. Identify the author's purpose.  Ask yourself, what theme or main idea did the author want the reader to understand after he or she had finished reading?
  2. Think of the characters, tone, setting, rhythm, plot, imagery, etc. as devices or tools that help ensure that the reader "gets" the meaning that the writer intended him or her to learn.
  3. Ask yourself, why did the author choose to use these devices, in these particular ways?  How does this kind of character, plot event, or type of imagery help the reader understand the theme?
    Remember, tell us how & why—don’t just summarize!

Need an example?      

Sample Story



Robin Hood

Robin Hood stole goods and money from the rich residents of his town to give to the town’s poorer residents. 

The use of a monarchy or kingdom setting in Robin Hood allowed the author to portray the abuses of power that often occur among the wealthiest members of a community.

Snow White Snow White falls into a deep, death-like slumber when she takes a bite of a poisoned apple.  The use of certain plot elements in Snow White, such as the poisoned apple and resulting slumber, help readers understand that being too trusting can lead to dire consequences.   Cinderella Cinderella tells the story of a young girl whose evil stepmother tries to keep her from her true love. The author of Cinderella paired lazy female characters with a hard–working female protagonist to show that hard work leads to love and happiness. 

Sample Papers

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