Choose one literary work from this semester’s readings to analyze.

 Choose one literary work from this semester’s readings to analyze.

Gilgamesh/The Iliad/Oedipus/Aeneid/The Canterbury Tales/Petrarchan poetry/Sunjata/Hamlet

form an analysis of any of the following aspects of the story:

  • Characterization
  • Conflict
  • Imagery
  • Point of view
  • Symbolism
  1. In 1000 to 1500 words 
  2. Include a thesis statement at the end of the introduction paragraph.
  3. Include Topic sentences at the beginning of each body paragraph.
  4. must be formal and written in 3rd person.
  5. must include at least 2 Secondary (outside) sources from a Literature Database.
  6. must include multiple quotes from Primary (the literary work) and Secondary sources (the research or outside source).
  7. Complete informal outline
  1. Use MLA headings (See example below)
  2. must be double-spaced
  3. Font must be 12-point; Font must be Times New Roman or Courier New
  4. Margins must be set at 1″ on all sides
  5. Indent each paragraph (use a Tab) and only double-space between paragraphs
  6. Do not add extra returns between paragraphs

Key Features of a Literary Analysis 

  • An arguable thesis — A literary analysis is a form of argument; you are arguing that your analysis of a literary work is valid. Your thesis, then, should be arguable, or at the very least, persuasive. 
  • Careful attention to the language of the text — The key to analyzing a text is looking carefully at the language, which is the foundation of its meaning. Specific words, images, metaphors—these are where analysis begins. You may also bring in contextual information, such as cultural, historical, or biographical facts, or you may refer to similar texts. But the words, phrases, and sentences that make up the text you are analyzing are your primary source when dealing with texts. That’s what literature teachers mean by “close reading”: reading with the assumption that every word of a text is meaningful. 
  • Attention to patterns or themes — Literary analyses are usually built on evidence of meaningful patterns or themes within a text or among several texts. These patterns and themes reveal meaning.
  •  A clear interpretation — A literary analysis demonstrates the plausibility of its thesis by using evidence from the text and, sometimes, relevant contextual evidence to explain how the language and patterns found there support a particular interpretation. When you write a literary analysis, you show readers one way the text may be read and understood; that is your interpretation


Informal Outline 

INTRODUCTION  (One paragraph) 

What will you include in the Introduction paragraph?


The SUMMARY SECTION  (One paragraph) 

What are the essential plot points?



What is your main point of analysis or main theme?

What is the basis for your analysis? (Characterization, Conflict, Imagery, Point of view, or Symbolism)

Have you found any sources yet?

Any Quotes?


What do you want your reader to remember? 


Table of Contents

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