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How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay Outline

How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay Outline

Published by on 2021-04-14 08:46:46

You can define literary analysis in one word - treat. In the world of serious and heavy academic writing, this particular task is a real treat. It is a particularly pleasant task for all the book lovers out there, especially if they get the chance to pick a text of their choice. Overall, the literary analysis format includes an in-depth evaluation of the text, any hidden meaning, and general exploration of every author’s decision and choice. As long as you don’t have an assigned text to analyze, you can pick a short story, novel, poem, or anything else. 

However, no matter how easy it may look, especially in comparison to other assignments, you still need to create the right literary analysis outline first. An outline for literary analysis will provide you with the proper structure and guidelines. If you have concerns about how to write a literary analysis outline, we are here to help you. Here’s how you can outline structure for literary analysis essay in a smart and simple way. 

The Purpose of the Essay

Before you move on to the writing part of this assignment, you need to form a clear vision of the task. Hence, you need to understand what this work is, what it should have in it, and why you are doing it in the first place. Thus, before you move on to the analysis outline, you need to understand its purpose. 

Your goal is to explore the text in detail, often in regards to a particular area of the work. It can be the use of language, metaphors, structure, and so on. Your professor can give you the freedom to choose the element for the analysis or assign specific instructions on the matter. It is important to understand the purpose of your writing, as, for instance, a literary analysis research paper outline will be different from a literary analysis essay outline. One will be more formal and based primarily on the research. The other will be more free-spirited, with your opinion at the core of it.

However, before you learn how to write a literary analysis essay outline, you need to learn how to read the text and choose your further focus areas. 

Identifying Key Areas for the Paper

Just reading the text is not enough for a paper like this. You need to understand it. You need to underline areas that are of the most interest to you. These can be the elements that make the text original, different, or so well-written. Overall, there are many standard areas that you can choose before starting your literary analysis paper outline. Here are just a few of them: 

  • Narration
  • Voice (first-person or third-person and why)
  • Time sequence (chronological, reverse, or else and why)
  • Language choices (metaphors, complexities, irony, similes, etc.)
  • Character building
  • Structure
  • Settings
  • Genre and tone


All of these areas have to be considered before you make your final take on the essay. You can go with a few of these elements if they correlate and complement each other. However, try to narrow down your topic.

How to Outline Structure for a Literary Analysis Essay

It’s rather easy to outline structure for literary analysis essay. However, you need to know the basic rules to do so. Overall, it doesn’t matter much whether it is a poetry analysis essay outline or those of a novel. As long as you maintain the basic structure and keep all the components in place, you’ll be fine. 

Here you have to follow the tradition's rule of five paragraphs. It means that you must have a paragraph for an introduction and conclusion. The main body can consist of more than three paragraphs in case you want to have extensive work. The number of paragraphs in the main part doesn’t matter that much as long as you keep up with your paper’s structure and purpose. 

To make it right, make sure that each section of your essay has a certain theme and purpose. Thus, don’t mix everything you think about the chosen text into one messy paper. Break down your main arguments and outline their places in your work. This way, you can clearly see the theme of each paragraph. Thus, neither you nor your readers will feel puzzled or lost when looking at your work. 

You also need an analytical essay outline for providing a perfect review of the things you want to talk about in your work. You can highlight your main arguments, put down the evidence or evaluation, and conclude. Keeping it brief and simple will help you to see whether your argumentation makes sense and connect to the common theme of your work as a whole.