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- How to write a literary analysis essay | A step-by-step guide
How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay | A Step-by-Step Guide
Published on January 30, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on September 2, 2022.
Literary analysis means closely studying a text, interpreting its meanings, and exploring why the author made certain choices. It can be applied to novels, short stories, plays, poems, or any other form of literary writing.
A literary analysis essay is not a rhetorical analysis , nor is it just a summary of the plot or a book review. Instead, it is a type of argumentative essay where you need to analyze elements such as the language, perspective, and structure of the text, and explain how the author uses literary devices to create effects and convey ideas.
Before beginning a literary analysis essay, it’s essential to carefully read the text and c ome up with a thesis statement to keep your essay focused. As you write, follow the standard structure of an academic essay :
- An introduction that tells the reader what your essay will focus on.
- A main body, divided into paragraphs , that builds an argument using evidence from the text.
- A conclusion that clearly states the main point that you have shown with your analysis.
Table of contents
Step 1: reading the text and identifying literary devices, step 2: coming up with a thesis, step 3: writing a title and introduction, step 4: writing the body of the essay, step 5: writing a conclusion.
The first step is to carefully read the text(s) and take initial notes. As you read, pay attention to the things that are most intriguing, surprising, or even confusing in the writing—these are things you can dig into in your analysis.
Your goal in literary analysis is not simply to explain the events described in the text, but to analyze the writing itself and discuss how the text works on a deeper level. Primarily, you’re looking out for literary devices —textual elements that writers use to convey meaning and create effects. If you’re comparing and contrasting multiple texts, you can also look for connections between different texts.
To get started with your analysis, there are several key areas that you can focus on. As you analyze each aspect of the text, try to think about how they all relate to each other. You can use highlights or notes to keep track of important passages and quotes.
Consider what style of language the author uses. Are the sentences short and simple or more complex and poetic?
What word choices stand out as interesting or unusual? Are words used figuratively to mean something other than their literal definition? Figurative language includes things like metaphor (e.g. “her eyes were oceans”) and simile (e.g. “her eyes were like oceans”).
Also keep an eye out for imagery in the text—recurring images that create a certain atmosphere or symbolize something important. Remember that language is used in literary texts to say more than it means on the surface.
- Who is telling the story?
- How are they telling it?
Is it a first-person narrator (“I”) who is personally involved in the story, or a third-person narrator who tells us about the characters from a distance?
Consider the narrator’s perspective . Is the narrator omniscient (where they know everything about all the characters and events), or do they only have partial knowledge? Are they an unreliable narrator who we are not supposed to take at face value? Authors often hint that their narrator might be giving us a distorted or dishonest version of events.
The tone of the text is also worth considering. Is the story intended to be comic, tragic, or something else? Are usually serious topics treated as funny, or vice versa ? Is the story realistic or fantastical (or somewhere in between)?
Consider how the text is structured, and how the structure relates to the story being told.
- Novels are often divided into chapters and parts.
- Poems are divided into lines, stanzas, and sometime cantos.
- Plays are divided into scenes and acts.
Think about why the author chose to divide the different parts of the text in the way they did.
There are also less formal structural elements to take into account. Does the story unfold in chronological order, or does it jump back and forth in time? Does it begin in medias res —in the middle of the action? Does the plot advance towards a clearly defined climax?
With poetry, consider how the rhyme and meter shape your understanding of the text and your impression of the tone. Try reading the poem aloud to get a sense of this.
In a play, you might consider how relationships between characters are built up through different scenes, and how the setting relates to the action. Watch out for dramatic irony , where the audience knows some detail that the characters don’t, creating a double meaning in their words, thoughts, or actions.
Your thesis in a literary analysis essay is the point you want to make about the text. It’s the core argument that gives your essay direction and prevents it from just being a collection of random observations about a text.
If you’re given a prompt for your essay, your thesis must answer or relate to the prompt. For example:
Essay question example
Is Franz Kafka’s “Before the Law” a religious parable?
Your thesis statement should be an answer to this question—not a simple yes or no, but a statement of why this is or isn’t the case:
Thesis statement example
Franz Kafka’s “Before the Law” is not a religious parable, but a story about bureaucratic alienation.
Sometimes you’ll be given freedom to choose your own topic; in this case, you’ll have to come up with an original thesis. Consider what stood out to you in the text; ask yourself questions about the elements that interested you, and consider how you might answer them.
Your thesis should be something arguable—that is, something that you think is true about the text, but which is not a simple matter of fact. It must be complex enough to develop through evidence and arguments across the course of your essay.
Say you’re analyzing the novel Frankenstein . You could start by asking yourself:
Your initial answer might be a surface-level description:
The character Frankenstein is portrayed negatively in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein .
However, this statement is too simple to be an interesting thesis. After reading the text and analyzing its narrative voice and structure, you can develop the answer into a more nuanced and arguable thesis statement:
Mary Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to portray Frankenstein in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as.
Remember that you can revise your thesis statement throughout the writing process , so it doesn’t need to be perfectly formulated at this stage. The aim is to keep you focused as you analyze the text.
Finding textual evidence
To support your thesis statement, your essay will build an argument using textual evidence —specific parts of the text that demonstrate your point. This evidence is quoted and analyzed throughout your essay to explain your argument to the reader.
It can be useful to comb through the text in search of relevant quotations before you start writing. You might not end up using everything you find, and you may have to return to the text for more evidence as you write, but collecting textual evidence from the beginning will help you to structure your arguments and assess whether they’re convincing.
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See an example
To start your literary analysis paper, you’ll need two things: a good title, and an introduction.
Your title should clearly indicate what your analysis will focus on. It usually contains the name of the author and text(s) you’re analyzing. Keep it as concise and engaging as possible.
A common approach to the title is to use a relevant quote from the text, followed by a colon and then the rest of your title.
If you struggle to come up with a good title at first, don’t worry—this will be easier once you’ve begun writing the essay and have a better sense of your arguments.
“Fearful symmetry” : The violence of creation in William Blake’s “The Tyger”
The essay introduction provides a quick overview of where your argument is going. It should include your thesis statement and a summary of the essay’s structure.
A typical structure for an introduction is to begin with a general statement about the text and author, using this to lead into your thesis statement. You might refer to a commonly held idea about the text and show how your thesis will contradict it, or zoom in on a particular device you intend to focus on.
Then you can end with a brief indication of what’s coming up in the main body of the essay. This is called signposting. It will be more elaborate in longer essays, but in a short five-paragraph essay structure, it shouldn’t be more than one sentence.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, protagonist Victor Frankenstein is a stable representation of the callous ambition of modern science throughout the novel. This essay, however, argues that far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to portray Frankenstein in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as. This essay begins by exploring the positive portrayal of Frankenstein in the first volume, then moves on to the creature’s perception of him, and finally discusses the third volume’s narrative shift toward viewing Frankenstein as the creature views him.
Some students prefer to write the introduction later in the process, and it’s not a bad idea. After all, you’ll have a clearer idea of the overall shape of your arguments once you’ve begun writing them!
If you do write the introduction first, you should still return to it later to make sure it lines up with what you ended up writing, and edit as necessary.
The body of your essay is everything between the introduction and conclusion. It contains your arguments and the textual evidence that supports them.
A typical structure for a high school literary analysis essay consists of five paragraphs : the three paragraphs of the body, plus the introduction and conclusion.
Each paragraph in the main body should focus on one topic. In the five-paragraph model, try to divide your argument into three main areas of analysis, all linked to your thesis. Don’t try to include everything you can think of to say about the text—only analysis that drives your argument.
In longer essays, the same principle applies on a broader scale. For example, you might have two or three sections in your main body, each with multiple paragraphs. Within these sections, you still want to begin new paragraphs at logical moments—a turn in the argument or the introduction of a new idea.
Robert’s first encounter with Gil-Martin suggests something of his sinister power. Robert feels “a sort of invisible power that drew me towards him.” He identifies the moment of their meeting as “the beginning of a series of adventures which has puzzled myself, and will puzzle the world when I am no more in it” (p. 89). Gil-Martin’s “invisible power” seems to be at work even at this distance from the moment described; before continuing the story, Robert feels compelled to anticipate at length what readers will make of his narrative after his approaching death. With this interjection, Hogg emphasizes the fatal influence Gil-Martin exercises from his first appearance.
To keep your points focused, it’s important to use a topic sentence at the beginning of each paragraph.
A good topic sentence allows a reader to see at a glance what the paragraph is about. It can introduce a new line of argument and connect or contrast it with the previous paragraph. Transition words like “however” or “moreover” are useful for creating smooth transitions:
… The story’s focus, therefore, is not upon the divine revelation that may be waiting beyond the door, but upon the mundane process of aging undergone by the man as he waits.
