Basic Characteristics Of A Literary Essay: A Guide For Students
A literary essay is an assignment that helps a learner analyze the content of a particular literary work and then provide criticism of the content. Writing it, you afford an excellent opportunity to learn more about a topic that interests you and convey that information applying your literary skills. There are three main types of literary essays: compare and contrast; trace (choosing an image and tracing it through the literary work); debate. As every intellectual work, writing a literary essay demands knowledge - knowledge of the content of the piece of work you have chosen for analysis, and that of how to do it.
A Good Beginning Makes a Good Ending
To interest the public you should be fascinated by the topic of the essay yourself. Think over what struck you most of all while reading the literary work you are going to write about. It may be some character or image, a scene or an object, or even a phrase peculiar to a certain character. It is a good idea to formulate the question to which you will try to find an answer. Contradictions, irony, explanation of complexities – all of these may allow you to captivate the attention of the reader. Construct a thesis. Mind that a good thesis has two parts: it tells what you plan to argue, and it conveys how you are going to do it.
Choose Evidence: Facts and Proofs
You have a lot at your disposal to prove your thesis with evidence, beginning with the plot and ending with stylistic devices. Write the introduction in a proper way: it should situate the reader and explain why the topic is important; what your position is and why it is noteworthy. Develop and organize arguments in the body paragraphs. Choose the strategy you will use, including your voice. It should be personal and friendly, as you are not lecturing, but having a conversation with the reader. You must decide what audience you are addressing, because it will influence the choice of the vocabulary, sentence structure and even the kind of evidence to support your ideas. Write the conclusion that will not summarize the arguments, but synthesize them.
Demonstrate Your Best Qualities
You will get a high appreciation of your work, if you:
- demonstrate a deep understanding of the literary work, its ideas and messages; ability to analyze the text’s formal elements;
- structure ideas in a logical and progressive order;
- employ correct and concise style and grammar, spelling and word choice.
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