Analytical Essays For Dummies

: Writing an analytic essay requires that you make some sort of argument. The core of this argument is called a thesis. It is your claim, succinctly stated in a single sentence. What do budding literary critics such as yourselves argue about? You make a pervasive, persistent case that a certain thing is true about a piece of literature. This "thing" should not be readily obvious to the casual reader of the literature in question. It is what you draw out of the book or essay, how you interpret it. It is a claim that must be supported by specific evidence from the text. At least once during the course of writing your essay, isolate what you consider to be your thesis. Is your proposition both arguable and reasonable? If it is obvious (i.e. Mary Rowlandson used the Bible for comfort during her captivity) you don’t have an argument. Argument requires analysis (i.e. taking things apart and explaining them). One test that may help is asking yourself what the opposite "side" of your argument would be. A good, complicated thesis (which was proposed by one of your classmates) is that "Although Mary Rowlandson says she often used the Bible as a source of comfort during her captivity, a closer reading of her narrative suggests her faith may have been more troubled by her experience than she lets on." One useful structure for writing thesis statements is the "although" form used above: "Although x seems to be true about this piece of literature, y is in fact more true (or makes our thinking about x more complex)." In this form you present both sides of your argument at once and show which side you’re on. Your job in the paper is to convince your reader to join you. Another way to write an effective thesis statement is to use the form "If we look closely at x (e.g. how Bradford defines freedom) we discover y (that ).

Look for images or metaphors that the author uses consistently. What other sort of pattern can you identify in the text? How do you interpret this pattern so that your reader will understand the book, essay, poem, speech, etc. better?

What philosophical, moral, ethical, etc. ideas is the author advocating or opposing? What are the consequences of accepting the author's argument?

Explain how the work functions as a piece of rhetoric--how does the author attempt to convince his or her reader of something? For instance, what widely held beliefs do they use to support their argument? How do they appeal to emotions, logic…

Re-examine something that the text or most readers take for granted (that Thoreau’s book Walden represents his attempt to escape from society). Question this major premise and see where it takes you

Ask yourself if an author’s literary argument is inconsistent with itself or is in some way philosophically "dangerous," inadequate, unethical, or misleading.

Examine how characters are presented in a story. How do they help the main character to develop? Which characters are trustworthy? Which are not? Why are they presented this way?

Structure

: How the parts of the book or essay follow one another; how the parts are assembled to make a whole? Why does the author start where they start, end where they end? What is the logical progression of thought? How might that progression be intended to affect the reader What effect might this progression of ideas have on a generic reader or on a reader from the time period in which the work was written? Does the piece move from the general to the specific or vice versa?

If you could divide the book/essay into sections, units of meaning, what would those sections be? How are they related to each other? Note that chapters, while they form obvious sections can themselves be grouped.

Referring to the text

: In writing analytic papers that address any kind of literature, it is necessary to refer to the text (the specific words on the page of the book) in order to support your argument. This means that you must quote and interpret passages that demonstrate or support your argument. Quotation is usually stronger than paraphrase. Remember also that your purpose in writing an essay is not merely to paraphrase or summarize (repeat) what the author has said, but to make an argument about how the make their point, or how they have said what they have said.

Language

: includes the way an author phrases his or her sentences, the key metaphors used (it’s up to you to explain how these metaphors are used, why these metaphors are appropriate, effective, ineffective, or ambiguous). Is the way a sentence is phrased particularly revealing of the author’s meaning?

Please title your paper and make the title apt and enticing--I LOVE a good title. It puts me in a good mood before I start reading.

Be clear about whether you’re writing about a book, an essay (non-fiction, short prose), a story (short fiction) a poem, a novel (book-length fiction), an autobiography, a narrative (as in Captivity Narratives) etc. Walden is a book comprised of chapters. Each of these chapters could also be called an essay. Within these essays, Thoreau sometimes tells stories. The book itself is not a story, but closer to a narrative, which is non-fiction.

Always go through at least two drafts of you paper. Let your paper sit, preferably for 24 hours between drafts sometime during the process of your writing.

Eliminate

first person pronoun ("I") in your final draft (it’s OK for rough drafts and may help you write).

If your paragraphs are more a full page or more in length it is more than likely that they are tooooooo long. Probably you have too many ideas "in the air" at once. Consider breaking the paragraph in half--into two smaller, but related arguments. Your reader needs a break, needs more structure in order to be able to follow your meaning.

