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
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