Writing a Literary Analysis
We can respond to literature in many ways. A personal response explores your own thoughts about a specific text. A review of a text discusses why a particular text may or may not be worth reading. (Think of a movie review.) A literary analysis is a thoughtful interpretation of a literary text.
Read this example of a literary analysis of The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.
Notice the following about this example of a literary analysis:
1. This analysis is based on a thoughtful reading of the text.
2. The writer picks one idea (theme, characterization, plot, setting, or style) to analyze. The idea is focused.
3. The opening paragraph hooks the reader and focuses the analysis.
4. The opening paragraph briefly summarizes the text--author, title and type of book.
5. Quotations are used from the text. All quotations are cited (although note that you will need to use MLA format which we will discuss later).
6. Each new paragraph deals with a separate main point that supports your thesis.
7. The final paragraph ties all of the important points together and makes a final statement about the main focus of your analysis.