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How To: Genre Analysis

How To: Genre Analysis  

Although most of us think of music styles when we hear the word “genre,” the word simply means category of items that share the same characteristics, usually in the arts. In this context, however, we are talking about types of texts. Texts can be written, visual, or oral.  

For instance, a written genre would be blogs, such as this one, books, or news articles. A visual genre would be cartoons, videos, or posters. An oral genre would be podcasts, speeches, or songs. Each of these genres communicates differently because each genre has different rules.   

A genre analysis is an essay where you dissect texts to understand how they are working to communicate their message. This will help you understand that each genre has different requirements and limitations that we, as writers, must be aware of when using that genre to communicate.    

Sections of a genre analysis   

Like all other essays, a genre analysis has an introduction, body, and conclusion.  

In your introduction, you introduce the topic and the texts you’ll be analyzing.  

In your body, you do your analysis. This should be your longest section.  

In your conclusion, you do a short summary of everything you talked about and include any closing thoughts, such as whether you think the text accomplished its purpose and why.   


All professors ask for different things, so make sure to look at their instructions. These are some areas that will help you analyze your text and that you might want to touch base on in your essay (most professors ask for them):

1. Purpose of the text 

What did the creator of the text want to achieve with it? Why was the text created? Did something prompt the creator to make the text?  

Sometimes, the texts themselves answer these questions. Other times, we get that through clues like the language they use, the platforms the creator chose to spread their text, and so on. Make sure to include in your essay what features of the text led you to your answer.  

If we take this blog post as an example, we can say that its purpose is to inform students like you about what a genre analysis is and the content it requires. You probably figured this out through the language I’m using and the information I’m choosing to include.  

2. Intended audience 

Who is the creator of the text trying to reach? How did you figure that out?  

The audience can be as specific as a small group of people interested in a very niche topic or as broad as people curious about a common topic.   

With this blog, for example, I’m trying to reach students, particularly UTEP students who have this assignment and are trying to understand it. My causal and informative tone, as well as the fact that the blog is posted on UTEP’s Writing Center blog, probably gave this away.   

3. Structure 

How is the text organized? How does that help the creator achieve the text’s purpose?  

You need to know the information at the top of this blog post to understand what comes after, so this blog post is organized in order of complexity.   

4. Genre conventions 

Is the text following the usual characteristics of the genre? How is this helping or impeding the text to achieve its purpose?  

Like most blogs, this one is using simple language, short paragraphs, and illustrations. My use of all these elements is helping me be clear and specific so you can understand your assignment.  

5. Connection 

Do the ideas in the text come from somewhere else? Can the reader or consumer interact with the text? Is the text inviting that interaction?  

Most of the time, when the ideas come from another source, the text will make that clear by mentioning the text. In terms of interaction possible with the text, think about if it would be easy for you to say something back to the text.   

For instance, if you wanted to ask a question about this blog post, you could type it in our comment section. I might not explicitly say that many ideas in this blog come from the guidelines your professor gives you for this assignment, but you probably gathered that because I mention that these areas are things most professors are looking for.   

Hopefully, this information helps you tackle your assignment with a clearer idea of what your professor is looking for. Make sure to address any other areas the professor is asking you to.  

If you still have questions or want to make sure you are on the right path, come visit us at the University Writing Center.   


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COM 1010: Composition and Critical Thinking I

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  • Shifting Genres

Understanding What is Meant by the Word "Genre"

What do we mean by genre? This means a type of writing, i.e., an essay, a poem, a recipe, an email, a tweet. These are all different types (or categories) of writing, and each one has its own format, type of words, tone, and so on.  Analyzing a type of writing (or genre) is considered a genre analysis project. A genre analysis grants students the means to think critically about how a particular form of communication functions as well as a means to evaluate it.

Every genre (type of writing/writing style) has a set of conventions that allow that particular genre to be unique. These conventions include the following components:

  • Tone: tone of voice, i.e. serious, humorous, scholarly, informal.
  • Diction : word usage - formal or informal, i.e. “disoriented” (formal) versus “spaced out” (informal or colloquial).
  •   Content : what is being discussed/demonstrated in the piece? What information is included or needs to be included?
  •   Style / Format (the way it looks): long or short sentences? Bulleted list? Paragraphs? Short-hand? Abbreviations? Does punctuation and grammar matter? How detailed do you need to be? Single-spaced or double-spaced? Can pictures / should pictures be included? How long does it need to be / should be? What kind of organizational requirements are there?
  •   Expected Medium of Genre : where does the genre appear? Where is it created? i.e. can be it be online (digital) or does it need to be in print (computer paper, magazine, etc)? Where does this genre occur? i.e. flyers (mostly) occur in the hallways of our school, and letters of recommendation (mostly) occur in professors’ offices.
  • Genre creates an expectation in the minds of its audience and may fail or succeed depending on if that expectation is met or not.
  • Many genres have built-in audiences and corresponding publications that support them, such as magazines and websites.
  • The goal of the piece that is written, i.e. a newspaper entry is meant to inform and/or persuade, and a movie script is meant to entertain.
  • Basically, each genre has a specific task or a specific goal that it is created to attain.
  • Understanding Genre
  • Understanding the Rhetorical Situation

To understand genre, one has to first understand the rhetorical situation of the communication. 

genre analysis essay ideas

Below are some additional resources to assist you in this process:

  • Reading and Writing for College

Genre Analysis

Genre analysis:  A tool used to create genre awareness and understand the conventions of new writing situations and contexts.  This a llows you to make effective communication choices and approach your audience and rhetorical situation appropriately

Basically, when we say "genre analysis," that is a fancy way of saying that we are going to look at similar pieces of communication - for example a handful of business memos - and determine the following:

  • Tone: What was the overall tone of voice in the samples of that genre (piece of writing)?
  • Diction : What was the overall type of writing in the three samples of that genre (piece of writing)? Formal or informal?
  •   Content : What types(s) of information is shared in those pieces of writing?
  •   Style / Format (the way it looks): Do the pieces of communication contain long or short sentences? Bulleted list? Paragraphs? Abbreviations? Does punctuation and grammar matter? How detailed do you need to be in that type of writing style? Single-spaced or double-spaced? Are pictures included? If so, why? How long does it need to be / should be? What kind of organizational requirements are there?
  •   Expected Medium of Genre : Where did the pieces appear? Were they online? Where? Were they in a printed, physical context? If so, what?
  •   Audience:   What audience is this piece of writing trying to reach?
  • Purpose :  What is the goal of the piece of writing? What is its purpose? Example: the goal of the piece that is written, i.e. a newspaper entry is meant to inform and/or persuade, and a movie script is meant to entertain.

In other words, we are analyzing the genre to determine what are some commonalities of that piece of communication. 

For additional help, see the following resource for Questions to Ask When Completing a Genre Analysis . 

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12.14: Sample Student Literary Analysis Essays

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  • Heather Ringo & Athena Kashyap
  • City College of San Francisco via ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative

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The following examples are essays where student writers focused on close-reading a literary work.

While reading these examples, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the essay's thesis statement, and how do you know it is the thesis statement?
  • What is the main idea or topic sentence of each body paragraph, and how does it relate back to the thesis statement?
  • Where and how does each essay use evidence (quotes or paraphrase from the literature)?
  • What are some of the literary devices or structures the essays analyze or discuss?
  • How does each author structure their conclusion, and how does their conclusion differ from their introduction?

Example 1: Poetry

Victoria Morillo

Instructor Heather Ringo

3 August 2022

How Nguyen’s Structure Solidifies the Impact of Sexual Violence in “The Study”

Stripped of innocence, your body taken from you. No matter how much you try to block out the instance in which these two things occurred, memories surface and come back to haunt you. How does a person, a young boy , cope with an event that forever changes his life? Hieu Minh Nguyen deconstructs this very way in which an act of sexual violence affects a survivor. In his poem, “The Study,” the poem's speaker recounts the year in which his molestation took place, describing how his memory filters in and out. Throughout the poem, Nguyen writes in free verse, permitting a structural liberation to become the foundation for his message to shine through. While he moves the readers with this poignant narrative, Nguyen effectively conveys the resulting internal struggles of feeling alone and unseen.

The speaker recalls his experience with such painful memory through the use of specific punctuation choices. Just by looking at the poem, we see that the first period doesn’t appear until line 14. It finally comes after the speaker reveals to his readers the possible, central purpose for writing this poem: the speaker's molestation. In the first half, the poem makes use of commas, em dashes, and colons, which lends itself to the idea of the speaker stringing along all of these details to make sense of this time in his life. If reading the poem following the conventions of punctuation, a sense of urgency is present here, as well. This is exemplified by the lack of periods to finalize a thought; and instead, Nguyen uses other punctuation marks to connect them. Serving as another connector of thoughts, the two em dashes give emphasis to the role memory plays when the speaker discusses how “no one [had] a face” during that time (Nguyen 9-11). He speaks in this urgent manner until the 14th line, and when he finally gets it off his chest, the pace of the poem changes, as does the more frequent use of the period. This stream-of-consciousness-like section when juxtaposed with the latter half of the poem, causes readers to slow down and pay attention to the details. It also splits the poem in two: a section that talks of the fogginess of memory then transitions into one that remembers it all.

In tandem with the fluctuating nature of memory, the utilization of line breaks and word choice help reflect the damage the molestation has had. Within the first couple of lines of the poem, the poem demands the readers’ attention when the line breaks from “floating” to “dead” as the speaker describes his memory of Little Billy (Nguyen 1-4). This line break averts the readers’ expectation of the direction of the narrative and immediately shifts the tone of the poem. The break also speaks to the effect his trauma has ingrained in him and how “[f]or the longest time,” his only memory of that year revolves around an image of a boy’s death. In a way, the speaker sees himself in Little Billy; or perhaps, he’s representative of the tragic death of his boyhood, how the speaker felt so “dead” after enduring such a traumatic experience, even referring to himself as a “ghost” that he tries to evict from his conscience (Nguyen 24). The feeling that a part of him has died is solidified at the very end of the poem when the speaker describes himself as a nine-year-old boy who’s been “fossilized,” forever changed by this act (Nguyen 29). By choosing words associated with permanence and death, the speaker tries to recreate the atmosphere (for which he felt trapped in) in order for readers to understand the loneliness that came as a result of his trauma. With the assistance of line breaks, more attention is drawn to the speaker's words, intensifying their importance, and demanding to be felt by the readers.

Most importantly, the speaker expresses eloquently, and so heartbreakingly, about the effect sexual violence has on a person. Perhaps what seems to be the most frustrating are the people who fail to believe survivors of these types of crimes. This is evident when he describes “how angry” the tenants were when they filled the pool with cement (Nguyen 4). They seem to represent how people in the speaker's life were dismissive of his assault and who viewed his tragedy as a nuisance of some sorts. This sentiment is bookended when he says, “They say, give us details , so I give them my body. / They say, give us proof , so I give them my body,” (Nguyen 25-26). The repetition of these two lines reinforces the feeling many feel in these scenarios, as they’re often left to deal with trying to make people believe them, or to even see them.

It’s important to recognize how the structure of this poem gives the speaker space to express the pain he’s had to carry for so long. As a characteristic of free verse, the poem doesn’t follow any structured rhyme scheme or meter; which in turn, allows him to not have any constraints in telling his story the way he wants to. The speaker has the freedom to display his experience in a way that evades predictability and engenders authenticity of a story very personal to him. As readers, we abandon anticipating the next rhyme, and instead focus our attention to the other ways, like his punctuation or word choice, in which he effectively tells his story. The speaker recognizes that some part of him no longer belongs to himself, but by writing “The Study,” he shows other survivors that they’re not alone and encourages hope that eventually, they will be freed from the shackles of sexual violence.

Works Cited

Nguyen, Hieu Minh. “The Study” Poets.Org. Academy of American Poets, Coffee House Press, 2018, https://poets.org/poem/study-0 .

Example 2: Fiction

Todd Goodwin

Professor Stan Matyshak

Advanced Expository Writing

Sept. 17, 20—

Poe’s “Usher”: A Mirror of the Fall of the House of Humanity

Right from the outset of the grim story, “The Fall of the House of Usher,” Edgar Allan Poe enmeshes us in a dark, gloomy, hopeless world, alienating his characters and the reader from any sort of physical or psychological norm where such values as hope and happiness could possibly exist. He fatalistically tells the story of how a man (the narrator) comes from the outside world of hope, religion, and everyday society and tries to bring some kind of redeeming happiness to his boyhood friend, Roderick Usher, who not only has physically and psychologically wasted away but is entrapped in a dilapidated house of ever-looming terror with an emaciated and deranged twin sister. Roderick Usher embodies the wasting away of what once was vibrant and alive, and his house of “insufferable gloom” (273), which contains his morbid sister, seems to mirror or reflect this fear of death and annihilation that he most horribly endures. A close reading of the story reveals that Poe uses mirror images, or reflections, to contribute to the fatalistic theme of “Usher”: each reflection serves to intensify an already prevalent tone of hopelessness, darkness, and fatalism.

It could be argued that the house of Roderick Usher is a “house of mirrors,” whose unpleasant and grim reflections create a dark and hopeless setting. For example, the narrator first approaches “the melancholy house of Usher on a dark and soundless day,” and finds a building which causes him a “sense of insufferable gloom,” which “pervades his spirit and causes an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart, an undiscerned dreariness of thought” (273). The narrator then optimistically states: “I reflected that a mere different arrangement of the scene, of the details of the picture, would be sufficient to modify, or perhaps annihilate its capacity for sorrowful impression” (274). But the narrator then sees the reflection of the house in the tarn and experiences a “shudder even more thrilling than before” (274). Thus the reader begins to realize that the narrator cannot change or stop the impending doom that will befall the house of Usher, and maybe humanity. The story cleverly plays with the word reflection : the narrator sees a physical reflection that leads him to a mental reflection about Usher’s surroundings.

The narrator’s disillusionment by such grim reflection continues in the story. For example, he describes Roderick Usher’s face as distinct with signs of old strength but lost vigor: the remains of what used to be. He describes the house as a once happy and vibrant place, which, like Roderick, lost its vitality. Also, the narrator describes Usher’s hair as growing wild on his rather obtrusive head, which directly mirrors the eerie moss and straw covering the outside of the house. The narrator continually longs to see these bleak reflections as a dream, for he states: “Shaking off from my spirit what must have been a dream, I scanned more narrowly the real aspect of the building” (276). He does not want to face the reality that Usher and his home are doomed to fall, regardless of what he does.

Although there are almost countless examples of these mirror images, two others stand out as important. First, Roderick and his sister, Madeline, are twins. The narrator aptly states just as he and Roderick are entombing Madeline that there is “a striking similitude between brother and sister” (288). Indeed, they are mirror images of each other. Madeline is fading away psychologically and physically, and Roderick is not too far behind! The reflection of “doom” that these two share helps intensify and symbolize the hopelessness of the entire situation; thus, they further develop the fatalistic theme. Second, in the climactic scene where Madeline has been mistakenly entombed alive, there is a pairing of images and sounds as the narrator tries to calm Roderick by reading him a romance story. Events in the story simultaneously unfold with events of the sister escaping her tomb. In the story, the hero breaks out of the coffin. Then, in the story, the dragon’s shriek as he is slain parallels Madeline’s shriek. Finally, the story tells of the clangor of a shield, matched by the sister’s clanging along a metal passageway. As the suspense reaches its climax, Roderick shrieks his last words to his “friend,” the narrator: “Madman! I tell you that she now stands without the door” (296).

Roderick, who slowly falls into insanity, ironically calls the narrator the “Madman.” We are left to reflect on what Poe means by this ironic twist. Poe’s bleak and dark imagery, and his use of mirror reflections, seem only to intensify the hopelessness of “Usher.” We can plausibly conclude that, indeed, the narrator is the “Madman,” for he comes from everyday society, which is a place where hope and faith exist. Poe would probably argue that such a place is opposite to the world of Usher because a world where death is inevitable could not possibly hold such positive values. Therefore, just as Roderick mirrors his sister, the reflection in the tarn mirrors the dilapidation of the house, and the story mirrors the final actions before the death of Usher. “The Fall of the House of Usher” reflects Poe’s view that humanity is hopelessly doomed.

Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Fall of the House of Usher.” 1839. Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library . 1995. Web. 1 July 2012. < http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/PoeFall.html >.

Example 3: Poetry

Amy Chisnell

Professor Laura Neary

Writing and Literature

April 17, 20—

Don’t Listen to the Egg!: A Close Reading of Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky”

“You seem very clever at explaining words, Sir,” said Alice. “Would you kindly tell me the meaning of the poem called ‘Jabberwocky’?”

“Let’s hear it,” said Humpty Dumpty. “I can explain all the poems that ever were invented—and a good many that haven’t been invented just yet.” (Carroll 164)

In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass , Humpty Dumpty confidently translates (to a not so confident Alice) the complicated language of the poem “Jabberwocky.” The words of the poem, though nonsense, aptly tell the story of the slaying of the Jabberwock. Upon finding “Jabberwocky” on a table in the looking-glass room, Alice is confused by the strange words. She is quite certain that “ somebody killed something ,” but she does not understand much more than that. When later she encounters Humpty Dumpty, she seizes the opportunity at having the knowledgeable egg interpret—or translate—the poem. Since Humpty Dumpty professes to be able to “make a word work” for him, he is quick to agree. Thus he acts like a New Critic who interprets the poem by performing a close reading of it. Through Humpty’s interpretation of the first stanza, however, we see the poem’s deeper comment concerning the practice of interpreting poetry and literature in general—that strict analytical translation destroys the beauty of a poem. In fact, Humpty Dumpty commits the “heresy of paraphrase,” for he fails to understand that meaning cannot be separated from the form or structure of the literary work.

Of the 71 words found in “Jabberwocky,” 43 have no known meaning. They are simply nonsense. Yet through this nonsensical language, the poem manages not only to tell a story but also gives the reader a sense of setting and characterization. One feels, rather than concretely knows, that the setting is dark, wooded, and frightening. The characters, such as the Jubjub bird, the Bandersnatch, and the doomed Jabberwock, also appear in the reader’s head, even though they will not be found in the local zoo. Even though most of the words are not real, the reader is able to understand what goes on because he or she is given free license to imagine what the words denote and connote. Simply, the poem’s nonsense words are the meaning.

Therefore, when Humpty interprets “Jabberwocky” for Alice, he is not doing her any favors, for he actually misreads the poem. Although the poem in its original is constructed from nonsense words, by the time Humpty is done interpreting it, it truly does not make any sense. The first stanza of the original poem is as follows:

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;

All mimsy were the borogroves,

An the mome raths outgrabe. (Carroll 164)

If we replace, however, the nonsense words of “Jabberwocky” with Humpty’s translated words, the effect would be something like this:

’Twas four o’clock in the afternoon, and the lithe and slimy badger-lizard-corkscrew creatures

Did go round and round and make holes in the grass-plot round the sun-dial:

All flimsy and miserable were the shabby-looking birds

with mop feathers,

And the lost green pigs bellowed-sneezed-whistled.

