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Analytical

How to Write an Analytical Essay

By Martha Simons

Many students consider writing an analytical essay to be one of the most challenging assignments. You have to read a literary piece, analyze the intentions of its author, and find the hidden meanings if there is any. All of these tasks not only takes a lot of your efforts but also is very time-consuming and sometimes even unbearably boring. Especially, when you don’t get to choose one of the possible analytical essay topics and have to write about something you don’t find to be at all interesting. But even in the situation like this, you can cope with this assignment pretty painlessly. Want to know how? Keep reading…

To begin with, let’s define the main goals of writing an analytical essay. Firstly, it’s viewing a given literary piece under a microscope, metaphorically speaking of course. You need to consider every component of it separately to form the idea of the whole piece. Each part has a special contribution to a better understanding of a novel’s or short story’s main idea.

Secondly, your analysis has to result in making a logical conclusion that is not obvious for a reader. You need a clear statement – your thesis – that must be supported by a solid argumentation in the body paragraphs. Try to discover some hidden aspects of the text which can’t be noticed by a reader right away Remember, it shouldn’t be a summary of something you’ve read, but a discussion of its the peculiarities.

How to write an analytical essay?

Choosing a Topic

You can choose from a great number of analytical essay topics available or come up with your own. The most important point is that you need to be interested in it. Choosing a topic that is not exciting for you will result in writing without motivation and struggling to come up with convincing arguments. Most of the analytical essay topics found on the web offer you to discuss some of the controversial issues of our modern society. Don’t be afraid to choose one of them and clearly state your position. Your main goal is to be convincing and provide enough of evidence.

Analytical Essay Structure

The way you organize your analytical essay is very important. There should be an interesting and catchy introduction, informative body paragraphs, and an insightful conclusion. It sounds pretty easy in theory, but when it comes to actually writing your paper, there appears to be a long list of problems. Let’s look closer to the analytical essay structure for you to understand what your instructor will be looking for.

Introduction

  • Your introduction needs a good hook. Think about all the other students who got the same assignment of writing an analytical essay. You have to make your paper stand out and grab the attention of a reader. Decide what kind of a hook will it be appropriate to use taking into consideration your topic and audience. It can be a shocking fact, question, philosophical statement, etc. Your introductory paragraph is aimed at creating the desire of reading the essay further and find out what happens next.
  • As you’re writing about a particular literary piece, don’t forget to mention its author and title. You can write a short description of the main characters providing a reader with a short summary of the plot. It’s a nice way to present your audience with a quick overview of the piece you’re going to discuss and give them an idea of the kind of writing it is. But don’t go into much of details at the beginning of your essay. Save this information for the body paragraphs.
  • Think very carefully on your thesis. It should be very clear and specific. Don’t use too general claims because it will be very difficult to include all the necessary information in your paper. According to the standard analytical essay structure, your thesis should be the last sentence of your introductory paragraph. But it isn’t a strict requirement and you can turn your creativity on.

Examples of a good thesis statement:

-The symbolism in Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita reflects the author’s attitude towards the society of those days.

-The true reason of the World War II was the suppressed feeling of resentment and humiliation.

Body Paragraphs

This is where you support your thesis and introduce relevant arguments. Make sure to support your claims with facts, quotes, and figures from reputable sources. Each paragraph should be dedicated to one single idea to avoid possible confusion of a reader. Using topic sentences will help you immensely to stick to a comprehensive analytical essay structure. It gives a reader a clear idea of the main focus of the paragraph and makes it much easier for her to concentrate on it. There are several ways to organize the information:

Chronological approach

This is a straightforward method of presenting your analysis. Many students choose it because it is easy for a reader to follow and helps you structure your paper in a logical way. There is one point you have to keep in mind, though. Writing chronologically can lead you to retelling the plot of a book, story, TV show, film, etc. That is not your task when writing an analytical paper.

Example:

You are asked to analyze the art exhibition and start your essay with the first art piece people see entering the building. You then continue describing other elements of the exhibition one by one according to the numbers.

Spatial approach

This approach is different to the previous one in that it tends to focus on the objects or statements which are more visible and notable. When you describe an item, you would start from left to right, just the way we are used to look at objects and read texts.

Example:

Visiting an art exhibition, you may start with the most notable and eye-catching piece and then move from there to the rest of the paintings/sculptures.

Conclusion

The conclusion of your analytical essay should summarize your key arguments and restate your thesis. Try to look at your thesis in the context of the evidence you use for your solid argumentation and explain why this topic is so significant. Avoid presenting new information in the conclusion of your paper. This has to be a logical summary, not yet another evidence proving your point of view.