You might be a literature lover and can tell apart Proust’s writing style from Woolf’s just by reading a single sentence. Or perhaps you’re not into reading and have no idea who are the people mentioned above. Sooner or later, you will be faced with a literature essay assignment and, then, you will definitely regret not bookmarking our ultimate guide on writing a classic English literature essay. So, don’t waste this opportunity – save our article as we’re going to tell you loads of interesting tips.
But, first, let’s find out what the classic English literature essay is, and why you have to write it in the first place. This is an academic assignment where you must explore a certain literary work (or its part) through analyzing and presenting the results in a writing form. The purpose of this essay is to make you get to the bottom of a certain literary topic as by reflecting and expressing your thoughts on paper, you understand the subject-matter better and discover points you would never come across by only reading. And for a professor/supervisor it’s a great way to check your critical thinking skills as well as figure out whether you got the literary work right.
As you’ve already understood, this is a very important academic assignment both for you and for your advisor. That’s why it is essential to know how a good literature essay should look like, or, to be more precise, which significant elements it must contain. Thus, before starting all the preparations, you’ll have a clear idea of which direction you should follow.
So, the main components of a stellar literary essay are:
All these elements are mentioned before giving any specific writing tips because it’s important for you to know what level of essay writing you have to reach. Now, if you keep these criteria in mind while doing the task, there will be less editions and remarks from your professors.
It’s not that difficult to find a literary work that you would like to write about because each of us has a favorite novel, short story or poem. The difficulty comes when you need to formulate the topic as it has to be broad enough to be covered in an essay, and, at the same time narrow enough to uncover the subject-matter within the given word limit. That’s why instead of providing you with topic samples, we’ve prepared a list of points instead – you can focus on one of them using any story or verse, and that makes them universal helpers when you need to craft a title for your academic assignment.
So, when it comes to prose, you might want to concentrate on:
Of course, you may use all these points to examine poetry as well, but there are additional angles you might want to pay your attention to:
This is quite a range to choose from, so whenever you feel stuck while coming up with a good topic for a literature essay, have a look at our list, and you will have the right idea for your writing.
After you make up your mind regarding the topic, you need a kind of plan to make your writing smoother and quicker. Without planning and outlining, you might get off the beaten track and write about things not concerning your subject matter, and as you remember, relevance is of one of the elements of a stellar English literature essay.
So, in order to get the idea what exactly you will put inside your paper, you need to brainstorm, and there are 3 decent ways to conduct this interesting activity.
This is a great technique for visual thinkers – take a piece of paper, draw a circle in the center and write there your topic. Then, draw a round of circles near the main subject and note your first associations and thoughts when you reflect over it. Each of the point that you will write down will also have offsets. This way you will include all the ideas on one sheet of paper and, then, will have a chance to filter them.
This method unleashes all your speculation, and that’s super cool, especially when you need to consider the topic from different angles. Just imagine that you are going to write about Holden Caulfield (Catcher in the Rye) and spill everything in a flow of text. Don’t worry about spelling or punctuation. The main point here is in revealing everything you have on this topic.
This is the easiest way to get down all your ideas on paper because you don’t need to draw anything or form whole sentences. Just list all those phrases or words that come to your mind when you think about the topic, and sort them out after that to leave only the most valuable concepts.
Choose the most suitable brainstorming method for yourself and gather your ideas for the upcoming writing. And, in the meanwhile, we will tell you a few things about a perfect English literature essay structure.
As any academic paper, a literature essay must have introduction, main body and conclusion. But to understand the internal difference, we’ll need look into each part separately and in detail.
Here you might want to grab your reader’s attention, and, although your professors are not regular readers (and even if they are not hooked from the very beginning) they will still finish your essay because that’s their job. But with a great attention grabber you have all the chances to create a positive impression and eventually get a good mark. So, writing an essay on literary work, you may start with:
These triggers will make the reader follow the thread, and after having their attention you need to specify the author and his/her work as well as you main focus of study in a well-crafted thesis statement.
Each paragraph in an English literature essay should have a certain structure that consist of 3 main elements:
This scheme is often called the PEE structure and is widely used in academic literature writing. It helps to provide the reader with supported and valuable statements as well as generate a valuable essay.
In the last part of your literature essay you should first restate your thesis from the introduction. You can paraphrase it and add some details, but the essence should stay the same. After that, you need to sum up all your points briefly. In the end it is significant to emphasize why these points are essential and what value they bear.
When you are at the final stage of completing your writing assignment, you need to make sure that your paper has achieved its purpose and really complied with the task you set for yourself. In order to check it, try to answer these questions:
It is obvious that to answer these questions you will need to spend some more time editing and proofreading, but they will put you in the right direction. Take your time to polish your English literature essay writing and present your work to your professor in the best light. Good luck!