By translating the poem in such a way, Humpty removes the charm or essence—and the beauty, grace, and rhythm—from the poem. The poetry is sacrificed for meaning. Humpty Dumpty commits the heresy of paraphrase. As Cleanth Brooks argues, “The structure of a poem resembles that of a ballet or musical composition. It is a pattern of resolutions and balances and harmonizations” (203). When the poem is left as nonsense, the reader can easily imagine what a “slithy tove” might be, but when Humpty tells us what it is, he takes that imaginative license away from the reader. The beauty (if that is the proper word) of “Jabberwocky” is in not knowing what the words mean, and yet understanding. By translating the poem, Humpty takes that privilege from the reader. In addition, Humpty fails to recognize that meaning cannot be separated from the structure itself: the nonsense poem reflects this literally—it means “nothing” and achieves this meaning by using “nonsense” words.

Furthermore, the nonsense words Carroll chooses to use in “Jabberwocky” have a magical effect upon the reader; the shadowy sound of the words create the atmosphere, which may be described as a trance-like mood. When Alice first reads the poem, she says it seems to fill her head “with ideas.” The strange-sounding words in the original poem do give one ideas. Why is this? Even though the reader has never heard these words before, he or she is instantly aware of the murky, mysterious mood they set. In other words, diction operates not on the denotative level (the dictionary meaning) but on the connotative level (the emotion(s) they evoke). Thus “Jabberwocky” creates a shadowy mood, and the nonsense words are instrumental in creating this mood. Carroll could not have simply used any nonsense words.

For example, let us change the “dark,” “ominous” words of the first stanza to “lighter,” more “comic” words:

’Twas mearly, and the churly pells

Did bimble and ringle in the tink;

All timpy were the brimbledimps,

And the bip plips outlink.

Shifting the sounds of the words from dark to light merely takes a shift in thought. To create a specific mood using nonsense words, one must create new words from old words that convey the desired mood. In “Jabberwocky,” Carroll mixes “slimy,” a grim idea, “lithe,” a pliable image, to get a new adjective: “slithy” (a portmanteau word). In this translation, brighter words were used to get a lighter effect. “Mearly” is a combination of “morning” and “early,” and “ringle” is a blend of “ring” and "dingle.” The point is that “Jabberwocky’s” nonsense words are created specifically to convey this shadowy or mysterious mood and are integral to the “meaning.”

Consequently, Humpty’s rendering of the poem leaves the reader with a completely different feeling than does the original poem, which provided us with a sense of ethereal mystery, of a dark and foreign land with exotic creatures and fantastic settings. The mysteriousness is destroyed by Humpty’s literal paraphrase of the creatures and the setting; by doing so, he has taken the beauty away from the poem in his attempt to understand it. He has committed the heresy of paraphrase: “If we allow ourselves to be misled by it [this heresy], we distort the relation of the poem to its ‘truth’… we split the poem between its ‘form’ and its ‘content’” (Brooks 201). Humpty Dumpty’s ultimate demise might be seen to symbolize the heretical split between form and content: as a literary creation, Humpty Dumpty is an egg, a well-wrought urn of nonsense. His fall from the wall cracks him and separates the contents from the container, and not even all the King’s men can put the scrambled egg back together again!

Through the odd characters of a little girl and a foolish egg, “Jabberwocky” suggests a bit of sage advice about reading poetry, advice that the New Critics built their theories on. The importance lies not solely within strict analytical translation or interpretation, but in the overall effect of the imagery and word choice that evokes a meaning inseparable from those literary devices. As Archibald MacLeish so aptly writes: “A poem should not mean / But be.” Sometimes it takes a little nonsense to show us the sense in something.

Brooks, Cleanth. The Well-Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry . 1942. San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1956. Print.

Carroll, Lewis. Through the Looking-Glass. Alice in Wonderland . 2nd ed. Ed. Donald J. Gray. New York: Norton, 1992. Print.

MacLeish, Archibald. “Ars Poetica.” The Oxford Book of American Poetry . Ed. David Lehman. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006. 385–86. Print.


  • Sample Essay 1 received permission from Victoria Morillo to publish, licensed Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International ( CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 )
  • Sample Essays 2 and 3 adapted from Cordell, Ryan and John Pennington. "2.5: Student Sample Papers" from Creating Literary Analysis. 2012. Licensed Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported ( CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 )

9.3 Glance at Genre: Rhetorical Strategies

Learning outcomes.

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Identify key rhetorical strategies that authors use to persuade readers.
  • Analyze texts to demonstrate understanding of key rhetorical concepts.
  • Identify genre conventions and explain how they are shaped by purpose, culture, and expectation.

Rhetorical analysis is the genre , or type of writing, that examines the way writers and speakers use language to influence readers. Rather than describing or summarizing content—the what of characters or themes—rhetorical analysis focuses on the individual parts of a text to show how language works to create the effects the writer wants. In other words, in addition to content, writers use rhetorical strategies to deliver and strengthen their ideas and thus influence their readers. A rhetorical analysis should, therefore, address the rhetorical situation , or conditions of communication that surround the rhetoric. These consist of the author (who), message (what), readers (to whom), purpose (why), means (how), context (where and when), and culture (community).

Culture refers to the way of life that a defined group of people establish. Their beliefs, laws, customs, and habits represent them as a group and may provide a signature to identify who they are and what they have accomplished. Rhetorical analysis must take these factors into full consideration, especially because cultural patterns are constantly changing and evolving with new knowledge and behaviors. Moreover, culture will vary greatly from group to group. Subgroups within a larger culture—for example, minorities within a majority population—may have distinct expressions of culture. When rhetorical analysis approaches language of a particular culture, questions may arise about who is best equipped to do the analysis and on what criteria, based on time and place.

Writers of rhetorical analyses consider these elements carefully and ask questions based on them. What are the goals of the author of the text? What factors are at play in the author’s choice of strategies used to make a rhetorical impact? What may occur in the interaction between the writer and reader? Will readers approach the piece neutrally, with no previous opinions? Are they likely to agree because they are of the same opinion, or are they hostile and ready to reject the arguments? Have they heard or read the ideas before? Will the ideas be too radical or too familiar? Are readers likely to see the author as sharing the field with them or as a stranger who must win their confidence?

The Workings of Rhetorical Analysis

The aim of rhetorical analysis is not to find agreement with or praise for the writer, although either may be implied or stated. The essential task of analyzing requires a detachment that will convince the readers of the validity and effectiveness (or lack thereof) of the writing by identifying the writer’s tools and what they accomplish.

As you formulate your rhetorical analysis, be aware of the following approaches and strategies that writers use to persuade an audience. Your goal will be to identify them in your analysis, explain their use, and evaluate their effectiveness.

  • Establishing credibility. Writers include their credentials or experience with the subject to ensure that readers will take them seriously as someone who knows what they’re talking about. To reinforce their authority, they cite reliable sources as support for their points.
  • Sharing personal experience. Sharing a personal experience related to the subject enhances credibility and may also appeal to readers’ emotions.
  • Targeting emotional concerns. By specifically addressing those incidents or outcomes that readers may fear or desire, the author can rally them to take a particular position. Emotional concerns also include appeals to the five senses and to broader sentiments such as love, loyalty, anger, justice, or patriotism.
  • Using devices that draw attention to claims. These include literary devices such as parallelism, repetition, and rhetorical questions that writers and speakers use to emphasize points and unify a text.
  • Supporting claims with convincing evidence. Ways of supporting claims include quoting, summarizing, or paraphrasing expert opinions; relating anecdotes and examples; and citing appropriate statistics and facts.
  • Acknowledging the opposition. If a writer makes a point of explaining other groups’ positions carefully and respectfully, readers from those groups, as well as the target audience, are more likely to be responsive to the writer. By acknowledging the opposition, writers show they have considered opposing views and can then demonstrate that their position is preferable.
  • Questioning the motivation of the opposition. By exposing others’ possibly conflicting interests, the writer can undermine the credibility of an opponent’s character or argument.

In addition to these, writers may use more questionable rhetorical devices to persuade readers. While the techniques of each strategy differ, all lead away from the actual argument and seek to persuade through means other than reasonable, logical thought. Such strategies include bandwagon, ad hominem (name-calling), bait and switch, and more. Recall the roommates’ use of some of these in their efforts at persuasion in Breaking the Whole into Its Parts .

Rhetorical Strategies in Advertising and Public Policy

The strategies and other devices of rhetorical writing that are open to analysis are present in many types of communication, including multimodal examples such as advertisements that combine visuals with carefully crafted texts, dialogue, and voice-over.

Look at the M&Ms commercial, for example, in this collection of Super Bowl ads. Starting at minute 4:57, the prize-winning ad for M&Ms initially shows the widely recognizable candy in its multiple colors as both speaking cartoon figures and symbols of human behavior. The simple pitch: when people have offended others in one of a range of interpersonal blunders, the candy is offered as a peace offering. For example, the first image shows a man on a plane bumping into another passenger’s seat, causing him to spill his drink. The offender then offers the passenger a package of M&Ms. What is the rhetorical strategy behind the situation and the gesture? The ad appeals to pathos in the sense that people feel the need to be liked. Despite the humorous twist in the comment that he kicked the seat on purpose, the offending man nonetheless doesn’t want to be disliked. Nor do the others who commit other blunders. The sense of taste—sweetness—also comes into play, appealing to the senses, as does the sense of sight in the images of the colorful candy.

Furthermore, placing the ad during the Super Bowl targets an audience of game watchers whose ages, interests, and habits have been studied. They may be in a snacking frame of mind, so the appeal of candy is timely (kairos). The ad combines sophistication, appropriate adult behavior, and childishly amusing animation and personification. Seeing the product makes it more memorable. On the other hand, note the subtle use of the bandwagon fallacy: different people in different situations are doing the same thing—offering M&Ms. The bandwagon implication is that if you do something you’re sorry for or should be sorry for (or even if you don’t), giving out M&Ms is the way to apologize and be likable. Because travelers, businesspeople, the religiously observant, and others from different walks of life are doing it, so should you.

Figure 9.4 is an image from the U.S. Forest Service that also reflects the use of rhetorical strategies. Smokey Bear is a symbol created in 1944 to raise awareness of the danger of forest fires. Images of this gentle, personified bear are often accompanied by the slogan “Remember . . . only you can prevent forest fires” or a variation of it. The image shows Smokey dressed in rolled-up jeans, a name belt, and a ranger’s hat. He is reading letters delivered by a mail truck and sent to his own ZIP code, 20252, from children and adults promising to cooperate with his environmental efforts. The entire image is among the most recognizable of American cultural symbols.

The continuing identification of the bear and his appeal over decades is an example of the powerful use of rhetorical devices that speak without seeming to become dated and lose impact. First, a wild and dangerous animal is personified and made credible so that the credibility (ethos) of Smokey as a domesticated father figure with a fuzzy, playful cub climbing on the family mailbox removes any sense of danger and instead makes him into a believable voice for safety. No humans are emphasized in the illustration; the mail truck is seen only in the distance after having delivered another stack of fan mail. Other small animals are present in the background, as are familiar household items such as a shovel, a mailbox, an American flag, a boat on crystal clear water, and the playful images of the ranger’s hat and rolled-up jeans on crossed legs. The drawing features bright primary colors and the dark forest green of bountiful nature. The print medium in the center of the illustration, the sign reading “Prevent forest fires,” unifies the visual.

Because the images are emotionally accessible to children as well as adults, they appeal to widely shared pathos. The unspoken implication is that preventing forest fires will allow these young animals and forest plants to live rather than die in a carelessly started—and deadly—fire. In addition, it will allow human life to continue safely and pleasurably, as viewers can see, far in the background, people sailing and enjoying the water. If children’s wisdom and receptivity to images are present, this idealized picture has great appeal. Rather than a harsh rebuke for adult negligence, the lesson of Smokey relies on the power of rhetoric to modify behavior with specific, carefully crafted appeals. Yet the most frequently used slogan, “Only you can prevent forest fires,” is an example of hyperbole. Certainly “you” are not the sole person responsible for starting or preventing fires. Other people and other factors are at work aside from yourself.

More explicit, however, is this earlier image:

The rhetorical strategy again is pathos, appealing to a sense of guilt. If these children can help prevent fires, then surely adults can do the same, as they are likely more knowledgeable and care for the safety and health of their children.

Rhetorical Analysis: Key Terms

Rhetorical appeals.

When doing a rhetorical analysis, notice these appeals writers use to persuade their audiences.

  • Ethos : believable, authoritative voice that elicits credibility and audience trust.
  • Kairos : sense of appropriate timing when attempting to persuade.
  • Logos : credible information—facts, reasons, or examples—presented as evidence that moves toward a sensible and acceptable conclusion.
  • Pathos : the use of appeals to feelings and emotions shared by an audience. Some of the general categories are fear, guilt, anger, love, loyalty, patriotism, and duty.

Rhetorical Devices and Language Use

When doing a rhetorical analysis, notice these devices writers use to organize and emphasize their writing.

  • Figurative language : similes and metaphors. Comparing one aspect of things that in other ways are completely different is an essential part of rhetorical language. Simile example: “The treasure chest of nature’s wonders shone like a pirate’s gold tooth.” Metaphor example: “The pizza was a disk of saucy sunlight.”
  • Numerical data : statistics and figures. When accurate, numerical data can strengthen an argument.
  • Parallel structure : repetition of the same pattern of words to show that ideas are equally significant. Parallel structure, or parallelism, calls attention to these ideas, achieves balance, and makes the statements more memorable. Example: “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.”
  • Personification : giving an inanimate or nonhuman object human characteristics to make it seem alive and relatable. Examples: “The virus packed its bags and spread across the ocean”; “Twitter erupted in outrage.”
  • Repetition : repeating a single word or group of words to build emphasis. Example: “The first underline cause end underline is poverty; the second underline cause end underline is poor health; the third underline cause end underline is discrimination. These underline causes end underline have been studied, but to what effect?”
  • Rhetorical question : a question that is not expected to be answered, one for which there is no answer, or one that creates a dramatic effect. Examples: “Has it occurred to you to ask why the economy is so unstable? A first point to consider is . . .”; “Do you think poverty will go away by itself?”
  • Understatement : presenting something as less important than it is as a way of distancing from the truth. Understatement is often used sarcastically or ironically. Example: “It may not have occurred to politicians that poverty leads to a host of health-related issues.”

Rhetorical Fallacies

When doing a rhetorical analysis, notice these fallacies writers may use to unethically persuade their audiences.

  • Ad hominem : logical fallacy that attempts to discredit a person, not an argument. Ad hominem , meaning “against the man,” is often termed name-calling . Examples: “She’s just a leftover from another era who can’t accept change”; “He’s a stupid bully and an outright thief.”
  • Bait and switch : logical fallacy that introduces a point about one thing that is likely to be accepted and then changes the terms once initial agreement occurs. Example: “Buy these phones at this price before they’re all gone!” When you go to buy one, moments later, the phones are gone—and they’re far more expensive.
  • Bandwagon : logical fallacy often used in advertising and propaganda. It tries to make people do something or think a certain way because everyone is doing it, and if they don’t go along, they will be excluded. Example: “Everyone is buying these sneakers; get yours now before you’re left out.” Negative example: “This style is so dated; no one wears things like this now.”
  • Causal fallacy : the faulty logic of claiming or believing that an event that follows another event is the result of it. For example, losing your keys after going to a concert does not mean the events are connected causally; going to the concert did not cause you to lose your keys.
  • Hyperbole : exaggeration. Hyperbole is one of the staples of advertising language. Examples: “Season’s Best Peppermint Glazed Delights”; “I have a ton of homework.”

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Research: What it is.

A research paper is the culmination and final product of an involved process of research, critical thinking, source evaluation, organization, and composition. It is, perhaps, helpful to think of the research paper as a living thing, which grows and changes as the student explores, interprets, and evaluates sources related to a specific topic. Primary and secondary sources are the heart of a research paper, and provide its nourishment; without the support of and interaction with these sources, the research paper would morph into a different genre of writing (e.g., an encyclopedic article). The research paper serves not only to further the field in which it is written, but also to provide the student with an exceptional opportunity to increase her knowledge in that field. It is also possible to identify a research paper by what it is not.

Research: What it is not.

A research paper is not simply an informed summary of a topic by means of primary and secondary sources. It is neither a book report nor an opinion piece nor an expository essay consisting solely of one's interpretation of a text nor an overview of a particular topic. Instead, it is a genre that requires one to spend time investigating and evaluating sources with the intent to offer interpretations of the texts, and not unconscious regurgitations of those sources. The goal of a research paper is not to inform the reader what others have to say about a topic, but to draw on what others have to say about a topic and engage the sources in order to thoughtfully offer a unique perspective on the issue at hand. This is accomplished through two major types of research papers.

Two major types of research papers.

Argumentative research paper:

The argumentative research paper consists of an introduction in which the writer clearly introduces the topic and informs his audience exactly which stance he intends to take; this stance is often identified as the thesis statement . An important goal of the argumentative research paper is persuasion, which means the topic chosen should be debatable or controversial. For example, it would be difficult for a student to successfully argue in favor of the following stance.

Perhaps 25 years ago this topic would have been debatable; however, today, it is assumed that smoking cigarettes is, indeed, harmful to one's health. A better thesis would be the following.

In this sentence, the writer is not challenging the current accepted stance that both firsthand and secondhand cigarette smoke is dangerous; rather, she is positing that the social acceptance of the latter over the former is indicative of a cultural double-standard of sorts. The student would support this thesis throughout her paper by means of both primary and secondary sources, with the intent to persuade her audience that her particular interpretation of the situation is viable.

Analytical research paper:

The analytical research paper often begins with the student asking a question (a.k.a. a research question) on which he has taken no stance. Such a paper is often an exercise in exploration and evaluation. For example, perhaps one is interested in the Old English poem Beowulf . He has read the poem intently and desires to offer a fresh reading of the poem to the academic community. His question may be as follows.

His research may lead him to the following conclusion.

Though his topic may be debatable and controversial, it is not the student's intent to persuade the audience that his ideas are right while those of others are wrong. Instead, his goal is to offer a critical interpretation of primary and secondary sources throughout the paper--sources that should, ultimately, buttress his particular analysis of the topic. The following is an example of what his thesis statement may look like once he has completed his research.

This statement does not negate the traditional readings of Beowulf ; instead, it offers a fresh and detailed reading of the poem that will be supported by the student's research.

It is typically not until the student has begun the writing process that his thesis statement begins to take solid form. In fact, the thesis statement in an analytical paper is often more fluid than the thesis in an argumentative paper. Such is one of the benefits of approaching the topic without a predetermined stance.

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Comparative genre analysis.

In the University Writing Seminar, the Comparative Genre Analysis (CGA) unit asks students to read writing from varying disciplines. The goal of the CGA is to prepare students for writing in their courses across the disciplines, as well as in their future careers. The CGA acts as an important introduction to the fact that, while elements of writing (e.g., evidence, motive) exist in all disciplines and genres, these elements often look different.

