An analysis essay is one of the more straightforward types of essay but many students still get it wrong because they do not understand the format before they dive in to work on it. That is why, if you’ve got an analysis essay to write, spare a few minutes to reading this post. This will be time well spent because it will prevent many mistakes.
What is an Analysis Essay
An analysis essay is a piece of writing where you present a claim about the thing you are analyzing and then you prove it with the evidence from your own study of that thing. Most often, this type of essay is written about works of literature. That is why it is also known as literary analysis. However, subjects to analysis are varied – films, speeches, scholarly articles, events, social issues, ideas, etc.
The key difference is that most (if not all) of the arguments in support of your claim must stem from the subject you are analyzing. You should change your optics compared to other types of academic papers: instead of a telescope, you should arm yourself with a microscope, so to speak.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put the thing you are analyzing in context or use any previous research – these are still important elements of any analysis. Yet the centerpiece must be your own observations as you dissect the work of art, a piece of writing, or a phenomenon that is the subject to your analysis. Understanding this premise is half-way to knowing how to write analysis essay.
However, don’t miss the “analysis” bit here. Your essay should not be a summary of the book’s plot, description of an event, or an explanation of an idea. Instead, you should analyze the elements, interpret meanings of creative choices, the significance of certain factors or concepts in the overall impact.
For example, if you are analyzing the work of literature, then you can focus on the choice of language, plot structure, narrative point of view, and other literary devices to analyze how the author employs them to convey ideas or create a desired effect on the audience.
Careful analysis takes time. If you cannot afford the luxury of poring over books for days, you can make a shortcut. Our paper writing professionals will do the pondering, connecting the dots, analyzing, and writing for you!
Steps to Writing An Analysis Essay
Before you begin working on your analysis, it is essential you chose the focus of your essay. Usually, your instructor will give you prompts to choose from or will assign you a specific topic. However, sometimes they only give you the general direction of your essay. For example, “Analyze one of the driving forces behind the French revolution”, or “Analyze a character from Charles Dickens’ Bleak House”.
In such a case, your task is to narrow your topic down to a scope that is manageable in a single essay. Understand that you must pick just one driving force, one character, or one recurring theme in the novel and focus solely on this particular thing – or even just one aspect of that thing. For example, for Bleak House, you could focus on how the author uses language to show Esther’s growing confidence as a narrator as the book progresses.
1. Carefully study the object of your analysis
In the case of a literary work, that means re-reading the text carefully, pencil in hand, taking notes and observing everything that attracts your attention – confusing, surprising, or recurring things. Concentrate on the writing itself, rather than the plot. You are looking for literary devices.
- Highlight, color-code, bookmark, take notes to keep the important things visible – all this is textual evidence you will need to support your thesis statement later.
- Pay particular attention to language choice in metaphors and similes, recurring images, symbols, narrator’s perspective, tone of voice, etc.
- The overall structure of the text is also significant: the rhyme and meter influence your perception of the poetic work’s tone, the order in which the events are presented to readers in the novel is always intentional, especially if it deviates from chronological order.
2. Brainstorm ideas and come up with a thesis
Sometimes you know exactly what you want to do with your topic and at which angle you will approach it. However, it often takes some time to understand which point you want to make with your analysis. To make your essay a cohesive analysis as opposed to a collection of observations, however spot-on they might be, you must first come up with a core argument.
This core argument expressed in one or two sentences is a thesis statement that you will expand on and support with evidence in the rest of your essay. Make sure that your claim is not self-evident, but is something you can argue about and prove with the textual evidence you’ve collected.
3. Make an outline of your essay
An outline will help you to fit all the evidence together and polish your thesis statement. Follow the classic structure with the introduction, body of paragraphs, and the conclusion. Note that you don’t have to limit your body to three paragraphs. If your topic is large in scope, either narrow it down even further or allow enough time to discuss everything you want in detail – otherwise you risk writing a shallow essay. Depth is the key for an analysis essay, don’t rush through it. It’s better to write an exhaustive hyper-focused analysis, than an ambitious piece that only succeeds in scratching the surface.
4. Write an introduction
Your introduction should contain the necessary background information about the topic and the thesis statement. For example, for a work of literature, you may start by giving general information about the text and its author – a common opinion about it, when it was written, how it was perceived by the contemporaries, etc. Then make a transition to your thesis statement – does it reinforce or defy commonly held opinion? Why do you think this topic needs a fresh take? What makes it relevant?
5. Write a body of paragraphs
- You don’t have to stick to the five-paragraph structure typical for high school essays. Take as long as you need to explore your topic in fullness, but remember that everything you include should drive your main argument. You may want to exclude some interesting yet irrelevant observations.
- If the body of your essay contains multiple paragraphs, unite some paragraphs into larger sections each dedicated to one area of analysis. This will make it easier for your readers to follow through.
- Follow the golden rule – one idea per paragraph. This way, you will be able to maintain paragraph structure: topic sentence –> explanation –> evidence –> transition to the next paragraph.
- Use only necessary short quotes to demonstrate the author’s language choices. When it comes to larger elements – you can summarize them in your own words.
6. Write a conclusion
Remind readers how your analysis supports the main claim you’ve made in the thesis statement. Summarize the arguments and reinforce the conclusions you’ve come to. Do not introduce any new ideas or evidence here.
However, you can expand by making a connection between your analysis and the current events, stressing the relevance of your essay. Alternatively, you can show how your argument changes the commonly held understanding of the text.
Not Sure You Can Do It? No Problem!
As you can see, an analysis essay requires a solid theoretical understanding of the medium you are studying, be it literature, film, or social movement, as well as background knowledge to be able to draw parallels and trace the development of concepts and ideas.
If you fear this is beyond your skill right now, you can always learn from example. And what better example than a perfect analysis done by an experienced professional! Contact us and we will find you a writer whose competence fits perfectly with the requirements of your essay.