How to Write a Literary Analysis | Rebecca Lowery | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

4 Lessons (29m)
    • 1. Why learn this skill?

    • 2. Examine Literature with a critical eye.

    • 3. Creating the Analysis

    • 4. Editing & Publishing Process

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

In this class, you will learn how to analyze literature and then write about your observations critically.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Rebecca Lowery

Christian, Wife, Mother, Teacher


In 2007 I graduated from Doane College certified to teach English/Language Arts. That same year I met my husband Kyle and moved four hours away from him to teach in a small town Nebraska school. A year and a half later we were engaged and found ourselves in our pastor's office where he presented the gospel, leaving us forever changed. Since then I graduated with a Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction, taught a reading class in a Title 1 school, coached, had two baby girls, and left the classroom to become a stay-at-home mom - haha, where my real education began! That was six years ago already and since then I've pursued every avenue possible to continue my love of teaching while soaking up these precious first years with the little people God has put in my life. To l... See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Why learn this skill?: Hello. I am Rebecca Lowery. I am certified to teach seven through 12 English language arts, and what I will be teaching him in this course is how to write a literary analytical essay . And I think that is the first time all of my practice runs that I've actually said that name correctly. Try saying it three times really fast. It's impossible. There's many different names for it. Maybe I should have tried thes first, but you could also be called a literary analyst. Or this could also be called the literary criticisms. He could become a literary critic, but no matter what you call it, it's my favorite form of specialty writing because anyone can take any literary, any piece of literature and come up with 100 different analysis based on what they observed , whether on connections in it is so fun. And it's one of those things that I really enjoy when going to things like book clubs, because ever the way everyone talks about what they learned or their insight to me, it is so interesting because of how different we all think. And that is one of the reasons why this is such a valuable skill. But there's many reasons why it's such a valuable skill. The 1st 1 that I want to kind of touch on is that it teaches you to think critically. You train your mind to observe the text and to write about it in an intelligible way. And the last one, you can read all of those valuable reasons why this is a valuable skill in your own. But the one that I really want to hone in on is the last one. Learn how to express your opinions logically and clearly. This class will help you do that before we move on to the next piece. I do want to read through the objective statements. This is what I want you to gain from this class. And yes, I'm going to read them. So follow along as I read it, learn how to think and write critically about a piece of literature. I also want you to gain an appreciation and deeper understanding of the author's intent and how he or she communicated it. The last thing that I really want to talk about and what well, what I'll teach you is how to investigate literary tools to write your personal reactions to the text clearly and logically. Those are the things that I hope to accomplish in this class. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. 2. Examine Literature with a critical eye.: Hello and welcome to the course on writing a literary analysis and before you right, you need to think and read critically, and that's what I'm going to teach you. In this particular section. You need to be able to examine literature with a critical eye, and the things that you should consider are the author of the audience. The plots, the theme, some literary devices I did not give you all of them. Oxford, for example, has like a 300 page dictionary, just literary terms, so I'm not gonna give you that many, but I'll give you a few to focus on, and I'll explain as I go through each of them. Why This is an important piece to writing. I find that in my reading classroom, it's impossible. T two separate reading from writing. You want to be a better reader? Must be a better writer. Do you want to be a better writer? You must be a better reader, and that is what I'm going to show you. First. Let's examine on author, and I want you to think about a few questions. What do you know about their life? Um, I'm going to give you a girl in power is an example. He's a pretty popular author, and the places that I went to find out about him are places like poets dot org's biography dot com. It was another one. They had some excellent things. I've written about it about his life. Like both of his parents died when he was only three years old. And he was taken in by foster parents and his mother. His foster mother loved him. His foster father was he was, um, no, A drunk. Um he put him in a boarding school and Edgar thrived there Who is a literary genius, as we can tell from his writing. But this foster father, his name is Francis Allen. He refused to pay his gambling debts and therefore could not afford to continue send Edgar to school. So he was kicked out. Um, in fact, his relationship with Francis Allen was not a good one. It was rough when he was when Edgar was 18 years old, he signed up for the Army and was eventually accepted into the academy. But again, he couldn't finish it because of a lack of financial support. So then he moved in with his Amory Clinton, and he fell in love with her daughter. And Virginia was honey. It was his first cousin. It's the odd part