Over a 2-3 class sequence, students work independently and in groups to identify how writing across the disciplines varies and is similar in content, style, and organization. Instructors select four academic articles, typically one from the humanities, one from the sciences, and two from the social sciences (ideally one more humanistic social science, such as cultural anthropology or history, and one more quantitative social science, such as sociology or economics). These articles become the foundation for observing similarities in differences in writing. Class discussion on the final day of the CGA highlights not just HOW academic writing varies but WHY this variation exists.

At the end of the CGA class sequence, as well as at the end of the semester, students are asked to write reflections on what they have learned about writing across the disciplines and about what this might mean for them in future courses. Student reflections suggest that the CGA is effective in beginning the conversation about how writing is similar and different across the disciplines ( Sample Student Reflection below).

What does this mean for Writing Intensive (WI) classes?

  • Your students know that the writing in your discipline may be different in some/many ways from the writing they did in UWS or in previous courses.
  • Your students have the tools to start to predict how writing in a new discipline may be different. Because they understand, for example, why name/date citations are used in one discipline and name/page number citations are used in another, they can anticipate what a new discipline will require.
  • If you identify a writing convention in your discipline, students should be able to fit this into the larger conversation around writing similarities and differences that they participated in during UWS.
  • Students have discussed and reflected on what questions they might need to ask their professors / teaching assistants when writing in a new discipline (e.g., What citation style should be used? Is the first person allowed?).
  • WI instructors can facilitate the writing process for students by 1) identifying what element of writing they are discussing, using UWS language, and 2) explicitly describing the disciplinary-specific expectations for this element and reiterating why this convention is used.   
Sample Student Reflection  I believe the absolute most important thing a writer should consider is their intended audience. Whichever discipline the essay is for they all have a distinct and diverse readership. This readership cannot be overlooked when creating an argument. In future writing, no matter the subject, I will try to build a firm foundation of the writing in a discipline. By reading academic articles from respected sources, it will allow me to grasp the different ways the argument is presented in that particular field. I would also open a discussion with my class, colleagues, or teacher about the different ways they are approaching this discipline. When presenting their ideas in writing, I think the most important thing for scholars to consider is the audience who they are presenting it to. When writing, audience can affect multiple facets of any article or paper. For example, when presenting to a scientific audience, technical language can be used and an expectation for certain background knowledge can be considered. However, when presenting to a broader audience such as a public awareness piece, the writer may choose to use language that isn’t quite so technical and complex, making the paper more accessible to its desired audience. The CGA exercise has made me more aware of the types of data used in different disciplines when writing. For example, scientific pieces do not usually use many quotes because it’s not so much what was said that was important, rather the actual conclusion that can be drawn from the data. In more humanities focused pieces, quotes can play a major role in the focus of the paper while numerical data and experiments may not. The CGA exercise also made me more aware of how different disciplines require varying levels of formality in the presentation of ideas or information and differences in determining when to use a thesis or a hypothesis. Although we only examined four disciplines within our analysis, as I approach other disciples in the future, I feel that this exercise has given me a good base. I know that in the future I will approach the writing by first determining what matters most to my audience that I am writing for and the relationship between my audience and the motive behind my writing. In future classes when I need to know the writing style of a new discipline, I will ask the professor the writing style I should use and what format I should do my works cited in. I could also ask what the structure should be, what the length should be, and if I should be concise or more flowery. I could also ask if the essay should be personal and opinionated or more impartial. The CGA exercise has made me more aware that different disciplines have their own style of writing. It has made me realize that I cannot just carry over my writing style from a biology or physics paper and use that same style in an English essay. I am also aware that citation style is very important to writing papers. The differences in structure in the different disciplines is also very important when it comes to writing papers.

Elissa Jacobs and Paige Eggebrecht

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450+ Literary Analysis Topics Ideas & Title Examples for Inspiration

Literary Analysis Essay Topics

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Finding that ideal literary analysis topic can be as complex as the literature you're studying. But fear not! Backed by our experience, we’ve gathered some good literary analysis essay topics worth your attention. 

In this blog article, we will tell you how to choose a great title and drop inspirational ideas for your literature analysis. So, sit back, relax, and let us guide you through the best literary analysis topics.

What Are Literary Analysis Topics?

Literary analysis topics are the types of analytical essay topics that deal with examining any work of literature. It might be a novel, a short story, or even literary criticism. You can select any of these topics to write a literary analysis on. 

Topics for literary analysis might focus on various elements of the literature you are supposed to study. For instance, you may explore the following things:

  • Literary devices
  • Structure and style

Essentially, your task is to unleash the hidden meanings and interpret the messages conveyed in the literary works.

>> Learn more: How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay

Features of Good Literary Analysis Topics

Before we move on to the literature essay topics, let’s talk about what makes a title stand out. Good literary analysis topics should:

  • Be related to the literature
  • Provide an opportunity for further exploration of the work as a whole.
  • Raise interesting questions and allow for different interpretations.
  • Inspire readers to think about the topic in more detail.

Choosing the right topic is very important. If you need extra help from experts, rely on our team of academic professionals. Say ‘ do my essay for me ’ and get an authentic essay crafted in line with your needs.

How to Choose a Literary Analysis Topic?

Are you staring at a blank page and don’t even know what literary analysis essay topic to choose? We know that feeling. It can be as challenging as finding a perfect rhyme in a sonnet, but no worries! Below we've got some easy steps to help you select a great literary analysis topic:

  • Read and reflect Start by immersing yourself in the text. As you read, keep an eye on themes, characters, and symbols that catch your attention.
  • Ask questions This is where your inner Sherlock should come out! Question everything about the book. Why does a character behave a certain way? What's the significance of that recurring symbol? These queries are the seeds of your literary analysis.
  • Find connections Look for links in the text – between characters, themes, or even the historical context. These connections often make for a compelling literary analysis essay title example.
  • Keep it focused Remember, you're writing an essay , not a book! So, zoom in. Instead of tackling a broad topic like "Imagery in To Kill a Mockingbird," focus on something more specific, like "The use of bird imagery in To Kill a Mockingbird."
  • Find a new angle If you're choosing a popular book, find a fresh angle. Instead of going with the crowd, create your own path. A unique perspective will make your analysis stand out.

Powered up by these guidelines, you are sure to find an excellent literary analysis essay idea. Now, let’s see what literary analysis titles and writing prompts we have prepared for you.

Literary Analysis Essay Topics List

If you are not sure how to get started, look at the list of essay titles below. Here, we’ve selected top literary essay topics and prompts to kickstart your journey into literature. Let’s begin with some basic themes and literary elements:

  • Symbolism in Emily Dickinson's poetry.
  • Women’s portrayal in Pride and Prejudice.
  • Orwell's use of dystopia in 1984.
  • Time in Slaughterhouse-Five.
  • Death's representation in Edgar Allan Poe’s works.
  • Mystery and suspense in Doyle's Sherlock Holmes series.
  • Symbolism in The Catcher in the Rye.
  • Portrayal of masculinity in Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea.
  • Handling of grief in Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking.
  • Solitude in Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude.
  • Role of supernatural elements in Macbeth.
  • American Dream in Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby.
  • Postcolonial themes in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart.
  • The role of setting in A Tale of Two Cities.
  • Juxtaposition of civilization and savagery in Golding's Lord of the Flies.

Good Literary Analysis Essay Topics

If you're searching for that spark of inspiration, look no further. Choose a title idea from the collection of literary analysis essay prompts we added below:

  • Jane Austen's social satire in Sense and Sensibility.
  • Use of stream-of-consciousness in Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway.
  • Survival in Yann Martel's Life of Pi.
  • Love in Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary.
  • Illusion versus reality in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire.
  • Ambition's consequences in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
  • Power in George Orwell's Animal Farm.
  • Role of nature in Jack London's Call of the Wild.
  • Innocence in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.
  • J.D. Salinger's use of first-person narrative in Catcher in the Rye.
  • Conflict of individual versus society in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.
  • Isolation in Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis.
  • Friendship in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men.
  • Social class in Charles Dickens' Great Expectations.
  • Gender roles in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women.

Interesting Literary Analysis Topics

Are you looking for something more mind-blowing? Consider these interesting literary analysis essay topics ideas to shake things up a bit:

  • Irony in Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
  • Satire in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels.
  • Perspective shifts in William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying.
  • Justice in Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman .
  • Power dynamics in Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men.
  • Fear in Stephen King's The Shining.
  • Identity crisis in Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar.
  • Spiritual growth in Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha.
  • Betrayal in Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go.
  • Symbolism in Toni Morrison's Beloved.
  • Freedom in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.
  • Class struggle in Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles.
  • Portrayal of war in Joseph Heller's Catch-22.
  • Obsession in Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray .
  • Romanticism in J.M Barrie's Peter Pan.

Unique Literary Analysis Essay Topics

When it comes to a literary analysis paper, standing out from the crowd can make all the difference. If you're looking to bring a touch of uniqueness to your writing, consider one of these these distinctive literary analysis prompts:

  • Magical realism in Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude.
  • Portrayal of rebellion in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 .
  • Maternal relationships in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club.
  • Existentialism in Albert Camus' The Stranger.
  • Deceit in Arthur Miller's The Crucible.
  • Quest for identity in Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man.
  • Treatment of time in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five.
  • Pride in Sophocles' Antigone.
  • Role of memory in Toni Morrison's Beloved.
  • Perspective and truth in Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner.
  • Portrayal of destiny in Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles.
  • Madness in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper.
  • Courage and survival in Markus Zusak's The Book Thief.
  • Role of society in George Orwell's 1984 .
  • Youth and age in J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye .

Best Literature Essay Topics

Are you ready to take your analysis to the next level? Take a look at these top-notch literary topics for essays, each one carefully crafted for an A+ analysis essay :

  • Challenging societal norms in Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House.
  • Portrayal of love in Pablo Neruda's poetry.
  • Loss and grief in Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking.
  • Paradox in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest.
  • Representation of animals in Jack London's The Call of the Wild.
  • Disillusionment in F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night.
  • Trauma and healing in Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns.
  • Use of language in James Joyce's Ulysses.
  • Quest for identity in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God.
  • Portrayal of family in August Wilson's Fences.
  • Loyalty in Homer's Iliad .
  • Portrayal of survival in Cormac McCarthy's The Road.
  • Duality in Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
  • Isolation in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot.
  • Influence of society in Jane Austen's Mansfield Park.

Easy Literary Analysis Title Examples

If you are a novice or prefer simple literary analysis essay ideas, this list is for you.

  • Uncovering themes in To Kill a Mockingbird.
  • The symbolism in Lord of the Flies.
  • Understanding character development in Great Expectations.
  • Love and relationships in Pride and Prejudice.
  • The role of setting in Wuthering Heights.
  • Morality in Moby Dick.
  • Exploring imagery in The Great Gatsby .
  • Power dynamics in Animal Farm.
  • Social critique in Brave New World.
  • Conflict in Romeo and Juliet .
  • Identity and culture in The Namesake.
  • Supernatural elements in Macbeth .
  • The quest for freedom in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
  • Aging and time in The Old Man and the Sea.
  • Survival in Life of Pi.

Topics for Literary Analysis in Different Genre

Exploring different genres can add a whole new dimension to your literary analysis. Whether it's the captivating world-building of fantasy or the futuristic visions of science fiction, each genre offers a bunch of literary analysis ideas for any taste. Check out the following literary analysis essay topics sorted by genre:

  • Utopian ideals in H.G. Wells' The Time Machine.
  • Symbols and motifs in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.
  • Suspense in Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None.
  • Love in Nicholas Sparks' The Notebook.
  • Representation of war in Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth.
  • Humanity in Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  • Courage in C.S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
  • Justice in Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes series.
  • Conflict in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
  • Time in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series.
  • Portrayal of technology in William Gibson's Neuromancer.
  • Good versus evil in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.
  • Clues in Edgar Allan Poe's The Murders in the Rue Morgue.
  • Portrayal of passion in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights.
  • Use of historical detail in Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall.

American Literature Essay Topics

American literature has produced some of the most iconic works in history. Take a glance at these essay topics for American literature analysis essay topics to get motivated:

  • Racial tensions in Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin.
  • Transcendentalism in Walden.
  • Role of women in The Scarlet Letter .
  • Slavery and freedom in Beloved.
  • The meaning of home in Langston Hughes' poetry.
  • Masculinity and honor in Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises.
  • Individualism in On the Road.
  • Illusion versus reality in Death of a Salesman.
  • Navigating adolescence in The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
  • Tragic hero in A Streetcar Named Desire.
  • Consequences of power in The Crucible .
  • Love and loss in The Fault in Our Stars.
  • Identity in Invisible Man.
  • Nature and the self in Leaves of Grass.
  • Religion and faith in The Poisonwood Bible.

English Literature Essay Topics

If you are a British literature enthusiast, don’t skip this list. Below, we have collected the most trending literary analysis title examples in English literature:

  • Class struggle in Dickens' Oliver Twist.
  • Mysticism in Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes.
  • Misogyny in Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles.
  • Role of weather in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights.
  • Satire of Victorian Era in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest.
  • Subversion of romance in Jane Austen's Emma.
  • Landscape and memory in Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd.
  • War and its effects in Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front.
  • Power and corruption in George Orwell's Animal Farm.
  • Maturation in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre .
  • Religious doubt in Graham Greene's The End of the Affair.
  • Time and consciousness in Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse.
  • Subconscious in D.H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers.
  • Rebellion against society in Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange.

Literary Analysis Topics for Students

We've carefully curated literary analysis essay topics suitable for students at different levels of education. From high school to college, there's something for everyone. We've categorized these topics for a literary analysis essay according to academic level to help you find what fits your needs best. Are you ready to dive in? Get prepared to discover literary analysis title ideas that will make your writing process an absolute pleasure.

Literary Analysis Essay Topics for Middle School Students 

  • Understanding friendship in The Outsiders.
  • Lessons about tolerance in Wonder.
  • Courage and bravery in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
  • The importance of individuality in A Wrinkle in Time.
  • Family and identity in The Giver.
  • The theme of adventure in Treasure Island.
  • Life lessons in Charlotte’s Web.
  • Overcoming obstacles in Bridge to Terabithia.
  • The impact of rumors in The Watsons Go to Birmingham.
  • Symbolism in Tuck Everlasting.
  • The significance of heritage in Esperanza Rising.
  • Power of persistence in Hatchet.
  • Examining the hero's journey in Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief.
  • Struggles with fairness in The Westing Game.
  • The role of honesty in The Secret Garden.

Literary Analysis Essay Topics for High School Students

  • Tragic love in Romeo and Juliet.
  • Prejudice and racism in To Kill a Mockingbird.
  • The dangers of ambition in Macbeth.
  • The importance of friendship in The Outsiders.
  • Symbolism in The Great Gatsby.
  • Coming of age in The Catcher in the Rye.
  • Man versus nature in Moby Dick.
  • Power and corruption in Animal Farm.
  • Morality in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
  • The impact of war in All Quiet on the Western Front.
  • Human nature in Lord of the Flies.
  • The role of the American dream in Death of a Salesman.
  • Heroism in Beowulf.
  • Innocence and experience in Catch-22.
  • Dystopian society in Fahrenheit 451.

Literary Analysis Essay Topics for College Students

  • Irony and satire in Pride and Prejudice.
  • Freedom in A Doll's House.
  • Role of madness in Hamlet.
  • Colonialism and its impacts in Heart of Darkness.
  • Alienation and isolation in The Metamorphosis.
  • Tragedy and fate in Oedipus Rex.
  • Exploring human consciousness in Mrs. Dalloway.
  • Modernism in Ulysses.
  • Language and power in 1984.
  • Identity and society in Invisible Man.
  • Existentialism in Waiting for Godot.
  • Feminism and gender roles in The Yellow Wallpaper.
  • Justice and judgment in Crime and Punishment.
  • The influence of society on individuals in A Streetcar Named Desire.
  • Role of memory in Remembrance of Things Past.

Literary Analysis Essay Topics in Poetry

Poetry has a unique way of touching our hearts and minds. Poem analysis can reveal hidden meanings behind the verses. If you're searching for literary analysis essay topics with a focus on poetry, check out some pointers in the sections below.

Romeo and Juliet Literary Analysis Essay Topics

  • Fate and destiny in Romeo and Juliet.
  • Masculinity and its influence on the characters' actions.
  • The impact of family feuds on individual choices in Romeo and Juliet.
  • Concept of time in Romeo and Juliet.
  • Understanding love at first sight through Romeo and Juliet.
  • The juxtaposition of love and violence in the play.
  • Secret identities and deception in Romeo and Juliet.
  • The influence of peer pressure on the events of Romeo and Juliet.
  • Contrasting views of love: Exploring the perspectives of Romeo, Juliet, and other characters.
  • Dreams and omens in Romeo and Juliet.

Hamlet Literary Analysis Essay Topics Ideas

  • Hamlet's madness: Genuine condition or clever ruse?
  • Revenge and its destructive consequences.
  • Role of women: Analyzing the characters of Gertrude and Ophelia.
  • Appearance versus reality: The dichotomy of disguise and deceit.
  • Hamlet's soliloquies: A window into his psyche and moral dilemmas.
  • The tragic flaw of Hamlet.
  • The ghost of King Hamlet: Its role and significance.
  • Corruption and decay in Hamlet's kingdom.
  • Father-son relationships in Hamlet.
  • Morality and ethical decision-making in Hamlet.

Macbeth Literary Analysis Essay Topics

  • Supernatural elements in Macbeth.
  • Moral decline of Macbeth throughout the play.
  • Lady Macbeth's role in Macbeth's ambition and actions.
  • Guilt and its consequences in Macbeth.
  • The power of prophecy and its impact on Macbeth's decisions.
  • Role of sleep and sleeplessness in the play.
  • The symbolism of blood in Macbeth.
  • Disorder and chaos in Macbeth.
  • The transformation of Lady Macbeth's character over the course of the play.
  • The portrayal of kingship and tyranny in Macbeth.

Literary Analysis Essay Topics Ideas & Prompts

Still can’t find a topic? Scroll down to spot more fantastic literary analysis writing prompts and ideas, categorized by popular works. Whether you're analyzing character development, theme, or narrative style, you will definitely recognize some good literary analysis topics ideas.

Frankenstein Literary Analysis Essay Topics

  • Role of nature in shaping the characters of Frankenstein.
  • Dangers of unchecked ambition in Frankenstein.
  • Impact of isolation on Victor Frankenstein and his creature.
  • Women in Frankenstein's world.
  • Creator and creation in Frankenstein.
  • Creature’s desire for companionship.
  • Frankenstein as a critique of enlightenment ideals.
  • Concept of 'otherness' in Frankenstein.
  • Knowledge and ignorance in Frankenstein.
  • Comparing Victor Frankenstein and his creature.

