Cathy A.
Cathy A.

Literary Analysis Essay Outline - A Step By Step Guide

9 min read

Published on: Sep 23, 2018

Last updated on: Nov 15, 2023

literary analysis essay outline

Have you ever felt stuck, looking at a blank page, wondering what a literary analysis essay is? You are not sure how to analyze a complicated book or story? 

Writing a literary analysis essay can be tough, even for people who really love books. The hard part is not only understanding the deeper meaning of the story but also organizing your thoughts and arguments in a clear way.

But don't worry!

In this easy-to-follow guide, we will talk about a key tool: The Literary Analysis Essay Outline. 

We'll provide you with the knowledge and tricks you need to structure your analysis the right way. In the end, you'll have the essential skills to understand and structure your literature analysis better.
 
So, let’s dive in!

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How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay Outline?

An outline is a structure that you decide to give to your writing to make the audience understand your viewpoint clearly. When a writer gathers information on a topic, it needs to be organized to make sense.

When writing a literary analysis essay, its outline is as important as any part of it. For the text’s clarity and readability, an outline is drafted in the essay’s planning phase.

According to the basic essay outline, the following are the elements included in drafting an outline for the essay:

  1. Introduction
  2. Thesis statement
  3. Body paragraphs
  4. Conclusion

A detailed description of the literary analysis outline is provided in the following section.

Literary Analysis Essay Introduction

An introduction section is the first part of the essay. The introductory paragraph or paragraphs provide an insight into the topic and prepares the readers about the literary work.

A literary analysis essay introduction is based on three major elements:

  1. Hook Statement: A hook statement is the opening sentence of the introduction. This statement is used to grab people’s attention. A catchy hook will make the introductory paragraph interesting for the readers, encouraging them to read the entire essay.

    For example, in a literary analysis essay, “ Island Of Fear,” the writer used the following hook statement:

    “As humans, we all fear something, and we deal with those fears in ways that match our personalities.”

  2. Background Information: Providing background information about the chosen literature work in the introduction is essential. Present information related to the author, title, and theme discussed in the original text.

    Moreover, include other elements to discuss, such as characters, setting, and the plot. For example:

    “ In Lord of the Flies, William Golding shows the fears of Jack, Ralph, and Piggy and chooses specific ways for each to deal with his fears.”

  3. Thesis Statement: A thesis statement is the writer’s main claim over the chosen piece of literature. 

    A thesis statement allows your reader to expect the purpose of your writing. The main objective of writing a thesis statement is to provide your subject and opinion on the essay.

    For example, the thesis statement in the “Island of Fear” is:

    “...Therefore, each of the three boys reacts to fear in his own unique way.”

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Literary Analysis Essay Body Paragraphs

In body paragraphs, you dig deep into the text, show your insights, and build your argument.

 In this section, we'll break down how to structure and write these paragraphs effectively:

  1. Topic sentence: A topic sentence is an opening sentence of the paragraph. The points that will support the main thesis statement are individually presented in each section.

    For example:

    “The first boy, Jack, believes that a beast truly does exist…”

  2. Evidence: To support the claim made in the topic sentence, evidence is provided. The evidence is taken from the selected piece of work to make the reasoning strong and logical.

    For example:

    “...He is afraid and admits it; however, he deals with his fear of aggressive violence. He chooses to hunt for the beast, arms himself with a spear, and practice killing it: “We’re strong—we hunt! If there’s a beast, we’ll hunt it down! We’ll close in and beat and beat and beat—!”(91).”

  3. Analysis: A literary essay is a kind of essay that requires a writer to provide his analysis as well.

    The purpose of providing the writer’s analysis is to tell the readers about the meaning of the evidence.

    For example:

    “...He also uses the fear of the beast to control and manipulate the other children. Because they fear the beast, they are more likely to listen to Jack and follow his orders...”

  4. Transition words: Transition or connecting words are used to link ideas and points together to maintain a logical flow. Transition words that are often used in a literary analysis essay are:

    • Finally
    • Furthermore
    • Later in the story
    • In contrast, etc.

    For example:

    “...Furthermore, Jack fears Ralph’s power over the group and Piggy’s rational thought. This is because he knows that both directly conflict with his thirst for absolute power...”

  5. Concluding sentence: The last sentence of the body that gives a final statement on the topic sentence is the concluding sentence. It sums up the entire discussion held in that specific paragraph.

