What is a literary analysis essay? It is an essay that analyzes a novel, poem, play, short story, etc. and explains how and why the author uses specific literary elements to achieve his purpose (theme). Some essays may focus strictly on characterization while others may list specific literary elements to be analyzed.
What are the parts of a literary analysis essay? For your essay, I am requiring the following: An introduction: with a brief plot summary of your book (in your own words, please do not copy this from the internet. If you do, turnitin.com will pick it up and you’ll be flagged for plagrarism.) A thesis statement that includes the two literary devices you will discuss and a thematic statement. 2 body paragraphs : Each paragraph will discuss a literary device with TWO quotes showing that device and how they contribute to the theme. A Conclusion: that ties the paper together and restates the theme.
Introduction: what it should look like… One dimension of a diverse society is social class, which categorizes people based on how wealthy and affluent they are. While some people avoid judging others who are from a different social class, there are those who swear by it. To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel which takes place shortly after the Great Depression, a time when the lines that divide social classes were more greatly defined. Harper Lee uses diction and point of view to reveal the theme that social prejudice affects the way people interact with and view one another.
Body Paragraphs: This specific essay will have 2 Body Paragraphs
The first sentence of your body paragraph is your TOPIC SENTENCE. This sentence will introduce the specific literary element you will be analyzing and will briefly explain how the element connects to the theme. For example… The author uses imagery to reveal the theme that racism is harmful to society.
The next part is your book Evidence-“quotes” You must find at least 2 quotes that reveal the specific literary element and theme you are discussing. Your goal is to try to embed your quotes. Remember your quotes must always include citations at the end. (Lee #) Also, remember to put your quotes in context so that the reader can follow your essay. For example, Transition (that gives context)-In chapter 25, when Dill explains to Scout what he saw when Atticus told Helen Robinson about her husband’s death, he says Evidence-“She just fell down in the dirt. Just fell down in the dirt, like a giant with a big foot just came along and stepped on her” (Lee 240).
Commentary This is your thoughts, your analysis. They include interpretations of the quotes you are embedding in your paragraphs as well as how the specific literary element you are analyzing reveals the theme. For example: Analysis-The author uses imagery here to show how racism affected Helen Robinson after Tom’s death. She’s been “crushed” by it because she’s lost her husband and her life is ruined.
All together it should look like this… (Each paragraphs is two APE’s) Transition/ Context: In chapter 9, Lee introduces the racist character of Ms. Dubose and writes, Evidence-“Her face was the color of a dirty pillowcase, and the corners of her mouth glistened with wet, which inched like a glacier down the deep grooves enclosing her chin. Old-age liver spots dotted her cheeks, and her pale eyes had black pinpoint pupils. Her hands were knobby, and the cuticles were grown up over her fingernails" (Lee 122). Analysis-This disgusting description of Ms. Dubose shows how hate and anger can be harmful. Ms. Dubose is described in such a grotesque way to show the reader how racism is a repulsive, harmful trait.
Conclusion Your conclusion restates your thesis and includes your final thoughts on why the author used specific literary elements to reveal the theme. Explain what the author wanted his readers to learn through the specific theme.
Today’s Reflection: Outline your Essay! (due at the end of class!) Introduction – Give a quick summary of the novel Thesis – The author uses __________________ and ____________________ to convey the theme of ________________________________________________________. Body Paragraph #1 – Literary Device #1 Quote #1 Explanation of the quote Quote #2 Explanation of the quote Body Paragraph #2- Literary Device #2 Quote #1 Explanation of quote Quote #2 Explanation of the quote Conclusion- Restate your thesis