Formal, Analytical Essay Writing

Formal, Analytical Essay Writing
Review: Literary
Analysis Format;
(page #’s refer to
Writers Inc.)
What is an Literary Analysis Essay?
(pg 245-252)
• An essay is essentially an argument, based on logic and
evidence; you present your understanding or
interpretation of a literary work; critical thinking
• The argument is developed through explanation, and
the evidence, in the form of examples, quotations from
expert sources, and illustrations, is explained in
relationship to the argument.
• Made up of certain parts: Introduction (with strong
thesis); Body Paragraphs (with transitional devices),
Parenthetical Citations; Conclusion, Works Cited Page
Essay vs. Report
• An ESSAY means a persuasive argument must be
• Often students are asked to write a REPORT, this is, a
summary of research findings without a specifically
expressed argument.
• Arguments and reports differ in PURPOSE and in
• Thus, a REPORT tends to be explanatory, whereas an
ESSAY is persuasive or argumentative. A report may
require a point of view or argument to be presented
only if recommendations are required; and essay always
requires a point of view or argument.
Essay vs. Report
•To be subjective: to argue
a specific POV
•To provide evidence to
support this POV
•To be objective: to present
findings from research
•To provide examples from
the research
•Statement of thesis:
overall argument and
supporting arguments
•Explanation of each
argument in turn, followed
by presentation of evidence
and examples
•Statement of scope and
purpose of the report
•Summary of findings, citing
examples and sources
•Conclusion and
recommendations if required
Review: Parts of an Essay
• Introduction (with strong thesis)
• Body Paragraphs including Parenthetical
Citations; (with transitional devices)
• How to Avoid Plagiarism
• Conclusion (restatement of thesis, final analysis,
tie entire essay together)
• Works Cited Page
Proper Essay Format
• Format:
– Paragraph 1: Introduction (thesis statement with 3
main topics to be discussed)
• Paragraph 2: Topic One with textual support (quote)
• Paragraph 3:Topic Two with textual support (quote)
• Paragraph 4: Topic Three with textual support (quote)
– Paragraph 5: Conclusion (restate thesis, tie it all
together; final analysis)
• **Use transitional devices
Introduction: Step 1
• Step 1: Begin with a sentence which catches the
reader’s interest. This sentence should not be the
thesis for the essay, but should be somewhat
related to the topic. The idea of the opening
sentence may be developed or explained in
several sentences to follow.
Introduction: Step 2
• Step 2: In a literary essay it is necessary to state
the title and author of the work on which the
essay is based (ex. Jane Austen’s Pride and
Prejudice). This statement may be included in the
thesis statement.
Introduction: Step 3
• Step 3: State the thesis (could be one or more
sentences). Do not explain it, just state it.
• Following this pattern ensures that the
arguments are clear to the reader or evaluator of
the essay.
• By the end of the first paragraph, the reader
knows what will be argued (thesis) and how this
argument will be developed (the issues).
Thesis (pg 51)
• The argument of an essay is expressed in what
writers call the THESIS
• A thesis is the expression of the overall argument
or issue and the developing arguments of an
• A thesis is a general statement or presentation of
an argument or issue followed by the details that
will support the argument or issue.
• The thesis is based on evidence. EVIDENCE consists of
examples, quotations, appeals to authority of any kind,
statistics, logic—anything which will prove the validity of
an issue.
• Examples
• Quotations (this is what we focus on; parenthetical
citations for the text)
• Appeals to authority
• Statistics and illustrations
• Logic
Explanation of Evidence
This thesis
Is true because…
Issue 1
Issue 2
Issue 3
Are true.
Review of Thesis
• Your thesis will guide you as you write; it states the reason why your essay was
written, and everything else in the essay is designed to support it.
• When writing a thesis, it is crucial that the sentence be clear and logical. Your
point should be stated strongly. A vague thesis can lead you off-track.
• Answers the question “What is your point?”
• It states YOUR thoughts and ideas: It is not necessary to use words such as IN
one doing the writing, the reader can assume that anything you write is your
• Includes 3 main pts to be discussed and supported throughout paper
• As you write your paper, you may find you need to tweak your sentence to
sound better or to better reflect the facts you discover in your research.
• Doesn’t have to be last sentence of intro; can be more than one sentence
• No bold or underlined
Body Paragraphs
• At least (could be more) 3 body paragraphs (three issues) and
explanations including parenthetical citations (quotes)
• One idea (including evidence to support) per paragraph
• The next (at least) 3 paragraphs; each explains one of the points the
author is making to back up his or her thesis statement
• These explanations are presented in the same order in which they are
presented in the introduction
• Each body paragraph contains evidence—explanations, examples,
quotations, and other information—that shows that each point is
• The evidence proves that each point is true, and each point proves that
the thesis is true.