If several of your paragraphs are exceedingly short (4-5 lines), it is likely that you are not developing your ideas thoroughly enough--that you are writing notes rather than analysis. Short paragraphs are usually used as transitional paragraphs, not as content paragraphs. (Short paragraphs can be used in the rhetorical devise of reversal where you lead your reader down a certain path (to show them one side of the argument, the one you are going to oppose) and then turn away from that argument to state the true argument of your paper.)

Employ quotation often.

One quotation per argumentative paragraph is usually necessary. Depending upon the length and complexity of the passage or topic you're dealing with, more quotations may be useful to prevent you from getting too far away from the text. Your quotations combined with your interpretations are your proof. Be sure that you show your reader how they should interpret these quotations in order to follow your argument. (Almost every quotation should be followed by an interpretation, a deeper reading of what is being said and how its being said. This interpretation demonstrates how the quotation supports the claim you're making about it). Pay attention to metaphor, phrasing, tone, alliteration, etc. How is the author saying what they are saying--what does that teach us about the text?

Remember to write directive (sometimes called "topic") sentences for your paragraphs. The first sentence of any paragraph should give your reader an idea of what the paragraph is going to say and how the paragraph will connect to the larger argument. It should have more to do with what you have to say about the materials than what the author him or herself has said.

Transitions between paragraphs

: try to get away from using "The next," "First of all" "Another thing..." to connect your paragraphs. This is the "list" method of structuring a paper--not an integrated, logical approach. A really strong transition makes the logical connection between paragraphs or sections of a paper and gives the reader a sense that you’re building an argument. To make sure you are making a well-connected argument, ask yourself how the last sentence of each paragraph and the first sentence of the next are connected. Each of the sentences within your paragraphs should be related somehow (follow from, refer to, etc.) the one that precedes it, and the one which follows it. This will help the reader follow the flow of your ideas. The order of your paragraphs should reveal a developing argument.

On the most basic level, you should be able to consciously justify the presence and placement of every word in every sentence, every sentence in every paragraph, every paragraph in every essay. To repeat: in revising your papers after the first draft (which is always, inevitably to some degree confused because you are involved in the process of working your ideas out), you should be highly conscious of what you are doing and why you are doing it.

 

 

 

 

 

Great, you finished watching a movie or reading a book for university! However, before you’re free to go explore the wonders of college life, the professor decides to give you guys some work (what a nice guy). He gives out the instructions and tells you to analyze the book/movie and provide an informative argument for any topic of your choice. Obviously, it has to link back to the book/movie, but besides that the world is yours. Have no idea what you’re doing? Looks like you’ve come to the right place!


Table Of Contents



What is An Analytical Essay

The term “Analytical Essay” may sound foreign to you, but no worries, it is almost guaranteed that you have written one before! If we take a look at the definition, the term analysis means .

Therefore, an analytical essay is a piece of writing that provides an informative observation about the specific topic or idea. So let’s imagine that your topic of choice is . Obviously, writing an essay on the topic of marijuana is too general. There is so much you can talk about: from its origins in ancient times to its impact towards the war on drugs. However, the analytical essay asks you to take a small section of the entire topic, and use critical thinking to come up with some sort of argument, aka your thesis!

Topics And Ideas

There is an infinite number of different essay topics that can be analyzed. Think about any sort of fact or idea: connections can be made from anything, thus we formulate ideas and use fact to support it! In the grand scheme of things, doing jobs like this is what brought humanity from hitting rocks together for warmth to sending humans to the moon! From what we know, we can create more ideas and thus advance as a society. But enough philosophy, let’s get into the various types of analysis!

Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Just like it sounds, this is an essay where you . Imagine you are proving a fact to somebody who either can’t comprehend it or is skeptical of its authenticity! This type of analysis is based on facts and logic, so they tend to be in the fields of science and mathematics!

Examples of this can be:

  • Geometric Proofs
  • Fundamental of Physics (Newton’s Law, Theory of Relativity,...)
  • General Principle of Economics (Money makes Money)

Literary Analysis Essay

One of the most common types of analysis that college and high school students perform. After reading a specific short or any piece of literature, provide an informative analysis of a certain situation, or critically analyze a quote and its impact on the plot! This is different from rhetorical in the sense that rhetorical analysis is mostly based around logic and provable facts. A literary analysis usually goes deeper into things such as emotion and decision making of certain characters! Examples of this can be:

  • Effects of “Utopia-rescue” societies on people! Book: 1984 By George Orwell
  • Loves an effect on human decision making. Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare
  • Conforming to societies norms: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee!