Nevertheless, the “radiance” that appears to stream from the door is typically treated as religious symbolism.
This topic sentence signals that the paragraph will address the question of religious symbolism, while the linking word “nevertheless” points out a contrast with the previous paragraph’s conclusion.
Using textual evidence
A key part of literary analysis is backing up your arguments with relevant evidence from the text. This involves introducing quotes from the text and explaining their significance to your point.
It’s important to contextualize quotes and explain why you’re using them; they should be properly introduced and analyzed, not treated as self-explanatory:
It isn’t always necessary to use a quote. Quoting is useful when you’re discussing the author’s language, but sometimes you’ll have to refer to plot points or structural elements that can’t be captured in a short quote.
In these cases, it’s more appropriate to paraphrase or summarize parts of the text—that is, to describe the relevant part in your own words:
The conclusion of your analysis shouldn’t introduce any new quotations or arguments. Instead, it’s about wrapping up the essay. Here, you summarize your key points and try to emphasize their significance to the reader.
A good way to approach this is to briefly summarize your key arguments, and then stress the conclusion they’ve led you to, highlighting the new perspective your thesis provides on the text as a whole:
By tracing the depiction of Frankenstein through the novel’s three volumes, I have demonstrated how the narrative structure shifts our perception of the character. While the Frankenstein of the first volume is depicted as having innocent intentions, the second and third volumes—first in the creature’s accusatory voice, and then in his own voice—increasingly undermine him, causing him to appear alternately ridiculous and vindictive. Far from the one-dimensional villain he is often taken to be, the character of Frankenstein is compelling because of the dynamic narrative frame in which he is placed. In this frame, Frankenstein’s narrative self-presentation responds to the images of him we see from others’ perspectives. This conclusion sheds new light on the novel, foregrounding Shelley’s unique layering of narrative perspectives and its importance for the depiction of character.
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Writing About Poetry
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This section covers the basics of how to write about poetry, including why it is done, what you should know, and what you can write about.
Writing about poetry can be one of the most demanding tasks that many students face in a literature class. Poetry, by its very nature, makes demands on a writer who attempts to analyze it that other forms of literature do not. So how can you write a clear, confident, well-supported essay about poetry? This handout offers answers to some common questions about writing about poetry.
What's the Point?
In order to write effectively about poetry, one needs a clear idea of what the point of writing about poetry is. When you are assigned an analytical essay about a poem in an English class, the goal of the assignment is usually to argue a specific thesis about the poem, using your analysis of specific elements in the poem and how those elements relate to each other to support your thesis.
So why would your teacher give you such an assignment? What are the benefits of learning to write analytic essays about poetry? Several important reasons suggest themselves:
- To help you learn to make a text-based argument. That is, to help you to defend ideas based on a text that is available to you and other readers. This sharpens your reasoning skills by forcing you to formulate an interpretation of something someone else has written and to support that interpretation by providing logically valid reasons why someone else who has read the poem should agree with your argument. This isn't a skill that is just important in academics, by the way. Lawyers, politicians, and journalists often find that they need to make use of similar skills.
- To help you to understand what you are reading more fully. Nothing causes a person to make an extra effort to understand difficult material like the task of writing about it. Also, writing has a way of helping you to see things that you may have otherwise missed simply by causing you to think about how to frame your own analysis.
- To help you enjoy poetry more! This may sound unlikely, but one of the real pleasures of poetry is the opportunity to wrestle with the text and co-create meaning with the author. When you put together a well-constructed analysis of the poem, you are not only showing that you understand what is there, you are also contributing to an ongoing conversation about the poem. If your reading is convincing enough, everyone who has read your essay will get a little more out of the poem because of your analysis.
What Should I Know about Writing about Poetry?
Most importantly, you should realize that a paper that you write about a poem or poems is an argument. Make sure that you have something specific that you want to say about the poem that you are discussing. This specific argument that you want to make about the poem will be your thesis. You will support this thesis by drawing examples and evidence from the poem itself. In order to make a credible argument about the poem, you will want to analyze how the poem works—what genre the poem fits into, what its themes are, and what poetic techniques and figures of speech are used.
What Can I Write About?
Theme: One place to start when writing about poetry is to look at any significant themes that emerge in the poetry. Does the poetry deal with themes related to love, death, war, or peace? What other themes show up in the poem? Are there particular historical events that are mentioned in the poem? What are the most important concepts that are addressed in the poem?
Genre: What kind of poem are you looking at? Is it an epic (a long poem on a heroic subject)? Is it a sonnet (a brief poem, usually consisting of fourteen lines)? Is it an ode? A satire? An elegy? A lyric? Does it fit into a specific literary movement such as Modernism, Romanticism, Neoclassicism, or Renaissance poetry? This is another place where you may need to do some research in an introductory poetry text or encyclopedia to find out what distinguishes specific genres and movements.
Versification: Look closely at the poem's rhyme and meter. Is there an identifiable rhyme scheme? Is there a set number of syllables in each line? The most common meter for poetry in English is iambic pentameter, which has five feet of two syllables each (thus the name "pentameter") in each of which the strongly stressed syllable follows the unstressed syllable. You can learn more about rhyme and meter by consulting our handout on sound and meter in poetry or the introduction to a standard textbook for poetry such as the Norton Anthology of Poetry . Also relevant to this category of concerns are techniques such as caesura (a pause in the middle of a line) and enjambment (continuing a grammatical sentence or clause from one line to the next). Is there anything that you can tell about the poem from the choices that the author has made in this area? For more information about important literary terms, see our handout on the subject.
Figures of speech: Are there literary devices being used that affect how you read the poem? Here are some examples of commonly discussed figures of speech:
- metaphor: comparison between two unlike things
- simile: comparison between two unlike things using "like" or "as"
- metonymy: one thing stands for something else that is closely related to it (For example, using the phrase "the crown" to refer to the king would be an example of metonymy.)
- synecdoche: a part stands in for a whole (For example, in the phrase "all hands on deck," "hands" stands in for the people in the ship's crew.)
- personification: a non-human thing is endowed with human characteristics
- litotes: a double negative is used for poetic effect (example: not unlike, not displeased)
- irony: a difference between the surface meaning of the words and the implications that may be drawn from them
Cultural Context: How does the poem you are looking at relate to the historical context in which it was written? For example, what's the cultural significance of Walt Whitman's famous elegy for Lincoln "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed" in light of post-Civil War cultural trends in the U.S.A? How does John Donne's devotional poetry relate to the contentious religious climate in seventeenth-century England? These questions may take you out of the literature section of your library altogether and involve finding out about philosophy, history, religion, economics, music, or the visual arts.
What Style Should I Use?
It is useful to follow some standard conventions when writing about poetry. First, when you analyze a poem, it is best to use present tense rather than past tense for your verbs. Second, you will want to make use of numerous quotations from the poem and explain their meaning and their significance to your argument. After all, if you do not quote the poem itself when you are making an argument about it, you damage your credibility. If your teacher asks for outside criticism of the poem as well, you should also cite points made by other critics that are relevant to your argument. A third point to remember is that there are various citation formats for citing both the material you get from the poems themselves and the information you get from other critical sources. The most common citation format for writing about poetry is the Modern Language Association (MLA) format .
A Full Guide to Writing a Perfect Poem Analysis Essay
01 October, 2020
14 minutes read
Author: Elizabeth Brown
Poem analysis is one of the most complicated essay types. It requires the utmost creativity and dedication. Even those who regularly attend a literary class and have enough experience in poem analysis essay elaboration may face considerable difficulties while dealing with the particular poem. The given article aims to provide the detailed guidelines on how to write a poem analysis, elucidate the main principles of writing the essay of the given type, and share with you the handy tips that will help you get the highest score for your poetry analysis. In addition to developing analysis skills, you would be able to take advantage of the poetry analysis essay example to base your poetry analysis essay on, as well as learn how to find a way out in case you have no motivation and your creative assignment must be presented on time.
What Is a Poetry Analysis Essay?
A poetry analysis essay is a type of creative write-up that implies reviewing a poem from different perspectives by dealing with its structural, artistic, and functional pieces. Since the poetry expresses very complicated feelings that may have different meanings depending on the backgrounds of both author and reader, it would not be enough just to focus on the text of the poem you are going to analyze. Poetry has a lot more complex structure and cannot be considered without its special rhythm, images, as well as implied and obvious sense.
While analyzing the poem, the students need to do in-depth research as to its content, taking into account the effect the poetry has or may have on the readers.
