How to Write an Analytical Essay in Classic English Literature: Identify the Task

Writing guide
Posted on September 1, 2020

Typically, students may guess the purpose of an analytical essay just by glancing at the name. It is a common mistake that leads some writers to the edge of failure. And, you know why? Because they do not understand that together with analysis they have to attach some more details that will look academically correct and smart. For this purpose let’s check what such papers deal with.

An analytical essay is:

  • a type of assignment in which a student has to develop central ideas along with providing supporting clues such as quotations from the text;
  • an interpretation of particular event, book, article, literature features with further analysis;
  • a paper based on dissected components of short stories such as about the plot, main ideas, subplot, characters.

At last, it is an assignment for evaluating students’ ability to critical thinking. Professors may learn whether they have sufficient knowledge in analyzing the pieces of work. So, depending on your future topic, make sure your essay is not biased, does not judge the authors, and contains enough evidence to persuade the readers of your vision on the matter.

How to Write an Analytical Essay in Classic English Literature: Exercises

Before starting your writing, do not neglect the chance to exercise a little bit. Of course, exercises are not referred to jogging, swimming or gymming that will refresh your mind as well but some preparation games to brainstorm more ideas for your stellar project. Besides, one tip that may seem crazy for writing but anyway make sure you have enough water near you. It will fasten your metabolism, and more ideas to come into your mind.

  1. Think of the most popular topics in Classic English Literature. Make a top ten list and do your best to never chose one of them. Why? They will be for sure the choice of other students who want to use the path of the least resistance. And, if you want to impress the audience and supervisor think of hard and challenging topics. Such a small exercise will always help students to generate not banal ideas;
  2. Take a paper and write down in the center the title of your topic. Then, start writing all the ideas, words, phrases, sentences coming to your mind related to the subject. It can be anything. As a result, you have a kind of environment with a core in the center and its elements around. When you will deal with the main body or thesis, these elements may help you to express your mind;
  3. Check online reviews. Do not underestimate the YouTube platform that is considered as something only for entertainment. This source can be a perfect helper in acknowledging reviews on popular books, articles, works, and so on. Listen to the speeches and write down the main ideas. Besides, you can borrow some of their phrases, of course, if the speakers are accomplished in Literature.

Finally, you can daily make a habit of analyzing everything you watch, observe or listen to. If you listen to the lecture, think about its global purpose, how it contributes to gaining more knowledge and so on, even if it is funny.

How to Write an Analytical Essay in Classic English Literature: What About Topic?

Now, you are on the track of essay success and your final choice of the topic will determine the final grade. As it was mentioned above, never try to choose boring and well-researched and analyzed topics. Classic English Literature is not only about Shakespeare’s works but lots of other authors who left their impact on the English heritage. For your convenience, here is a list of topics that might be of interest to you:

  • Gender Roles in Classic Literature;
  • Romanticism and its Representatives;
  • Utopian Literature;
  • Byronic Characters;
  • Jane Eyre of 2019;
  • Medieval Women in Classic Literature;
  • Roles of Religions;

Otherwise, you can pick up the authors who were the representatives of classic epoch in literature and just analyze their works. They are George Orwell, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, and so on. However, here is another obstacle. As far as the analytical essay should be no more than 800 words, it is recommended to analyze short stories only. And, bigger works are suitable for dissertations or diplomas.

How to Write an Analytical Essay in Classic English Literature: The Format

Now, you can proceed with the main stage of writing your work. One tip for students who have never written such papers before, please never leave it for the last day even if you are confident you can cope with it. Usually, an analytical essay that boasts good grammar, a variety of lexical forms, interesting vocabulary, and proper analysis is written within a few days. If you prepare some time in advance, nothing will deprive you of getting the highest grade. So, let’s go.

The basic format requirements are 500-800 words, Times New Roman, double-spaced, 12-pt. The work should obligatory contain the introduction that in turn has a thesis and if possible the hook, the main body, and the conclusion. The main body will be of 3 minimum subparagraphs. The title or introduction should include the full name of the work, author. Other requirements may vary within the educational establishment.

Thesis Statement

This part of the essay may be one of the most important ones. It is a chance to persuade readers to acknowledge your work. Of course, in most cases, a professor must read anything submitted by students but if you declare your essay in front of the audience, they may be very bored with it. So, here comes a hook. The same as people are hooked on bargain prices, the same you can do with your readers. It should not be banal but informative and provoking to find out something new. For example, instead of writing that Shakespeare is one of the main representatives of Classic English Literature, try to write something like:

What would Shakespeare say of such love as of Megan and Prince Harry? Probably, he would not agree that they can substitute Romeo and Juliet. And, here is why.