Transitions pg 109
• Coherence is a logical flow of ideas and relies on
connective words and phrases to create this flow. These
connective words and phrases are called transitions.
• Transitions are used to mainly to connect issues and
• The most obvious transition words list issues in the
order in which they appear (number words) such as
(these are obvious and should be avoided):
– First (to begin)
– Secondly
– Thirdly (etc)
Transitions (pg 109):
• Better transitions:
– In addition
– Similarly
– Also
– Likewise
– On the other hand
– On the contrary
– However
– Therefore
– Thus, etc
Citing Sources (pg 280-298)
• Writers should cite sources when they:
– Use quotes or copy word-for-word from a source
– Paraphrase or rewrite materials from another source
– Use ideas expressed by someone else
– Create ideas that are based on someone else’s
material or ideas
Parenthetical Citations (Short
• Three lines or less are incorporated into the normal
sentence structure (keep quotes, keep double spaced)
• Example:
– The main subject of this novel is courtship and marriage. Jane
Austen, the author of Pride and Prejudice, shows and
indirectly criticizes the 18th century England's rural society
and the pride of high class through several people's marriages
who are in different social position. To set the tone of the
novel as well as to illustrate the important themes, author
Austen states “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a
single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of
a wife” (Austen 1). This statement is both ironic yet
humorously true.
Parenthetical Citations (Long
Long quotations (four lines or more) are indented and single-spaced; quotation marks are omitted.
Elizabeth’s intelligence, comprehension and independence is what attracts Darcy to her. His
attitudes towards her even begins to change and he begins to humble himself and bask in her
very presence. In chapter six, Austen states the following in reference to Darcy’s change of
But no sooner had he made it to clear to himself and his friends
that she had hardly a good feature in her face, than he began to
find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful
expression of her dark eye…He began to wish to know more of her,
and as a step towards conversing with her himself, attended to her
conversation with others. (Austen 15)
From this point, Darcy's prejudice against Elizabeth begins to fade while her prejudice
towards him still remains because he refused to dance with her at the ball. Her prejudice
spreads throughout the novel, and that prejudice is an outcome of her wounded pride.
• Plagiarism is simply the act of claiming someone
else’s work or ideas as your own. It is quite easy
to accidentally commit plagiarism.
• Writers Inc, pages 275-277
• Final paragraph
• Wraps up the essay by briefly reminding the
reader how the evidence supports the thesis
• Signals to the reader that the essay’s argument
has been completed by providing consequences,
a call to action, or some other final thought
related to the essay's topic.
• Includes: restatement of thesis, final analysis, tie
entire essay together
Works Cited/Bibliography Page (pg
• MLA Citations
– The Modern Language Association of America (MLA)
is the principal professional association in the United
States for scholars of language and literature.
• Alphabetical order according to the first word of
the reference
• Author, Title, Publication Date
– Last Name, First Name. Title Underlined. City: Publisher, Date.
Final Checklist
• DO:
Have an AWESOME thesis
Have adequate support for thesis
Include insightful observations (critical thinking, analysis)
Stay formal (tone)
Use transitions
Reread and revise to insure your paper is grammatically error free
Use contractions
Summarize the plot
Say A LOT (get out a thesaurus)
Use colloquial (conversational) language
Use slang
Final Reminders
– Should include title and author
– You should assume that your audience has not read the novel or know anything about the
characters or relationships-tell them everything-FORMALLY! STAY FORMAL!
Thesis Statement:
– Should tell everything that you will discuss in your paper
– Can be more than one sentence
– Would be good to have title and author in thesis; but doesn’t have to
– What three main topics will you support in your paper-introduce in thesis
– You should not discuss anything in your thesis that you aren’t willing to analyze in your paper;
if you need to add something that you discussed or take something out that you didn’t-tweak
Body Paragraphs:
– Should be divided into 3 general sections (each with a different topic)-the same ones you
presented in your thesis-now is the time to analyze
– ANALYZE, ANALYZE, ANALYZE!!!! Show off your critical thinking skills 
– Don’t summarize the plot-the reader doesn’t want to hear the story-they want to hear why
the issues in the story are important
– Restate thesis
– Tie everything together
– Final analysis
Writers Inc. (page #’s)
Literary Analysis essays: pg 245-252
Thesis Info: pg 51
MLA documentation style: pg 280-298
Plagiarism: pg 275-277
Transitional Devices: pg 109