Preparing for the Poetry Analysis Writing
The process of preparation for the poem analysis essay writing is almost as important as writing itself. Without completing these stages, you may be at risk of failing your creative assignment. Learn them carefully to remember once and for good.
Thoroughly read the poem several times
The rereading of the poem assigned for analysis will help to catch its concepts and ideas. You will have a possibility to define the rhythm of the poem, its type, and list the techniques applied by the author.
While identifying the type of the poem, you need to define whether you are dealing with:
- Lyric poem – the one that elucidates feelings, experiences, and the emotional state of the author. It is usually short and doesn’t contain any narration;
- Limerick – consists of 5 lines, the first, second, and fifth of which rhyme with one another;
- Sonnet – a poem consisting of 14 lines characterized by an iambic pentameter. William Shakespeare wrote sonnets which have made him famous;
- Ode – 10-line poem aimed at praising someone or something;
- Haiku – a short 3-line poem originated from Japan. It reflects the deep sense hidden behind the ordinary phenomena and events of the physical world;
- Free-verse – poetry with no rhyme.
The type of the poem usually affects its structure and content, so it is important to be aware of all the recognized kinds to set a proper beginning to your poetry analysis.
Find out more about the poem background
Find as much information as possible about the author of the poem, the cultural background of the period it was written in, preludes to its creation, etc. All these data will help you get a better understanding of the poem’s sense and explain much to you in terms of the concepts the poem contains.
Define a subject matter of the poem
This is one of the most challenging tasks since as a rule, the subject matter of the poem isn’t clearly stated by the poets. They don’t want the readers to know immediately what their piece of writing is about and suggest everyone find something different between the lines.
What is the subject matter? In a nutshell, it is the main idea of the poem. Usually, a poem may have a couple of subjects, that is why it is important to list each of them.
In order to correctly identify the goals of a definite poem, you would need to dive into the in-depth research.
Check the historical background of the poetry. The author might have been inspired to write a poem based on some events that occurred in those times or people he met. The lines you analyze may be generated by his reaction to some epoch events. All this information can be easily found online.
Choose poem theories you will support
In the variety of ideas the poem may convey, it is important to stick to only several most important messages you think the author wanted to share with the readers. Each of the listed ideas must be supported by the corresponding evidence as proof of your opinion.
The poetry analysis essay format allows elaborating on several theses that have the most value and weight. Try to build your writing not only on the pure facts that are obvious from the context but also your emotions and feelings the analyzed lines provoke in you.
How to Choose a Poem to Analyze?
If you are free to choose the piece of writing you will base your poem analysis essay on, it is better to select the one you are already familiar with. This may be your favorite poem or one that you have read and analyzed before. In case you face difficulties choosing the subject area of a particular poem, then the best way will be to focus on the idea you feel most confident about. In such a way, you would be able to elaborate on the topic and describe it more precisely.
Now, when you are familiar with the notion of the poetry analysis essay, it’s high time to proceed to poem analysis essay outline. Follow the steps mentioned below to ensure a brilliant structure to your creative assignment.
Best Poem Analysis Essay Topics
- Mother To Son Poem Analysis
- We Real Cool Poem Analysis
- Invictus Poem Analysis
- Richard Cory Poem Analysis
- Ozymandias Poem Analysis
- Barbie Doll Poem Analysis
- Caged Bird Poem Analysis
- Ulysses Poem Analysis
- Dover Beach Poem Analysis
- Annabelle Lee Poem Analysis
- Daddy Poem Analysis
- The Raven Poem Analysis
- The Second Coming Poem Analysis
- Still I Rise Poem Analysis
- If Poem Analysis
- Fire And Ice Poem Analysis
- My Papa’S Waltz Poem Analysis
- Harlem Poem Analysis
- Kubla Khan Poem Analysis
- I Too Poem Analysis
- The Juggler Poem Analysis
- The Fish Poem Analysis
- Jabberwocky Poem Analysis
- Charge Of The Light Brigade Poem Analysis
- The Road Not Taken Poem Analysis
- Landscape With The Fall Of Icarus Poem Analysis
- The History Teacher Poem Analysis
- One Art Poem Analysis
- The Wanderer Poem Analysis
- We Wear The Mask Poem Analysis
- There Will Come Soft Rains Poem Analysis
- Digging Poem Analysis
- The Highwayman Poem Analysis
- The Tyger Poem Analysis
- London Poem Analysis
- Sympathy Poem Analysis
- I Am Joaquin Poem Analysis
- This Is Just To Say Poem Analysis
- Sex Without Love Poem Analysis
- Strange Fruit Poem Analysis
- Dulce Et Decorum Est Poem Analysis
- Emily Dickinson Poem Analysis
- The Flea Poem Analysis
- The Lamb Poem Analysis
- Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night Poem Analysis
- My Last Duchess Poetry Analysis
Poem Analysis Essay Outline
As has already been stated, a poetry analysis essay is considered one of the most challenging tasks for the students. Despite the difficulties you may face while dealing with it, the structure of the given type of essay is quite simple. It consists of the introduction, body paragraphs, and the conclusion. In order to get a better understanding of the poem analysis essay structure, check the brief guidelines below.
This will be the first section of your essay. The main purpose of the introductory paragraph is to give a reader an idea of what the essay is about and what theses it conveys. The introduction should start with the title of the essay and end with the thesis statement.
The main goal of the introduction is to make readers feel intrigued about the whole concept of the essay and serve as a hook to grab their attention. Include some interesting information about the author, the historical background of the poem, some poem trivia, etc. There is no need to make the introduction too extensive. On the contrary, it should be brief and logical.
The body section should form the main part of poetry analysis. Make sure you have determined a clear focus for your analysis and are ready to elaborate on the main message and meaning of the poem. Mention the tone of the poetry, its speaker, try to describe the recipient of the poem’s idea. Don’t forget to identify the poetic devices and language the author uses to reach the main goals. Describe the imagery and symbolism of the poem, its sound and rhythm.
Try not to stick to too many ideas in your body section, since it may make your essay difficult to understand and too chaotic to perceive. Generalization, however, is also not welcomed. Try to be specific in the description of your perspective.
Make sure the transitions between your paragraphs are smooth and logical to make your essay flow coherent and easy to catch.
In a nutshell, the essay conclusion is a paraphrased thesis statement. Mention it again but in different words to remind the readers of the main purpose of your essay. Sum up the key claims and stress the most important information. The conclusion cannot contain any new ideas and should be used to create a strong impact on the reader. This is your last chance to share your opinion with the audience and convince them your essay is worth readers’ attention.
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Poem Analysis Essay Examples
A good poem analysis essay example may serve as a real magic wand to your creative assignment. You may take a look at the structure the other essay authors have used, follow their tone, and get a great share of inspiration and motivation.
Check several poetry analysis essay examples that may be of great assistance:
Writing Tips for a Poetry Analysis Essay
If you read carefully all the instructions on how to write a poetry analysis essay provided above, you have probably realized that this is not the easiest assignment on Earth. However, you cannot fail and should try your best to present a brilliant essay to get the highest score. To make your life even easier, check these handy tips on how to analysis poetry with a few little steps.
- In case you have a chance to choose a poem for analysis by yourself, try to focus on one you are familiar with, you are interested in, or your favorite one. The writing process will be smooth and easy in case you are working on the task you truly enjoy.
- Before you proceed to the analysis itself, read the poem out loud to your colleague or just to yourself. It will help you find out some hidden details and senses that may result in new ideas.
- Always check the meaning of words you don’t know. Poetry is quite a tricky phenomenon where a single word or phrase can completely change the meaning of the whole piece.
- Bother to double check if the conclusion of your essay is based on a single idea and is logically linked to the main body. Such an approach will demonstrate your certain focus and clearly elucidate your views.
- Read between the lines. Poetry is about senses and emotions – it rarely contains one clearly stated subject matter. Describe the hidden meanings and mention the feelings this has provoked in you. Try to elaborate a full picture that would be based on what is said and what is meant.
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There are a lot of benefits why you should refer to the professional writing agencies in case you are not in the mood for elaborating your poetry analysis essay. We will only state the most important ones:
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poem analysis essay
Writing a poetry analysis essay is not an easy feat but it is a very rewarding experience to undergo. Read on to know how to write a paper about a poem. Analyzing poetry will require you to approach the poem with an open mind (and heart). You need to be as objective as possible when trying to decipher the meaning behind the poet’s words, even if you do not fully understand what he or she is trying to express.