Process Analysis Essay

If we think about the definition, a process is a change from one state to another through several stages or levels. A common way to explain this change would be through an essay format. This would require you to explain its purpose, as well as explaining the transformation through a series of paragraphs. Examples of this can be:

  • Amazon's Logistics
  • The Water Cycle
  • The Cycle of Depression
  • Sleep Cycle

Character Analysis Essay

Usually used within the context of some sort of story/tale, character analysis is very similar to process analysis essay. This type of essay requires you to explain and analyze the transformation of a character from the initial point until the end. Things that should be analyzed are as follows: personality, character traits, mental reformation, etc... Examples of this can be:

  • Transformation of Huck and Jim in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • Will Hunting’s mental evolution in Good Will Hunting
  • Viktor Navorksi in The Terminal

Poetry Analysis Essay

Poetry analysis requires the writer to research the poem’s content, structure and historical significance in an explanatory style. The goal is to make the reader understand the poems overall significance and its purpose. Examples of this can be:

  • Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken
  • Edgar Allan Poe's A Dream Within a Dream
  • Emily Dickinson's There is Another Sky

Causal Analysis Essay

If you have ever dealt with an annoying child ask “WHY” a million times in a row, then you have dealt with this type of paper in real life! The causal essay requires you to answer a why question to the best of your abilities. A lot of the times, questions can’t be answered 100%. This is why the causal essay is also known as the Speculating About Causes Essay. This requires you to describe the process that occurs, following up with why you believe it occurred in this style. Examples of this can be:

  • Why do we respond physically to fear?
  • Why do we crave sugar?
  • Why do teenagers rebel against their parents and authority?
  • Why are random shootings becoming more common in the U.S.?

These are just some of the most common types of analytical essays. The variation is practically endless, but they all must follow the same type of outline.

Steps To Take Before Writing

Unless essay writing comes to you naturally, preparation is key in writing that well-rounded and high-quality paper. So before you start typing up your masterpiece, 5 steps should be taken:

  • Brainstorm and Decide on a Topic;
  • Craft A Captivating Title;
  • Create a strong Thesis;
  • Find Supporting Evidence;
  • Create an Outline.

Brainstorm and Decide on a Topic:

  • Step 1 requires you to figure out what you’re going to be writing about (obviously). Sometimes in the advance, you are given some options to pick from. You could have already been told what type of analytical essay you have to write, or you could have just been thrown into the improvisation pool. Regardless it’s important to scope in to your topic.
  • When you get right down to it, the topic that you decide to write about should match one that either interests you or it should be one that you fully understand. It would be idiotic to pick a topic that you struggle to fully comprehend or one that puts you to sleep. It’s fairly important to write about something that you at least slightly enjoy!

Craft A Captivating Title

  • As soon as your title is the first thing your reader will see try to make it as attractive as possible. After reading it, readers will decide, does it worth to read the rest or not.

Create A Strong Thesis

  • The goal of the analytical essay is to prove a certain point that the writer is trying to make. From the information that has been gathered, the writer needs to link things together and create a certain decision. This decision is called a thesis, and it’s an argument that is created to prove an assumption created by the writer, using facts and research. For certain topics, it's important to introduce the outside forces that contributed to the creation of your thesis. For example, if you are talking about historical events, it's important to introduce the external factors that led to your thesis. If we are talking about Scientific Research, then considering the scientific method is a necessity.
  • The thesis shouldn't be a simple yes or no question with an answer. It should be a complex point that has many interconnected factors. The thesis should be controversial and require tons of research to come up with a respectable statement. Lastly, the thesis should be a high impact statement that strongly effects the topic of choice.

Find Supporting Evidence

  • You won't be able to sway anybody with your thesis statement unless it's backed by something. This is why all good statements need research and analysis. It's important to gather information that supports your argument. Depending on the type of essay, it won’t necessarily be straightforward information.
  • If we are talking about a historical topic or some sort of scientific fact, then your supporting evidence will evidently be facts taken from previous findings. However, if you are writing a literary analysis essay, then most likely your evidence will be quotes from the story. This type of evidence requires analysis and assumptions in regards towards how the reader should interpret the line.