of history, but it is part of his story. She they did get married when she was only 13 years old. Can you believe that? Uh, this was in the late 18 hundreds. So perhaps it wasn't all that incoming then, but she ended up dying. And so the entirety of you tired e of his life. He was an avid reader in an avid a writer, and it's obvious that he was losing important people in his life where he struggled with people in his life when you read his writing, especially the Raven. In fact, I often think that he wrote that about his wife because the sorrow will leave him. Never Moeller. And so I could so I could write a whole literary analysis based on that argument. But he struggled through jobs hearing there, and he also struggled with an alcohol problem. But the entirety of his life was pretty unstable and full of tragedy, so knowing these things about his life will help you to analyze his literature. And like I said The Raven, and it will help you develop a valid argument about how the Ravens could be representative of sadness. It will never leave him. So think about what you know about the author of the particular piece you want to analyze. And how does knowing what you know help you gain insight into their mind? Because what is in their mind is what they put on paper. The next one is the, um, authors purpose and audience. What was the authors reason for writing the book? Gregor the Overland Er, this picture in the background is of my bookshelf. This is one of my favorite books. It's a child, Siri's, but it's excellent. I preferred it over the Hunger Games, and I love the Hunger Games so that tells you how highly, uh, I recommend greater the overly enterprise Suzanne Cones. But I love also the reason why she wrote it. Her father was an Air Force officer who taught history at the college level, and most of Suzanne's memories revolved around her father's military experiences and taking his Children to battlefields and more monuments and teaching them about what occurred in this place is so the whole reason she wrote Gregor the over lander was because they traveled to a lot of different places, her father being in the military. And she was curious what it would be like if she was Alice. The, uh um her home said Alice Wonderland? No, it completely left my brain. But if she was Alice, um, what is Wonderland for some reason The overland in the Wonderland. Oh, in this messed with my brain. So she moved around a lot and one of her stops is in New York. And she wondered what would happen if you fell into a hole in New York like Alice and Wonderland. I fell into a hole in this beautiful place. But what if it was New York what it would what would it be like? And voila! You have Gregor the O Verlander. I also want you to think about their target audience. For Suzanne Collins and Gregor the Overland. It's young people and I as an adult, I I really enjoyed it for a girl and po. He was trying to make money and he was submitting his poetry and his work into newspapers and it all kinds of places, and it was quite popular, all right. Plot analysis. I get all kinds of getting When I start talking about what the story looks like, I try to give you a visual form. I've seen one that's like a roller coaster, and I'll attach it to your project piece so you can kind of see this really creative way of writing what a story looks like. But think of it. This one in particular is like a witches hat. You have the beginning, the exposition, where you have the characters, you have the setting of the point of view. You're introduced to the protagonist and, of course, the antagonised. That character, you're just gonna hate the setting, the two pieces, the women, the wear, the point of view. Who was telling the story. And then you are. You begin the story with the opening scene. It's where the action takes place. And then you have conflicts throughout your story at what keeps the protagonist from getting what he or she wants. There's a lot of conflicts that could take place, like the character versus character, character versus salver character versus environment. And then you hit the climax where the point of the story. You know, I will never, ever be the same, and there may still be some conflicts in the following action, but this is where they're starting to be resolved. And then, of course, you have your resolution, and I like to tell my students that it's your solution. It's the end, helps break the story apart, and doing that will help you think about it critically with a critical eye. So I also have a graphic organizer attached to your project page that has this, which is hat that you can just write in a brief explanation of what occurred in each piece . Just so it's a you can use it even as a bookmark if you want to. I usually fold mine and half and put it in my paper in my book. And then I just pick up where I left off the literary devices. Remember he told you that the that Oxford has a dictionary of it's like 300 pages when I have them has over 1000 literary terms, and these are just a few of them. Uh, a liberation is one of my favorite ones. It's, uh, where you just have the same first letter in a sentence or phrase, and we could go on and on and on forever and talking about each one of thes but spoon tourism. I added it example, cause that one that one always makes me laugh. I pull out spoon tourism's throughout my date and accidentally, um, my mom always mixed works up so she would say things like Moulin de, which is my sister's name was Melissa, and my other sister's name was in May, indeed, and she would come up with my Landy at combination. Are you mixed things together? She was doing it all the time, and she would even say things like Our cat, Tigger, My the ticker doesn't call when I come instead of Digger doesn't come when I call Kind used as a joke in writing, but it's one that I could pull out if I were to write about my family quite frequently. I