Beowulf Literary Analysis Essay Prompts

  • Christian and pagan elements in Beowulf.
  • Lineage and ancestry in Beowulf.
  • The symbolism of monsters in Beowulf.
  • The representation of kingship in Beowulf.
  • Fame and reputation.
  • Treasure and gift-giving in Beowulf.
  • Loyalty in the world of Beowulf.
  • Good versus evil in Beowulf.
  • Beowulf's three battles: A comparative analysis.

The Great Gatsby Literary Analysis Topics

  • Destructive power of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby.
  • Social classes in The Great Gatsby.
  • Motif of the 'green light' in The Great Gatsby.
  • Illusion versus reality in The Great Gatsby.
  • Time and the past in The Great Gatsby.
  • The role of geography and setting.
  • The portrayal of love and desire.
  • Significance of Gatsby's parties in the novel.
  • Symbolism of the 'Valley of Ashes' in The Great Gatsby.
  • Nick Carraway as an unreliable narrator.

Fahrenheit 451 Literary Analysis Essay Topics

  • Censorship and its impact on society in Fahrenheit 451.
  • Technology in Fahrenheit 451's dystopian society.
  • Symbolism of fire.
  • Motif of mirrors in Fahrenheit 451.
  • Individuality versus conformity in Fahrenheit 451.
  • Portrayal of reading and books in Fahrenheit 451.
  • Mechanical hound and its role.
  • The impact of isolation and disconnection in Fahrenheit 451.
  • Happiness and fulfillment represented in the book.
  • Symbolism of the phoenix in Fahrenheit 451.

Othello Literary Analysis Essay Topics

  • The impact of jealousy on the characters of Othello.
  • Race and racism in Othello.
  • Manipulation and its role in this play.
  • Representation of women in Othello.
  • Appearance versus reality in Othello.
  • Reputation and honor in this play.
  • Impact of insecurities on the character of Othello.
  • Role Desdemona's handkerchief plays.
  • Motif of animals in Othello.
  • Friendship and betrayal as represented in this play.

The Catcher In The Rye Literary Analysis Topics

  • How does Salinger represent teen angst in Catcher in the Rye?
  • Role of Phoebe in Holden Caulfield's life.
  • Analysis of Holden's perception of adulthood.
  • Symbolic meaning of the Museum of Natural History.
  • Red hunting hat as a symbol of isolation.
  • Salinger's portrayal of mental illness through Holden.
  • Relevance of the carrousel scene at the end of this novel.
  • Language and narrative style in Catcher in the Rye.
  • Understanding Holden's relationships with other characters.
  • How does this title relate to Holden's personality and actions?

The Crucible Literary Analysis Topics

  • Fear and hysteria as represented in The Crucible.
  • Power dynamics in Salem's society.
  • John Proctor's character development throughout this play.
  • Abigail Williams' motivations.
  • Analysis of Arthur Miller's use of historical events.
  • Symbolism of the witch trials.
  • Religion and how it is represented in The Crucible.
  • Comparing the characters: Elizabeth Proctor vs. Abigail Williams.
  • Suspicion and paranoia in this play.
  • Relevance of The Crucible in today's society.

1984 Literary Essay Topics

  • George Orwell's depiction of totalitarianism.
  • Concept of Newspeak.
  • Surveillance and control in 1984.
  • Winston's rebellion against the Party.
  • Symbolism of the glass paperweight.
  • Analysis of the Party's manipulation of history.
  • Role of Big Brother in this novel.
  • ulia's character and her contrast to Winston.
  • Significance of Room 101.
  • Doublethink and its influence on citizens' mentality.

The Story of an Hour Literary Analysis Essay Topics

  • Mrs. Mallard's freedom and confinement.
  • Irony in The Story of an Hour.
  • Theme of time in this short story.
  • Heart and it symbolism.
  • Portrayal of marriage in The Story of an Hour.
  • Significance of the open window.
  • Railroad and its role in this story.
  • How does Mrs. Mallard's reaction reflect societal norms?
  • Analysis of Louise's transformation.
  • Representation of life and death.

The Cask of Amontillado Literary Analysis Ideas

  • Revenge in The Cask of Amontillado.
  • Significance of setting in this story.
  • Symbolism of the cask.
  • Montresor as an unreliable narrator.
  • Concept of pride in this story.
  • Foreshadowing in The Cask of Amontillado.
  • Contrast between Montresor and Fortunato.
  • Motif of disguise and deception.
  • Exploring the concept of madness.
  • How does the catacomb setting contribute to the story's tone?

Pride and Prejudice Literary Analysis Prompts

  • First impressions in Pride and Prejudice.
  • Jane Austen's portrayal of marriage and social status.
  • The theme of pride in this novel.
  • Understanding the character of Mr. Darcy.
  • Significance of the title in understanding this novel.
  • Contrasting characters of Elizabeth and Jane.
  • Letters and their role in Pride and Prejudice.
  • Social hierarchy and class in this novel.
  • Theme of family in Pride and Prejudice.
  • Lydia and her impact on the plot.

Kafka’s Metamorphosis Literary Analysis Title Examples

  • Exploring Gregor Samsa's transformation.
  • Kafka’s portrayal of family relationships.
  • Symbolism of the apple in Metamorphosis.
  • How does Kafka depict the human condition?
  • Understanding Grete's role in this story.
  • Kafka's commentary on work and responsibility.
  • Gregor's room as a symbol of his inner state.
  • Role of dehumanization in Metamorphosis.
  • Kafka's style in conveying existentialist themes.
  • Understanding the character of Mr. Samsa.

Topics for Literary Analysis of The Odyssey

  • Role of hospitality in ancient Greek society.
  • Examination of Odysseus as a hero.
  • Vengeance in The Odyssey.
  • Significance of the Underworld.
  • Role of gods and goddesses in the plot.
  • Women characters in The Odyssey.
  • Understanding Telemachus' character arc.
  • Significance of Ithaca in Odysseus’ journey.
  • Analysis of deception.
  • Circe: Character analysis .

The Old Man and the Sea Literary Analysis Essay Topics

  • Perseverance in Hemingway's novel.
  • Analyzing Santiago's relationship with the sea.
  • Significance of Santiago's dreams about lions.
  • Hemingway's portrayal of friendship and camaraderie.
  • Symbolism of the marlin.
  • The sea and its significance in Santiago's journey.
  • Heroism as depicted in this novel.
  • Role of nature and its depiction.
  • Santiago's hand injury and its symbolic meaning.
  • Defeat and its role in shaping Santiago’s character.

Jane Eyre Literary Analysis Topics

  • Gothic elements in Jane Eyre.
  • Concept of the madwoman in the attic.
  • Religion in Jane's life and development.
  • Portrayal of women's independence in the novel.
  • Significance of Thornfield Hall.
  • Motif of fire and ice in Jane Eyre.
  • Examining the character of Mr. Rochester.
  • Understanding the role of Adele in this novel.
  • Analyzing forgiveness.
  • Jane’s quest for self-identity and belonging.

The Scarlet Letter Literary Topics for Essays

  • Sin and guilt and how they are depicted.
  • Symbolism of the scarlet letter 'A'.
  • Understanding Hester Prynne's character development.
  • Role of Pearl as a symbol.
  • Exploration of hypocrisy.
  • Examination of the Puritan society.
  • Roger Chillingworth as a character.
  • Role of secrets and hidden identities.
  • Significance of the forest and the town.
  • Portrayal of women in The Scarlet Letter.

Of Mice and Men Literary Analysis Essay Ideas

  • Lennie's dream and its impact on this story.
  • How does Steinbeck present George and Lennie's friendship?
  • Decoding symbolism in Of Mice and Men.
  • Loneliness in this novel.
  • Analyzing Steinbeck's portrayal of the American Dream.
  • Unraveling Curley's wife's character.
  • A critical look at attitudes towards women.
  • Analysis of power dynamics in Of Mice and Men.
  • Steinbeck’s depiction of life during the Great Depression.
  • Understanding the tragic end: Was there an alternative?

Lord of the Flies Literary Analysis Titles

  • Loss of innocence in Lord of the Flies.
  • Power struggle: Analyzing leadership styles of Jack and Ralph.
  • Deconstructing the symbol of 'beast' in the novel.
  • Golding’s portrayal of the thin veneer of civilization.
  • Survival instincts in Lord of the Flies.
  • Motif of the conch shell in this novel.
  • Exploring fear and its implications.
  • Golding's view on human nature.
  • A critical look at the novel's ending.
  • Understanding the novel’s allegorical elements.

To Kill a Mockingbird Literary Analysis Essay Topics

  • Racial injustice in this novel.
  • How does Scout's perspective shape the narrative?
  • Harper Lee's portrayal of small-town life in the South.
  • Moral education in To Kill a Mockingbird.
  • Understanding Boo Radley's impact on this story.
  • Symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird.
  • Analysis of Atticus Finch's parenting style.
  • Class structure in Maycomb County.
  • Gender roles in To Kill a Mockingbird.
  • Bravery in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Literary Analysis Essay Topics & Title Ideas by Themes

Are you interested in how the good is represented in literature. Or, want to explore the dark side of human nature? No matter what theme you’re analyzing, these literary analysis topics will surely help you get your gears turning.

Literary Analysis Essay Topics on Education

  • Exploring education's impact in To Kill a Mockingbird.
  • Jane Eyre's education and its effects on her life.
  • Learning and wisdom in J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye.
  • Views on education in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
  • Education’s role in the development of Huck Finn.
  • Value of practical knowledge in Moby-Dick.
  • Understanding Malvolio’s wisdom in Twelfth Night.
  • How The Great Gatsby criticizes education in the 1920s.
  • Education as liberation in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.
  • Women's education in Pride and Prejudice.

Literary Analysis Essay Topics on Religion 

  • Understanding religious allegory in Lord of the Flies.
  • Christian symbolism in The Chronicles of Narnia.
  • Religion’s impact on communities in The Poisonwood Bible.
  • Religious imagery in William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience.
  • Criticism of the church in The Canterbury Tales.
  • Dystopian views of religion in Brave New World.
  • How The Scarlet Letter deals with religion and sin.
  • Portrayal of religious hypocrisy in Huckleberry Finn.
  • Religious aspects in Paradise Lost.
  • Comparing religious symbolism in Moby Dick and Billy Budd.

Literary Analysis Essay Topics on Race

  • Discussing racial prejudices in To Kill a Mockingbird.
  • Understanding racial disparities in The Color Purple.
  • Representation of race in Othello.
  • Racial discrimination in Nella Larsen's Passing.
  • Concept of race in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
  • Racial dynamics in Go Set a Watchman.
  • Racial identity in The Bluest Eye.
  • Race and identity in Invisible Man.
  • Racial politics in James Baldwin's Go Tell It On The Mountain.
  • Racial tensions in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun.

War and Peace Literary Analysis Essay Topics

  • Understanding war's impact in All Quiet on the Western Front.
  • Depiction of warfare in War and Peace.
  • Post-war society in The Sun Also Rises.
  • Effects of war on Mrs. Dalloway.
  • Concept of peace in A Separate Peace.
  • Interpreting war in Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls.
  • Post-war life in The Catcher in the Rye.
  • Pacifist messages in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five.
  • Consequences of war in A Farewell to Arms.
  • Portrayal of war in The Red Badge of Courage.

Literary Analysis Topics on Justice and Judgment

  • Concept of justice in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.
  • Justice and injustice in Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations.
  • Judgment in Jane Austen’s Emma.
  • Analyzing justice in George Orwell's 1984.
  • Exploring judgment in Pride and Prejudice.
  • Justice in A Tale of Two Cities.
  • Critique of justice in William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure.
  • Judgment in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter.
  • Justice in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.
  • Portrayal of justice in The Merchant of Venice.

Literary Analysis Ideas About Good and Evil

  • Good and evil in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
  • Good vs evil in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
  • Struggle between good and evil in Moby-Dick.
  • Dichotomy of good and evil in To Kill a Mockingbird.
  • Conflict of good and evil in The Lord of the Rings.
  • Good and evil in Golding's Lord of the Flies.
  • Representation of good and evil in Heart of Darkness.
  • Exploration of good and evil in The Picture of Dorian Gray.
  • How Bram Stoker’s Dracula deals with good and evil.
  • Examining the balance of good and evil in Macbeth.

Bottom Line on Literary Analysis Essay Topics

When you're dealing with a literary analysis paper, it can be overwhelming to come up with unique topics. The trick is finding the perfect topic that you will be excited to work with. These literary analysis ideas should help get you started in the right direction. From time-tested classics to more modern works, we focused on different themes so you can pick the one you like.

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Best 150 Topic Ideas For Analytical Essay


Table of contents

  • 0.1 What Is an Analytical Essay?
  • 0.2 Analytical Essay Topics for High School
  • 0.3 Analytical Essay Topics for College
  • 0.4 Youth Essay Topics
  • 0.5 Culture and Society Essay Topics
  • 0.6 Social Problems Essay Topics
  • 0.7 Essay Topic Ideas on Nature
  • 0.8 Analytical Essay Topics on Health
  • 0.9 Job Essay Topics
  • 0.10 Political Essay Topics
  • 0.11 Analytical Essay Topics on Crime
  • 1 Conclusion

Almost every student faces the challenge of composing an analysis essay during his studies. This type of writing is a perfect tool to demonstrate that you’re well-versed in a subject and to impress with your analytical abilities. Analysis topics vary greatly. It may concern fiction or poetry as well as particular situations or events. The principal aim is to thoroughly investigate your topic and provide your ideas. That is why it’s important to choose a topic that strikes a chord with you to disclose your theme. PapersOwl.com is an excellent platform to find diverse topics for an analytical paragraph, full of insights and ideas. Have a look and get inspired for your essay writing!

What Is an Analytical Essay?

If you can choose a subject for your essay on your own, there are some important points to follow. There are many analytical paragraph topics for your future essay, but be careful and avoid dulling and unexciting ones. For this reason, it’s important to take time to realize which subject you want to investigate and think twice before making a final decision.

If you have doubts about writing your excellent analytical essay or are afraid of missing your deadline, you can delegate this task to our high-skilled team. Our analytical essay writing service can cope with your issues and facilitate your educational process.

Some pieces of advice you should follow in choosing your analysis topic:

  • Recognize the objectives and aims of your future essay. It is critical to grasp the goal of your analysis before choosing a topic.
  • Choose a topic you’re already acquainted with. Prior knowledge or experience with a topic might be beneficial when conducting an analysis. It allows you to approach the problem with knowledge, which can improve the quality and depth of your investigation.
  • Consider your discipline or area of study. Selecting a relevant topic is critical when writing an analysis within a given discipline or field of study. Analyzing a subject within your study allows you to use the concepts, theories, and procedures unique to your field, demonstrating your knowledge and insight.
  • Explore the topic before making a final choice.  Before committing to a particular topic, take the time to explore it in-depth.
  • Reflect on personal relevance and passion. While it’s crucial to consider academic and disciplinary factors, don’t overlook the importance of personal relevance and passion for a topic. Analyzing a subject that genuinely interests you can enhance your motivation, engagement, and overall quality of work.

Use this list of advice to facilitate the process of selecting your analysis topic. We’ve gathered the most interesting analytical topics and can propose any other writing help with your assignment .

Analytical Essay Topics for High School

Numerous examples of analytical essay topics for high school students are provided above. You can utilize some of these to describe the benefits and drawbacks of the topic. Topics for analytical essay for High School are rather uncomplicated and understandable. We’ve collected the best basic topics that will be useful for high school students planning to write an analytical essay . Look through the list of straightforward topics and take the one you are interested in.

  • How to Prevent Bullying
  • School Dress Codes
  • School Kills Creativity
  • School Safety and Violence in the US
  • Segregation Problem in the United States
  • The Most Relevant Causes of Drug Use by Athletes.
  • Peer Pressure. The Reason for this Phenomenon.
  • The Process of Development of Various Phobias in People’s Minds.
  • The Benefits and Drawbacks of Free Education.
  • The Causes of Bullying in Educational Institutions.
  • Cyberbullying: What is it and the Background?
  • Graffiti and Street Art. Why is it so Widespread?
  • The Impact of Living in a One-Parent Family on a Child’s Mind.
  • The Reasons for Drug Addiction. How to Overcome It?
  • Is it Better to be an Optimist or a Pessimist?
  • Organ Donation Is Relevant to Modern Medicine?
  • Do Living Conditions Depend on the Availability of Higher Education?
  • The Impact of Mass Media on the Younger Generation’s Mind.
  • Detrimental Effects of the Social Media. How to Avoid/Reduce?
  • School Uniforms and their Necessity.

Analytical Essay Topics for College

Here is the list of fantastic, widespread, and the latest analytical essay topics for college students if you are a college student.

Our authors have already written analytical essays using all the topics from the list below several times. We frequently help the students resolve their questions: “Is it possible to have someone  write my essay for me ?”. So our team constantly updates this information so that you can find the most relevant analytical topics for college. Just choose the most interesting one and write your excellent analytical essay.

  • College Athletes Continuing Education while Relinquishing Pay
  • Admission as a Freshman
  • Food Insecurity: how Big is the Problem?
  • College Students and Alcohol Abuse
  • Assessing Drinking and Academic Performance
  • Extraterrestrial Life: Have We Found the Signs of the Aliens’ Existence?
  • The Drawbacks of Animal Experimentation: Do We Have a Replacement?
  • Bisexuality. The Origins of Human Being’s Bisexual Pattern.
  • Scientific Backgrounds of Insomnia.
  • How to Maintain the Balance Between Personal&Professional Life?
  • The Character from My Favorite Book and His Life Analysis.
  • Cases of Depression are Constantly Increasing in the USA: Why so?
  • The Impact of Abstract Art on the Development of History.
  • Horror Movies: Psychological Influence on Our Minds.
  • Why Can’t Some People Handle Criticism?
  • Rates of Obesity are Rising Among Youth. Which are the Reasons?
  • Introverts and Extraverts. What and Why Determines Your Personality?
  • Video Game Addiction. The Impact of Too Much Gaming on the Younger Generation’s Mind.
  • A Particular Literary Event: My Analysis.
  • What Causes Some Students to Drop Out?

Youth Essay Topics

You can find many exciting and straightforward examples of the analysis essay topics here. You may discover curious subjects for your essay, but generally speaking, these topics are more challenging to write about. These topics may seem more complex to write than analysis essay topics for High School, but they also are more exciting and challenging. So look through the analytical essay topics list, choose any topic you like, and start your investigations.