A few pointers in writing your poem analysis essay that can help you get started:
- Read through the poem several times and study each word carefully. Pay special attention to particular lines or verses which seem interesting or confusing. Take notes on each reading, underlining key words and phrases so that they can be easily referenced at a later date. Remember: taking good notes will help prevent ambiguity during your essay writing stage.
- How has the author used imagery, figurative language and other literary devices to develop this particular poem? Try to draw your own conclusions; you may be pleasantly surprised with your findings! Write them down in a logical order so that they clearly support one another, either by conjunction or contrast.
- What type of mood is the poet trying to convey through his/her writing? You can discover this by figuring out what emotions are being targeted: joy, fear, anger…etc. Use quotations from the text as illustrations here if necessary. Next, determine whether these feelings are being expressed successfully. If not, how could the author have improved upon it? Examples are always important for supporting points made so give examples where applicable.
- What is the overall mood of the poem? Does it seem very positive or negative, happy or sad? Give examples to support your opinion and include any evidence you think would bolster your argument.
- Is there a theme in this poem that can be used as a catalyst for writing an essay on? Look at all possibilities closely; find similarities and differences between various poems if necessary.
- Try not to jump into conclusions too soon – remember to weigh all options before choosing one that really makes sense.
Let us now define what your lecturer mean by a poem analysis.
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What is a poem analysis essay?
A poem analysis essay in literature is a piece of writing that looks at one or more poems in depth. The purpose of such essays is to give the writer an understanding of the poetry they are studying so they can be able to write about it with greater skill and insight. This makes these types of essays particularly useful for English students because many pupils will need them if they choose to study poetry at University level.
In order to write this type of essay , it is necessary for you clearly to identify what you want to achieve in your essay and formulate clear thesis statement on which to build your research and analysis. It is also important for you think carefully about how best to construct your paragraphs so they do not confuse the reader but rather communicate your points effectively and logically If you do this, then you will be able to write a poem analysis essay that effectively explores the poems you are studying while at the same time gives your reader a greater understanding of them.
A poem analysis essay must clearly state everything it intends to achieve and what its aim is before proceeding with the actual analysis itself.
- Read more about: poem explication essay .
In order to do this properly, you will need to state the purpose of your poem analysis essay at the beginning. This part of your essay should be just one paragraph long and it should clearly explain what you intend to do in your research. You might, for example, want to show how an author uses a particular literary technique or structure in their work.
Another reason why you might be asked to write a poem analysis essay is that you wish to argue about something connected with poetry such as whether there are gender differences between poetry written by men or women and what these differences are.
You must also take care when writing a poem analysis essay because you could be writing about any type of verse from sonnets (14 lines) through haikus (3 lines) to limericks (5 lines). Your topic might, for example, be a piece of free verse that is written in blank verse.
You might also need to write about how an author uses poetic techniques such as alliteration or metaphor in their work. If you do this then you will have to study and understand these key concepts. You should also consider the tone used by the poet in their poem because it can tell you a lot about what they are trying to achieve through their writing.
It is vitally important that when you write your essay, you include plenty of examples from the poetry itself of what you are discussing so that your essay makes more sense to your reader. You also have to remember that when you write about poetry, you should go into as much detail as is necessary in order to analyse the work effectively.
Poem analysis essays need to be well-researched so if you are looking for free information online regarding a particular poem you are studying and its author, then make sure what you find has been written by an authoritative source such as a University or College website.
It is also vitally important that before writing your essay or even starting any research on it that you read the poem first several times over. This will help ensure your essay conveys all of the relevant details clearly and accurately.
How to start a poetry analysis paper
A poetry analysis paper is about the literary form and aesthetic qualities of a poem. It also entails an interpretation of the poet’s attitude, thoughts, or emotions based on the text. In addition to a comprehensive analysis, you may also include your own response to the poem. In any case, a poetry analysis essay is centered on the poem alone.
Poetry analysis essays vary in length depending on the specific assignment and your writing style. You may want to follow some suggestions in order to make your paper more organized and easier to write.
First, pick out all of the important information from the poem you are analyzing. This will help you structure your paragraphs clearly and logically as you compose your paper’s body–essentially creating an outline which will then guide your overall writing. Once you have this basic framework built, fill it in with details about how the poet conveys his/her message by making use of different literary devices like rhyme scheme, metaphor, etc., using examples from the text itself as needed. When you are done, you will have a complete and authentic poetry analysis essay.
There’s no definite formula for writing a winning poetry analysis essay. You can create an original piece of work as long as you follow your teacher’s guidelines and include the needed information he/she provided (if any). As this is a subjective assignment, it may be challenging to find specific writing tips that apply to every student.
However, given below are some general pointers that should help:
First, read the poem several times over to get familiar with it before proceeding with your research. Try to relate what you understand about the poetic form with its overall meaning (also try to remember the moods or emotions conveyed by the poem while doing this). This will help you gain a better understanding of the whole.
Once you’ve read it enough times, try to understand the perspective and point-of-view of the poet by viewing it from different angles. Then look into some background information about the poem such as its publication history and any criticisms or reviews written about it. This will give you an idea of what readers have felt while reading that particular piece.
Then make a list of all literary devices used inside the poem (mainly ones which can help reveal the author’s message). Discuss why they are chosen; also include general observations about how these tools were utilized strategically within the text in order to represent certain meanings or ideas effectively.
You should also look at other poems in this collection to get more specific ideas on how the poet writes. Poets may also belong to a specific poetic movement or school of thought and you should make brief comments on that as well.
You can also give your own thoughts about the poem if you like, however, it is not required in order for you to get an excellent grade. You may ask yourself questions like: How does this make me feel? Or what emotions do I associate with this text? Your responses will definitely come from your heart and are most likely very genuine (which will help readers relate with your analysis better).
In any case, remember that the final decision remains exclusively with your instructor when he/she evaluates and grades your essay based on his/her own standards and preferences. If you follow the above guidelines, you will get a good grade without having to worry too much.
You should also make sure that you cite any sources from where you found these background details by including notations at the end of your paper. It is important to credit them since they helped you expand your understanding while writing this analysis.
If you are still struggling with the topic sentence and thesis statement , then look for examples in other student essays which may help give you some ideas on how to present a well-structured paper that follows an ideal format (i.e., deciding whether or not to use quotes is one such decision that can be easier with prior knowledge). Once again, depending on what type of paper you have been asked to write will help your understanding greatly.
With the right tools and enough experience, you will be able to write excellent poetry analysis essays on your own in no time at all. Remember that it is better if you understand what your instructor expects before writing. If not, check out this example of a good poetry analysis essay for some ideas: poem analysis essay sample .
Good luck with your essay! Are there any specific problems or questions that you would like to ask? Post your task now for help now!
Poem analysis essay structure
A poem analysis essay should have an introduction, body and conclusion. The introduction includes the poet, title of poem, and why it is significant to you or society. The body should include a summary of the poem with specific examples that show how it relates to your thesis statement (a claim about what you will prove by analyzing the poem). In addition, there should be evidence from the text that supports this claim. The final paragraph of the essay should talk about how this body evidence supports your thesis as well as restate what your thesis was in order to finish off on a strong closing claim.
Here is an example on how to structure a poem analysis essay :
Sample Poem Analysis Essay Outline: “Autumnal Equinox”” By Robert Frost
Robert Frost was born in 1874 and died 1961. He was an American poet. The poem “Autumnal Equinox” describes the beauty of man and nature interacting with each other in perfect harmony.
Summary: The poem tells a story about two men walking down a road on their way to work. They encounter two women who are doing the same thing. One woman is dressed modestly, carrying her lunch basket. The other one is more provocative, wearing shorts and flirting with the men as they walk by her. The first man (with whom you identify) admires then ignores the sensuous looker because he has Mary, his wife at home to love him honestly for himself; while the second man lusts after her because he is married to a woman who does not appreciate him for who he is. The first man then imagines what it would be like if people were able to see through the characters they present and bestow upon them the love that they deserve.”
Evidence: When you meet a stranger/person you may give your true self or a façade of yourself. You may also have an effect on other people through your personality, body language and style. This poem illustrates the different types of love humans can experience by showing two men encounter two women dressed differently on their way to work in nature, where we are meant to feel whole without pretense: “And each kept wholly to himself” (lines 13-14). One man admires her sensuous look, while the other ignores her all together. Then you are invited to imagine what it would be like if we could see through the characters that people present and discover who they truly are in order to grant them love: “But as he drew her near/ To touch his arm she went” (lines 17-18).
Robert Frost is excellent at describing how people interact with each other without pretense because nature is where we feel whole. You could not tell by looking at this woman or man that she was mean or generous, a loving person or one seeking pleasure; but when either of them came close enough for someone else to touch their arms, you discovered who they were and gave them true love. In conclusion, people need to look at each other past the exteriors and see who they are on the inside before judging others.