Look, you combined two plots, one of the modern times with the representatives of Royal Family and the previous centuries heroes. Then, you provoke food for thought for readers and they will want to find out why Shakespeare would not agree.

One hint for this part of the analytical essay, avoid writing – this work is good/bad. Yes, you can analyze the details but not at the beginning, and your opinions should be supported with clues, evidence, quotations, and reviews of other literature experts who researched the same literary works.


Some students skip this part because they are too confident in themselves. However, those who continue making outlines claim that they can finish the whole writing faster. Why? First off, an outline is an approximate sketch of what you will write. Do not worry if you cannot fill in all the gaps such as the titles of subparagraphs. You can the same fill your table of content with phrases and words that will push you to have more ideas about the context.

The Main Body

Typically, it is of 3-5 paragraphs that in turn are of 4-5 sentences. Again remember about the length of no more than 800 words. Note, a professor will not appreciate if you wrote more or less. There can be fluctuation only between 500 and 800 words. Each paragraph should be dedicated to one idea that is stated in the thesis. So, the task is to develop a central idea and attach supporting evidence. For example, if a topic is Romanticism in Classic English Literature, dedicate the first paragraphs to analyzing the occurrence of Romanticism in the culture. And, the next subparagraphs to the work you based your essay on. For instance, how the author of the selected article explained this occurrence. Then, analyze his purpose.

Another hint, do not reflect new ideas and themes that were not mentioned in the introduction or thesis parts. Do not make your reader get puzzled with too much information. All should be logically structured, and every sentence is clearly transited to another sentence. That’s it.


Here is applied the same hint from the previous part, do not attach any new information. It is not a summarization of plot or topic, but a result of your research and analysis. Show your professor what you wanted to address and whether it was a successful activity. You may indicate your personal opinion but do not exaggerate with judgments or unsupported facts. Your work must be unbiased. Besides, think of a call to action phrases that again will make your audience think more profoundly about the topic, or encourage them to read one or another work. Otherwise, finish the conclusion with a rhetorical question or a joke. However, the last option should be very careful and up to the point. If your selected topic concerns the Medieval Literature, try to generate a joke related to those times.

To make it look academically correct, write such phrases as In conclusion, To sum up, Finally, etc.

Finish Your Stellar Analytical Essay in Classic English Literature with No Trouble

Here come the magic and the most responsible moment before submitting your work. Thus, it is important to exclude mistakes or double-check their existence and correct them. Usually, students who did not have much time in stock and managed to write the essay within a few hours do not get good grades because 2 hours is a minimum of the time required to spot the mistakes. Moreover, to understand the readability of the text and to mark it as an interesting one, it is worth spending one day minimum. Nevertheless, let’s speak of other tips that will make your life easier:

  1. Ask someone to read your essay. One of the most common mistakes is to rely this task on your family members, friends or beloved ones. You may wonder why but the truth is evident. They may not tell you their real reaction and feedback because they are scared to hurt your feelings. Ask to read it people from social networks. For example, there are many services where students from abroad or your community share their samples. At the same time, you can receive their inspiration and find out how other students write such assignments. At last, such services are suitable even for selling the works. Think about it;
  2. Check your text with specialized editors. Grammarly, Hemingway Editor are one of the helpers that can detect the mistakes. Just input your essay there and the system will highlight what you have to correct. Then, such helpers can hint you about the readability rate. Sometimes, students forget about the complexity of sentences. And, it is a common practice for them to compose sentences of more than 10 words. They are hard to read. Remember about it;
  3. Cite all the resources. Did you use other works or you attached some quotations? For sure, you will not want the plagiarism tools to detect such intentions. For this purpose always remember to cite any borrowings. Again, use online helpers. If you want to impress professors, use books, articles from scientific journals rather than information from online. It demonstrates that you spent some time in the library instead of copy-pasting from the Internet.

At last, when you finally submit your work, do not think of it as a burden. Writing such assignments is a good practice for your future career. You develop critical thinking, you know how to analyze without being too biased, you learn how to not judge people and works. Such skills are appreciated in any business environment. Also, an analytical essay is a perfect exercise before applying for a scholarship. Examiners will like students who know how to persuade intelligently without boasting. So, take your chance to learn inside out of the composition and requirements, and practice the obtained knowledge in any other type of paper.


  1. Encyclopedia Britannica. (2020). English literature | History, Authors, Books, & Periods. [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 Jan. 2020].
  2. Shea, R., Scanlon, L., and Aufses, R. (n.d.). The language of composition.
  3. Thomas, F. and Turner, M. (2018). Clear and Simple as the Truth. Baltimore, Maryland: Project Muse.
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