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literature essay

Literature essays
what is it?
It is a literary analysis that examines and evaluates a work of literature. In other words it is an
argumentative analysis of literary work.
It is not a summary of the plot, characters or other elements in any given literature text.
This means that..
You provide your own formal interpretation and or opinion of the topic.
You use your literary work to prove or substantiate your understanding of the topic.
You do not..
Try to prove the plot, we know the series of events unfolded because we read the book.
Need to prove that characters, settings or themes existed in the literary work.
You do…
Provide an interpretation of the plot, setting, character, conflict and themes as they relate
to the topic your are discussing.
Develop elements that will prove your argument
What are you doing?
You as the writer you are providing your own understanding of the
literary work in a properly structured format.
Cleary introduces the topic, the literary work and the author.
The introduction allows you to give the reader the clear specific direction of your essay.
States the main purpose of the essay. (usually stated in the last line of your introduction)
The body
Serves to prove your argument.
In order to prove your argument, you must develop and expand on the topic using
examples and citations (quotes) from the literary work to substantiate your statements.
Once a quote is cited, you must provide an interpretation (not a summary) about how this
quote is relevant to the development of the topic and argument.
You develop your own ideas on the topic
Do not write your essay in a question and answer format, it must flow.
Use the questions only as a GUIDE. They will help you interpret instead of summarising.
The first sentence of the conclusion is a restatement of your argument.
Do not introduce new information in the conclusion.
Restate your most important points as means of bringing your argument to a close.
Your conclusion is your las chance to prove your opinion to the reader.
Structure of a literature essay
Your essay will need will need 3 things: introduction, body with three to four paragraphs
and a conclusion.
Your introduction should have the following three things :
Background: establish context/ background.
Question: outline the question you are answering or the problem your are trying to
Thesis: state the main point of your argument (stance) and give an essay plan
The body of your essay should consist of three to four paragraphs.
Use a paragraph for each of your main ideas. Remember that each paragraph should
begin with a Point (this is the topic sentence), followed by the Evidence (the evidence
should be a quote from the text that will be used to support your point) and the
Explanation of the point. At the end of each paragraph, remember to Link back everything
to the main topic.
P = Point
E = Evidence
E = Explanation
L = Link
The PEEL method
Your conclusion paragraph needs to summarise your argument and show that you
have successfully proved the point you made in your thesis.
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