Essay writing is a common and very important thing in your academic life. Writing essays is a part of everyone’s life and it is essential for the people to understand about how to write an effective essay. None of the students and people finds it easy to write an essay due to their lack of skills and knowledge in writing. It is not possible for the people and students to acquire writing skills and knowledge in a day. Being a student, it is vital to keep practicing your writing skills as it helps you to avoid the struggle you might face when writing an essay. Writing a successful essay requires practice and certain amount effort from your part. Obviously, there are some important components that you should consider while writing an essay.
Let’s have a close look at different components that you are vital to give focus on while writing an essay:
Most of the people give no significance to researching and they right away start writing their essay once they get essay topic. However, you should understand the fact that it is the researching that gives you ample reference and information about your essay topic. Without research, it is not possible that you land at find good content or information to write on. So, researching is a very important component of essay writing. You should concentrate on carrying out research on the given essay topic and gather as much as information or reference you need for writing a compelling essay. Researching indeed allows you to collect reliable information and to make your essay to be filled with logical contents.
Another most important component that your essay should incorporate is topic. It is the topic of an essay that determines the course of your essay. The essay topic should be within your proficiency and easily writable. An essay is a piece of writing that is written to induce someone of something or to basically tell the reader regarding a specific topic. In order for the reader to be persuaded or sufficiently informed, the essay topic has to be fitting one. If you find a suitable topic, it aids you to conduct research with no trouble and accumulate reliable information. Therefore, it is vital for you to find out a topic in your expertise if not given by your professors.
Thesis is an essay’s main statement. Thesis is generally seen at the end of the introduction paragraph. The thesis conveys two things such as the essay’s topic and the writer’s general notion on that topic. It is must for you to have a thesis statement for your essay based on the essay topic. It is the thesis statement that decides the nature and flow of your essay. The readers should understand the nature of the rest of the essay from your thesis statement. Thesis statement that is written in your essay will let the people to understand the fundamental nature of your essay. Hence, you can call thesis statement as an essence of your essay. You can save your time and effort a lot if you can come up with a good thesis statement for your essay because thesis statement will provide you right guidance on how to go on with your essay.
Structure is the must have and very important components for any academic essay. Essay writing is not simple and it can take time if you have to create a top quality piece of writing. When you write an essay, keep in mind that there are rules, guidelines and things you have to take care of during your essay writing. Structure is one of such rules, guidelines and things you have to give importance to. Obviously, the structure of an essay consists of introduction, body and conclusion. Essay structure is all about how the different paragraphs of an essay are organized and kept together.
The introduction paragraph is the initial section of your essay. The main purpose of introduction paragraph is introducing the topic to the readers in a concise but clear way. The introduction should narrate what is generally contained in the paper. The writer should include or wind up the introduction with a thesis statement, possibly the vital component of the introduction paragraph. The introduction section offers the reader a general view of the essay. The intro also affirms the aim of the paper and present insight into the author’s ideas and viewpoints. The writers can provide some useful background information about your essay topic in the introduction.
b) Body Paragraphs
Body paragraphs are supporting subsections of your essay and it makes up the main body of your essay. Keep in mind that body paragraphs are just an extension of your introduction paragraphs or thesis statement. Body paragraphs give you the chance to elaborate your thesis statement with the use interesting facts, quotations, or definitions of important terms. An essay, in its general form, is a paper that does two things such as informing a purpose and back up purpose with comprehensible, vivid details and examples. Of course, body paragraphs help you to either influence to move the readers into action or accept your arguments.
Make sure that your body paragraphs are the continuation of your introduction section and everybody paragraphs be well connected with its ideas. The body of an essay is where you place your arguments and your thesis with flawless contents and examples. In the body sections, clear points required to be established and support of those points with facts. You will discover three imperative components inside the body section of an essay such as topic sentences, support sentences, and closing sentences. Bear in mind that body paragraphs should precisely support, and must have connection to essay’s overall idea.
Conclusion paragraph is where an essay is summed up and the topic is winded up. It is very vital to have a clear and to the point conclusion in your essay. It is certain that the conclusion section recaps the thoughts and ideas of the paper in a few sentences. The conclusion paragraph of your essay should not be too long. Summarize your essay by highlighting the most important aspects of your essay. The writers have got to restate the main arguments in a simplified manner in the conclusion and make sure that the reader is left with something to dwell on from your essay. Don’t leave the readers confused about main points discussed in your essay.
Another important component of your essay is acknowledging the sources that you used as reference in your essay. You should have citations and bibliography in your essay because it gives the readers a general idea about from where you got your information. Obviously, how you cite the information used in your essay will play a key role in giving credibility to your essays. So, cite the sources in order to keep away from the thread of plagiarism and to keep integrity.
