Tips For Writing a Literary Essay

Tips For Writing a Literary Essay
Tips For Writing a Literary Essay
Literary Essay Guidelines

A literary essay as the very name suggests is writing an article on some famous works by a well known author like Shakespeare. Sometimes the students may need to compare and contrast between two works by the same author like say a compare and contrast essay between Macbeth and Othello. He could also be asked to take up one very well known work by an author and asked to give its influence on the contemporary literature of that time. He might also be asked to write a critical analysis of a well known literary work eg. Hamlet. The students can also be asked to write a comparative essay discussing two works based on a similar theme by two different authors. So the options are many and it becomes essential for the student to understand the project given, very well. To start with, the novel in question must be read thoroughly and if required many times. Then one must come up with a really good and impressive argument line or the thesis statement. The whole essay will then revolve round this thesis statement. The student will have to prove the basis of his argument or the thesis statement. For this he needs to do extensive research work and come up with evidences that support his argument. Once the research work is done and the outline prepared then the essay will follow the normal pattern and format of a research paper. Since this is a literature paper in all probability it will have to be written in a mla essay format

Like any other essay this academic essay will also consist of an introduction, a body and a conclusion. Given below are excerpts from a literary essay written on the novel ‘pride and prejudice’.


Women in England, in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, were seen as mere ornaments by the society. Their position in the family was like that of painted china dolls and all that they could do were getting themselves married off to men with respectable family names and plenty of money. This picture was evident in both the middle class and upper class sections of the society. It was a very clearly drawn picture where a family was seen as a basic pillar or foundation of the then society and so stress was laid on creating beautifully happy families….


Education during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century was not a state organized or centrally controlled affair. It was run mainly by the churches in the locality or by charitable organizations where children of the middle and upper classes were not sent for education. At this time class distinction was at its peak, great stress being laid on family wealth and powerful connections. Children of the affluent class were imparted education at the privacy of their homes and women were mostly taught lessons that would help them to run their future homes, like practical lessons related to cookery, sewing, singing, dancing and religious classes….

The patriarchal nature is aptly shown in the starting lines of “Pride and Prejudice”, as Jane Austen tells us in a satirical tone “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife” (Austen, p.1). In this famous novel Austen paints a wonderful picture of the social fabric of the late eighteenth century England. Elizabeth Bennet the second daughter of the Bennet family is the chief protagonist in this novel and is certainly one of the famous characters in the world of English literature. She is intelligent and witty….This is against the society edicts during those times where girls were trained to marry well. As Elizabeth sees …

Mrs. Bennet, the mother of Elizabeth and her four sisters, epitomizes the middle class women of those times who is hell bent on getting her daughters married to well established men. Foolish in nature and prone to prattling all the time we find that her sole aim is to seek matrimonial alliances for her daughters to the very people who all despise her and snub her for her very obvious lower class upbringing. Lady Catherine de Bourgh who is Darcy’s aunt and also the patroness of Mr. Collins, a tiresome clergyman who proposes to Elizabeth and on her refusal marries her dear friend Charlotte Lucas, the daughter of a poor family. ….


…Women now can rise in society by their own accomplishments and talents, instead of waiting to catch a man and make a profitable marriage and climb up the social strata.

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