Literary Analysis Essay

Literary Analysis Essay

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Unlike reading for pleasure, a literary analysis essay requires you to study the text and examine the literary approaches used. It deals with analyzing all the sections of a literary work. Generally, your essay should examine and determine the main characters and ideas, identify the literary style used in writing, the genre of the text, and the analysis of the topic.

A literary essay can be quite demanding but having the right resources and knowhow will guarantee a pleasant writing process.

What is the Purpose of a Literary Analysis Essay?

Knowing the relevance of a literary essay will aid you in the writing process. There are various reasons why a literary essay is important;

  1. It does not only involve reading the text, but it teaches the students the basic skills of analyzing and illustrating a text. The objective is to enable the student to understand the deeper meaning of a literary text, and how the work is similar to our daily lives.
  2. A literary analysis essay seeks to explain the text from specific points of view. A literary analysis essay example of Julius Ceasar’ will view the text from the psychological, historical, and philosophical aspects. This strengthens the student’s ability to think creatively and logically.
  3. Through analysis of a literary work, you get to understand a point or a scene in the text that is often misunderstood by others.

The Structure of a Literary Analysis Essay

The first thing you need to know before even reading the text is how to write a literary analysis essay. Organizing your work in the correct format is an important step in your writing process. The structure will give you a blueprint of the essay. A literary essay is divided into 3 unique parts.

  1. The Introduction

This contains the central points, thesis statement, and a brief explanation of the information to be expected in the essay. Catch your reader’s attention by starting with a quote from the literary work that will support your explanation. Quotes by the author that relate to your essay can also be used. The quote is usually the first sentence of the introduction and should be placed in quotation marks.

The sentence that follows identifies the speaker and the conditions surrounding the quotation as well as explaining how this quotation is related to your essay. Keep the introduction brief by illustrating the meaning of the topic and explain its importance to the literary text you are analyzing.

The last sentence contains the thesis statement which states accurately the central point of the entire essay

  1. The Body

The first sentence of a body paragraph is the topic sentence which carries the main idea of that whole paragraph. This enables the student to keep from going off topic. Asking yourself questions like what is the purpose of a literary analysis essay will help you to come up with strong arguments. Each paragraph should have specific examples supporting the main idea. These act as verifiable proof by strengthening the meaning of your topic sentence.

The final part of the sentence shows the reader how the material illustrated in the paragraph supports the main objective of the essay.

  1. The Conclusion

You should begin by restating the thesis statement, which is your argument point. A sample literary analysis essay about Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”, the thesis statement might have been that the protagonist had experiences that made him perform certain experiments at some point in the text. Show the reader how you analyzed the text to make your conclusion which relates to your thesis statement. Keep the tone of the conclusion positive and create a sense of completeness.

Sample Literary Analysis Essay

  1. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

Money with its great ability to enchant and entice has long been the object of man’s obsession. It arouses a feeling of anger, lust, greed, contentment, power, and pride. The sense of security that money offers is the same that lead Daisy towards Gatsby.

Daisy’s needs for the feeling of satisfaction, causes her to wed the wealthy Tom Buchanan. Gatsby uses this need to secure a social status, to lure Daisy so as that he can get her money. Although he has nothing, he uses an imaginary fortune to convince her that he belongs to the same class as her. Convinced that Gatsby belongs to a high social class, Daisy opens up to Gatsby and he soon falls in love with her. Upon realizing that Gatsby has lied to her she “vanishes into her rich full life” (157) To Daisy, wealth is a great quality in a relationship. This means that Gatsby is no longer an option. Tom, on the other hand, is a great source of love and money that can provide her all the luxuries she needs. Therefore, in their marriage, Tom acts as a source of Daisy’s social status and material possession rather than a husband. She chooses him because of his ability to provide for her is guaranteed and his wealth shows no signs of running out. Later when she finds out that he is seeing another woman, her greatest worry is that her wealthy status will disappear, so she turns to the recently wealthy Gatsby.

When Daisy first leaves him, he realizes that the only way to win her is by improving his social status through the acquisition of wealth. According to him, wealth is a stairway that “mount[s] to a secret place above the trees” (117). The secret place represents the life that only the rich can afford, all the luxuries that only the rich and powerful can get. Through this wealth that he gains by conducting businesses, he hopes that Daisy will love him although she is married to Tom. Because she is aware of her husband’s disloyalty, she sees Gatsby as a safer option of social stability.

Through his new found wealth, Gatsby views Daisy in a different light. She ceases to be a person to be love and becomes an object to be won. He realizes that he has “committed to following a grail” (156) since she lost her husband. Gatsby realizes that Daisy’s wealth can guarantee him social security without realizing this is the same thing that she seeks. He is so caught up dreaming about her wealth to the point where he only sees her that way to him, “her voice is full of money” (127) In his mind, she is one with her possessions and the person of Daisy ceases to exist. He dreams of a luxurious life with her and it “seems so close that [he] can hardly fail to grasp it” (189) He does not realize that all this is behind him. He does not see that with the Daisy he loved dead to him; he cannot fulfill his goal. Without realizing that his efforts will end in failure, he continues to pursue her.

With the use of his wealth, he tries to revive their former relationship. He goes out of his way “to fix everything the way it was” (117) His wealth creates an illusion that there is no way his dreams will be interrupted. This encourages him to continue pursuing Daisy however, he fails to see that certain characteristics of their relationship have changed for example, he no longer sees her as the person he fell in love with but rather as an object that will bring social stability to him. His devotion to recreate his past blinds him to the present events which he “pays a high price for living too long with a single dream” (169) Through his constant pursuit of Daisy and the social status she would offer condemns Gatsby to an early death. When he finds it difficult to change his life his existence loses meaning. Tom and Daisy’s marriage cause people’s untimely demise but they choose to go “back to their money and let other people clean up their mess” (188) Not wanting to be held accountable for Gatsby’s death, they decide to isolate themselves from society once again turning to their money for protection and security. Daisy’s disregard for Gatsby after his death shows that her only interest was money and social stability. When the wealth is no longer available, her desire for Gatsby diminishes.

Gatsby’s relationship with Daisy shows that wealthy people are the most desirable in our society. These people rarely interact or form relationships outside their social ranks. The rich wish to increase their wealth while the poor seek to improve their social status. When the rich keep to themselves, they continue getting rich, while the poor become poorer.


Writing a literary analysis essay can be overwhelming; however, by following specific steps and heeding the instructions given in class will simplify this process. Reading essays by successful writers will also give you insights on the different approaches of analyzing a text. For more guidance on how to write a literary analysis essay, feel free to get in touch with us for personal help.

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