Literary Analysis Essays

The key to a literary analysis essay is in the name: analysis. Students usually make the mistake of retelling the story, poem or play that they are writing about. Instead, they should be using the material of the work to demonstrate an understanding of literary techniques and to prove the original points made in their thesis statements.

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There are a number of literary techniques that should be discussed in literary analysis essays. These are the basics that make a good work of literature effective and students will be expected to know them.

  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Setting
  • Metaphor and alliteration
  • Symbolism
  • Point of view
  • Rhyme
  • Imagery
  • Character
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Do not underestimate the value of appearing professional in your essay. Because literary analysis essays are a form of criticism, it is advisable to use the terms themselves when discussing the work. Doing so will prove that students notice the techniques as they read (in other words, that they are analyzing the work), and that they can use the correct vocabulary for literary analysis essays. If, for example, a student writes about Under Milkwood by Dylan Thomas, he or she could say that the use of rhyme and imagery evoke the eccentricities of a small town. Another key point to remember for students writing a literary analysis essay is to keep themselves out of the essay. Avoid the use of the first person and second person (‘I’ and ‘you’). The literature is the focus of the essay.

Students should also be sure to use present tense rather than past tense, and stick to the same tense throughout. This keeps the sense of the essay clear, while using the active voice engages the reader more. ‘Dylan Thomas conveys the fullness of daily life with his brilliant use of dialogue,’ is more interesting than ‘The fullness of daily life is conveyed by Thomas’s use of dialogue.’ It is possible to get quick, reliable help in writing literary analysis essays or any other academic paper, from a custom writing service. is an online writing service that has been building a customer base for many years. We choose only the best professional writers who are university educated and have proven track records. Our writing team covers a wide range of academic subjects, from law to literature, so you can be sure that an expert will be assigned to your essay.

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