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Conventions for Writing a Literary Analysis Paper



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BCCC Tutoring Center Conventions for Writing a Literary Analysis Paper This handout can be used in conjunction with the Center s more comprehensive resource How to Write a Literary Analysis Paper Your Writing Style and Voice Use formal academic diction word choice in a literary analysis Therefore write in the third person First person I me our we etc and second person you are too informal for academic writing and most literature professors prefer students to write in third person Organization As with other types of academic writing a literary analysis should adhere to the introduction body paragraph conclusion model Your argument and your voice must carry the weight in a literary analysis paper Therefore avoid plot summary and construct a specific thesis statement that conveys a claim that you will prove in your body paragraphs Each paragraph must include topic sentences and these topic sentences as well as the content of each paragraph must support the thesis statement Even if you incorporate research in your paper be sure that it supports your own argument and does not overtake your voice Differentiation Between Speaker and Author Often in literature the speaker is not the author One aspect of literary analysis entails exploring the relationship between author and speaker Carefully analyze point of view and tone Consider the author s intended meaning however do not mistake the opinions of the narrator for those of the writer 1 You must give a clear full reference to the work and author you are writing about somewhere in your introductory paragraph 2 Use the correct format for referring to the work you are discussing The titles of short stories poems and essays should be placed in quotation marks the titles of novels plays films and TV shows should be either underlined or italicized My Last Duchess Antigone The Secret Lion Forest Gump Pride and Prejudice The Simpsons poem play short story movie novel TV show The Literary Present Do not write about a literary text



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