Basic Instructions for Composing a Response to Literature Essay

Most English Literature course will require you to read a great deal of texts and write a response essay to the material. To successfully write these kinds of papers you must read and analyze the characters, language, themes, imagery and must present a clear argument with ample supporting evidence. We’ve developed these basic instructions to help compose a great response to literature essay the easy way:

Writing the Thesis Statement

While you may not a fully developed thesis statement upon your first reading of your text, you would be well-off to draft an idea to help guide the focus of your analysis and first draft. The draft thesis statement is often fluid and can change as your mind changes through critical reading. But just get something down to get you started.

Analyzing the Text’s Characters

One of the most important parts of composing a great response to literature essay is a complete analysis of the text’s major characters. They often provide the most important information in terms of a text’s or the author’s purpose. Consider the ways in which characters change through the text. What actions or inactions drive the story in one way or the other? This should provide the basis for the structure of your work.

Analyzing the Figurative Language

Figurative language is most commonly something that appears in poetry but can also be found in a lot of fiction. You should be familiar with metaphor, alliteration, simile, personification, and hyperbole. When analyzing figurative language look for comparisons to make between two things that may or may not immediately seem related. This should present itself much easier to you with enough practice.

Analyzing the Major Themes

When looking for and present the major themes of a work of literature you can do so either through interpretation or inference. Students struggle to find themes but with a close reading of any text you should be able to identify at least two or three within any text. Highlight instances where a theme presents itself with textual evidence to use in your paper.

Putting it all Together in a Paper

Gather all of your information taken from the steps above and develop an outline to guide your first draft. Refer to the draft often so that you stay on track and get all of your ideas down efficiently and effectively. Set the rough draft aside for a few hours before returning to it for revision. Edit and proofread your work to ensure you remove all mistakes and present your case in the most clear and direct way.

Follow Essay Guidelines Closely.

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