Writing About Literature
All too often, students who otherwise have perfectly fine writing skills submit atrocious work when they are asked to write about literature. This phenomena is often due to the author not understanding that writing about literature is really no different than composing any other sort of persuasive essay. Essays about literature must have clear thesis statements, all premises must be supported with evidence from the text, and the conclusion must do more than just repeat what was said previously. These are the same principles you were taught in Freshman Composition. Another reason for this phenomena is that unfortunately, sometimes students might not have had their writing evaluated by someone who actually teaches writing and who was therefore unable to adequately assess these abilities. The result is they might be unaccustomed to producing work that not only contains interesting and original ideas, but is also free of mechanical errors and of awkward and wordy phrasing.
Many of these problems can be avoided by beginning your assignments early. It is important to leave yourself enough time to write multiple drafts; to consult me, the Writing Center, and even a trusted friend who is a gifted writer; and to edit your prose in order to eliminate awkward and wordy phrasing and mechanical errors. Be warned that bad writing will not be tolerated in my classes. I give Cs for work that is merely average, and Ds and Fs for work that is so riddled with mechanical errors or so snarled with awkward and wordy phrasing that it cannot be easily read.
This site contains some advice for writing a literary analysis essay, as well as some examples of good work. I strongly suggest that you examine the material here so that you have more tools at your disposal to do your best work in this class.
Elements of a Literary Analysis Essay
Introductory Paragraph/Thesis Statement
Supporting Your Ideas with Evidence from the Text
Final Paragraphs and Conclusions
Documentation in MLA Style
The Writing Process
Developing Your Ideas
The Final Stage of Editing
Examples of Literary Analysis Essays
Essay Examples: Example #1 Example #2 Example #3 Example #4 Annotated Bibliography Examples: Example #1