What Are The Main Requirements For A Literary Essay?
In a literary essay you should analyze a particular theme, idea, or character from a piece of literature you have read. You can do it in two possible ways: to interpret the author’s intentions or to look at the issue from your own perspective. Whatever way you choose, be sure to make your paper well-organized and coherent and to meet the main requirements represented below:
- Writing in the present tense.
- Keeping distance.
- Analyzing, not summarizing.
- Building a clear thesis statement.
- Using literary terms.
- Distinguishing fiction and reality.
- Using your own words and suggesting your own ideas.
- Provide your own unique ideas in your own words. Don’t borrow the views of literary critics as well. Come up with your own position, and only afterwards look for the supporting ideas of the critics (if there are any.) Be creative. It’s great if your views are completely different from the opinions of other people. As soon as you can prove your position successfully, it can exist.
- Formatting your paper properly.
To describe some event from the book, use the present tense. Don’t narrate in the past tense.
As a rule, you are supposed to analyze impersonally, i.e. to use the third person. Write your literary essay in a formal style and don’t be casual and chatty with the reader. It is very seldom that you are allowed to keep to an informal style in these types of academic papers. In such a case, the first or second persons can be used as well. To be on the safe side, check with your teacher what requirements should be met and follow them consistently.
Don’t summarize or retell the story, but analyze it through creating your thesis statement and supporting it with your arguments and examples from the text. Use only those examples that give answers to your questions.
Your thesis statement should cover a significant theme or idea from the book or from the literature in general.
Be sure to use appropriate literary terms instead of ordinary words to support your ideas. These terms are as follows: image, character, theme, setting, plot, alliteration, allegory, etc.
Do not confuse the opinions of fictional characters and speakers with the real views of the author.
You should use enough of quotations in your literary essay. However, do not base your paper only on them.
Use proper format to cite the sources. For literary essays, MLA formatting style is a must. Use a colon and quotation marks to mark quotes. Don’t use too long quotations in your paper.