  • Youth and Different Factors of Aggression
  • Youth Homelessness in the United States
  • Youth Risk Behavior Survey
  • Unemployment
  • A Discussion on the Effects of Cyberbullying Among the Youth in Namibia
  • Bullying: Social and Mental Background.
  • Generation Gap in Society: Personal Thoughts Concerning the Conflict of Generations.
  • Expectations of College Students’ Life. Does It Match with Reality?
  • Juniors’ Commitment to Independence: the Reasons from Relatives.
  • The Addiction of the Younger Generation to Alcohol. Why Does It Happen?
  • Many Teenagers Tend to Commit Suicide. Reasons and Your Own Conclusions.
  • Young People: The Side Effects of Social Networks.
  • How may the Date of Birth Predetermine the Decisions of a Person?
  • Is it Essential for TV Programs to Have High Ratings to Meet the Requirements of the Young Generation?
  • The Best Tips for Parents to Cope with a Rude Child.
  • A Runaway Teen. Why Can Teenagers Run Away from Home?
  • A Stable Family and its Influence on Human Self-Perception in Society.
  • Rights and Duties of Pupils at School.
  • What Do You Think about Studying in High School? Did Your Expectations Match With Reality?
  • Young People and Addiction. The Problem and the Solution.


Culture and Society Essay Topics

Culture and society types of topics seem to be simple. But when it comes to writing, this essay is challenging. If you want to choose a convincing topic for your critical analysis essay , we’ve prepared a list of good analytical essay topics. You’ll take pleasure in writing your analytical essay with one of these good topics for an analytical essay, or you’ll devise an idea to modify it yourself. There are numerous possibilities, and you will enjoy your research. You may choose any of these compelling topics for your high-quality analytical essay.

  • Gender Roles in Society
  • Illegal Immigration and its Effects
  • Leadership and the Army Profession
  • National Honors Society Leadership
  • Animal Testing should be Banned
  • Creativity Crisis: Description and Preconditions.
  • Gender Differences and Their Impact on the Development of Human Personality in Various Ethnic Settings.
  • Describe and Discuss a Contemporary Military Conflict Unfolding Nowadays.
  • The Reasons for Getting Tattoos and Piercings in Various Cultures.
  • Is Equality of Genders More Essential than Equity Nowadays?
  • Modern Social Problems: Let’s Talk and Figure Out the Reasons.
  • Can Personality Be Affected by Body Shape?
  • Gender Differentiation in the Communication Process.
  • Pros of Music Consumption.
  • The Defiances for Immigrants in Civilizations with only One Culture.
  • The Pressure of Society and How It Influences Human Mentality.
  • How to Decrease the Level of Inequality in Modern Society?
  • In What Way the Use of Internet Communication Has Altered People’s Relationships?
  • Describe and Explain Your Opinion about the Crisis in the USA Education System.
  • The Roles of Male and Female in Different Societies: Differentiation due to the Culture.

Social Problems Essay Topics

It’s a list of relevant themes for those studying in college, they concern pressing social issues and the problems they may cause. Due to the significance of these problems, you should take more time to investigate any topic on the list. It’s essential to use up-to-date information and modern sources to research not only these topics for an analytical essay but also for any other subject. Read the list of topics carefully and choose the most powerful one.

  • Social Problem and Relevant Values
  • Domestic Violence and the Role of Nurses in Detection
  • School Shootings as a Serious Social Problem in America
  • Comparative Analysis: Social Problems
  • Homelessness: Understanding the Causes and Challenges
  • The Causes of Increasing Crime Rates in Poor Districts.
  • What Do You Think about Tax Exemption For an Economically Unstable Population?
  • The Impact of Poverty on Different Areas, the Reason for the Strong Influence of Misery on Particular Areas.
  • The Reason for the Lack of Funding of Educational Institutions in Poor Districts.
  • The Necessity of Recycling: Myth or the Truth?
  • What are the Reasons For the Acceleration of Global Warming?
  • In What Way Could the Government Provide Equal Opportunities for Refugees?
  • Are There Any Other Reasons for Being Addicted besides a Conscious Choice?
  • What Do You Think about the Excessive Gaming of Children?
  • Is It Possible to Avoid and Terminate Inequality?
  • Is It Possible to Maintain the Balance between Personal&Professional life?
  • The Significance of Research about Social Problems.
  • Thought-Provoking Movies And Their Impact on Public Consciousness.
  • How to Provide Sexual Education in Educational Institutions.
  • Violence in Games and Its Influence on the Increasing Rates of Aggressive Behavior of Children.

Essay Topic Ideas on Nature

These topics are profound and relevant. We offer you a list of updated good topics for an analytical essay. Trending and important issues have been made practicable and captivating to aid your research process. Using these topics, you’ll write your efficient analytical essay in the best way possible. With these themes, you can write your custom assignments quickly and properly.

  • The Question of Human Nature
  • Mengzi and Xunzi on Human Nature
  • Importance of Accountability
  • The Holocaust and Human Nature
  • Fish Cheeks Theme Analysis
  • What Do You Think about Animal Experimentation for Medical Purposes?
  • The Causes of Dogs’ Devotion.
  • The Growing Child and Animals. The Influence of Pets on the Child’s Mentality.
  • The Consequences of Poaching.
  • The Scientific Approach to Studying the Ability of Parrots to Imitate Human Speech.
  • Pros and Cons of Microscopic Organisms for Our Health.
  • The Diversity of Animal Species According to Their Capacity to Be Trained.
  • The Reasons for the Extinction of Certain Animals.
  • Do Ants and Bees Tend to Work Together in Colonies? Reasons and Explanations.
  • Plants and Their Capability to Feel the Pain.
  • Household Chemicals and Their Harmful Impact on the Environment.
  • Explain the Origin of Smog and Its Influence on People’s Health.
  • The Influence of Your Lifestyle on Ecology.
  • In What Way Is Humanity Able to Clean Up the Oceans?
  • Large-Scale Recycling. The Implementation of This Method.


Analytical Essay Topics on Health

It isn’t easy to convey the importance of analytical essay topics on Health. It’s rather voluminous work, and you’ll have to invest a lot of time to master one of these topics. We did our best to collect the most interesting and simple topics for an analytical essay. Look through the list of easy analytical essay topics on Health and take the one you are interested in.

  • Health Care Cyber Security
  • Health Care Policy
  • Health Data Breach Response Plan: a Managed Care Organization’s Comprehensive Plan
  • Disparity and Structural Violence
  • Insurance Market Structure
  • The Amount of Water Every Person Is Recommended to Consume.
  • The Ways to Cure Insomnia, Methods of Treatment.
  • Manic-Depressive Illness. Causes, Symptoms, and Consequences.
  • Free Medical Treatment: Benefits and Drawbacks.
  • Advantages&Disadvantages of Vegetarianism.
  • Cloning and Its Contribution to the Security of a Person’s Life.
  • Scientific Explanation of Antidepressants’ Function.
  • The Method of Controlling&Regulating Drug Prices.
  • Universal Health Care: Importance and Effectiveness.
  • Pharmaceutical Industry And the Tendency to Prescribe Unnecessary Medications.
  • Healthcare in the United States Compared With the Health System of Any Other Nation.
  • The Necessity of Childhood Vaccination. Do We Need It?
  • Medical Insurance. How Does It Work Nowadays?
  • Alternative Medicine. The Most Effective Methods of Alternative Treatment.
  • What Do You Think about the Efficiency Of Homeopathic Medicine?

Job Essay Topics

One of the most popular lists of topics for analytical essays is connected with employment. Most students have to write such an analytical essay one day. It’s a significant part of your studies and future professional development. Some popular employment-related analytical essay topics include the impact of automation on the job market, the role of diversity in the workplace, and the effects of remote work on employee productivity and well-being. Here you can see the most popular topics which are interesting to investigate.

  • Minimum Wage Increase and Employment and Job Opportunities
  • The Respiratory System Job
  • Job Analysis and Job Advertisement
  • Opportunities for Teenagers at McDonald’s
  • A Parent’s Job: Analyzing the Impacts of Parental Involvement in Sexual Education
  • Steps&Tips to Create an Impressive CV.
  • Great Teamwork, Its Relevance.
  • The Description and Characteristics of a Real Leader.
  • Burnout Syndrome. When Does It Occur and How to Prevent it?
  • How To Motivate the Employees and Increase Their Efficiency?
  • Methods of Being the Most Eye-catching Candidate During the Selection Process.
  • Technology Industry: Salaries Annual Growth.
  • What Do You Think About the Differences Between Men’s and Women’s Salaries?
  • Relevant Marketing Tendencies & Social Networks.
  • The Integration of Ex-prisoners In the Labor Market.
  • Higher Education And Its Influence On Employment.
  • Necessary Skills to Cope with Your Professional Challenges.
  • The Connection between Formal And Informal Training.
  • Leadership Skills To Resolve the Conflict.
  • Is It Possible to Enjoy Your Job and Be Motivated? Personal thoughts.

Political Essay Topics

Political topics are rather controversial and need to be clarified. Nevertheless, it’s an excellent opportunity to show off your skills and conduct a qualitative study. It’s your chance to demonstrate knowledge and a great experience to become a conscious citizen. You may choose your topic from our list if your decline correlates with politics. We’ve gathered the most exciting analytical essay topics for your future writing.

  • The Relationship between Religion and Politics in the United States
  • How has Social Media Changed Politics?
  • Women’s Participation in Local Governance and Politics
  • Abraham Lincoln Cooper Union Address
  • Democracy and Education
  • The Significance of Nationalism and its Possible Consequences.
  • One of the Speeches of the President: My Analysis.One of the Speeches of the President: My Analysis.
  • A Guideline To Make a Prosperous Election Campaign.
  • Monarchy As a Political System: Possible Reasons for its Existence in the Modern World.
  • Social Networks: Do They Play a Huge Role in Modern Politics?
  • The Reason for the Loss of the Political Party in the Latest Election.
  • Outdated Laws in the Modern Political System: Why Do They still Exist?
  • Comparative Analysis of the Democracy in the European Union and the United States.
  • Why Should Every Citizen Vote? And Should We inDeed?
  • The military conflict Unfolded due to Political Interference: Analysis.
  • The Population Growth: Influence on the Stable Progress of the Government.
  • Increasing Rates of Nationalism? What Are the Causes?
  • A Comparative Analysis of Anarchy & Democracy.
  • Karl Marx: Did We Understand His Philosophy Correctly?
  • Explore the Steps of Achieving Democracy in Some Countries.
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Analytical Essay Topics on Crime

Writing your analytical essay about crime could reveal some mysteries and secrets. You have an opportunity to explore some details and get acquainted with the process of investigation. It’s not the most manageable area of study for your analytical essay but, on the other hand, rather exciting. Be careful and use only reliable information and data. Here is the list of topics, select the most interesting one and let’s get to work.

  • An Issue of Social Media and Cyber Crimes
  • Does the Death Penalty Effectively Deter Crime?
  • Mass Incarceration in America
  • Gender Equality and Crime
  • Death Penalty and Justice
  • Describe the Methods to Cope With Gang Behavior.
  • The motivation of the youth to become a member of gangs?
  • Strict Punishment and its Effectiveness Regarding the White-Collar Crimes.
  • Family Structure & its Connection with Delinquent Subcultures.
  • Police Brutality: The Reasons and Background Description. Is it a Constant Phenomenon?
  • Reduce The Crime Rates: Is It Even Possible Within Our Century?
  • The Violation of Privacy&Its Correlation with Security.
  • There are Frequent Cases of Police Brutality. Main Causes Explanation.
  • What Are the Main Advantages and Disadvantages of the Jury System?
  • Description of the Main Patterns of Crime Statistics for the Last Decade.
  • Top 10 Steps to Prevent Acts of Terrorism: Myth or Reality?
  • The Differentiation of the Police Attitude to the Same Crime According to the Area of the Incident.
  • A Conspiracy of Silence and Its Role in Regards to Police Accountability.
  • Rites for the consolidation of gangs. Description.
  • Mafia Classification in the USA. General Description Accordingly to the States.

Sometimes choosing a topic for your analytical essay doesn’t seem easy. Our list of analytical essay example topics may come in handy in such a responsible research stage. You can find a topic on any subject. Selecting the right topic is a significant part of your future success since you should understand it and know the subject of your investigations. Narrative essay writers must also have a keen eye for detail and be creative in their writing. Read the lists of topics properly to choose the most interesting and exciting one, then create your unique paper and get the highest score. Use only relevant information and updated resources for your research.

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435 Literary Analysis Essay Topics and Prompts [2024 Upd]

Literature courses are about two things: reading and writing about what you’ve read. For most students, it’s hard enough to understand great pieces of literature, never mind analyzing them. And with so many books and stories out there, choosing one to write about can be a chore.

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The picture says that literary analysis involves interpretation and evaluation.

But you’re in luck!

This article by our Custom Writing service experts presents a list of the most interesting and creative literary analysis topics. Additionally, you will find here:

  • helpful essay prompts;
  • a writing guide with simple tips;
  • a literary analysis example.

This comprehensive article can be helpful not only for university or college students but also to students of high and middle school.

  • 🔝 Top 10 Literature Topics for High School
  • 🔮 Top 10 Literary Topics for College
  • 📜 Topics from Different Eras
  • 🖋️ Poetry Analysis Topics
  • 🎭 Shakespeare Essay Topics
  • 📚 English Literature Topics: Different Authors
  • 💡 Non-Fiction Literature Topics
  • ⭐ Other Ideas
  • 🖊️ Literary Analysis Prompts
  • ✍️ Writing Guide
  • 📃 Essay Example

🔗 References

🔝 top 10 literature essay topics for high school.

  • The role of religion in King Lear  
  • Milk symbolism in Beloved  
  • Is there gender inequality in Iliad ? 
  • Social issues of The Little Match Girl  
  • Gender roles in The Great Gatsby  
  • Frankenstein : historical background 
  • How is loyalty presented in Beowulf ?
  • Flower symbolism in A Rose for Emily
  • Politics in Titus Andronicus  
  • The presentation of power in Ozymandias   

🔮 Top 10 Literary Analysis Essay Topics for College

  • Nature symbolism in Young Goodman Brown  
  • Childhood trauma in God Help the Child  
  • The consequences of Macbeth’s ambition 
  • The historical context of The Scarlet Letter  
  • Presentation of misery in The Chimney Sweeper
  • The supernatural in The Fall of the House of Usher  
  • What does Dorian Gray’s portrait represent? 
  • How is the true inner self discovered in Demian ? 
  • Natural beauty in I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud  
  • Endurance as a theme of The Old Man and the Sea  

📜 Literary Analysis Essay Topics: Different Eras

Topics in ancient greek & roman literature.

Works of literature from Ancient Greece have a timeless quality. This is why they are still taught in schools centuries later. After thousands of years, there is little that hasn’t already been written about these works. That’s why we’ve gathered the only most outstanding topics that you will definitely find interesting:

  • Justice in Plato’s The Republic . Plato is perhaps the most influential thinker in the Western World. Accordingly, writing about his powerful philosophical dialogs is a challenging task. Most teachers will assign only portions of The Republic . We suggest you write about the theme of justice, but you can choose to focus on any other aspect of the dialog.
  • Determination in Sophocles’ Antigone . Antigone is one of the masterworks of the Greek playwright Sophocles. In this tale of royal succession, key themes include civil disobedience, natural and human law, and faithfulness.
  • Odysseus as an atypical hero in The Odyssey . The Odyssey by Homer is considered one of the most important poems in Classic literature. Odysseus is a unique epic hero facing an unusual challenge: his goal is not to win battles but to reconnect with his family. He has to rely on his wit rather than sheer power to achieve it. In your essay, explain how Odysseus differs from other heroes in Greek mythology .
  • Ethical principles in Aesop’s Fables . Aesop’s Fables represent a unique example of Ancient Greek literature. The stories written by a slave have become a cultural phenomenon centuries later. Even today, the morals of his works stay relevant.
  • The influence of Greek tragedy on modern theater. Sophocles’ and Aeschylus ‘ plays can still be found in the repertoire of many theaters. Moreover, their works often serve as inspiration for contemporary playwrights.
  • The tragedy of Oedipus in Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex . Oedipus is one of the best-known classic tragic heroes. In killing his father and marrying his mother, he fulfilled the prophecy of the Oracle. Through this play, Sophocles explores the themes of destiny and human flaws.
  • The variety of genres in the Metamorphoses. Millennia after Ovid’s Metamorphoses were written, scholars still argue about the genre of this work. Ovid blended historical events with fiction and experimented with the tone and themes of the poem.
  • The role of gods in Homer’s epic poems. In Homer’s Iliad and The Odyssey , gods often determine the outcomes of major events and change heroes’ destinies. They can become powerful allies or dangerous enemies of humans. Explore how divine interventions change the course of the story in both poems. Focus on Athene, Apollo, Aphrodite, Hera, and Poseidon.
  • Cicero’s legacy in Western politics and philosophy. Cicero’s letters are widely recognized as some of the most influential works of Latin literature. John Locke , Voltaire, and Martin Luther are among the figures inspired by him. Cicero’s philosophy teaching also influenced revolutionary movements in France and America in the 17 th century.

Literary Essay Topics: 19th and 20th Century

Many great literary works in the English language were written in the golden era of the 19 th and 20 th centuries. These works, ranging from epic novels to short poems, provide insight into the themes that define the Anglophone world’s spirit.

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  • The conflict between good and evil in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes . Sherlock Holmes—a character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle—is considered the most famous fictional detective of all time. The Adventure of the Speckled Band is the favorite Holmes story of both the author and readers. Accordingly, many students choose to analyze this short story, which explores the themes of chaos.
  • Lord of the Flies as an allegory of modern society. Students of all ages have read Lord of the Flies , the classic novella by William Golding that explores the dangers of groupthink, the conflicts between rationality and irrationality, and morality and immorality., the classic novella by William Golding that explores the dangers of groupthink, the conflicts between rationality and irrationality, and morality and immorality.
  • The arbitrary nature of time and history in The Princess Bride . William Goldman’s The Princess Bride is such an entertaining story that it was adapted into an even more popular film. The key theme explored in this book is the power of love to conquer all.
  • The theme of money and greed in The Rocking Horse Winner . D. H. Lawrence is one of the masters of 20 th -century English literature, and his short story The Rocking Horse Winner clearly demonstrates his skill. In this tale of a struggling family, the themes of money and greed are thoroughly explored as a young boy uses clairvoyance gained on a rocking horse to predict race outcomes.
  • Is Of Mice and Men a classic tale of struggle? The American writer John Steinbeck captured the hardships faced by ordinary people during the Great Depression . The main recurring theme among Of Mice and Men characters is striving after dreams, often futilely, as demonstrated by them all: from George and Lennie to Candy and Curley’s wife.
  • The themes of reality and fantasy in A Streetcar Named Desire . Tennessee Williams’s masterpiece A Streetcar Named Desire is perhaps the most famous American dramatic play of all time. The central theme explored in this provocative play is the contemporary dependence of women on men.
  • Comparison of Ivan and Alexei in The Brothers Karamazov. The conflict between faith and doubt is arguably the central topic of Dostoevsky’s work, and The Brothers Karamazov is a perfect example of it. Alexei is a devout Orthodox Christian who believes in miracles. His brother, Ivan, rejects the concept of divine transcendence and embraces atheism.
  • Charles Dickens’ ambivalent attitude towards the poor. Dickens is widely considered an advocate of the poor’s rights and social change. Indeed, many of his impoverished characters are likable. However, Dickens also believes that the poor can be dangerous to society. Some of the works you can discuss are Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities , and Barnaby Rudge .
  • Magic realism in One Hundred Years of Solitude . Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s masterpiece, One Hundred Years of Solitude, is written in the genre of magical realism. Marquez tells a fictional story of the Buendia family, blending daily routine with extraordinary events, effectively blurring the line between reality and fiction.
  • The differences between dystopian worlds in 1984 and A Brave New World . George Orwell and Aldous Huxley wrote the two most famous dystopian novels of the 20 th century. In both of them, the government has complete control over society, which is obtained through different strategies. In your essay, you may compare the policies in 1984 and A Brave New World .
  • On the Road as the landmark novel of the Beat Generation. Jack Kerouac and other members of the Beat movement challenged the typical American middle-class lifestyle in their works. On the Road embodies the main principles of their philosophy. Some of the topics to explore are freedom, spontaneity, and nonconformity.
  • The role of the changing narrative in Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury . The Sound and the Fury is often praised for its experimental form. Four narrators tell the story from different perspectives and in contrasting tones. Explore how the changing narrative affects the overall perception of the novel.
  • Folklore, religion, and myth in Toni Morrison’s works. Toni Morrison is widely recognized as one of the most influential contemporary Black American writers. Her works are inspired mainly by her African heritage and Western mythology. Some of the novels to explore are Beloved and Song of Solo mon .
  • Expression of war experiences in American fiction. Wars in the 20 th century had a significant impact on American literature. Many writers participated in armed conflicts. Hemingway, Vonnegut, Salinger, and O’Brien are some of the authors who reflect on their war experiences in semi-autobiographic novels and short stories.

