A literary essay is an academic paper where the writer should analyze some piece of literature and explore its main idea. This type of paper helps students develop their writing and analytical skills. If you want to write a decent literary paper, you should know its main features and characteristics. Read this article to learn this useful information.
The writer of a paper should address the theme of a book. This will demonstrate the readers that the writer understands the main idea that the author of the book wanted to convey to his or her audience. As a result, it’ll be easier for the readers of a paper to understand both the purposes of a literary work and a paper.
A thesis statement is a sentence that helps the writer to tell about the goal of his or her paper. With a help of a thesis statement, the authors demonstrate their position or indicate what part of a literary work they want to investigate in details.
The arguments of the writer that are directly connected to a story should be supported by evidence from a book. This evidence includes monologs or dialogs of characters, various descriptions, and so on. When this evidence is placed correctly and relates directly to a thesis statement, arguments of the writer seem very persuasive for the readers.
A literary essay should be written by using correct grammar and appropriate style. For example, when describing the scenes from a story, the writer should write in the present tense to make the readers feel that these events are happening right now. Additionally, the writer shouldn’t use plenty of narrow terms and abbreviations in the text. Not all readers may understand these terms and will be confused.
A good literary paper should be outlined properly. Each section should serve a different purpose and contain different information.
Here the author should present the topic, grab the attention of the readers, and put a thesis statement that will set a course for the following paragraphs.
In this section, the author should describe the arguments in details and provide them with persuasive evidence using quotes from a book.
The last paragraph should sum up the arguments of the writer. The author should discuss the significance of a literary work as well as the importance of his or her analysis.
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For some students the most traumatic element during their years at university is writing essays. It doesn’t have to be like this. Once you know how to go about putting a good essay together, it is less work than you might think. Let’s take a look at the 3 most essential elements every essay needs.
3 main features of an essay
An essay does three things.
- It addresses a topic,
- it answers a question,
- and, it (usually) takes the form of an argument.
1. Finding your topic: where do you stand?
First, an essay addresses a topic.
Many textbooks will tell you that a topic is the essay’s subject. That’s not quite true. An essay’s subject is simply what it’s about: it’s a label, like the label you might put on a box file, or the name you’d give to a folder on your computer. An essay’s topic is the position it takes on the subject. It expresses your view on the subject.
To find your topic, ask: What’s my perspective on this subject? What’s my position?
Suppose the subject of your essay is the French Revolution. To find potential topics for this subject, you could start by creating phrases beginning with the words ‘why’ or ‘how’.
How the French Revolution began?
Why the French Revolution collapsed into despotism?
How the French Revolution influenced revolutionary movements elsewhere?
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If you’re writing a dissertation or a post-graduate thesis (for a PhD, for example), you’ll be asked to choose your own topic: you may spend some time with your supervisor refining that topic. If you’ve been set an essay to write, then the topic will be indicated or suggested by the question you’ve been given.
2. What question are you answering?
The problem is that, sometimes, the question doesn’t look like a question. Many essay questions are in the form of instructions. These instructions are contained in directive words: for example, ‘outline’, ‘compare and contrast’ or – that word guaranteed to strike fear into the heart of any essay writer – ‘discuss’.
You must answer the question. But you’ll need to do more: you have to support that answer with an argument.
3. What do you mean, ‘argument’?
We tend to use the word ‘argument’ to mean a disagreement. But we can also use the word ‘argue’ in the sense of ‘making a case’. We use this meaning of the word for more formal situations: we might talk about a lawyer arguing her case in court, or a politician arguing for reduced taxes.
This is the kind of argument you need to construct in your essay. It should address the topic and answer the question.
To sum it all up: An essay takes your reader on a journey, from introduction to conclusion.
Three elements of an argument
An academic argument is made up of three elements.
- A claim that you are arguing for
- A reason to support that claim
- Reasoning and evidence to link the reason to the claim
In its simplest form, an argument takes the form: [Claim] because [Reason].
In academic writing, we usually call an argument’s claim a thesis or thesis statement. A well-constructed essay uses two elements to support its thesis statement:
- reasoning, which presents ideas in a logical structure,
- and evidence, information suggesting or demonstrating that the ideas are credible or true.
If you can create a clear thesis statement, and support it with logically connected ideas and carefully presented evidence, your essay will stand out from all those essays that are nothing more than collections of facts.
And that’s the kind of essay that the free eBook “How to Write an Essay” written by Alan Barker will help you produce. You can download this free eBook right here.