Poem analysis essay format / outline
Format for poem analysis essay should include:
- Introduction: background information on the poem
- Body / Analysis of poem: discuss the layout and style of writing (analyze poetic devices, imagery, etc.) This is where you get down to actual criticism. This can be a minimum of one page. An essay about one page long with no additional examples cited supporting your claims is fine.
- Conclusion : To conclude a poem analysis essay, the following may be helpful: Summarize your critical findings and discuss how you interpret the poet’s intended meaning and to whom it is directed.
- Works Cited / Reference Page (At least two sources must be cited.) Use a citation style specific to your discipline when citing sources in an essay.
Read: how to structure an essay .
Summary of poem analysis essay format:
The introduction is only one paragraph, but, to gain credit for an introductory paragraph, provide background information on the topic and specific title of work being studied. The important thing about this section is that it sets up the rest of the paper by explaining why someone would want to study the topic and what you hope to show by writing your paper.
The meat of the essay is in its body, which should be a minimum of one page. Each paragraph should have some kind of transition sentence or phrase at the beginning so that it is clear how each new aspect will relate to previous information. One of the most common mistakes made when writing papers is not tying together all parts with transitions between paragraphs and sentences; don’t make this mistake!
Your conclusion can summarize what was accomplished in the essay or further explore ideas presented throughout the piece. If you use an outside source for research, cite it using a proper citation style.
In short, poem analysis essays are longer than opinion papers because they require greater research and depth as to content. They include a lot of information on the poet, work being analyzed and your understanding of said content.
Poem analysis essay outline example:
Introduction (Background Information) : “The Great Depression” by John Steinbeck is an autobiographical account of the author’s experiences during The Great Depression which occurred from 1929 to 1939 in the United States. An estimated 33 million Americans were unemployed during that period due to low demand for goods and services which greatly hurt many families financially. This event caused many people to be homeless or live below subsistence level conditions until World War II began pulling the nation out of its economic slump with military spending placing many people back in jobs earning high wages and purchasing new consumer goods like cars, electric appliances even though many were just barely scraping by.
Body (In-depth Analysis):
The writer’s style is clear and simple which allows the reader to focus on the content of the poem rather than trying to understand complex vocabulary or difficult sentence structure.
Description: To describe an event, place or person, it is helpful to start with details that are specific and concrete like colors, shapes, sizes.
It is also important to include comparisons (e.g., larger than a pencil) that help fully envision what you are describing; this draws in your audience so they can see for themselves what you are talking about instead of having to make it up in their imagination or skim over the passage while trying to guess what it might be. Imagery:
Imagery is when words suggest sensory information like smells, tastes and sights. The use of “yellow” to describe a sunrise implies that the sun appears yellow when it first rises in the morning sky.
In other poems (like “Ode on a Grecian Urn”), imagery serves another purpose by introducing symbolism which is when objects refer to ideas beyond their physical properties (e.g., the urn refers not only to a pot for holding ashes but also to an idea of love being untouchable).
Conclusion: Steinbeck’s true personality comes out in this poem as he recounts his own experiences with poverty and how much they affect many people’s lives. It shows how valuable one event can be even when it triggers a chain reaction to other events that have no purpose other than causing further disaster.
Poetry analysis essay example
This is a sample poem analysis essay. The poem in question here is “Lost” by Alexander Pope. This essay was submitted as a sample by a student after using Tutlance to lean how to structure a poem analysis essay from our tutors. You can use this sample to write
The poem, “Lost” by Alexander Pope, tells the story about a man who is searching for his lost love: “Whilst she from Him still hears some faithful fame/ And thousand kisses to her name addressed…he grows old alone.” (Pope 8). He does not know where she went and what happened to her. In this piece of literature, he describes how much he misses his love. Aside from that, Pope tells us something else. He put aside his love for his friend and he chose to be faithful to that woman: “And thousand kisses to her name addressed.” The poet wants us to understand how much he loves the girl; it is very true of a man who had loved his mate. Although he misses the love of his life, he feels lonely without her: “…when thou art gone where none but gossips come…” (Pope 16). He believes that she will never come back; it is impossible for them to meet again because she has left him too long ago. He remembers how they first met each other until here in this place, but then everything was lost when she disappeared. This hidden meaning reveals itself as we read further in the poem: “…and I feel thy want reviving my pains as much as ever.” (Pope 19). He thinks that if she is in the place where he or any person cannot see her, there will be no feelings of love between them.
In this poem, Pope uses several literary devices used to achieve his purpose; these devices are the metaphor, repetition and rhyme scheme. When she left him, it was like losing a part of himself. In the first two stanzas of this poem, Pope describes how lonely he felt without her. He explains that when he goes out with friends, they do not understand what happened to him but his heart: “But then your absence makes me all too known/ How steep that hill with steps how high you drawn!”(Pope 10-11). The poet is saying that when she left him, it was like climbing the highest mountain in the world. Pope wants us to understand how much he loves her. He uses these images of mountains and steps “to describe how difficult it is to be apart from his love.”
In this poem, Alexander Pope uses repetition three times because it helps create a rhythm and rhyme scheme. In the first stanza, he repeats an image: “…my dull eyes with wandering to and fro…” (Pope 1). Then he repeats what he said before: “…and make delays as lovers do…”(Pope 2) The last time Pope repeats words are when we read the last two lines of each stanzas: “…come live with me and be my love… …let us make haste to live…” (Pope 3-4). The poet makes no change when he repeats this twice.
“…when she from Him still hears some faithful fame/ And thousand kisses to her name addressed.” (Pope 8)
The last quotation of this poem is the most important one because it tells how much Pope loves his beloved: “…when thou art gone where none but gossips come…”(Pope 16). In this line, Pope uses onomatopoeia for several times. He describes that she has disappeared a long time ago, but she hasn’t lost someone who really loves her so deeply inside of him; it is like he knows what happened to her just by intuition: “…But gossips all my faith would have betrayed…”(Pope 16). Even though he could not see her, Pope is still faithful to his love.
This poem tells us that we should value and appreciate the things around us because they are gone forever if we do not do anything about it. Since you’ve read this article, you probably understand that in life there will come a time when we lose something or someone very important to ourselves; I was sure that this topic must be important for everybody no matter who you are or where you come from: “Lose something every day… Accept the flusteration.” (Stevens). This piece of literature can teach us how to face all problems in our lives. We will find solutions to all problems as long as we focus our minds and hearts on it.
I also would like to recommend you to read the other works of Pope; he is an amazing writer, so his work is very interesting for any reader. It was one of my favourite poets, and I’m sure that after reading this article not only you but others will love him too.
How to write a poem evaluation essay
In a poem evaluation essay, you will be offering a critical analysis of the artwork (usually a poem) you are evaluating. You will also be revealing your opinion on this art form, provide an explanation for your conclusion and suggest what else can be done to improve upon it.
Critical analysis is a literary technique that involves the examination and evaluation of an artwork.
In a poem (or any form of art) evaluation essay, you are expected to analyze the qualities of various aspects or elements within the work of art. The problem with writing such an essay is that it may be quite difficult to decide exactly where to begin analyzing the work.
You will need to do some research on your own before beginning your essay and draft out an outline for your essay. Once you have done this, try working on each section individually before adding them all together into one cohesive piece.
How to structure a poetry analysis essay?
This is a difficult question, because poetry can be written in many different ways. However, I’ll share some ideas that might work.
First, you could discuss the use of language in the poem and how it shapes meaning. You could talk about the tone of the poem, and how it changes over time. When discussing structure you might consider: where the poem moves from one idea to another (how does a transition happen?), how much time passes or changes between two sections of a poem, or what causes an action to start? You could also talk about how a particular technique shapes meaning in a poem–for example, when line length affects meaning. This would be relevant for poems with fixed line lengths (like haiku) but might not apply to free verse. Another technique to discuss would be rhyme–both the kinds of rhyming used in a poem (and why it’s chosen) and how meaning is affected by using different types of rhymes.
As for style, this could take many forms as well. For instance, you might consider: what kind of language or diction is the poem written in? How are these words arranged on the page, and how does that affect meaning? To examine syntax, you might look at how lines are connected–how do they flow together when read aloud? Is there repetition within a section or between sections; what causes one part to end and another part to begin? You could also consider imagery–what images are presented and how they might affect meaning.
All of these elements are important to poetry, and this is just a short list I’ve compiled. For more ideas you could look at this list of poetic terms from a university level course (though it focuses on poems in English).