Here is a literary analysis paragraph example for you: 

Literary Analysis Essay Conclusion

The last section of the essay is the conclusion part where the writer ties all loose ends of the essay together. To write appropriate and correct concluding paragraphs, add the following information:

  • State how your topic is related to the theme of the chosen work
  • State how successfully the author delivered the message
  • According to your perspective, provide a statement on the topic
  • If required, present predictions
  • Connect your conclusion to your introduction by restating the thesis statement.
  • In the end, provide an opinion about the significance of the work.

For example,

“ In conclusion, William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies exposes the reader to three characters with different personalities and fears: Jack, Ralph, and Piggy. Each of the boys tries to conquer his fear in a different way. Fear is a natural emotion encountered by everyone, but each person deals with it in a way that best fits his/her individual personality.”

Literary Analysis Essay Format 

A literary analysis essay delves into the examination and interpretation of a literary work, exploring themes, characters, and literary devices. 

Below is a guide outlining the format for a structured and effective literary analysis essay.

I. Introduction

  • Hook or attention-grabbing opening statement.
  • Brief background information about the author and the literary work.
  • Clear and concise thesis statement that presents the main argument or purpose of your analysis.

II. Body Paragraphs

  • Paragraph 1: Introduction to the literary work and its context.
  • Paragraph 2: Analysis of the work's major themes and motifs.
  • Paragraph 3: Examination of the author's writing style and literary techniques.
  • Paragraph 4: In-depth analysis of specific literary devices used in the work.
  • Paragraph 5: Discussion of character development, relationships, and character arcs.
  • Paragraph 6: Exploration of the plot structure, conflicts, and resolutions.
  • Paragraph 7: Analysis of the setting and its role in the narrative.
  • Paragraph 8: Examination of the work's cultural, historical, or societal context.
  • Paragraph 9: Evaluation of the work's impact on readers or its relevance today.

III. Conclusion

  • Restate the thesis and summarize the key points of your analysis.
  • Offer insights or reflections on the work's significance and relevance.
  • Avoid introducing new ideas in the conclusion.

IV. Citations and References

  • Properly cite the literary work using the appropriate citation style (e.g., MLA, APA, Chicago).
  • Include a works cited or references page listing all sources used.

Formatting Guidelines 

  • Use a legible font (e.g., Times New Roman or Arial) and set the font size to 12 points.
  • Double-space your essay, including the title, headings, and quotations.
  • Set one-inch margins on all sides of the page.
  • Indent paragraphs by 1/2 inch or use the tab key.
  • Page numbers, if required, should be in the header or footer and follow the specified formatting style.

Literary Analysis Essay Outline Example

To fully understand a concept in a writing world, literary analysis outline examples are important. This is to learn how a perfectly structured writing piece is drafted and how ideas are shaped to convey a message. 

The following are the best literary analysis essay examples to help you draft a perfect essay. 

Literary Analysis Essay Topics 

Are you seeking inspiration for your next literary analysis essay? Here is a list of literary analysis essay topics for you:

  • The Theme of Alienation in "The Catcher in the Rye"
  • The Motif of Darkness in Shakespeare's Tragedies
  • The Psychological Complexity of Hamlet's Character
  • Analyzing the Narrator's Unreliable Perspective in "The Tell-Tale Heart"
  • The Role of Nature in William Wordsworth's Romantic Poetry
  • The Representation of Social Class in "To Kill a Mockingbird"
  • The Use of Irony in Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"
  • The Impact of Holden's Red Hunting Hat in the Novel
  • The Power of Setting in Gabriel García Márquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude"
  • The Symbolism of the Conch Shell in William Golding's "Lord of the Flies"

Need more topics? Read our literary analysis essay topics blog!

All in all, writing a literary analysis essay can be tricky if it is your first attempt. Apart from analyzing the work, other elements like a topic and an accurate interpretation must draft this type of essay.

If you are in doubt to draft a perfect essay, get professional essay writing assistance from expert writers at MyPerfectWords.com. 

We are a professional essay writing company that provides guidance and helps students to achieve their academic goals. Our qualified writers assist students by providing assistance at an affordable price. 

So, why wait? Let us help you in achieving your academic goals!

Cathy A.

WRITTEN BY

Cathy A. (Literature, Marketing)

Cathy has been been working as an author on our platform for over five years now. She has a Masters degree in mass communication and is well-versed in the art of writing. Cathy is a professional who takes her work seriously and is widely appreciated by clients for her excellent writing skills.

Cathy has been been working as an author on our platform for over five years now. She has a Masters degree in mass communication and is well-versed in the art of writing. Cathy is a professional who takes her work seriously and is widely appreciated by clients for her excellent writing skills.

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