Those are hours passing by as you try to write an analytical essay. However, what if we told you that you don’t have to waste so much of your precious time on this type of academic assignment? An analytical essay can be written fairly easily if you know how to approach the task.
Read this article to ace all your analytical essays.
What is an Analytical Essay
An analytical essay is an academic assignment requiring a student to analyze, critique, and interpret a phenomenon, event, situation, point of view or a work of art. The assignment calls for an objective analysis of the issue at hand, which is why it should be buttressed by solid research. When presenting their opinions, students should adhere to a strong narrative structure and support their claims with specific examples.
Having discussed what an analytical essay is, let’s emphasize what it is not. First of all, the essay you need to write is not a summary. Although it might seem obvious in theory, many students find this point confusing. While it is acceptable to restate the events described in the source material, you should tie them to your points. Instead of focusing on what was written, discuss why and how it was written. For example, concentrate on how the use of a simile suffices a poem with a certain meaning; shed light on the larger picture. This being said, it is also completely unhelpful to treat an analytical essay like it is a book report, movie report, etc. Don’t recap the source material’s plot – provide your explanations and interpretations of it.
Step One: Preparation
- Essay Core
Before you can do anything else, you should find the core of your essay. The core mustn’t be confused with the topic, which will be selected later. What you need to find is the broad direction or theme of your writing. If asked to analyze a book or a movie, decide on the focus of our analytical essay and find relevant pieces from the source material to support your arguments. The movie’s core could be an action of the protagonist or driving forces behind the action.
When you have the core of the assignment in mind, come up with a topic. Most likely, your instructor will provide you with one. If, however, you have to select the topic, then carefully read the source material and write down keywords. This will help you narrow your topic down. Stay away from overused ideas and controversial topics. Concentrate on what interests you and what can be easily researched.
Research is an essential component in the preparatory phase of your analytical essay writing. The bulk of your research efforts should revolve around the source material. Reread the assigned book or re-watch the assigned movie while taking extensive notes. Mark relevant pages and find evidence supporting arguments you are planning to make in the essay. Also, read what other people have to say about your topic. By familiarizing yourself with different points of view, you will be able to write a balanced and well-rounded essay.
Step Two: Writing
When writing an introduction for your analytical essay, it is important to keep in mind what you are trying to achieve. And your goal is to draw your readers in and let them know what the essay is all about. For this reason, you should make the introduction exciting and interesting without overdoing it. Present the reason for the essay’s existence and make it important enough for the audience to keep reading. However, abstain from dramatic statements and shocking facts; save those for later.
Before writing anything else, you have to summarize your assertions in a sentence or two. This brief summary is called a thesis. Write the thesis statement and use it as a guide for the developing the following sections of the essay. To be effective, the thesis must be precise. Stay away from generalizations and make it as specific as possible. For example, when writing about J.D. Salinger’s novel Catcher in the Rye, your thesis statement might be as follows:
The depiction of innocence in Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger emphasizes its innate value as a primary virtue of childhood.
- Body Paragraphs
Each body paragraph should have three elements: topic sentence, text analysis, and evidence from the source material. The evidence must confirm the points outlined in the text analysis and reverberate with the thesis statement. When writing body paragraphs, be cognizant of the overall logical flow of the paper.
Your text should be reinforced with data points and quotes. These are indispensable for buttressing your arguments. Make sure to follow an assigned citation style such as APA, MLA, Harvard, or Chicago.
No analytical essay is complete without a concise and effective conclusion. Wrap up the analytical essay by pondering once more on the “so what?” question. You can also return to the theme presented in the introduction, thereby reinforcing it. To draw a connection between the arguments and the thesis, you might want to reiterate your main points. Also, discuss the broader implications of your analysis.
Step 3: Polishing
Read the paper out loud to ensure it has a good flow. By reading the essay aloud, you pay attention to inconsistencies and drawbacks that have eluded your attention before. If possible, ask a friend to listen to and comment on your essay. By using external help, you will be able to locate and remove inappropriately elevated or verbose language as well as unsubstantiated claims. The latter is especially important since the analytical essay requires rigorous argumentation and evidentiary support.
- Remove mistakes
Check the whole essay for grammatical errors and typos. Papers pockmarked with mistakes aren’t scored highly by professors. Therefore, don’t neglect the essential stage of proofreading. It is also a good idea to run the essay through a commercial plagiarism checker to ensure you haven’t borrowed someone’s materials by mistake.