These are some useful terms to know when writing a poem analysis essay: form, structure, style, tone, imagery, syntax and diction. You should also keep in mind that there’s no strict definition for what a poem “is”–for example, some genres break rules or mix together different kinds of language. This means that you can talk about why poets would make such choices even if the poem isn’t strictly following traditional expectations.
As far as sources go, you might look at the poems themselves. There’s also a wide variety of academic sources about poetry (you could search for them using keywords like “poetry analysis” to find more). It might be helpful to read through some examples of poem analysis, as they’ll give you practice on how to structure your own essay. You should always use credible sources. If you’ve found a useful book or article, it will probably have a Works Cited in its back matter which lists where the author got her information from–and this is an important part of an academic paper.
You can often find these online by searching for a title and author; if not, the library can help you locate one that matches.
Poem Analysis Essay Writing help
To conclude, if you are having problems writing a poem analysis essay, then it might be wise for you to consider using the services of an essay writing service such as Tutlance. These types of companies employ professional writers who have years of experience in writing academic essays and term papers so they are more than capable of helping you with your assignment. They also use software that is designed specifically to detect plagiarism when they write essays or create them from scratch if necessary.
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How to Analyze a Poem: Writing Guide, Tips and Examples
Table of contents
Have you got an analytical essay assignment about arts? Now wonder how to analyze a poem properly? No worries, we’ve got you covered! Poetry is often complicated which is why it might take some time and effort. This article will focus on best practices and ways to analyze poems. We’ll discuss basic definitions, some helpful tips and tricks and will also review several helpful examples. At the end, you’ll be prepared for composing a winning paper on any poetical topic. So, let’s go – time to enter creative mood!
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Poem Analysis Definition
Let’s start with defining the concept of poetry analysis. An analyst is expected to examine main independent elements of selected poems on different levels. They are:
- Tone of poet’s words
- Usage of literary devices (e.g. analogy or hyperbola), and so on.
The goal is understanding some literary work in its entirety. You might need to read it several times, paying attention to a different level each time. This would help when analyzing them methodically as you’ll avoid missing some important author’s message.
What to Consider When Writing a Poetry Analysis?
In order to reach that goal, one must consider some important things when writing their poem analysis essay. They are:
- Theme Core message which might be hidden and expressed through figurative means. Uncovering it requires good familiarity with poem’s context as well as with contemporary stylistic traditions.
- Language Style and imagery used in poems for conveying different meanings. Author’s language also impacts its rhythm and sound.
- Structure An author places different elements in specific order which defines how we read and interpret it.
- Context What is told about characters, places, time & surrounding circumstances.
- Sound How author uses syllabic patterns and stresses and what message do they convey.
How to Analyze a Poem: Step-By-Step
Staying methodical is important so let’s proceed with “how to” analysis. Poetry may have many layers, as we’ve discussed above. So better pay attention to all important aspects, including:
- speaker’s tone & style,
- play of words,
- messages hidden behind the lines,
- structure + literary devices used in this poem.
Below are seven main steps for completing such an analysis. Following them will make finding hidden sense quite easy.
Step 1. Read a Poem Before Writing an Poem Analysis
A proper poem analysis requires deep understanding of all those layers. The best way of ensuring this is reading main verse at least twice before even starting categorizing its features and making conclusions. It is often recommended reading this poem to yourself first. Then you should read it again, but aloud, all way through. Hearing the rhythm or sounds may change your perception significantly and help uncovering some hidden messages its author has left in it.
Step 2. Create the Rhyme Scheme for a Poem
Next step of poem analysis essay is mapping its rhyming scheme . There might be different rhyming patterns, particularly some popular ones like ‘terza rima’ (interconnected three-line elements). In order to map out such pattern, you can assign some letter to each rhyme and write these letters instead of whole lines to depict the usage of rhymes in this verse: e.g. ABAB CDCD or ABBA CDDC. This would make it easier to analyze general style or argue about its details or some contextual connections. Patterns may have parallels with some well-known literary works and thus introduce new meanings.
Step 3. Analyze the Meter of Poetry
The meter scan is another important step of poetry analysis. Your goal is identifying complete number of feet in each line and the general rhythmic pattern: e.g., pentameter or hexameter. Recommended actions are:
- Divide lines into syllables
- Make notes about stressed & unstressed syllables
- Identify each foot, i.e. a single syllable group which has been stressed
- Obtain general structure of feet & make assumptions about it.
Once you’ve completed the meter scan, you’ll be able to proceed completing next step.
Step 4. Consider the Structure of Your Poem
Another thing the poem analysis requires is making a statement about the poem’s structure . The typical solution for that is breaking down the entire verse into sections, noticing how many lines are in each one and what is pattern of these line breaks. This would help a lot in extracting additional sense from its text and making additional assumptions about its author’s message. Note that the structure might be complicated so searching for analogies with other similar poem types might be quite challenging.
Step 5. Pay Attention to the Content of the Poem
The content part is a core part of poetry analysis. As researcher, make sure you understand what language, tools and imagery the poet uses. Poem’s stylistic peculiarities and subtle meanings of certain phrases are to be inspected in detail. Besides, you most probably should understand where these verses have been written and how they are connected with their content. Analyze different pieces separately and check how they are connected with each other. Make assumptions whether any additional sense can be extracted from these connections. E.g. they can contain references pointing at some political or historical events.
Step 6. Think About the Theme of Poetry
Next step of poem analysis is reviewing its central theme . This part focuses directly on main messages speakers try conveying to their readers. The main idea may be clearly put in the heading or at the beginning of this text. However, it also might be hidden behind its lines. This is when you need to put all previous results together:
- rhyme pattern
- style it is written in
- author’s language
- structure & logical ties in it, etc.
Step 7. Learn the Context of Poem
Last step of poetry analysis is examining its context in detail. The goal is to understand what references and relations to specific people, events or situations did its author include into it. Context analysis involves finding out why the poem was created, what had inspired it and what was its author's purpose: e.g., was it a romantic move or some political pamphlet. Making assumptions about that would help achieve a deeper understanding of author's main message.
Poetry Analysis Essay Example
In case you need an illustration for the guide provided above, we’ve got some real poem analysis example for your convenience. It includes decompositioning each specific line of the chosen verse and preparing a scheme of rhymes and rhythm in accordance with recommended steps. This should help you with writing your winning paper! You can also look through book reviews examples , they may help with your analysis.
How to Analyze a Poem: Final Thoughts
So these are the key things we needed to learn about the poem analysis concept. This included analyst’s main goal as well as typical features of a poetical composition. Ways to uncover its author's message have also been reviewed today. We've also provided a clear step by step guide to help you get started and prepared a working example of such analysis.
We have a team of skilled paper writers who are always ready for composing a top-notch analysis for you. From in-depth research to proper formatting, our experts will do everything to make you satisfied.
FAQ About Poetry Analysis
1. what are the 5 elements of a poem.
The list of elements of a poem may include: voice, diction, imagery, figures of speech, symbolism and allegory, syntax, sound, rhythm & meter, and structure. Context may also be included, especially when some verse relates to certain political or social events. Theme of a poetic text is its core element even if not specified directly. Rhyme scheme, rhythm, language, structure & theme are typically considered as main elements to be used in poetry analysis.
2. What qualifies as a poem?
A poem is a text where the interplay of words and rhythm plays the central role, usually even bigger than that of its contents. Its author conveys their ideas and feelings on a selected subject through rhyming, rhythms and word play as well as through the text itself. Therefore, poetical analysis is less focused on actual content and rather pays greater attention to the peculiarities of the literary tools usage.
3. How many paragraphs should a poetry analysis be?
Smaller poems usually need less analysis. Typical structure for high school literary analysis essay consists of five paragraphs: the three paragraphs of main body, plus introduction and conclusion. Of course, poetry analysis depends significantly on the selected poem’s complexity so it might take much more than that. If author uses several literary tools and the poem contains many hidden contextual references, at least several pages might be required to analyze that properly.
4. How long should the conclusion to your poetic analysis be?
At the end of your poetic analysis your goal is clearly restating your main thesis and summarize your findings, showing their relation to the thesis. At the same time, strong conclusion should broaden the scope of the essay. Typically it requires from four to six sentences. Please note that a conclusion must not be too long as its purpose is merely summarizing and highlighting your results without adding any new facts.
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Poetry Analysis: How to Analyze a Poem
Every author and poet has their own unique style that cannot be replicated. Based on how they think or what they are trying to portray, they create various poems to explore several ideas or theories that were on their mind.
