How to Write an Insight Paper

When you finish reading a book, the first instinct may be to praise or pan the book. An insight paper gives you the opportunity to share your analysis of a literary text and components like characters, setting and theme. You should analyze an aspect of the work and also include your feelings and ideas about the work itself. An insight paper generally does not require outside research and should not feature a summary of the work but instead present your personal perspective.

Read Supporting Work

Read the work on which you are writing your insight paper. For example, if you are writing about a literary work like the short story “The Odour of Chrysanthemums” by D.H. Lawrence, go over the work thoroughly and make notes on parts of the story that stand out. These notations may be about literary devices like symbols, imagery, recurring elements and motifs. Next, write an outline explaining the purpose of your paper as well as the specific points you want to make about the story itself.

Draft Introduction

First, draft your insight paper's introduction. Mention the work you are writing the paper about while emphasizing why this work is worth writing about and why it interests you. Write the thesis or purpose of your paper as well as the literary work's theme as a focus. For example, when writing about a short story like “The Odour of Chrysanthemums,” your thesis could express the theme that tough-minded individuals exist in the world but that even they can be humbled by life’s struggles. While literary themes may focus on a set message about human nature or about life in general. There are many other thematic story qualities to explore in an insight paper like the effects and forms of nature, destruction, the power of words, technology's effects or religion.

Support Thesis

Present two to three parts of the literary work that support your thesis by explaining each point in a separate paragraph. Try to highlight a striking quotation that relates to your thesis and the words in the quote that support the point you are trying to make. For example, defining what the term “imperious” used in “The Odour of Chrysanthemums” means and what aspects of the character of Mrs. Bates show that she is indeed imperious. Keep in mind that focusing on a more obscure term like "imperious" also means you should define the word in more simple terms first so your reader can then clearly take in your analysis. Another option is to focus on an incident in the story that brings one of your points to life as well. For example, when writing about “The Odour of Chrysanthemums,” explain how the character of Mrs. Bates wears a ragged chrysanthemum as a symbol of her marriage that is now also defunct and ragged. Further, describe how your paper's outlined points support your thesis while looking at the themes in the story.

Write Conclusion and Proofread

Finally, end the paper by writing your conclusion paragraph. Here, you should reiterate your thesis and again highlight what your analytical approach to this story shows about the literary work's author. Also examine how the story relates to your fellow man or society at large. After you complete the paper, read over it to make sure each paragraph begins with a smooth transition. Also, look for errors in spelling, grammar, usage and punctuation.