“My mother is a fish” quote.

Contemporary Literature Essay Topics

Excellent books are still being written! Once in a while, your instructor may ask you to analyze a more recent work. Here are a few great books to consider for your next essay.

  • The theme of overcoming obstacles and poverty in Reservation Blues . Sherman Alexie’s novel Reservation Blues tells the story of a group of young men from the Spokane Indian reservation. They obtain the enchanted guitar of a legendary bluesman. Aside from overcoming obstacles, this book explores many other themes of Native American life.
  • Family obligations in Montana 1948 by Larry Watson . This novella is set in the Western American state of Montana, where a young man’s family struggles to survive. You may explore the theme of family obligations in conjunction with loyalty and justice.
  • The presentation of grief in The Lovely Bones . In Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones , the protagonist Susie dies violently. And then, her spirit proceeds to watch over the investigation of her disappearance and her family members’ lives.
  • Self-sacrifice as one of the central themes of Harry Potter . You may also want to write about any other theme of the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. But remember: when you write about a book that was turned into a movie, make sure to actually read the book!
  • Cultural and religious references in Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo. One of the most acclaimed novels in recent years, Lincoln in the Bardo deals with the themes of death and the afterlife. A Tibetan concept of bardo inspires Saunders’ work, but the author also borrows ideas from other cultures and religions.
  • The theme of cultural assimilation in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah. In her third novel, Adichie draws upon her personal experiences to tackle the issues African immigrants face when they move to the US. Explore the effects of immigration on the protagonist’s personality, views, and behavior.
  • Hypocrisy as the central theme of Ian McEwan’s Amsterdam. In Amsterdam , McEwan explores the contrast between public figures’ statements and their personal lives. None of the major characters in the novel act in accordance with their ethical standards. We suggest you focus on the figures of Clive, Vernon, and Julian.
  • Paul Beatty’s The Sellout : Satire on racial stereotypes. Beatty employs satire and irony to tackle some of the most pressing current issues in American society. The Sellout can be used as an encyclopedia of stereotypes associated with African Americans. Explore how the author uses literary devices to highlight their absurdity.
  • Cloning ethics in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go . In the dystopian world of Never Let Me Go , cloning is a common practice. However, clones are used only as organ donors; they are not perceived as human beings. Explain how Ishiguro uses the narrative to challenge this social norm. For example, his characters can make art and fall in love.
  • Comparison of the New and Old Gods in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. In American Gods , the narrative is based on the idea that humans created deities. The Old Gods in mythology represent the forces of nature, and The New Gods represent technologies that shape modern society. Discuss the similarities and differences between these two groups.

🖋️ Literary Analysis Essay Topics: Poetry

Many of the great works of literature are poems. Writing about them requires a special approach. Here’s a tip: don’t be afraid to quote the poem heavily and give several alternative interpretations. But first, check out this list of excellent topics:

  • A real-life war experience in Crane’s War is Kind . An American poet and writer Stephen Crane wrote the acclaimed American Civil War novel The Red Badge of Courage . But not everyone knows that he also wrote a collection of poems entitled War is Kind . Through these poems, he delved deep into the themes of war and violence based on his experience in the Spanish–American and Greco–Turkish Wars.
  • The theme of religion in John Donne’s sonnets. At the opposite end of the poetry spectrum, you can find the Elizabethan-era Englishman, John Donne . His works were written mainly in the form of sonnets focused on the themes of love, social criticism, death, and religion.
  • Mysticism in William Butler Yeats’s poetry . The occult, spiritualism, and Irish mythology profoundly influenced Yeats’ work. Many of his poems are preoccupied with the Apocalypse, immortality of the human soul, and the spirit world. Start your research with The Second Coming and Sailing to Byzantium.
  • Allusions in Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven . The Raven is widely recognized as one of the most famous poems of all time. It contains numerous references and allusions to the Bible, folklore, and other literary works. Examine and quote Poe’s sources of inspiration.
  • The meaning of The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost . Robert Frost’s poetry is often praised for his rich metaphorical language. The Road Not Taken is a quintessential piece that’s often misunderstood. In your essay, you may explore its alternative interpretations.
  • The evolution of blank verse in English poetry. Blank verse emerged in English poetry in the 16 th century and has been used by some of the most influential poets since then. While its main features have remained largely unchanged, many prominent authors experimented with its form. For example, you can analyze the use of blank verse in the poetry of Shakespeare , Milton, and Wordsworth.
  • Main themes and features of Beat poetry. The Beat movement played a pivotal role in the cultural processes in the post-war US. Beat poetry is characterized by rebellion, transgression, and experiments with form. Some of the authors to check out are Allen Ginsberg , Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti , and Gary Snyder.
  • The narrator in Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself . Unlike many poets of his time, Whitman rejected the dichotomy of body and soul. In Song of Myself , the narrator represents the union of the “temporary” human body with the immortal soul. Consider exploring Whitman’s philosophy behind the notion of “self” in the poem.
  • William Blake’s influence on British and American poetry and culture. Blake’s contemporaries largely disregarded his poetry. However, his influence on the later generations is hard to overestimate. His values and ideas inspired the Pre-Raphaelites, the Beat Generation, and some of the prominent figures of the American music scene, including Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison. and Jim Morrison.

🎭 Literary Analysis: Shakespeare Essay Topics

Romeo and juliet essay topics.

How many Romeo and Juliet personal responses and analysis essays have already been written? There are too many of them to count, but there’s still room for more. Romeo and Juliet essay examples can help you find a unique topic for an essay about the play. Another option is to check out top Romeo and Juliet themes below:

  • How does fate affect the love plot in Romeo and Juliet ?
  • Concept of contrasts in the language of the play.
  • The significance of time in Romeo and Juliet
  • The tragic love theme of Romeo and Juliet as a cliché for romantic fatalism
  • Mercutio as a representation of loyalty
  • Montagues and Capulets: the conflict between generations
  • How is irony used in the play?
  • The role of the family in Romeo and Juliet
  • The social and historical context of the play
  • Nurse’s role in the death of Romeo and Juliet

Hamlet Essay Topics

Shakespeare’s Hamlet may be the most widely assigned play in the English courses. Here are the top Hamlet essay topics worth exploring.

  • The theme of disillusionment in Hamlet
  • Mistreatment of women in Hamlet as a representation of misogyny in Shakespeare’s times
  • How has the tragedy’s theme of madness affected modern literature?
  • What role does melancholy play in Hamlet ?
  • The connection between friendship and betrayal in the character of Laertes
  • Comedic elements in Hamlet
  • The impact of Gertrude and Claudius’ marriage on Hamlet’s revenge
  • What is the symbolism of The Mousetrap play?
  • The impact of introspection on Hamlet’s revenge
  • Analysis of the Denmark setting in Hamlet

Macbeth Essay Topics

Shakespeare’s Macbeth is the last (and shortest) of the three big Shakespearean plays every high school student reads before graduation. Like the rest of William Shakespeare’s tragedies, it is full of meaningful themes that can serve as topics for literary analysis essays.

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  • The corrupting influence of ambition in Macbeth
  • Supernatural elements in Macbeth
  • The impact of loyalty and betrayal on the plot
  • What does sleep symbolize in the play?
  • Why is Macbeth a victim of fate?
  • The role of darkness as a setting in Macbeth
  • Is blood a symbol of guilt in Macbeth ?
  • The causes of Macbeth’s mental deterioration
  • The impact of Macbeth’s hallucinations on his character development
  • Minor characters’ contributions to the play’s action

Lady Macbeths real name was Gruoch and Macbeth’s real name was Mac Bethad Mac Findlaich.

Shakespeare wrote many more plays beyond the big three listed above. Here are a few more topics and works that show the range of the Bard.

  • The theme of madness in King Lear . Shakespeare’s King Lear is one of the longest works by the Bard. Many actors feel that the title role is one of the most challenging available for an actor because of the character’s gradual descent into madness. Accordingly, “madness” is perhaps the best topic related to this play.
  • The presentation of love and adoration in Sonnet 18 . Shakespeare’s sonnets make excellent essay topics because they are so concise but rich in meaning. Love and devotion, which are expressed in Sonnet 18 and throughout his other sonnets, serve as great critical analysis essay topics.
  • The theme of the crown in Shakespeare’s Henry IV
  • Sexuality, sensuality, and spirituality in William Shakespeare’s sonnets
  • Ambition in Hamlet and Macbeth : choices of men and women characters
  • The use of disguise in The Twelfth Night
  • Different faces of love in Shakespeare’s sonnets and plays
  • Appearance as the most potent disguise in Shakespeare’s plays
  • The use of satire in William Shakespeare’s comedies and tragedies
  • The line between acting and real life in Hamlet
  • Parallels between Shakespeare’s King Lear and Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex
  • The use of allusion in The Tempest
  • The complexity of the female character in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra
  • Archetypal female characters in Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets
  • William Shakespeare’s authorship: style, vocabulary, themes, and dates
  • The role of Shakespeare in the world of literature
  • How does William Shakespeare use the meter in his plays?
  • The depiction of the supernatural in Macbeth , The Tempest , and A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • The theme of race and ethnicity in Othello
  • Personal identity in Hamlet and Henry IV

By the way, you can find all of Shakespeare’s works on our website for free.

📚 English Literature Essay Topics: Different Authors

Some can find it easier to focus on particular authors and their works. Are you one of them? Here are possible topics for those who like traditional approaches.

Literary Analysis Essay Topics: Geoffrey Chaucer

  • Chaucer’s works of the French and Italian periods
  • Primary themes and motifs in Troilus and Criseyde
  • Women’s virtues, as seen by Chaucer and his contemporaries
  • Gender: conventions and innovations in Geoffrey Chaucer’s works
  • Chaucer’s role in the development of a heroic couplet
  • Chaucer’s use of the vernacular language: nobility and nation
  • Religious morals in The Canterbury Tales
  • The roots of class conflict in The Canterbury Tales
  • Chaucer’s influence on modern English dialects
  • The critique of clergy in The Canterbury Tales
  • The influence of medieval Italian poetry on Chaucer’s work
  • Central themes in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Book of the Duchess
  • The comparison of Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde and Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida
  • Elements of comedy in The Canterbury Tales
  • Chaucer as a pioneer of rhyme royal in English poetry
  • Chaucer’s primary sources of inspiration in Roman poetry: Ovid and Virgil
  • The depiction of the middle class in The Canterbury Tales

Literary Essay Topics on John Keats

  • Different shapes of death in John Keats’s works
  • What was wrong with Keats’s Otho the Great ?
  • Byron’s influence on Keats’s style and themes
  • The uniqueness of John Keats’ imagery
  • Keats’s letters and their influence on the English literature
  • Greek classics as a source of inspiration for Keats
  • Keats’ stance on social and political issues of his time
  • The importance of nature in Keats’ odes
  • The themes of melancholy and isolation in Keats’ poetry
  • Keats’ perception of art and its role in Ode on a Grecian Urn
  • The polemics on Keats’ statement “Beauty is truth”
  • The values of Romanticism in Keats’ poetry
  • Keats’ concept of negative capability and its examples in his poetry
  • The differences between the Romantic poetry of Keats and Coleridge
  • Keats’ attitude towards Christianity and pagan mythology

Literature Essay Topics on Oscar Wilde

  • A perfect wife as depicted in An Ideal Husband
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray as the aesthete’s manifesto
  • Wilde’s essential inspirations and the development of his views
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray : will beauty save the world?
  • Oscar Wilde’s personal traits in his characters
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray : Lord Henry’s morality or immorality
  • Irony, sarcasm, and satire in Oscar Wilde’s works
  • The use of metaphors in The Ballad of Reading Gaol
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray : was the young man innocent?
  • Conventions and innovations in Oscar Wilde’s fairy stories
  • Oscar Wilde as the most celebrated master of paradox
  • Play on words in Oscar Wilde’s major works
  • Christian theme in De Profundis
  • The Importance of Being Earnest as the critique of Victorian society
  • The role of the Dance of the Seven Veils in Wilde’s Salome
  • Wilde’s aesthetic philosophy in his essay The Critic as Artist
  • The Soul of Man under Socialism : an expression of Wilde’s political views
  • Wilde as one of the key figures of the Decadent movement
  • Women characters in Oscar Wilde’s comedies
  • The theme of sacrifice in Wilde’s short stories
  • The dichotomy of body and soul in The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Fisherman and His Soul
  • The recurring motifs in Oscar Wilde’s comedies

George Orwell Literary Analysis Essay Topics

  • Orwell’s imagery in the depiction of totalitarian regimes
  • George Orwell’s background: inspirations for themes and symbols
  • Orwell’s views on the English language and literature
  • The historical context of 1984 and Animal Farm
  • The role of the media in Orwell’s characters’ lives
  • The character of the Big Brother in 1984
  • Naturalism and imagery in The Road to Wigan Pier
  • Why was Animal Farm regarded as controversial in the 1950s?
  • Orwell’s religious views in Lear, Tolstoy, and the Fool
  • Winston Smith’s journey to freedom in 1984

💡 Literary Analysis Topics in Non-Fiction

The world of literature goes far beyond William Shakespeare and fiction in general. Here is a bunch of more literary analysis paper topics for other great works of literature that deal with real-life events.

  • Religious faith and dehumanization in Night . Elie Wiesel’s classic memoir of the Holocaust is a difficult book for many students to read. And yet, you may need to write a Night by Elie Wiesel essay at some point. Religion and dehumanization are prominent themes that can serve as great topics.
  • The power of nature in Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild . The story chronicles the journey of 22-year-old Christopher McCandless from modern society into a 2-year trip in the wilderness of the western United States. This work of non-fiction explores the themes of escape, community, and the power of nature. (Warning: things do not end well for McCandless along the Stampede Trail of Alaska.)
  • Why We Can’t Wait by Martin Luther King as a source of inspiration for modern politicians and activists. Based on his Letter from Birmingham Jail , MLK’s Why We Can’t Wait is a study of the origins of the civil rights movement in the US. Analyze how activists and politicians can use ideas from this book in the 21 st century.
  • The themes of religion and technological progress in The Education of Henry Adams. In his autobiography, Henry Adams explores the influence of religion and technological progress on society. In the industrial world, technology has become a new religion. You may contrast and compare technological and religious societies in Adams’ work.
  • The banality of evil in Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem. Hannah Arendt offers an original perspective on the nature of war crimes. According to her, ordinary people are capable of the most terrible deeds under specific circumstances. In your essay, explore Arendt’s concept of “the banality of evil.”
  • The role of photography in modern society, according to Susan Sontag. In her book On Photography , Susan Sontag explores how the role of this medium has been changing throughout the 20 th century. Analyze her arguments to establish the relationship between photography and political and social processes.
  • A Room of One’s Own as a manifesto of women’s literature. A Room of One’s Own reflects the women’s position in the literary scene. Woolf concludes that women’s writing capabilities match those of men. However, they often fail to reach their full potential because of the flawed structure of a male-dominated society.
  • Haruki Murakami’s Underground: a study of Japanese society. For Underground , Murakami conducted a series of interviews after the terrorist attack on the Tokyo subway. Rather than focusing on the act itself, the author uses this opportunity to explore the social issues that plague Japanese society.
  • T. S. Eliot’s literary criticism and views on poetry. T. S. Eliot is one of the most important literary critics and theorists of the early 20 th century. His theories and arguments have largely shaped the New Criticism movement in literature. Analyze the ideas expressed in Tradition and the Individual Talent and Hamlet and His Problems .