By mastering how to analyze poetry, you also learn how to ask questions, see multiple meanings in simple things, and develop figurative thinking. Let’s give your brain a boost! Discover how to write poetry analysis from EssayPro service - custom dissertation writing .
What Is a Poetry Analysis?
Poetry analysis is the process of reviewing the multiple artistic, functional, and structural pieces that make up a poem. Typically, this review is conducted and recorded within the structure of a literary analysis essay.
The nature of poetry is expressing complex feelings, which usually makes multiple meanings. To understand them, you must examine not only words, but also rhythm, images, obvious meaning, and implied meaning.
Writing a poem analysis essay requires one to take a more in-depth look at both the choices that a poet made and the overall effects of those choices. These papers need a detailed analysis of all of the parts that were used to form a work of poetry.
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4 Pre-Writing Steps to Take
Read the poem carefully.
It is essential to reread the analyzed poetry several times to get a full grasp of the numerous ideas and concepts. This also gives you an opportunity to make a note of the rhyme scheme (if there is one), the type of poem (limerick, ode, sonnet, lyric, haiku, free verse, etc.) and other poetic techniques that the poet used (such as enjambment, meter, end-stopped lines, figurative language, etc.).
- Limerick: Limerick is a stanza of five lines, with the first, second and fifth rhyming with one another and having three feet of three syllables each; and the shorter third and fourth lines also rhyme with each other, but having only two feet of three syllables.
- Ode: Its structure — 10-line stanzas rhyming, with the 8th line iambic trimeter and all the others iambic pentameter
- Sonnet: A fourteen-line poem written in iambic pentameter. Was made famous by non-other than Shakespeare! (Shakespeare invented the word "swag"... just saying)
- Lyric: A lyric poem is a comparatively short, non-narrative poem in which a single speaker presents a state of mind or an emotional state. Rather than tell a story, the speaker talks about his thoughts using a specific rhyming style.
- Haiku: Invented by the Japanese, a haiku is a three-line poem with seventeen syllables, written in a 5/7/5 syllable count.
- Free-Verse: Rather simple, free verse is poetry that does not rhyme or have a regular rhythm.
All of those elements of the poem are essential to know when one is writing a poetry analysis essay because they are a part of the poem’s structure and can affect the content.
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Learn About the Background of the Poem
This means that you can find it beneficial to look up the poet, the date that the poem was written, and the cultural context of the work. All of that information typically gives the reader a more in-depth understanding of the poem, and it seems self-explanatory that one who has an enhanced comprehension of the poem would have an easier time analyzing that poem.
Define a Composition Dedicated to the Subject Matter of the Poem
This can be analyzed during the reader’s quest to determine the theme, tone, mood, and meaning of the poem. The subject matter — and the thematic elements that support the intended message behind the subject — is often an interpretive minefield.
Pick a Side Among the Various Theories That You Have Created
Often, people have different ideas about what a poet is trying to say by their use of a subject, so unless the message is implicitly stated, it is best to report multiple possibilities about what the poet may have meant and included evidence for these theories.
The amateur writer can try to elaborate on several existing ideas and theories. Be careful not to mistake this with choosing a popular opinion or biased one. They should be defending the one that carries the most weight or offers the most validation. As the essay is supposed to be an analysis, try to avoid opinions in favor of facts and conjectures that are backed by evidence from work.
How to Choose a Poem to Analyze?
A great way to choose a topic for a poetry analysis essay is to decide on one that would deal with information that you are already familiar with. For example, if the choice of the poem to analyze is up to you, then it may be beneficial for you to choose a poem that you have encountered before. If the choice is to be made between different subject areas within a poem, then you could find it easier to choose to focus on writing about an area that plays to your strengths, so that the statements made in the essay are conveyed clearly and confidently.
A poem analysis essay may seem like a daunting writing assignment at first, but if the topic, outline, and paper are composed following the steps mentioned above, the paper will no doubt, turn out very well.
Poetry Analysis Essay Outline
An outline for a poetry analysis essay can be very simple. It is merely a guideline for the writer to build upon. Put the title of the paper at the top of the page, then place the number one (1) underneath, just before the word “Introduction.” Under this, you can list brainstormed ideas for the introduction paragraph of the paper. The final portion of this section should be dedicated to the thesis statement of the paper.
Need a poetry analysis essay outline? Here is a basic structure to follow for your outline:
Following an outline for a poetry research essay is recommended to make sure you organize all your thoughts and statements you want to say. No matter whether you know how to write poetry — an outline will help identify areas that need to be explored in the analysis.
Starting with the title for the analysis can be something very basic or a clever quote, a statement from the piece. Moving onto the introduction to poetry analysis, this should open with a “hook” to get the reader's attention. Follow up with the Authors name and title for the piece. Add some interesting trivia or background info that is not known to the audience, but try to keep it short. To finish off the introduction to a poetry analysis, state your thesis.
The bulk of ideas and comparisons need to be explored here in a clear, focused way. When writing a poetry analysis, each paragraph should be devoted to one point or feature you are comparing. You can divide each point by using the corresponding letter from the outline. Try to make it a coherent and specific about what is being compared (example: when stating your ideas about what the poetic devices do to the piece check whether you state each one and do not generalize). Using transition words and phrases will keep the paragraphs flowing well and more helpful to read.
It's important when looking at how to analyze a poem to finish with a set-out conclusion. Firstly, start by restating the thesis in different words. Summarize the most important findings to prove the thesis. From this, you can draw up your own opinions and take a step back and say what it all means with one key idea. Lastly, try to leave the reader with something memorable to take away with them (a thought-provoking sentence or question about the poem).
Tips for a Poetry Analysis
We have put together some handy tips to help you with when writing a poetry analysis essay:
- If possible, choose a poem that you would like to write about. This seems like a simple enough idea but very relevant. If you have the choice pick a poem you enjoy.
- Try reading the poem to a colleague or friend and even just out loud to yourself. This will help discover any hidden information from the sound, and it’s always good to get a second opinion or extra ideas.
- Don’t be scared to double-check the meanings of words and phrases. This is vital to know how to write a poem analysis essay and to the best, you can. Some words may have had different meanings, cultural references and places all should be looked up if only half certain.
- Check if the conclusion has one clear central idea or theme. Do not put in many confusing ideas or conclusions as this will look like you have not evaluated the work with focus. To go beyond a simple poetry analysis for middle school, try to show how it links to broader themes and the outside world.
- Always try to look beyond the words themselves. Hunt for hidden meanings and any little clues upon which to build a picture. Anybody could know how to write a poem but to explore the hidden meanings within poetry takes time, skill, and a lot of research.
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Poetry Analysis Essay Example
Read also a very fascinating article the Divine Comedy summary . Our readers find it very informative.
Ballad of Birmingham is the author of the poem that revolves around a little girl who would like to go downtown to take part in a freedom protest. Her mother, however, says that she cannot go because of the dangerous conditions outside. Her mother instead tells her to go to church despite the little girl's constant explanations that she would not be alone. Defeated and in a show of respect for her mother, the little girl gets dressed and goes to church. Her mother is contented that she would be fine at the church. Sooner her mother hears of an explosion that sets her racing downtown in search of her daughter. Unfortunately, she finds her daughters dress and shoes in the piles and rubbles. She is left wondering where her daughter is.
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How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay
10 May 2021
What is a literary analysis essay and what is its purpose, what must literature essays include.
How to write a title and introduction to a literature essay?
How to write a body paragraph for a literature essay?
How to write a conclusion for a literature essay?
In order to write an essay, you need a plan to adhere to the correct structure and composition. When the idea of writing appears in your head, write it, because inspiration is fleeting. It may seem that a literary essay is much more difficult to write than any other type, but with our advice, you will surely succeed. So how to write a literary analysis essay?
The purpose of a literature essay analysis is to evaluate and examine a particular literary work or some aspect of it. It describes the main topic or idea of the book you read.
This can be achieved by breaking the work down into composite analysis. In order to better understand a particular literary work, it is necessary to study its main elements. And in different genres of literature, you will refer to different schemes. For example, in the analysis of the poem, you will touch upon various types of paintings in the poem or the relationship of the content and form of the work. When analyzing the play, you can revise the whole plot and describe its analysis or, for example, study the main tragic hero, his shortcomings or advantages that will be visible in his development along with the text.
