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How to Write an Analyzing Essay

by Jared Lewis, Demand Media

    Used primarily in literature, an analysis essay requires the writer to interpret a literary work. Writing an analysis essay can be a challenge for students because many have only been taught how to write descriptive essays. An analyzing essay differs, however, because it requires the student to interject her own opinion and interpretation of the text and its meaning. Writing these essays usually require a combination of research and creativity.

    Step 1

    Choose a literary work to analyze. Choosing a book that has had many different scholarly critical evaluations already will be helpful for your first analysis essay. This will allow you to view the work of professional scholars in the field and understand how to analyze a literary work.

    Step 2

    Read the piece of literature in its entirety. Take notes as you read. Make note of the main characters, the overall plot of the story and any details that may be important to the story or may have some type of symbolic significance.

    Step 3

    Develop a thesis upon which to base your essay. The thesis stresses the main theme or underlying meaning of the book you are reading. This meaning may be readily apparent as you read the book, or it may be a deeper symbolic meaning that requires digging deeper into the text. It may require you to look at the work of other scholars, too, but try to develop the thesis on your own first. This will help to avoid plagiarizing any ideas from other scholars.

    Step 4

    Create an outline for the structure of your paper. The paper should consist of three major parts: an introduction, body and conclusion. The introduction will contain your thesis and some additional information regarding the setting of the book.

    Step 5

    Write the body of your essay. The body of the essay will elaborate on the main thesis of the paper. Since your thesis indicates what the main theme of the book is, the remainder of your paper should explain how this theme is recurrent throughout the book. Follow the basic chronology of the book highlighting the main theme as it appears in various places throughout the book. Each instance should point back to the main thesis of your paper.

    Step 6

    Conclude the essay by reemphasizing the main thesis of the paper and bringing the various elements of your essay together. The conclusion is your last chance to tell the reader that you have discovered the main theme of the book and provided an accurate analysis.

    Step 7

    Revise to be sure your ideas come across clearly. Proofread for spelling and punctuation errors.

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    About the Author

    Jared Lewis is a professor of history, philosophy and the humanities. He has taught various courses in these fields since 2001. A former licensed financial adviser, he now works as a writer and has published numerous articles on education and business. He holds a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in theology and has completed doctoral work in American history.

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