Academic Guides: How to Write an Essay About a Story

Writing a literary analysis essay can be an interesting way to develop an idea about a story that you have read and analyze what the story meant to you. Students assigned a book assignment usually do this, but these tips can help you with any review you are going to give on any piece of literary work.

What to do After You are Done Reading

  • The first thing you need to establish after you are done with the story is to figure out what your essay will be about, i.e. your thesis.
  • When you are constructing your thesis you want to make sure that you choose three main points to address in the body of the essay. This will narrow down what you will cover in the essay and keep it from going off track.
  • If, after you started writing the essay, the thesis evolves, don’t be afraid to go back and upgrade your thesis statement. Writers change their minds all the time and sometimes their writing takes them other places, that is perfectly normal.
  • Make sure that you have a strong introduction to your essay. This is where you grab the reader and pull them in. If the intro is subpar they won’t want to continue to read the paper. This can make or break what you are trying to get across.
  • Make sure that your intro ends with your thesis, this sets up your essay for what is about to come.
  • In the body of the essay, which is usually about three paragraphs but can be more depending on the assignment, you will analyze your thesis. This will show the reader what you want them to know about the story that you just read.
  • Just as you began strong you want to end strong as well. Make sure the conclusion sums up the entire paper and gets your point across.

General Tips

  • Make sure you pick a good title. This is the first thing that the reader is going to read so make it good.
  • Make sure the paper is in present tense. I am guilty of this, unknowingly switching back and forth between present and past tense. You are writing it in the present tense so make sure it stays there.
  • Write your essay in the third person, so you need to use he, him, his, she, her, hers, it, and its. Don’t ever use you or I in formal writing.
  • Since this is a story analysis, use literary terms like metaphor, irony, and allusion. These can also be helpful in your analysis.
  • Also, don’t plagiarize your work. Learn the correct way to site your sources and use it.
  • Lastly, always proofread your work. You don’t want to hand in an essay that has a bunch of grammar mistakes and doesn’t make sense. Take pride in your work and make it memorable for content not mistakes.

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