have a lot of examples. The theme. What was the authors purpose in writing this piece, and you can read through each one of those questions. But finding and overall arching theme will occur when you start seeing that area devices when you start pulling out the important events in the story or peace and any words or devices if they're repeated over and over and over again. You're looking for those kinds of things, and usually I'll give you a big hint on. Author gives clues or revelations to in their introduction in their dedication. Sometimes in the author's note and in the blocks, don't skip those pieces. I have learned more about a book by reading those pieces, and I have anywhere else. For example, the book, um, the potato peel pie in literary society. And no, that's not the exact title, but it is super long. It's all about and island during World War Two, that waas taken over by the Nazi regime and this group of people that stayed sane in the midst of it because they created a book club. And then this. It's it's letter correspondence, is how it's written, and at first I really struggled to get into it, announced one of my favorites, and the whole reason is because of the author's note at the end. It is so cool, this story and how it unfolded. But it's also really tragic this really life Strama unfolding in your heart aches for the author and then her niece, who had to finish the book. And I will leave it at that in case you want to read it, but I highly recommend it. 3. Creating the Analysis: welcome back to the how to write a literary analysis class. This specialty writing could be called a Prince of names. You're now a literary critic or and a literary analyst. Whatever it is, this specialty writing is important for a lot of reasons we discussed in our introduction. But this is the portion of the class we're going to take everything that you've analyzed, and now you're going to put it in a presentation. You're going to either write it. You could write it is a book review or paper. Or you could take this same organization that I'm going to teach you and put it in a PowerPoint presentation. But I want you to think of, however you present it as an hourglass, your introduction, your body and conclusion. And remember, this is where you start creating a rough draft, so it might be kind of messy as you go through. And that's completely OK, because I will be talking about editing and revising as well the fun stuff. The first piece is your and your introduction, and I left a note sheet under the project section that you can follow along and right. If writing is something and taking notes is something that helps you recall the information . I would highly suggest downloading that and following along as we go the pieces of the introduction that I want you to pay attention to the things that need to be in this part of your analysis is your opening lead. You need to state your author's name. They had title of the work and include a brief summary. The most important part is your thesis statement summarising, which you intend to illustrate improve in the body of the essay. This part is the hardest part two right? So when you go and you write it, I'll go through this again at the end, But you write your summary. First, you include the author's full name and your title first. Because those things are easy. You just did all of that work. You've just analyze the literature, so that is where you start. And then you go and continue the rest of your paper after writing your thesis statement. Because the lead starting is the hardest part to accomplish. And there's this video now that I've also included the link under your project section that really homes in on this particular piece, and it's so good that I had to include the link. But it's a teacher, Ted, talk or attended or it's on Vimeo. And anyway, I highly suggest to you check it out just so you understand more about the lead, and it's really creative way of presenting this idea. The body of Theoneste Alice is's the next. This is the meat of your paper. There's a lot that goes into this particular section, and what I've created for you is an outline of how it should be organized. It doesn't necessarily need to be limited to three topics. Intense is. But again, I showed this to you so that you saw the pattern. It's the same throughout. You need a topic, sentence or supporting details. You need quotations in each paragraph. You need, um, your analysis, the explanation of your evidence, and then you need a transitional sentence between each of your paragraphs. Please don't leave that out. Otherwise, it's jolting for your reader and going from one idea to the next. Without this transitional sentence, I don't particularly enjoy reading a paragraph like that. I don't see how it flows. In fact, it doesn't and most of time of those transitional sentences. Air missing. I stopped reading because it's hard to follow thoughts. But each paragraph should be arranged the same way. Not necessarily in the order of supporting details, quotations from story than your explanation of your evidence. It doesn't necessarily need to be in that order every single time. Uh huh. But this is just what needs to be included in that paragraph or this particular side or this part of your presentation. Lastly, is your conclusion. This is just creatively rewording the ideas that you've already talked about in your body in your introduction. This is where you emphasize the things that you're analyzing. And this is where you restate that very important thesis and you put it all together. Now, how do you get started? You have a way to organize your paper. But what now? So this is where you brainstorm. This is important because you take all of those things that you learned, and you try to just put it all in one place you've gone through and recognized or identified the elements of plot. What are the main ideas or the main