Editing and Proofreading
Editing and Proofreading is an important component of your essay. Without editing and proofreading, your essay is not completed. A lot of people never give importance to editing and proofreading. It will guide them to submit an imperfect piece of writing to the concerned people. Editing and proofreading is the best way to remove all errors from your essay. It is vital for you to get rid of grammar, spelling and other possible errors from your essay. Editing and proofreading can do the job for you.
Why does that word –analysis – strike fear into the hearts of so many college students, and just what the heck is a literary analysis, anyway?
Analysis is typically the last skill your brain learns, and most students don’t encounter this term until college. But never fear – I’m here to help you conquer your literary analysis essay in this blog post!
A smart literary analysis focuses on how a book or story’s plot, characters, settings, or themes are used by an author. Sometimes, you may want to explore how an author creates meaning through these elements; otherwise, you may want to criticize the author’s methods and their work’s message.
I’ll focus on both approaches in my handy list below, so read on!
Life After Book Reports
Before we dive right into analysis strategies, it’s important to note that analysis is not asummary.
You’ve probably written book reports before, and you know that these are pretty simple because you basically retell a book’s major events to prove you’ve read it.
But analysis requires more from you. Your professor can always read the book you’re analyzing, so you don’t have to recount the plot. Instead, your job in analyzing is to make aclaim or thesis about the text and to spend your essay supporting your ideas.
Analysis and argument actually have a lot in common, and if you’ve written argumentative essays, then you can probably write an analysis essay. I’ll break down the process into two phases to help you get started.
Phase One: Hunting and Gathering
In this phase, you should choose the work you want to analyze and then consider your approach. What are your initial ideas? What do you have to say about this book, and how do you plan to support your position? Brainstorm and outline during this phase.
You may be saying, “where do I start?” Glad you asked!
Components of a Smart Literary Analysis #1: Know the Elements
When analyzing literature, you’ll first want to consider the following elements from a different perspective than when you’re just reading a book. True analysis means approaching your text like a detective. Plot, characters, and setting all leave clues to deeper meaning, and your job is to discover them.
Plot is the pattern of events that make up a story. In your literary analysis, you’ll want to focus on whether or not these events are significant to your claim.
Conflict is the struggle between two opposing forces, typically the protagonist and antagonist. Conflicts often follow this traditional form, but sometimes characters experience internal conflict. Or the conflict comes in the form of a natural or supernatural force. The main conflict in a story can often reflect an author’s opinion about the world they live in or the issues of their day.
Characters are the people or “players” in a story. Characters are great for analysis because they are the ones causing and reacting to the events in a story. Their backgrounds, appearances, beliefs, actions, etc. can all be analyzed. You can often start with characters in an analysis because authors usually express opinions about race, culture, religion, gender, etc. through character representation, whether intentional or not.
Just like characters, setting can be easily analyzed. As an author may express certain opinions through their characters, what they have to say about places can also be provocative and revealing.
Components of a Smart Literary Analysis #2: Focus on Literary Devices
You can analyze a book’s themes by first brainstorming some ideas and thinking about the impression you get when reading it. Novels are full of symbols and allusions, and most authors have something to say about the world.
In analyzing TheLord of the Rings, you could discuss how Tolkien uses light and dark imagery as symbols of good and evil. “Gandalf the White” is certainly a representation of good, while evil is implied by the “Black Gates of Mordor.” You could continue by focusing on Tolkien’s language used for good or evil characters and settings.
While these terms have different meanings, you can approach them with the same strategy in your analysis essay. If a novel uses allegory or metaphor, then its story represents some real-world event(s) or criticism thereof.
A well-known Christian allegory is C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia series. You could write an analysis essay that argues how Aslan’s journey represents Jesus’s story in the Bible. If you wanted to take this one step further, you could also explore whether or not Lewis’ interpretations could be seen as accurate and why.
Think about metaphor by analyzing how The Lord of the Rings’ plot is a metaphor for the events of World War II. You could also explore whether Tolkien opposes war or glorifies it, depending on how you interpret the novels.
Components of a Smart Literary Analysis #3: Take a Critical Approach
If you’re struggling to come up with your own ideas, then you can definitely fall back on critical approaches or “lenses” through which you can view and analyze your topic. There are quite a few of these, so I’ll just focus on one here as an introduction.
If writing about the first Hunger Games novel by Suzanne Collins, for example, you might apply the feminist critical approach.
That’s a big subject, so you have to start somewhere. The Purdue OWL suggests starting with a list of typical questions. Your answers will help you form your claims.
Here are some of the questions on the OWL’s feminist criticism page:
- What are the power relationships between men and women (or characters assuming male/female roles)?
- How are male and female roles defined?
- What constitutes masculinity and femininity?