⭐ Literary Analysis Topics: Other Ideas

Literary essays don’t have to be devoted to analyzing a particular work. They may also include textual analysis essays, literary interpretations, critical response essays, and topic analyses. Here are some excellent options for you to consider:

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  • Character development of various protagonists. You may write an analytical essay describing and interpreting changes in the central characters of different novels. Try to be precise, provide examples, and prove the significance of these changes. You can consider the development of Soames in The Forsyte Saga or the title character in David Copperfield .
  • Context analysis of a historical period. Your analysis paper can be devoted to the settings of the short story, play, poem, or novel. Make emphasis on the role of the context in explaining the characters and the key ideas. For example, you can explore the wartime setting in Gone with the Wind .
  • Analysis of genre conventions. Another good choice is to dwell upon the practices used by various authors belonging to the same literary genre. You can write a critical essay about a realistic, romantic, gothic , or any other kind of novel and the author’s ability to meet or challenge genre expectations.
  • The impact of an author’s life on their legacy. The background of a novelist, short-story writer, poet, or playwright may also be of great interest to the reader. However, it is not enough to narrate the author’s life: you must be able to connect it with their style and themes. The most demonstrative analysis examples may include Henry Miller, Ernest Hemingway , and Lord Byron.
  • Comparative analysis of two authors . It is also a good idea to compare several authors. A critical evaluation essay may estimate their impact on the development of their genre. If these authors come from different backgrounds, it is also possible to evaluate how the culture they belonged to made a difference. For example, write about Dickens vs. Thackeray or Joyce vs. Woolf.
  • Comparative analysis of two texts . If you don’t want to compare authors, you may try comparing two literary works on the same topic or belonging to the same epoch or genre. For example, try analyzing the similarities and differences between Canterbury Tales and Decameron .
  • Analysis of a literary work’s structure. Analysis topics may include the stream-of-consciousness technique, theater of the absurd, etc. The idea is to show how new expressive means transformed the traditional approach to plot building and character development.
  • The role of irony in short stories. If you are to analyze a short story, you may describe how the author uses irony to communicate their message. Show how it creates meaning and what underlies it. Numerous authors employ irony as the major tool in their short stories, including Jerome K. Jerome and Salinger.
  • Analyzing the climax in a novel. Describing how the author builds the plot to reach the culmination is a good option for a novel critical analysis essay. Track how the tension is created and how it is released when the climax is reached. For example, you can try analyzing the climax in To Kill a Mockingbird .
  • Mood expression in a novel of your choice. Your essay may investigate how the vocabulary and grammar chosen by an author contribute to the text’s atmosphere. You can consider analyzing Lolita or Sons and Lovers .
  • The role of dialogue in plays. Your critical paper may highlight what means the playwright uses to make the characters’ speech expressive. For example, examine Oscar Wilde’s plays or Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot .
  • Stage directions in plays. You may also want to pay attention to the importance of the author’s notes and scene directions in a play. They are particularly crucial in modern drama. Consider analyzing Beckett’s Waiting for Godot or Shaw’s Heartbreak House.
  • The use of allegory in poems. It’s an excellent topic for poem analysis. You can suggest your own literary interpretation of an allegory or consider why the author opted for this device. For example, consider analyzing the allegories in Vision of Judgement .
  • An open ending in a novel. Suppose the work under analysis doesn’t have a conflict resolution. In that case, your critical evaluation essay can give arguments for the author’s choice and interpret its meaning and possible continuation scenarios. For example, you may analyze an open ending in Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.
  • Comparison of critical opinions on a novel. If the piece you have read ranks among the best-known works in the world, it would be a good idea to compare literary criticism examples related to this work. You may select two different critics and juxtapose their views. For example, try comparing critical opinions on Mrs. Dalloway .
  • Analyzing side characters in literary works. If your task is to analyze a character, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should write about a protagonist. A more creative approach would be to pick a static character that doesn’t go through any transformations throughout the book and suggest why the author made them this way. One option is to write about side characters in Vanity Fair .
  • The narrative voice in novels. It can be challenging yet enjoyable to describe the narrative voice and focalization techniques that help the reader see the events in a certain way. It is especially complicated when a text has several points of view. For example, you may choose to analyze the narrative voice in Faulkner’s Absalom! Absalom! or As I Lay Dying .
  • The narrators in literature. The previous topic can be narrowed: you can take a work written from a first-person point of view and draw parallels between the author and the main character. For example, you can consider writing about the narrator in Moby Dick .
  • The cultural background of Dumas’ novels. In the case of historical novels, an analytical paragraph may be devoted to the historical and cultural background. Any of Alexandre Dumas’ novels, such as The Three Musketeers , may serve as perfect literature examples to write about.
  • Imagery used by various poets. You can analyze specific images that poets use in their works. For example, try analyzing how Walt Whitman uses industrial imagery in his works.

Alice Walker won Pulitzer prize.

Profound Literary Analysis Topics in Women’s Literature

Literary analysis on the topics of gender and women in society is critical to understanding the modern world. Here are a few powerful essay topics in this area.

  • The disruption of traditional gender roles in The Color Purple . According to New Republic, this National Book Award-winning work is considered a cultural touchstone for African American women . It features many heavy themes, such as sexism and racism. Keep in mind that this book is not for the faint of heart.
  • The themes of family and generational differences in Alice Walker’s short story Everyday Use . The short story is about heirloom possessions passed down from one generation of women to another.
  • Social standing and wealth as the two key themes in Pride and Prejudice . The protagonist of this book, Elizabeth Bennet, must choose between two suitors. One is an amiable man. The other is better established in society but has a colder personality.
  • Marriage and social status in Emma . Emma is the tale of a young woman less interested in securing her own marriage than her sisters. You can analyze the constraints placed upon women in 17 th -century society as reflected in this book.
  • Women’s role in society and gender roles according to The Great Lawsuit . The Great Lawsuit is often considered one of the most important early feminist works. The author, Margaret Fuller, argues that gender equality is a crucial aspect of a progressive society. She describes an ideal relationship between a man and a woman as an intellectual companionship.
  • Dystopia and feminism in A Handmaid’s Tale . In A Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood describes a world where women’s societal role is reduced to producing children. This work largely follows the traditions of classic dystopian novels written by Orwell and Huxley. Explore how the presence of the feminist discourse makes Atwood’s work stand out.
  • Gertrude Stein’s experiments with form and style. Gertrude Stein’s work is notable for her distinctive avant-garde style. Stein was an avid art collector, and trends in visual arts influenced her writings. Her narratives are characterized by the original use of tenses, repetitions, and archaisms.
  • The stream of consciousness in Virginia Woolf’s work . Virginia Woolf was one of the first writers to systematically use the stream of consciousness in her works. The narratives of her novels, such as Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse, are rooted in the descriptions of characters’ emotions and thoughts.
  • Political writings of Mercy Otis Warren. Mercy Otis Warren is famous for her political poems and plays written during the American Revolution. Explain how she used political satire to criticize the British rule. Start your research with the plays The Adulateur, The Defeat, and The Group .
  • Gender inequality in Jane Eyre . Widely recognized as one of the most successful works of women’s literature, Jane Eyre was a revolutionary novel for its time. It depicts the struggles of women in their fight for independence and equality in patriarchal Victorian society .
  • The blend of fiction and reality in The Yellow Wallpaper. Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote The Yellow Wallpaper to document the trauma and stress she had experienced due to “rest therapy” prescribed to her by a psychiatrist. Back then, women suffering from depression were discouraged from any intellectual activity, as it was thought that “domestic life” would benefit them. In Gilman’s story, this treatment ultimately drives the protagonist to insanity.
  • Cleopatra in literature: from Geoffrey Chaucer to Margaret George
  • The depiction of Eve in Milton’s Paradise Lost
  • Archetypical female and male characters in Beowulf
  • Emmy’s submissiveness and Rebecca’s quick-wittedness in Vanity Fair
  • William Makepeace Thackeray’s Becky Sharp as an antihero
  • Becky Sharp as seen by Thackeray’s contemporaries and modern readers
  • Women empowerment and independence in Jane Austen’s novels
  • Women’s love and death: Shakespeare’s Ophelia and Wilde’s Sibyl
  • A Room of One’s Own : a woman’s manifesto still relevant now
  • First female voices in the Middle Ages: Aelia Eudocia Augusta
  • The Brontë sisters: Lady writers who broke the rules
  • Gender roles as depicted by Maugham in Theatre
  • This is the woman’s world: feminist utopias and dystopias
  • Female writers: themes explored in the 1910s vs. 2010s
  • Women characters’ virtues and vices in the 19th century
  • Women of color: themes of violence, discrimination, and empowerment
  • A Doll’s House as seen by Ibsen’s contemporaries
  • Is Ibsen’s A Doll’s House still relevant today?
  • Beauty standards as women’s oppression in The Bluest Eye
  • The complexity of the mother-daughter relationship in Tony Morrison’s Beloved
  • The evolvement of masculinity from medieval to postmodern literature
  • Masculinity in The Garden of Eden by Ernest Hemingway
  • Masculinity, identity, and queerness in Tennessee Williams’s works
  • Gender roles in utopias and dystopias: More and Huxley
  • Sexuality and gender stereotypes in Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire
  • Charles Dickens’s depiction of aging men and women
  • Fairy tales as sources of gender stereotypes

Powerful Literary Analysis Topics within the Subject of Race

  • Colonialism in J. M. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians . A short Waiting for the Barbarians summary should capture the narrative of the escalation of tensions between a fictional colonial town and its surrounding indigenous population. When the protagonist helps a native woman, he begins to doubt the humanity of colonialism.
  • The portrayal of racism in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness . Heart of Darkness is the chilling tale of young Marlow’s voyage up the Congo River. There he meets the wicked ivory trader Kurtz. The book explores the themes of imperialism and racism. It also questions the civility of Western society over supposedly “savage” indigenous people.
  • The conflict between man and nature in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn . Mark Twain is one of the greatest American writers and satirists. But his masterpiece The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn delved into themes that would make some of the most serious literary analysis essay topics, such as the theme of freedom vs. slavery.
  • The theme of prejudice in To Kill a Mockingbird . Harper Lee’s novel was an instant classic upon release. To Kill a Mockingbird is set in the American South, and, like many books by Southern authors, it explores the themes of race and justice.
  • Anti-slavery narrative and racist stereotypes in Uncle Tom’s Cabin . Uncle Tom’s Cabin was one of the first universally acclaimed novels to tackle slavery. However, it is often criticized for its stereotypical portrayal of Black characters. Hence, it remains one of the most controversial pieces of American literature.
  • De Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk as the precursor of the Civil Rights movement. De Bois’ essays have largely laid the groundwork for the campaigns for racial equality in the 20 th century. He argued that African Americans deserved fundamental rights the White population had: voting, getting a higher education, and being treated fairly according to the law.
  • The notion of Black pride in A Raisin in the Sun . Lorraine Hansberry’s famous play touches upon topics of racial identity and pride inspired by real events. A Black family wants to purchase a house in a White neighborhood, but they are dissuaded from buying it. Eventually, they refuse to accept the buyout offer and move to their new place as planned.
  • Jefferson as a folk hero in A Lesson Before Dying . In A Lesson Before Dying , Ernest J. Gaines tells a story of a young Black man wrongfully accused of murder. Treated by White people as a sub-human, Jefferson completely loses his self-esteem at some point. However, with the help of a local Black teacher, he regains his pride and meets death with dignity. Explain how Jefferson’s transformation makes him a folk hero.
  • The impact of discriminatory laws on the life of African Americans in Fences. August Wilson’s Fences explores how discriminatory laws and attitudes defined the life of African Americans before the Civil Rights Movement. The protagonist, Troy Maxson, is a talented baseball player whose life is ruined because he didn’t get a chance to play in the professional league due to racial restrictions.
  • Internalized racism in Morrison’s Song of Solomon . In her book Song of Solomon , Toni Morrison explores the issue of internalized racism. Hagar and Macon Dead are the characters to study. Macon Dead, a Black entrepreneur, hates people of color and wants to leave his community. Hagar envies women with a lighter skin tone, as she sees them as superior to her.
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings : A story of hatred and trauma. Maya Angelou is renowned for her autobiographical novels dealing with challenging topics like racism, trauma, and violence. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings addresses the issues she faced growing up as a Black child in a White neighborhood.

Death-Related Literature Essay Topics

  • Death in works of dying writers: Keats and Blake
  • Death in Milton’s poetry: imagery and symbols
  • Emily Dickinson’s fascination with decay, degradation, and death
  • John Keats’s and William Shakespeare’s depictions of death
  • Views on death in the Renaissance literature
  • Murder and suicide in Shakespeare’s tragedies Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet
  • Depictions of death in Postmodernist literature
  • Aging as seen in medieval , Renaissance, and Postmodernist literature
  • Death and decay in Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • Love, life, and death in Huxley’s dystopian society
  • Murder in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men
  • Herman Melville’s Moby Dick : The concepts of life and death
  • Simon’s death in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies
  • Kate Chopin’s ironic take on death in The Story of an Hour
  • Seneca’s life and philosophy: Death as liberation
  • The role of death in existentialism
  • The theme of death in Ernest Hemingway’s works
  • The depiction of heaven and hell in Richard Matheson’s What Dreams May Come
  • The concept of free death in Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy
  • Gothic writers’ fascination with death
  • Hades : The realm of the dead in Greek mythology

Literary Analysis Essay Topics: Man and Nature

  • Dehumanizing nature: Robinson Crusoe and Lord of the Flies
  • Struggles with nature: Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and Paulsen’s Hatchet
  • Nature’s wonders and dangers in Emily Dickenson’s works
  • Natural forces: from Homer to H. G. Wells
  • Power of natural forces in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest
  • The depiction of nature in Fears in Solitude by Coleridge
  • William Wordsworth’s poetic language and symbols used to describe nature
  • Nature in Brave New World : urban and rural settings
  • Nature in post-apocalyptic novels: decay and revival
  • The role of nature in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings
  • The conflict between man and nature in Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea
  • Post-apocalyptic fiction as the critique of industrial society
  • Environmentalism in Ursula Le Guin’s works
  • Personal life and climate change in Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior
  • The role of nature in John Steinbeck’s East of Eden
  • The emergence of eco-fiction—a new genre in world literature
  • Nature in Romanticism: Comparison of Shelley’s, Wordsworth’s, and Keats’ poetry
  • Natty Bumppo’s and Judge Temple’s conflicting views on nature in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Pioneers
  • The impact of country life on the character development in Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses

Literary Essay Topics on Religion

  • Religious influences: biblical themes and allusions in Beowulf
  • Religion as another burden in The Bluest Eye
  • Views on religious conventions in Milton’s Paradise Lost
  • Jonathan Swift’s satirical view of religions in Gulliver’s Travels
  • The role of religion in Charles Dickens’s works
  • The evolvement of religious beliefs in John Dryden’s works
  • Religious controversies as depicted in John Milton’s Paradise Lost
  • A spiritual journey in Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure
  • Biblical references in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick
  • Alternative narrative of the Biblical events in Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita
  • The meaning of Friedrich Nietzsche’s statement “God is Dead”
  • Billy’s Christian values in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five
  • The figure of Moses in Biblical and Quranic narratives
  • Influence of The Pilgrim’s Progress on British and American literature
  • Buddhist and Hindu motives in Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha
  • Immanuel Kant’s critique of the arguments for the existence of God and his discussion of morality
  • Søren Kierkegaard’s critique of Christianity
  • Christian narratives and metaphors in C.S. Lewis’ works

Literary Analysis Topics: Justice and Judgment

  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame : who was the monster?
  • Justice and judgment in To Kill a Mockingbird
  • The role of judgment in Jane Austen’s novels
  • Judgment in Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child
  • A view of justice in John Milton’s Paradise Lost
  • Justice in dystopian novels: works of Orwell and Huxley
  • Judgment and guilt in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter
  • The difference between justice and revenge in Aeschylus Oresteia
  • The genre of legal thriller in American literature
  • The themes of guilt, responsibility, and punishment in Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader
  • Justice and judgment in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment
  • Courtroom drama in American and British literature
  • Behavior modification experiment as an alternative to a prison sentence in Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange
  • Jeremy Bentham’s concept of panopticon prison and its critique in the works of other authors
  • Michel Foucault’s critique of the Western penal system
  • The role of the judgment of Paris in the Trojan War according to Greek mythology
  • Depiction of racial injustice in the works of African American authors

Literature Essay Topics on Good & Evil

  • A dichotomy of good and evil in the Middle Ages
  • Monsters and heroes in Beowulf : Beowulf, Hrothgar, Grendel
  • Wilde’s aesthetics: ugly is worse than evil
  • John Milton’s Satan : the good, the bad, and the beautiful
  • Victorian literary tradition: societal norms and personal happiness
  • Villains in the 19 th – and 20 th -century literary works
  • The good and the bad: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  • Evil forces of death in The Fall of the House of Usher
  • Presentation of good and evil in The Tempest characters
  • The contrast between Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights
  • Young Goodman Brown : a conflict between morality and temptation
  • The Creature and the humans in Frankenstein

Literary Analysis Essay Topics on War & Peace

  • Depiction of war in Shakespeare’s plays
  • The war between archangels and demons in Paradise Lost
  • War in Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children
  • War and peace in George Orwell’s 1984
  • Margaret Mitchell’s and Toni Morrison’s views on the Civil War
  • War as a part of human nature in Faulkner’s A Fable
  • Steinbeck’s exploration of injustice in The Grapes of Wrath
  • Wrongs of the modern society in Palahniuk’s Fight Club
  • The themes of war and nationality in Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient
  • The Civil War as the background for Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women
  • Main themes in Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front
  • Depiction of war in Alexandre Dumas’ historical novels
  • The Cold War in John Le Carre’s novels
  • The political context of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible : The Cold War and McCarthyism
  • Depiction of war in children’s fiction
  • Leo Tolstoy’s views on history in War and Peace
  • Anti-militarism in Ernest Hemingway’s Farewell to Arms
  • Literature as a tool of cultural influence during the Cold War: The case of Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago

Literary Essay Topics on Vices on the Society

  • Thackeray: the culture of the 19th century as Vanity Fair
  • Dickens’s perspectives concerning social injustice in Oliver Twist
  • Ethnicity, discrimination, and identity in Orwell’s Burmese Days
  • Vices of totalitarian societies in George Orwell’s 1984
  • Injustice, torture, and dehumanization in Elie Wiesel’s Night
  • Vices of society in Francis Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
  • J’Accuse: Emile Zola’s letter as critique of antisemitism and corruption
  • The emergence of transgressive fiction as a protest against conventional society
  • Critique of consumer society in Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World
  • Social satire and political commentary in Harold Pinter’s later plays
  • Ray Bradbury’s science fiction as a means of social criticism
  • The emergence of dystopia: Evgeny Zamyatin’s We
  • Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon as a critique of the totalitarian society
  • Claudius as an embodiment of human vices in Robert Graves’ I, Claudius
  • Geoffrey Chaucer’s critique of the wrongs of society in The Canterbury Tales

Interesting Literature Topics to Analyze: Literary Influences

  • Percy Bysshe Shelley’s interpretation of the Prometheus myth
  • William Shakespeare’s borrowings from ancient Greek writings and myths
  • Myths as a source of inspiration for Byron and Keats
  • Virginia Wolf’s fascination with Greek literature and Hellenism
  • James Joyce’s interpretation and use of Homer’s The Odyssey
  • Salome : Oscar Wilde’s retelling of a biblical story
  • John Milton’s exploration and interpretation of a biblical story
  • The influence of Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s works
  • Biblical motifs in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  • Don Quixote as an inspiration for Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot
  • Beowulf ’s impact on J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit
  • Shakespearean myths in Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

Literature Essay Topics: Various Genres

  • The evolution of horror fiction: from Mary Shelley to Stephen King
  • The place of fantasy in the modern literature
  • Why have fantasy novels gained such popularity today?
  • Fantasy novels by Tolkien and Martin: styles, imagery, themes
  • Major elements of modern fantasy novels and stories
  • The origins of fantasy fiction: the earliest works
  • The evolution of adventure fiction: from Homer to Fleming
  • Horror fiction: Stoker’s Dracula vs. Shelley’s Frankenstein
  • Theologus Autodidactus as an example of science fiction
  • Merging scientific and poetic elements in science fiction poetry
  • Comparing tragicomedies of Ancient Greece and 20th-century Europe
  • Significant features of a tragicomedy in postmodernist and metamodernist writings
  • Primary components of a coming-of-age novel: female and male perspectives
  • Elements of the coming-of-age novel in London’s Martin Eden
  • Satire in contemporary British and American literature
  • Satire or cynical humor: exploring Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary
  • Literary devices in naturalistic writing: Emile Zola’s approach
  • Elements of an antinovel in Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy
  • Early examples of short stories: Charles Dickens’s style
  • Timeframes and symbols in Jonathan Nolan’s Memento Mori
  • Dystopian fiction in the 20th and 21st centuries
  • Coming-of-age novel or American dream novel: The Great Gatsby
  • The role of education and the media in dystopias
  • Crime fiction: is it pulp reading or high literature?
  • The suspense in Agatha Christies’ and Arthur Conan Doyle’s writings
  • The vampire in the 19th-century and 21st-century literature

Literary Topics: Uncommon Themes in Literature

  • Allegory and choice of animals in Orwell’s Animal Farm
  • Allegories in Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily
  • Multiculturalism and allusions in Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon
  • Faulkner’s metaphors in The Sound and the Fury
  • Imagery in Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem The Raven
  • Music and enigma in The Raven
  • The role of personification in William Blake’s poetry
  • Comparing Ancient Greek and William Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter
  • The function of trochaic meter in Shakespeare’s works
  • Symbolism and imagery in William Blake’s poem Ah Sunflower
  • Symbols and metaphors in The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • Flower symbolism in D.H. Lawrence Odour of Chrysanthemums
  • Color as a symbol of Morrison’s God Help the Child
  • Symbolism in Le Guin’s The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas
  • Satire in Absalom and Achitophel by John Dryden
  • Jane Austen’s personal traits in the narrator of Persuasion
  • Early forms of the stream of consciousness: Jane Austen’s style
  • Epistolary novels: works of Bram Stocker and Mary Shelley
  • Slave’s narrative in Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon
  • Peculiarities of addressing the reader in Shakespeare’s sonnets
  • Virginia Wolf’s stream of consciousness: narration or confession?
  • The narrator in Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage
  • Authorial intrusion as a way to entice readers

🖊️ Literary Analysis Prompts: Top 21

We’ve gathered a total of 21 excellent literary analysis prompts for you. They cover a wide variety of genres and epochs, so you’ll surely find something that suits your needs. Check them out to gain inspiration for your assignment or project!

