This handout provides examples and description about writing papers in literature. It discusses research topics, how to begin to research, how to use information, and formatting.
Contributors:Mark Dollar, Purdue OWL
Last Edited: 2011-10-19 02:27:10
What Makes a Good Literature Paper?
When you write an extended literary essay, often one requiring research, you are essentially making an argument. You are arguing that your perspective-an interpretation, an evaluative judgment, or a critical evaluation-is a valid one.
A debatable thesis statement
Like any argument paper you have ever written for a first-year composition course, you must have a specific, detailed thesis statement that reveals your perspective, and, like any good argument, your perspective must be one which is debatable.
You would not want to make an argument of this sort:
Shakespeare's Hamlet is a play about a young man who seeks revenge.
That doesn't say anything-it's basically just a summary and is hardly debatable.
A better thesis would be this:
Hamlet experiences internal conflict because he is in love with his mother.
That is debatable, controversial even. The rest of a paper with this argument as its thesis will be an attempt to show, using specific examples from the text and evidence from scholars, (1) how Hamlet is in love with his mother, (2) why he's in love with her, and (3) what implications there are for reading the play in this manner.
You also want to avoid a thesis statement like this:
Spirituality means different things to different people. King Lear, The Book of Romans, and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance each view the spirit differently.
Again, that says nothing that's not already self-evident. Why bother writing a paper about that? You're not writing an essay to list works that have nothing in common other than a general topic like "spirituality." You want to find certain works or authors that, while they may have several differences, do have some specific, unifying point. That point is your thesis.
A better thesis would be this:
Lear, Romans, and Zen each view the soul as the center of human personality.
Then you prove it, using examples from the texts that show that the soul is the center of personality.
A Literary Analysis Essay Example and More
A literature essay definition
As a rule, most sources have the following definition of literary essays as pieces of academic writing. Thus, the literary essay definition is of a relatively short composition aiming to scrutinize and investigate the structure, meaning, and value of a certain literary piece.
To muster a brilliant literary essay you have to possess two key traits – a profound knowledge of a particular work and creative thinking. Being specific (unlike in reviews) is absolutely necessary as well.
Literary essays as your personal experience
After grasping the meaning of what is a literary analysis essay, you have to read the piece of literature in question several times. Yes, you’ve got it just right – knowing all ins and outs of a literary creation is more than obligatory. It’s a must-have if you want to succeed.
Mind that downloading a couple of literary analysis essay examples is a great idea. Care to draw up a literary analysis essay outline to have your whole work structured and organized well. Now, here comes the most important part.
Writing literary essays is everything about expressing your own point of view. Therefore, you have to be well-prepared in terms of additional information, analysis, and researches of other people. Combine this knowledge and frame it with your own opinion and meditations. Be sure – it will be difficult. Why exactly?
Because it is not a one-passage review you have to craft but a complex investigation of a literary work. So, you have to be original, innovative, and at the same time entertaining as well as educative. You may want to add a little bit of humor or drama (where applicable).
How to structure your work right? – 3 key elements
Now take a look at a literary analysis essay sample available at our site. You see that there is an Introduction, Main Body, and a Conclusion. Let’s find out what are their most crucial features.
Start your first paragraph with a so-called Hook. Note how it’s done in a sample literary analysis essay provided at our site. It grabs readers’ attention so you’d really like using a thought-provoking question, a call to action, a dialogue or even a short story.
When you’re done with captivating your audience, concentrate them on the literary work under analysis, its author, and some basic information.
Finally, give a solid Thesis. Present something arguable and contradictory. Something you are going to prove or confute.
Remember: One paragraph bears one thought. Consult a literary analysis essay example for visual hints on how it’s actually done. The main goal of the Main Body is to prove your Thesis right or wrong. Give solid Evidence.
Do it by presenting your own ideas, backing them up with various quotes and works of other scholar, giving comments on such issues as the plot, historical and social background, author’s beliefs, etc.
Give your readers something to think of. Something unexpected, a little bit provocative. An ending with a twist or a mystery will do absolutely fantastic. An academic “aftertaste” is what you need to evoke.
…and when time is desperately lacking
As you can see, presenting a proper essay is both difficult and time-taking. You have not only to write an essay but to read an original literary piece several times, analyze it, research, make notes and so on.
Although a literary essay example will help you a lot, it might not be enough. It all takes time. And sometimes – especially at the end of the term – you have it not. Therefore, turning to UK and US experts of www.SameDayEssay.com will prove useful. Delegate parts of the writing process to specialists, consult them live and cope with all tasks at hand peerlessly.