How to start a literary analysis? When you just read a book, it draws more attention to your own emotions and experiences that provide the pleasure of reading. But while writing a literary analysis essay, the main thing is to consider these points:
- The style of the work
- Form for submitting ideas
- The relationship between form and content
- The relationship between the main plot and the subplot
- Strengths and weaknesses of characters
- Strengths and weaknesses of the plot
Writing is a pointed, focused expression of thought and study. When you develop in writing, then along with this, your perception of the world develops and your critical thinking and analysis skills improve. You develop creative thinking and ideas because without them there would be no writing. The main goal in a literary and analytical essay is to appeal to the reader in such a way that he sees what position you hold and goes over to your side. There must be concrete development, the writing of the text must be decisive and has no right to stumble.
As you can see, control, structure, and adherence to the rules for writing an essay are important. The first thing you need to find is the main idea. In other words, a thesis in which there should be several paragraphs. This is necessary in order to show the gradation of thought: how thoughts grow and develop from one central idea. You must do everything to develop the thesis and to convey your main idea to the reader. Ideally, the reader would be inclined to accept your idea correctly and be on your side.
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Here are the basic principles of this essay:
- Your work should fully highlight the topic you are writing about.
- The essay should have the main idea, which will be the starting point for the development of all work.
- The structure of the essay should be written in such a way that the reader comes to conclusions regarding the main idea that will be described.
The main thing here is to avoid having to write all the thoughts that come to your mind after reading the book. Always stick to the structure.
- Formulate a specific topic, which will proceed from the central idea about which you want to tell the reader.
- There should be a central thesis from which it will immediately become clear what your work is about. It should be understandable. Everything that you write in your essay should relate to this thesis and confirm it.
- The basic structure of any form of academic writing includes an introduction, a framework, and a conclusion . This formula must be adhered to while writing a literary essay. In any case, do not hesitate to ask for help, because buying essays online from professional writers will make your job easier.
✏️Examples of literary analysis:
In “A Worn Way”, the author Eudora Welty creates a fictional character, Phoenix Jackson, who collects traits such as determination, faith, and cunning to illustrate the indestructible human spirit.
This is a very strong thesis because everything is collected here: the work itself and its author are indicated, and character as well to be analyzed. The emphasis here is on the word "creates." Because here the author of the work will explore the character of the hero and his main characteristics. This element emphasizes what the hero’s analysis will be based on created determination, faith and cunning.
✏️Other examples of literary analysis:
The image and character of the Nurses in Romeo and Juliet envelops the main character - Juliet - with warmth, joy, and wit, but at the same time helps the reader realize the tragic catastrophe.
The works of poets such as Rumi, Hafiz and Kabir use such strong emotional symbols as the lover's longing and the destroyed inn, which demonstrate the desire of a person (his soul) to reunite with the Creator.
How to Write a Title and Introduction to a Literature Essay?
A proper literary analysis essay would require you to have the following:
Before you think of choosing a title, you need to read the given literature carefully, as your title must highlight the content of the literature. Aside from that, it normally comprises the author's name and the texts you are evaluating. However, you will need to make it as brief and interactive as you can.
Additionally, the usual way of writing a literature essay title is to make use of a significant phrase from the given literature. Afterwards, include a colon, followed by the remaining parts of your chosen title. Although finding a proper title might seem a bit difficult initially, it would get more straightforward as you continue your analysis.
After choosing an appropriate title for your literary analysis, a well-structured introduction should be your first paragraph. Writing an introduction for a literary analysis essay gives an instant outline of the areas your argument is concentrated on. Therefore, you must write your introduction creatively to get the attention of anyone reading it.
The normal procedure of writing an introduction for your literary analysis essay outline is to start with brief facts about the author and the literature. These provided facts would be instrumental in presenting the rest of your essay.
In addition, you can mention a frequently discussed point in the literature and indicate how your thesis will dispute it. Aside from that, you can choose to briefly discuss a specific phrase your essay is based on.
Afterwards, you can finish writing the introduction to a literary analysis essay with a clue about the content of the essay's body. This style of writing is known as signal posting. Signal posting should be done more elaborately while writing longer literary essays. However, it shouldn't be multiple sentences in a 5 paragraph structured essay.
How to Write a Body Paragraph for a Literature Essay?
The body of a literature essay is all that is within the literary analysis essay introduction and its conclusion. It comprises your thesis and the textual evidence that backs them. There are some factors you need to consider on how to start off a literary analysis essay while writing. These factors are as follows:
- Paragraph structure
- Topic sentences
- Utilizing textual evidence
Normally in high schools, the structure of a literary essay comprises 5 paragraphs. One of the paragraphs is used in writing the introduction, 3 paragraphs for the body, and the remaining paragraph for the conclusion.
In the main body of the essay, every paragraph must concentrate on a topic. While writing a five-paragraph structured essay, you need to split your thesis into 3 major topics of analysis connected to your essay. You need not write all the points derivable from the literature but just the analysis that backs your thesis.
You don't need to think too deeply about how to write a literary analysis thesis extensively as it is similar to the short 5-paragraph thesis. For instance, the main body of your essay might consist of 2 or 3 paragraphs, with each of the paragraphs with multiple paragraphs.
You must utilize a topic sentence while starting every paragraph to maintain the focus of your points. Using a proper topic sentence would allow every reader to understand the content of your paragraph at a glance.
Utilizing Textual Evidence
One of the vital parts of doing a literary analysis is to support your thesis statement with fitting textual evidence. Using textual evidence involves bringing in clauses from the literature you are analyzing and describing their relevance to your dispute.
Additionally, you must interpret every clause you state in the essay and state the reasons you chose to use them. Your chosen clauses must be well introduced and examined to convince the reader.
Applying clauses from the literature to your essay is not required often, although it is effective while analyzing the author's language. However, at times you might need to discuss plot topics or structural factors that are impossible to capture in a brief clause.
In such situations, rephrasing or summarizing parts of the literature is the right thing to do. In other words, you will need to discuss the significant parts of the texts in your way.
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How to Write a Conclusion for a Literature Essay?
While writing a conclusion of your essay, it should be about putting the finishing touches on your essay. In this section, all you need to do is to rephrase your aforementioned main points and try to make them clearer to the reader.
Additionally, one of the best ways to go about this is to summarize your disputes and then discuss the conclusion they brought about. You should visit the write my essay for me portal if you don't understand how to write a conclusion for a literary analysis. At the aforementioned portal, you are guaranteed to have your analysis done by expert writers ahead of your deadline.
Note that while writing your conclusion, you do not need to discuss any disputes or points you did not discuss previously in your analysis.
Educational institutions use literary analysis essays to improve the learning abilities of students. Although it might seem complex, with the basic knowledge of how to go about it and the help of experts, you won't find it difficult.
Writing a proper literary analysis essay requires you to know how to choose a title and an appropriate introduction. Besides that, you also need to know the appropriate manner of writing a body for short or longer essays. Aside from that, you must learn how to write a fitting conclusion for your analysis.
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A typical structure for a high school literary analysis essay consists of five paragraphs: the three paragraphs of the body, plus the introduction and conclusion. Each paragraph in the main body should focus on one topic. In the five-paragraph model, try to divide your argument into three main areas of analysis, all linked to your thesis.
In order to write effectively about poetry, one needs a clear idea of what the point of writing about poetry is. When you are assigned an analytical essay about a poem in an English class, the goal of the assignment is usually to argue a specific thesis about the poem, using your analysis of specific elements in the poem and how those elements ...
A poetry analysis essay is a type of creative write-up that implies reviewing a poem from different perspectives by dealing with its structural, artistic, and functional pieces. Since the poetry expresses very complicated feelings that may have different meanings depending on the backgrounds of both author and reader, it would not be enough ...
The term regularly used for the development of the central idea of a literary analysis essay is the body. In this section you present the paragraphs (at least 3 paragraphs for a 500-750 word essay) that support your thesis statement. Good literary analysis essays contain an explanation of your ideas and evidence from the text (short story,
A poem analysis essay must clearly state everything it intends to achieve and what its aim is before proceeding with the actual analysis itself. Read more about: poem explication essay. In order to do this properly, you will need to state the purpose of your poem analysis essay at the beginning.
Obtain general structure of feet & make assumptions about it. Once you’ve completed the meter scan, you’ll be able to proceed completing next step. Step 4. Consider the Structure of Your Poem. Another thing the poem analysis requires is making a statement about the poem’s structure.
Poetry Analysis Essay Outline. An outline for a poetry analysis essay can be very simple. It is merely a guideline for the writer to build upon. Put the title of the paper at the top of the page, then place the number one (1) underneath, just before the word “Introduction.”
But while writing a literary analysis essay, the main thing is to consider these points: Subject. The style of the work. Form for submitting ideas. Main theme. The relationship between form and content. The relationship between the main plot and the subplot. Strengths and weaknesses of characters. Strengths and weaknesses of the plot.