Essay

2658 Words Jan 1st, 2016 11 Pages
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Essay Sample
A Guide to Writing the Literary Analysis Essay I. INTRODUCTION: the first paragraph in your essay. It begins creatively in order to catch your reader’s interest, provides essential background about the literary work, and prepares the reader for your major thesis. The introduction must include the author and title of the work as well as an explanation of the theme to be discussed. Other essential background may include setting, an introduction of main characters, etc. The major thesis goes

middle of document…

Poverty reaches from the privileged families, like

the Finches, to the Negroes and “white trash” Ewells, who live on the outskirts of

town. Harper Lee paints a vivid picture of life in this humid Alabama town where

tempers and bigotry explode into conflict.



B) Thesis: a statement that provides the subject and overall opinion of your essay. For a

literary analysis your major thesis must

(1) relate to the theme of the work and

(2) suggest how this theme is revealed by the author. A good thesis may also

suggest the organization of the paper.

 Example: Through Paul’s experience behind the lines, at a Russian prisoner of

war camp, and especially under bombardment in the trenches, Erich Maria

Remarque realistically shows how war dehumanizes a man.

Sometimes a thesis becomes too cumbersome to fit into one sentence. In such cases, you

may express the major thesis as two sentences.

 Example: In a Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens shows the process by which

a wasted life can be redeemed. Sidney Carton, through his love for Lucie Manette,

is transformed from a hopeless, bitter man into a hero whose life and death have

meaning.



II. BODY PARAGRAPHS

A) Body: the support paragraphs of your essay. These paragraphs contain supporting

Example: (concrete detail) and analysis/explanation (commentary) for your topic

sentences. Each paragraph in the body includes (1) a topic sentence, (2) textual evidence

(a.k.a. quotes from your
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