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How To Start An Interpretive Essay Successfully: 5 Logical Steps

An interpretive essay is a paper that requires you to write your interpretation of a literary work. This type of writing can be a struggle for some as they require a lot of in-depth analysis and are subject to each reader’s insight and opinions. If writing an interpretive paper isn’t your strong suit, don’t worry. Following are five steps to help you write your interpretive essay successfully.

5 Logical Steps to Starting an Interpretive Essay

  1. Remember that with an interpretive analysis, there is no “right” or “wrong” answer. This is good news because you are free to state your opinion freely as long as you can provide support for it from within the literary piece.
  2. Think about the meaning of the text. Try to get into the author’s mind and reflect on what they may have meant. Look at what precedes the particular text as well as what follows it. Look for patterns in the text, as that will help give you a better idea of the way the author’s mind was working. After this, you can come up with your thesis statement – which is the all-important sentence that summarises the point you want to make.
  3. Read through the literary piece several times. Much like writing, reading can be ‘drafts’ too. The first time you read it, it is new information. The more times you read it, the more you will begin to see the subtle elements that will help you come up with a brilliantly written interpretation.
  4. Discuss your interpretation with others. This is helpful for a few reasons. Sometimes just the act of discussing it helps you to see things you may not have seen before, and also you can gain the insights of others that will help support your interpretation.
  5. After you are clear on and have written your thesis statement, find as many facts in the literature as you can that support your statement. Having facts supports your interpretation and will help you to get the point across with greater clarity and confidence.

These steps may seem mundane, but they are the key to successfully writing a brilliant interpretive essay. Remember that doing the hard work in the beginning enables you to accomplish the other parts more smoothly, so it is well worth it. View it as a challenge instead of a struggle, and if you don’t already, you may even find yourself enjoying it!