events in this particular story? What were the conflicts, What did the protagonist want? What was keeping the protagonist from getting what he or she wanted? And then you take apart and he start recognizing repetitions and, uh, literary devices that were used quite frequently. And this is where you just take all of that and you start to pull out some major themes throughout the story, and then you start thinking about how you want to analyze this particular piece. So what point are you trying to prove in? There's a story, the Lady or the Tiger? And I wrote a literary literary analysis about this short story because the the author ends it in this cliffhanger genius ending. It's amazing. And it's from It's an old old story about how this father finds out his daughter is, is having a love affair with a servant, and she is the princess of the kingdom. He is the king, and he is barbarian, and she also is like him in many ways. Well, they also have a an arena and criminals. Our sentence Serena, and they have to choose a door. There's they have a choice between just two of them, and in one is a beautiful woman that they can marry. And then the other is a just ravenous tiger. And the princess find out, finds out what is behind the two doors after her father sends her lover to the arena as punishment for his crimes. And she knows which door which are, what is behind which door. And so she emotions to the one on the right and he opens the door. And that's where the story ends. And I've had my students write a literary analysis. On which door or what do you think was behind that door? What did she pick? Knowing her character, No, seeing the specific events that have come out in the things that the author has said about her and her father's was specifically what do you think was behind that door? And here you have your thesis statement. I hope that explanation was helpful. Now that you have your brainstorm, now that you have your thesis, now it's time to get organized. So you take this idea that of the hourglass, and you start organizing your paper in this way, start with your your thesis statement and write it out. Writing that out will help you write out your main idea for your paragraphs that supports that thesis in the details that go under that particular main idea and so forth. Once you're organized, then you write your title your author in your summary first, because the hardest part is getting started. And since you've already done the work for analyzing the literature, now you're just summarizing it, and it needs to be brief. Don't in this section give away what happens Unless, of course, you're in a class where everybody has read that story. But if it's one that you're going to post a book review on good reads, I wouldn't recommend giving away thes important details or you know what The's big events I wouldn't give those away and what happens in those big events but find a way to summarize it creatively and with brevity without telling the reader what is going to happen now? The tip right. Your magnetic lead last because it needs to be the piece that draws your audience in. How are you going to do that? A lot of people suggest using questions in quotation marks or a lot of people use dictionary definitions. That's what everyone does so I don't encourage that. I encourage you to. Like I said, brainstorm. Right, your summary. First, write your paper if you have to, and then go back and write your lead. And if you're really struggling with this piece, go and watch that video that I've provided a link for its creative and it will help you understand this particular piece. Even better with that, your project is to take a piece of literature. It could even be the lady or the tiger. In fact, I'll post that story on the under the project section. It's a wonderful short story, and then I will post my example as well. And then you share your literary analysis. Based on this outline this class that I've just given you and how I've lead you through it , I look forward to seeing what you've done and talking to you. There 4. Editing & Publishing Process: hello again. Now that you've spent the time observing the text, which takes and Jain enormous amount of time in and of itself with reading and re reading and recognizing the elements of plot and the elements of literature that you've also written your rough draft, it is time to go back and do the work to ensure that its quality. So these are the steps that I take in order to make sure that what I've completed is a good analysis. I recommend doing the first bullet point quite frequently. Read it aloud. It is when you read it aloud that you start noticing the errors. They're easy to miss when you read it in your head 100,000 times. It's still easy to miss when you read it aloud. However, it, um, the likelihood of missing something decreases. And after you read it aloud, you fix your errors and then you have a peer review it. I included a peer review worksheet. If that is helpful, if if that is something that they would be willing to fill out for you as a guide, otherwise they could read it and offer grammatical suggestions or had just sentence structure and see if it's flows smoothly. Those kinds of things your peers could check out. But I wouldn't skip this step or the reading aloud yourself step because you can read aloud and many, many times. But you will find that nine times out of 10 you still miss something. It's irritating, I know. But it happens. So have someone else to read it, especially if you're going to publish it. The last thing that I would have you Dio is after it's been read aloud. You fixed it. Your peers have read it or appeared it would be very beneficial to have more than one. But I would re read and edit it again to ensure that it is complete. Once you have done those steps, then you have a final product that you can be proud of. I'm excited to see what you come up with.