Writing a Literary Analysis
You've selected a work of literature, found a focus for your analysis, explored connections to it, and written a working thesis statement. Now you have plenty of ideas to pour onto the page in a first draft. You'll create a beginning paragraph, multiple middle paragraphs, and an ending paragraph. The activities in this lesson plan will guide you in creating each part, and the literary analysis at the end can help inspire your own writing.
Writing the Beginning Paragraph
Start your essay with a lead that gets readers' attention and orients them to the piece of literature you will analyze. After your lead sentence, you will develop a paragraph that ends with your thesis statement.
Write a lead sentence.
Write a possible lead for each of the following strategies, using the examples to inspire you. Then choose your favorite lead to use as the first sentence in your beginning paragraph. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.
1. Name the work and author and summarize its importance.
Watership Down by Richard Adams is a story about rabbits, but it's also about refugees and vision quests and the making of great leaders.
2. Quote a review of the literature.
“Once snared, you'll be gripped uncompromisingly by a master teller of tales. And chances are you'll not recall nobler heroes than the rabbits seeking happiness on Watership Down.”
—The Atlanta Constitution
3. Provide an engaging fact.
Humans domesticated dogs tens of thousands of years ago, when we were still hunters and gatherers.
4. Ask an interesting question.
Have you ever seen a sleeping dog snuff and snort, legs scrabbling sideways on the floor, twitching in some dream of the hunt?
Write your beginning paragraph.
Start with your lead, and then provide background and develop a paragraph leading to your thesis statement.