Here is my answer to these questions that I could use to get started:
Traditional gender roles are rejected as Katniss Everdeen exhibits more fortitude, confidence, and intelligence than most of her male counterparts, Peeta, in particular. However, the novel still relies on traditional masculine and feminine characteristics as most of the female characters appear ethical, soft-spoken, and passive, whereas most of the male characters are aggressive and less ethical in their actions.
Now I have to start thinking about how to support this stance, just like an argument.
You can apply a similar approach to any of the critical lenses. The most common approaches that students use today are Feminist, Marxist, Post-modern, and Psychoanalytic.
Components of a Smart Literary Analysis #4: Follow the 5 W’s
Who, what, where, when, why/how – think about these when writing your notes and outline:
Who is the author? Does his or her background have any impact on the writing? What links can you draw between the author’s life and those of the characters in the story?
What is happening in the story? What events are significant and why?
Where does the story take place, and why is this important to your analysis?
When is the story set? How does this time period affect your interpretation? Think about historical context as this can be very important.
Why/how do you justify your claims? What evidence from the text will you use?
Components of a Smart Literary Analysis #5: Making an Assertion vs. Using an Argument and Evidence
An assertion makes a claim and can work as a topic sentence, but an argument is more complex and complete. An argument provides your claim but also supports it.
Harry Potter’s lightning-shaped forehead scar represents a badge of achievement for thwarting Voldemort.
Harry Potter’s lightning-shaped forehead scar represents a hero’s badge of achievement for thwarting Voldemort as well as his fame and status in the Wizarding world. Ron Weasley confirms this notion early in Sorcerer’s Stone when treating the scar with reverence on the Hogwarts Express. In the same scene, Hermione Granger immediately recognizes Harry because of his scar and only remarks about a smudge on Ron’s face, revealing the disparity between supposedly “normal” characters and how Harry’s scar and its history define him as the special hero character.
See the difference? In an argumentative paragraph, you offer a specific assertion/claim, evidence to support it, and commentary to show how that evidence is relevant.
Double-check with your professor about her expectations. Typically, you’ll use summary, paraphrasing, and direct quotes from the literature you’re analyzing as evidence. Often, you’ll only have to focus on your own ideas and simply support your claims with logic and evidence from your text. However, you may be expected to use other sources, such as scholarly publications, to support your analysis. If so, visit your university library or its website to start researching your topic.
Phase Two: Writing
Okay – now that you’ve collected information about your topic and brainstormed some ideas for your approach, let’s move on to actually writing the literary analysis!
Components of a Smart Literary Analysis #6: MLA Format
Most literary analysis essays will typically appear in MLA format, so you’ll want to make sure you get this step right. Here is a great link to a sample MLA paper that shows you the ropes.
You may also be expected to cite the book or story you’re analyzing in MLA. You can use an online tool, such as Easybib, to create your citations, but be sure to double-check these for accuracy!
Components of a Smart Literary Analysis #7: Academic Voice
Walk like me; talk like me. To write academically, train your “voice” to be:
- Skeptical, not cynical
- Confident, not cocky
- Logical, not biased
- Critical, but fair
- Concise, not wordy
I can’t stress this last one enough. You are smart, so don’t try too hard to sound smart. Students often make this mistake and end up with bloated and pompous prose, which is when professors like to unload a lot of ink from their grading pens!
You’ll also want to avoid the dreaded “I factor” of first-person writing. For a successful literary analysis essay, third-person writing is the way to go!
Components of a Smart Literary Analysis #8: Essay Organization
Writing your rough draft:
Intro and Body and Conclusion and Bears, oh my!
Okay, so there are no bears, but all good essays are well organized, and a literary analysis is no exception! You may already know the basics, but let’s cover the specifics:
The introduction needs three things to be successful: an interesting hook, background on your topic, and a strong thesis that makes a clear analytical claim.
This section will make up the bulk of your paper. Each body paragraph will work to support your thesis. Recall the assertion vs. argument section from above – an analytical paragraph should include the following:
- Your assertion or “sub-claim” that is relevant to your thesis.
- Evidence from the text that can support the assertion.
- A logical evaluation of that evidence – show the reader how the evidence supports your assertion.
The conclusion is your final paragraph. Its job is to recap the main ideas in your essay and reassert your thesis. No new information should appear in your conclusion, so make sure you’ve wrapped up your analysis before you get to this point!
Putting Theory Into Practice
There are many ways to approach a literary analysis, and I hope this post gives you a “leg-up” in starting your own. Whether you’re coming up with your own theme-based approach or you decide to use a critical approach, so long as you take your time and brainstorm, take notes, and outline effectively, you should be off to a good start!
Let’s review. When writing a smart literary analysis, you should focus on:
- Starting with a thesis or claim
- The 5 W’s
- Argumentative paragraphs
- Using evidence to support your assertions
- Using MLA format
- Practicing academic voice
- Strong organization – Intro, Body, and Conclusion
And when you’ve done all that, Kibin will be standing by to proofread your work!
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