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How to Write an Analytical Essay on a Book?

25 Apr 2018Writing Guide

To master this type of paper, you need to know exactly what kind of task you are dealing with. Due to traditional analytical essay definition, this is an assignment centered on the analysis of a single volume. Though this might sound simple, in practice this explanation is more complicated. As a result of misinterpretation of this definition, a student regularly ends up writing a paper that reads more like a book summary.

To avoid this, keep in mind throughout the writing process not to simply list the events, but focus on a specific character or theme within a book at all times. On this page, we explain how to write an analytical essay on a book. If you want the short version, our advice is to concentrate on how a book is written and not on what took place. For more detailed help with writing an analytical essay, please read on.

how to write an analytical essay

Analytical Essay Writing Structure in Three Steps

When writing an analytical essay, you simply cannot afford to neglect its structure. A good analysis is based on a strict structure where each element performs a particular function – such presentation helps your reader to follow your personal train of thought. This is an easy skill to master, thank goodness!

Step 1. Introduction

As the main function of an introduction is grabbing reader’s attention, the first sentences of your initial paper outline should be intriguing. If you prefer making your theme light and catchy, learn how to write an analytical essay on a book using a hook. Another traditional method for the first paragraph is a brief introductory point. Unlike the hook, you will need to inform your reader what your paper is about. You will also need to include background information. Expand topic as broadly as possible before gradually narrowing it down to the subject of your thesis. The structure of an analytical essay introduction looks something like this:

  • introductory point or hook statement;
  • background information (broad to narrow);
  • information directly relating to your thesis topic

This analytical essay introduction algorithm is applicable to many other types of paper – learn it by heart to simplify writing other tasks, too.

Step 2. Body

The primary function of an essay body is providing sufficient proofs for a thesis statement. When writing an analytical essay, devote each paragraph to a certain aspect of a single idea as expressed in the thesis. Every paragraph needs a structure of its own:

  • A topic sentence is the first element of every paragraph. It introduces the principle idea of the current paragraph.
  • Analysis of the evidence supporting the idea of thesis takes place in one or two sentences. Thanks to well-rounded explanations in this part of a paper, you will be able to convince the reader of your knowledge of this particular topic. Be original, creative, and use your words efficiently.
  • Your evidence should support your analysis - this is where you show the results of your research and prove that your reasoning is logical.
  • The conclusion of each paragraph should persuade the reader that your point of view is sufficiently justified – restate your analysis in brief and emphasize its significance.

Step 3. Conclusion

An important step in analytical essay writing is tying up loose ends and summarize. This part should not be very long, and your choice of content and vocabulary within these few short sentences is crucial. Conclusion structure includes:

  • Restatement of a thesis statement (do not repeat a thesis statement from your intro);
  • Summary of the main points (remind your reader that you have proven all the aspects of your expressed opinions);
  • Concluding sentence (to end on the right note, consider what you have learned, or include a message for the reader to mull over).

Helpful Tips for Writing an Analytical Essay

When you think you know how to write an analytical essay on a book, it’s the time to talk about the most common mistakes and how to avoid them. Here’s our top 5 you can read about.

1. Whittle down your topic when analytical essay writing

To be sure how to write an analytical essay on a book, you need to learn how to whittle down the subject matter. When you start to put together a literary analysis, think of a single focus point. We’ve listed a number of examples below:

  • center on a single character within story;
  • center on a specific event within story;
  • center on influence author’s background had on a particular piece of work;
  • center on context of a story (cultural or/and historical);
  • consider the mood this piece of work inspires.

You can apply these five basic central themes to any book. Keeping these in mind, you will never again have difficulty in selecting the right topic for your paper. In combination with other aspects of the studied book, you will always have multiple options at hand.

2. How to write an analytical essay on a book using a hook rather than an introductory message.

A hook should be an interesting, intriguing and short statement of one or two sentences, which involves a rhetorical question, relevant statistics or a controversial point of view. For example:

“After the first book of Harry Potter series was published, some Christian groups accused it of promoting witchcraft. However, Christianity was the inspiration for one of the book’s core themes - that of self-sacrifice.”

3. How to write a killer thesis statement when analytical essay writing

Having hooked a reader, you cannot afford let him or her go. Your thesis should be bright enough for you to continue holding their attention. Keep it to the point, without any unnecessary content.

“The theme of sacrifice can be found throughout the entire Harry Potter series and is translated into the sacrifice of others in the name of greed, and self-sacrifice in the name of good.”

4. How to choose a specific argument for your thesis?

One of the most widespread mistakes when analytical essay writing or working on similar assignments is selecting a topic, which is either too obvious or too vague. To overcome this recipe for certain failure, be sure yours is large enough to encourage a healthy argument, yet narrow enough to fit into the allotted pages.

Instead of choosing the extremely vague, “Sacrifice is one of the central topics of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books” you can fine-tune this particular subject to something like, “The Harry Potter book series explores sacrifice based on two principle motives - Harry’s self-sacrifice for the greater good, and Voldemort’s sacrifice for immortality.”

5. How not to bore your reader to death when summarizing within a conclusion?

When analytical essay writing, the final paragraphs need to remind your audience of what has been covered by the main body of work. This should not be detailed. Let’s go back to the Harry Potter theme:

“Sacrifice can occur through very different motives – out of the desire to help oneself, or others. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books continuously illustrate this statement.”

This is just an analytical essay conclusion example concerning the amount of detail within a conclusion and not a conclusion in itself. For that, look at the section devoted to essay structure. However, this example is quite sufficient to show what we mean by a summary.

And that’s it! When you are aware of this simplified approach, the task no longer seems daunting! If you still face with problems relating to your paper, or simply wish to clarify certain details regarding how to write an analytical essay on a book, ask one of many professional writers at Edubirdie.com for help at any time, day or night!

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