Create An Outline

Organizing the structure of the essay is very important and makes the entire writing process easier. A number of paragraphs in the paper carries little to no importance. Paper outline will vary based on the topic of discussion and the thesis statement that is created. Regardless, the Intro-Body(s)-Conclusion style is a staple in any Analytical Essay.

Proper Outline

Introduction

The introduction usually starts out with some sort of background information. Sometimes using a hook statement can be effective, but it is not required. There is no specific style for the introduction, but background information is the most common method of approach. You should provide information that is relevant to your thesis. This information should start out broad and narrow down in relevance towards the thesis. The structure will look something like this.

  • Hook Statement/ Brief Introductory Point
  • Background Info (Narrowed)
  • Transition sentence
  • Thesis Statement

Body Paragraphs

The main goal of the body paragraphs is to fully prove the thesis statement. Each individual paragraph should focus on a certain aspect of the thesis. For example, if the thesis is centered around the evolution of Will Hunting, then the body paragraphs should each hold their own point. One body paragraph focuses on his diminishing self-guilt, and a second could talk about the ever increasing support system and its impact on his mentality. The body paragraphs should maintain proper structure:

  • Topic Sentence: Introduce the main point of the body paragraph in one straightforward and effective sentence.
  • Analysis: Analyze your supporting evidence and explain how the evidence supports your thesis. This part should take 1 or 2 sentences and is arguably the most important part of the entire essay. The reader will see your understanding of the topic based on what you write within these 2 sentences. Make sure it`s creative and impactful, but also keep it original!
  • Evidence: No analysis is complete without supporting evidence. This is where you show how you handled the research. The analysis is created from the supporting evidence that you find, so they should always go hand in hand. Make sure that these 2 parts link together in a straightforward manner.
  • Concluding Sentence: After providing a well thought out analysis and adding in evidence, the paragraph should always add a concluding sentence. Restate to the reader your analysis and its significance to the point in hand.

After reading a single body paragraph, the viewer should have clearly understood the argument or point you were trying to prove. If he had some trouble painting himself a picture or understanding your logic, then one or more parts of your body paragraph may have some mistakes.

It's important to mention that having numerous body paragraphs isn’t that important. Depending on the topic, each essay will vary based on the depth of the thesis. Quality over quantity goes a long way here.

Conclusion

The conclusion plays a vital role in the sense that it ties up the entire essay.
First things first, you should start out by restating your thesis statement. The significance of this is to clearly exemplify to your viewer that you have fully proven the thesis and to summarize the steps you took in order to do so. To end the entire essay, it’s necessary to create an overall concluding statement. This can be either what you have learned from writing the essay or what the audience should take away from your work. The structure should look like this:

  • Rephrase the Thesis statement
  • Summarize key points
  • Overall Concluding Statement

General Tips and Advice

Proofread

After writing the entire essay, take a short break and then reread it from front to back. The chances are that you will find parts of the paper which are filled with mistakes or parts that need clarity. Regardless of what the issues are, make sure the essay has clarity before handing in completed work.
You can also get academic writing help from out company in case You need some third-party opinion.

Get a Second Pair of Eyes

Just because the essay made sense to you, doesn’t mean that everyone else will receive it with the same level of understanding. Online essay writer or peer edits help to give the essay a wider range of clarity.

Make sure the thesis fits your argument points

Your paper will be highly judged based on how well you proved your thesis. That’s why it’s important to edit your thesis based on the type of arguments you provided. If your explanations don’t perfectly suit the thesis statement you crafted, then adjust it accordingly.

Analytical Essay Sample

Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Team

Professor Jay, from EssayPro

An analytical essay is not explained in many writing textbooks. In essay writing, an analysis is the fundamental element of synthesis essays, summary essays, reflective essays, and most types of college papers. Without knowing how to analyze articles or walk your reader through a process properly, you will not be able to produce lab reports or literature papers. In an essay like this, something to stress is that analysis requires you dig deep; you can not simply summarize. You need to go beyond the who, what, where, and when, and instead answer questions of how and why.

My personal advice is to begin with a set of questions: How is this written? Who is the audience? And Is it effectively written for that audience? After answering these, it will be much easier to answer how exactly the author wrote the piece and elaborate further on why the piece was written. While writing, make sure to annotate and take notes. Keep your eye on the author’s tone and diction. This skill is incredibly important and will follow you all through middle school, high school, college, and then into life itself.

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