SCHOOL HACK: Tricks for Writing Literary Analysis
You've got your thesis down, and you're on the road to greatness. You've written your topic sentences, and you've plopped a super awesome quote in your body paragraph. Great.[Long pause]
Now you need to explain yourself. Tell the reader how your quote proves your point (AKA your topic sentence, which also proves your thesis statement).
Here are a few "starters" that WORK (almost) EVERY TIME for writing your analysis:
- Here, ---
- This shows that ----
- Clearly, ----
Another great thing to do in your analysis is to quote your quote. That means pulling words or short phrases from your quote and sticking them into your analysis. (See the example below)
SAMPLE BODY PARAGRAPH BROKEN DOWN
TOPIC SENTENCE: Montagu introduces her reader to the Muslim women’s coffee house and emphasizes the women’s ability to speak freely without any male interruptions.
QUOTE: Montagu explains that the Muslims have their own “women’s coffee house, where all the news of the town is told, scandal invented, etc.” Further, the women “take this diversion once a week, and stay there at least four or five hours” (Montagu 59).
ANALYSIS: Here, Montagu argues in favor of having rigid separations between male and female spaces. In their own private space, the Muslim women have free reign and are allowed to “tell the news of the town” and gossip for hours each week without any male interruptions. Although women’s gossip was usually viewed as trivial and unimportant by men, the coffee house allowed the Muslim women to speak about the things that they find interesting without being scorned or looked down upon. Further, instead of saying that the women are allowed to go to the coffeehouse once a week, Montagu writes that the women “take this diversion once a week”. By using the more active and forceful verb “take,” Montagu emphasizes the Muslim women’s autonomy and self-determination.