The Cask of Amontillado Literary Analysis Prompt

  • The central theme of The Cask of Amontillado is revenge. In your essay, you can analyze how suspense contributes to the revenge plot.
  • You may also explore the story’s tone and how it helps to build tension.
  • Alternatively, you can focus on the Gothic elements and their impact on the story’s atmosphere.

A Rose for Emily Literary Analysis Prompt

  • There are several important symbols in A Rose for Emily , such as a strand of hair, Emily’s house, or the ticking watch. You can dive deeper into their meaning and significance.
  • You may also focus on the story’s themes. They include death and conflict between generations.
  • Try analyzing literary devices Faulkner uses, including metaphors, irony, and personification. How do they contribute to the story’s mood?

The Story of an Hour Literary Analysis Prompt

  • One of the central themes featured in The Story of an Hour is freedom. Analyze what kind of freedom is discussed and how free the main character really is.
  • You may also explore Kate Chopin’s writing style. For example, focus on how irony complements the story’s plot and tone.
  • Another aspect that you can focus on is symbolism . Notable examples include time, death, and heart trouble.

Tell-Tale Heart Literary Analysis Prompt

  • Analyze why Edgar Allan Poe chose to tell the story in the first person. How does it contribute to the gloomy tone?
  • Or, you may focus on the story’s themes : guilt, confinement, and mental health. How are they represented?
  • Finally, you can examine the symbols in Tell-Tale Heart , such as the house, the bed, the bedroom, and the eye. Try to find out the meaning behind them.

Fahrenheit 451 Literary Analysis Prompt

  • Explore the use of animal imagery and the lack of nature descriptions in the novel.
  • You can also focus on the harmful effect of technology and its contribution to the dystopian world of Fahrenheit 451 .
  • The story’s central theme is censorship vs. freedom of speech. You may explore this conflict in your essay.

Prompt for a Literary Analysis of The Canterbury Tales

  • Analyze the themes of The Canterbury Tales . These include deceit, the church’s corruption, and the importance of company.
  • Focus on examining the writing style. Try to find out how it contributes to the tales’ tone and atmosphere.
  • You may also explore the symbols, such as clothing, appearance, and spring. If you’re curious about this literary work, check out our article on the symbols in The Canterbury Tales .

Prompt for a Literary Analysis of Barn Burning

  • Consider examining the conflict between loyalty to one’s family and obedience to the law.
  • Focus on analyzing the symbols of Barn Burning , such as the soiled egg and fire.
  • You can also explore the role of darkness in the story. Dive deeper into its contribution to the tone of Barn Burning .

Make sure to check out our Barn Burning study guide to learn more facts about the story.

Death of a Salesman Literary Analysis Prompt

  • Examine how the author covers the American dream theme in Death of a Salesman . What is the characters’ interpretation of the American dream?
  • You can also try analyzing the symbols in the play, such as diamonds, seeds, the rubber hose, and Linda’s stockings.
  • You may also focus on exploring the mythological figures connected with the story. Dive deeper into the comparisons to the Greek gods, such as Hercules and Adonis.

Want to know more? Check out our Death of a Salesman study guide .

Frankenstein Literary Analysis Essay Prompt

  • In your essay, you can focus on the symbols of Frankenstein , such as darkness and fire. Why are they important?
  • Another aspect you can concentrate on is the point of view. Mary Shelley writes from the perspective of 3 different characters. What does it help to achieve?
  • You can also explore the novel’s themes: sublime nature, family, creation, and dangerous knowledge. Check out our article on the themes in Frankenstein to learn more about them.

Hamlet Literary Analysis Essay Prompt

  • There are numerous themes in Hamlet that you can examine in your essay, including revenge, the supernatural, death, corruption, and politics.
  • You can also focus on the symbols of the story and their significance. They include Hamlet’s dark clothes, the skull , and the weather.
  • One of the motifs in Hamlet is misogyny. You can analyze its representation in the play.

To understand the play better, check out our Hamlet study guide .

Hamlet has been translated into Klingon.

Prompt for a Literary Analysis of Night by Elie Wiesel

  • One of the themes of Night is silence. You can explore why it is important and what it represents.
  • You can also focus on the symbolism of night and fire . Try to find out the meaning behind them.
  • Consider analyzing the characters in the novel and their actions in dramatic situations. Check out our article on characters in Night to learn more.

Othello Literary Analysis Prompt

  • One of the central themes of Othello is isolation and its dangers. Examine how it is portrayed.
  • Another theme you can analyze is that of justice. Try focusing on how the characters are driven by the desire to do always the right thing.
  • Consider exploring the famous metaphors from the play, such as jealousy being a “green-eyed monster.”

If you want to understand this literary work better, make sure to check out our Othello study guide .

Pride and Prejudice Literary Analysis Prompt

  • When it comes to the themes in Pride and Prejudice , you can focus on integrity, love, family, gender, class, and reputation.
  • Another central theme of the novel is marriage. Discuss the importance of marriage and its connection to social status and money.
  • In your essay, you can elaborate on the symbolism of dancing and its significance.

Don’t forget to check out our study guide on Pride and Prejudice to learn more about the novel’s elements.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Literary Analysis Prompt

  • Consider analyzing the motifs of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight : games, the color green, and the seasons.
  • Apart from the motifs, you can also examine the themes of nature, chivalry, Christianity, courtesy, and truth. To learn more about them, check out our article on the themes of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight .
  • Finally, you may explore the symbolism of the green girdle. It’s an essential element of the poem and deserves special attention.

The Great Gatsby Literary Analysis Essay Prompt

  • One of the most popular symbols of The Great Gatsby is the green light. You can focus on exploring its iconic status in world literature.
  • One of the central themes of The Great Gatsby is the American dream . Analyze how it is portrayed and the author’s attitude to it.
  • Another idea for an essay is to write about the novel’s characters: Jay Gatsby, Nick Carraway, the Buchanans, and others. Make sure to read our article on The Great Gatsby characters to understand them better.

The Lottery Literary Analysis Prompt

  • What role do family ties play in The Lottery ? You can dive deeper into this motif and analyze its meaning and importance.
  • Another central theme of The Lottery is tradition. Your essay can focus on how dangerous it is to follow conventional practices blindly.
  • There are several symbols in the story, but the lottery itself is the key one. You can explore what it represents. And don’t forget to check out our analysis of The Lottery to learn more.

Kafka’s Metamorphosis Literary Analysis Prompt

  • One of the major themes of Metamorphosis is psychological distance. You can analyze how the main character’s transformation leads to his alienation.
  • Explore the story’s recurring symbols, such as food, the father’s uniform , and the portrait of a woman wearing furs.
  • Another point that you can focus on is the motifs of the story. They include transformation and sleep.

You’re welcome to read our The Metamorphosis study guide to learn more about the story.

The Necklace Literary Analysis Prompt

  • Consider analyzing the story’s themes. Some examples are greed, the deceptiveness of appearances, and vanity. Check out our article on The Necklace’s themes to learn all about them.
  • You can also focus on exploring the symbolism of the necklace . Try to dive deeper into how a piece of jewelry is connected to high status and wealth.
  • Explore how the class conflict is presented in The Necklace . You can also analyze the author’s attitude to it.

The Odyssey Literary Analysis Prompt

  • In your essay, focus on the epic’s main themes: vengeance, hospitality, and loyalty.
  • Homer uses many epithets in The Odyssey to describe the sea, such as “wine-dark.” Look into what they may represent.
  • Another good point for discussion is the symbolism. Consider discussing the significance of the wedding bed, the sea, eagles, and food.

To understand the poem better, check out our The Odyssey study guide .

The Yellow Wallpaper Literary Analysis Essay Prompt

  • The wallpaper is the central symbol of the story. In your essay, try to uncover its significance and how it affects the main character.
  • You can also analyze how Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses different types of irony in the story. Examples include dramatic, verbal, and situational irony.
  • You can also focus on The Yellow Wallpaper’s themes. Some of them are self-expression, mental illness, gender roles, miscommunication, and the role of women in marriage.

Don’t forget to check out our study guide if you want to know more.

Wuthering Heights Literary Analysis Prompt

  • Explore the symbolism of moors, nature, and ghosts. Emily Bronte uses these symbols to represent not only abstract ideas but also characters’ personalities.
  • You can also examine the central themes of Wuthering Heights. Some of them are love and passion, class conflict, revenge, and the supernatural.
  • Another point worth writing about is nature imagery and how the author uses it to represent the characters’ personalities. To learn about it, make sure to check out our Wuthering Heights analysis .

✍️ Writing a Literary Analysis: Step by Step

Now, after you’ve decided on your topic, it is time to write your analysis.

Don’t know where to start? Well, we got your back! Here are some steps for you to write a great literary essay.

Plagiarism definition.

If you wish to learn more, you can check out our guide on how to write a literary analysis.

Best Tips for Writing a Literary Analysis

There are many things to keep in mind when writing about literature. But there’s no need to worry: we are here to help you. Here are the four components that will help to make sure you get an excellent grade on your essay:

  • Make sure you refer to the literature you write about in the proper format. For example, the titles of plays and full-length books should be italicized, while poems and short stories should be in quotation marks. You may consult Purdue University’s excellent citation guides to be on the safe side.
  • Ensure that the quotes are properly attributed with the correct page numbers.
  • Avoid directly quoting or borrowing arguments from previously published literary analysis samples. Using the same forms of argument and language is a form of plagiarism.
  • Remember that you need a brief introduction with a clear thesis statement, distinct body paragraphs, and a cohesive conclusion. If you find it hard to write concisely, feel free to use our essay shortener to save time.

📃 Literary Analysis Example for Free

Looking for a fully-formatted literary analysis example? Look no further! Download our excellent sample in PDF format below.

The Little Match Girl is a short story by Hans Christian Andersen. It’s a touching tale about a poor girl who spends New Year’s Eve working on the streets, dreaming of a better life, and warming herself by lighting matches she failed to sell. Some of the main themes include loneliness, struggle, and cruelty.

We hope that you found some inspiration to take your essay on the next level. Let us know what literary studies topic you like the most and other literary analysis ideas you have!

❓ Literary Analysis Essay FAQs

If you’re writing a literary analysis, make sure you don’t summarize the text you are analyzing. Instead, focus on your thesis and the supporting evidence. You should also avoid using phrases such as “in my opinion.”

A literary analysis should always include information on the text’s components. They include plot, setting, themes, motifs, imagery, tone, and character analysis. Don’t forget to write about the way the author uses these elements and how they contribute to the overall work.

The introductory part of your literary analysis should include a thesis statement that conveys the structure of your essay. Don’t forget to mention the author and provide background information about the text. Remember to start your body paragraphs with a topic sentence.

A literary analysis is usually 5-paragraphs long. The introduction and conclusion consist of one paragraph each, while the main body has three.

A literary analysis is a type of writing assignment containing an analysis of a literary piece. In a literary analysis, you should evaluate and interpret the work by analyzing its plot, setting, motifs, themes, characters, and style.

Further reading:

  • Case Study Analysis Example + How-to Guide
  • How to Write a Film Analysis Essay
  • Short Story Analysis: Step by Step How-to Guide
  • How to Write a 5-Paragraph Essay: Outline, Examples, & Writing Steps
  • Literature Review Outline: Examples, Approaches, & Templates
  • Find a Topic Idea: Questia
  • A CS Research Topic Generator: Purdue University
  • 50 Critical Analysis Paper Topics: Owlcation
  • Variations on a Theme: Common Types of Literary Analysis Papers: UVM Writing Center
  • How do I find literary analysis essay topics? Baker Library
  • Literary Terms: Purdue O.W.L.
  • Literary Terms: Stanford University
  • How To Write A Literary Analysis Essay: Bucks College
  • Writing Critical Essays about Literature: Gallaudet University
  • Literature (Fiction): UNC Writing Center
  • Literary criticism: Britannica
  • Fiction vs Non-Fiction – English Literature’s Made-Up Divide: The Guardian
  • Feminist Literary Criticism: ThoughtCo
  • Feminist Criticism: Washington State University
  • A Short Guide to Close Reading for Literary Analysis: UW Madison
  • William Shakespeare Biography: Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
  • William Shakespeare: Poets.org
  • Hamlet Topic Overview: Gale
  • Macbeth – Themes: BBC
  • From Plato to Platonism: Cornell University Press
  • Sophocles: World History Encyclopedia
  • Charles Dickens, 1812-1870: University Of California
  • Heroes and the Homeric Iliad: University of Houston
  • Historical Context of Song of Solomon: Columbia College
  • The Red Badge of Courage: University of South Florida
  • William Blake: University of Delaware
  • William Butler Yeats: Yale University
  • Chaucer’s Influences: University of Glasgow
  • John Keats: King’s College London
  • UVA Commemoration Looks at King’s ‘Why We Can’t Wait’ in Light of Today’s Issues: University of Virginia
  • Alice Walker: National Museum of African American History & Culture
  • Virginia Woolf: University of London
  • Harper Lee: Encyclopedia of Alabama
  • A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner: Baruch College
  • Death of a Salesman and Death of a Salesman: The Swollen Legacy of Arthur Miller: Columbia University
  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: The Ohio State University
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Boston College
  • Themes In Wuthering Heights: Brooklyn College
  • The Metamorphosis: Grossman School of Medicine
  • Gothic and the Female Voice: Examining Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”: Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute
  • The Literature Review: University of Southern California
  • Cicero (106—43 BCE): Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  • Analyzing Novels & Short Stories: TAMU Writing Center
  • Literature Analysis: PLU Writing Center
  • What Is Analysis?: Austin Community College
  • Writing Your Literary Analysis: University of Hawaii
  • Literary Analysis Paper: Western Michigan University
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  12. Comparative Genre Analysis

    Comparative Genre Analysis. In the University Writing Seminar, the Comparative Genre Analysis (CGA) unit asks students to read writing from varying disciplines. ... When presenting their ideas in writing, I think the most important thing for scholars to consider is the audience who they are presenting it to. ... I could also ask if the essay ...

  13. Genre Essays: Examples, Topics, & Outlines

    genre" to frame your analysis to compare "The Dark Knight" (2008) and "Iron Man 2" (2010) in relation to popular film culture A comparison of 'the dark knight' (2008) and 'iron man 2' (2010) In relation to popular film culture The film technology has taken a center stage in many discussions concerning the film culture in the world today. With advancement in technology especially in relation to ...

  14. A Literature Review of Genre

    The Idea of an Essay Volume 1 Reflecting on Rockwell, Contending for Cursive, and 22 Other Compositions Article 20 September 2014 A Literature Review of Genre ... and standardized way to present ideas. A genre analysis was conducted in order to better understand how this genre operates according to a dynamic definition. Henceforth are

  15. 450+ Literary Analysis Essay Topics & Prompt Ideas in 2023

    Consider these interesting literary analysis essay topics ideas to shake things up a bit: Irony in Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Satire in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels. Perspective shifts in William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying. Justice in Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman.

  16. What Is Genre Analysis: A Taxonomic Examination With Example

    Genre Analysis Example: Musical The Wizard of Oz. The Wizard of Oz is one of the biggest American Musicals in film. It has become known world wide, it is a part of our American popular culture, and is best known of all films. It was based on the novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz written by L. Frank Baum in the 1900s.

  17. Genre Analysis

    Unpredictability is an issue for genre analysis, and it is fair to say that much genre analysis favors conventional situations. Kress (1985: 19) went so far as to argue that most situations are conventional and, therefore, produce texts that can be characterized as 'generic': The social occasions of which texts are a part have a fundamentally important effect on texts.

  18. Best 150 Topic Ideas For Analytical Essay

    0.7 Essay Topic Ideas on Nature. 0.8 Analytical Essay Topics on Health. 0.9 Job Essay Topics. 0.10 Political Essay Topics. 0.11 Analytical Essay Topics on Crime. 1 Conclusion. Almost every student faces the challenge of composing an analysis essay during his studies. This type of writing is a perfect tool to demonstrate that you're well ...

  19. Genre Analysis for Novice L2 Writers : Sample Activities and

    An important aim of genre analysis activities is to make learners more aware of how texts and. social contexts are connected. One simple analysis activity recommended by Swales and Feak (1994 ...

  20. 50 Critical Analysis Paper Topics

    Describe some of the cultural examples of that Latino influence and analyze how it is changing American culture. 15. Single-parent families: The rise in divorce has created many more families headed, at least for a while, by a single parent. Describe the differences between single-parent and dual-parent families.

  21. 435 Literary Analysis Essay Topics and Prompts [2024 Upd]

    The theme of madness in King Lear. Shakespeare's King Lear is one of the longest works by the Bard. Many actors feel that the title role is one of the most challenging available for an actor because of the character's gradual descent into madness. Accordingly, "madness" is perhaps the best topic related to this play.

  22. PDF A Review of Genre Analysis of Academic Writings

    By scrutinizing the structural components and rhetorical conventions manifested in academic discourse, genre analysis offers a framework for categorizing linguistic characteristics and communicative strategies employed in diverse genres. This review explores the application of genre analysis to thesis abstracts and presents case studies ...