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How to Write an Introduction for a Literary

Analysis Essay
By Erica Sweeney, eHow Contributor
The introduction to a literary analysis essay has to hook the reader.

A literary analysis essay explains the significance of a specific aspect of a literary work.
Literary analyses are scholarly essays and should be written more conservatively than
other types of essays. An introduction for a literary analysis should provide
relevant information about the work of literature and orientate the reader to what will

1. Start out with a clear topic--an interpretation of a specific aspect of a work of
literature. Understanding what you are writing about is vital to writing a good
introduction and essay.
2. State the title and author of the literary work in the first sentence. This is essential so
that the reader knows which poem, short story or novel you are discussing. Do not
start out discussing characters before telling the reader in which work of literature
they appear.
3. Hook the reader in the first sentence, just as you would in any other essay. What is
something interesting about the work that you can tell the reader in the first line?
The piece of interesting information must also be relevant to the topic and to the
literary element being discussed.
4. Assume that the reader has read and is familiar with the work of literature that you
are writing about. Keeping this in mind will stop you from including too much plot
summary in the introduction and the rest of the essay.
5. Make clear what it is you are analyzing in the essay. Explain a bit about this aspect in
the introduction so that the reader is clear about what is being analyzed.
6. Do not start analyzing the work. Acquaint the reader to what will be analyzed, but
save the actual analyzing for the body.
7. State the thesis in the last sentence of the introduction. The thesis should clearly
state what the essay will analyze and should be very specific.

8. Use transitions throughout the introduction. Because there are so many things that
have to be included, the introduction can end up a clump of sentences stuck together.
Make sure that it makes sense on its own as a paragraph.

How to Make a Strong Introduction for a

Literary Analysis Essay
By Goody Clairenstein, eHow Contributor
Write a strong introduction to better convince your reader of your point of view.

The introduction is the first thing your reader will encounter in your literary analysis
essay, so it's essential that you write clearly and concisely. Literary analysis requires the
writer to carefully follow a theme, motif, character development or stylistic element and
examine its importance within the context of the book . Because literary analysis
depends on the writer's interpretation of the text, it's often necessary to convince the
reader of your point of view. Writing a strong introduction to your essay will help launch
your reader into your main points.

1. Begin writing the introduction after you have completed your literary analysis essay.
This may seem counter-intuitive, but once you have finished enumerating and
explaining your main points, you'll be better able to identify what they share in
common, which you can introduce in the first paragraph of your essay. You can also
begin writing the introduction after completing your in-depth outline of the essay,
where you lay out your main points and organize your paper before you begin
2. Start your introduction with a grabber. In a literary analysis essay, an effective
grabber can be a short quote from the text you're analyzing that encapsulates some
aspect of your interpretation. Other good grabbers are quotes from the book's author
regarding your paper's topic or another aspect relevant to the text and how you
interpreted it. Place the quote in quotation marks as the first sentence of the
introductory paragraph. Your next sentence should identify the speaker and context
of the quotation, as well as briefly describing how the quote relates to your literary

3. Keep the body of your introduction relatively short. A paragraph in a literary analysis
essay should be between eight and 12 sentences long. In the introduction, write three
to four sentences generally describing the topic of your paper and explaining why it is
interesting and important to the book you read. These three or four sentences will
make up the bulk of your introductory paragraph. Use these sentences to sketch the
main points that you describe in greater detail in the body of your essay.
4. Finish your introductory paragraph with your thesis statement. The thesis statement
clearly states the main point of your paper as a whole. It can be one sentence long or
span two sentences, but it should always be the very last part of the introductory
paragraph. For a five-paragraph essay with three body paragraphs, write one
sentence identifying your paper's main point. In the second sentence, called the
blueprint, identify the three main topics of each body paragraph and how they
support your thesis. For more advanced literary analysis essays, it's not always
necessary to enumerate explicitly the main point of each body paragraph as part of
your thesis statement. Focus instead on clearly and concisely stating the driving force
behind your paper's organization and development.

Tips & Warnings

It can be useful to finish writing your paper, including your concluding paragraph,
before you tackle the introduction. The conclusion and the introduction should contain
the same content, stated differently. In the conclusion, you can sum up the main
points of your essay and explain how and why they are important to the book and to
your interpretation of the text. Your introduction can then be a reworked paraphrasing
of your conclusion, and you can rest assured that you haven't left anything out.

How to Write a Conclusion for a Literary

Analysis Essay
By Erica Sweeney, eHow Contributor
The conclusion to a literary analysis essay should not bring up new points.

A literary analysis essay focuses on a particular aspect of a work of literature. This type of
essay should be written in a scholarly style and format to professionally discuss the
literary work. Conclusions for literary analysis sum up the main points of the essay and
restate the thesis.

1. Read through your essay. It should have a strong thesis, which is supported

throughout the body.

2. Make a list of the essay's main points. For a basic, college-level essay, there should be

about three main points related to the essay's topic.

3. Rewrite these main points into sentence form. For example, if your essay discusses

the symbols of the bird cage, the stitching and the messy kitchen in Susan Glaspell's
short story "A Jury of Her Peers," you should write one sentence for each symbol
summing up its significance as discussed in the essay.
4. Rewrite your thesis statement in a way that suggests that it is a conclusion drawn

from the main points. For example, if your thesis suggests that the symbols of the
example above display gender inequality of the story's social setting, directly link this
idea to explanation of the symbols. Write "Therefore, the birdcage, the stitches and
the state of the kitchen show the characters' difficulty in living in this unequal
5. Combine the sentences into a cohesive paragraph. The explanation of the essay's

main points should be first and then the restatement of the thesis.
6. Make sure that the paragraph makes sense on its own and is a strong paragraph in its

own right.
7. Use transitions to make these statements fit together in a clear, concise way. You

don't want the conclusion to read like a bunch of sentences just stuck together.
8. Do not introduce new ideas in the conclusion. If you are discussing the three symbols

mentioned above, don't bring up another one in the conclusion. The essay is over-this is the end. It will be very confusing for the reader if you begin discussing
something new.
9. Do not contradict your previous points. If the body explains the symbol in one way,

don't describe it a different way in the conclusion.

10. Leave the reader with some type of parting word. Conclusions should answer

questions, such as "why should we care?"--include this in with the statements you've
already written or add an additional statement. The most important thing is to tie
everything together and put it in perspective for the reader.