The analytical essay is a great tool to assist you in getting through your academic career successfully. It is important to understand that analytical skills are key to writing most of your college level essays successfully. Acquiring these skills will ensure that you can tackle any kind of essay and receive a good grade. Analytical skills are also very useful in real-life situations. They develop your ability to think critically, and analyze the things that surround you with a bit of healthy skepticism to ensure that you can understand every aspect of a certain problem. They are also extremely useful in conversations that require proving a point. Coming up with a solid argument goes a long way, and shows your opponent the validity of your opinion. It helps to persuade people, and gets you exactly what you need.
What Is an Analytical Essay?
An analytical essay is a type of paper where you set forth an argument, and then analyze it using supporting claims. The range of topics for this kind of paper usually include analyzing a book, an article, a specific event, or a movie. If the paper is on an article, as opposed to summarizing the points of the article, your analytical essay will require you to analyze its style, author’s intentions, and main points.
In order to write a solid analytical essay, it is necessary to have a good understanding of its nature and purpose: the analysis of a specific issue assigned by a college professor. A student should thoroughly look at the given problem and explore both its negative and positive points. These points then need to be developed further, agreeing or disagreeing with their nature. The explanations and supporting claims should be logical and followed up by a well thought out chain of facts.
Analytical Essay Topics and Ideas
A student should not necessarily pick an issue that has already been examined from all aspects. The main reason why teachers do not always assign a specific topic to cover is to enable students to develop their creativity and choose their own topics.
So, if you are wondering how to pick a proper analytical essay topic, the steps below will help you:
- Brainstorming is a useful tool to generate ideas. Write down all possible issues related to your studied subject on a separate piece of paper.
- Researching on the web or at your school library for information on the chosen topic will make writing a more streamlined task.
- Analyzing the quality of the discovered sources will ensure a high-quality paper. Decide which topics can be covered better than the other based on the amount of the information available.
- Evaluating the chosen topic and running it by your professor is a good step. Consult your teacher and ask whether the problem you wish to analyze suits the essay prompt. Make sure you chose something that is in an area of your expertise.
- Titling your work with an original, eye-catching title can really boost the interest and excitement, and attract the reader.
Steps to Take Before Writing
Find the Core of Your Analytical Essay
Usually, an analytical essay involves writing about, and analyzing, a book or a movie. Sometimes, the essay prompt will ask you to focus on a certain issue or problem about the plot or characters. It is your responsibility to decide what exactly it is you are going to focus on and which direction to take. Making a solid claim will ensure a better understanding for the reader.
Decide What You Will Write About
Make sure you carefully read the task presented by your professor. If you are already given a list of topics, you should choose the one you feel most confident about. If you have to come up with your own topic, start with something simple. If your paper is a book analysis, you can analyze characters’ actions, their relationships, and assumptions about the intentions the author might have had. If the topic of your paper is to analyze a historical event for example, you can focus on the main forces that caused the event, such as rulers, important figures, or social or political problems. Choosing the right direction will give you a great start toward having a strong paper.
Begin with the Thesis Statement
The thesis is a statement that lets your reader know what your stance on the issue you are writing about is. It has to be precise and to the point. You should avoid any ambiguity in your statement because it might confuse the reader. An example of a proper thesis statement would be: “The characters of “To Kill a Mockingbird” suffer great injustice because of racism and prejudice”. Here you would analyze how characters’ lives were influenced by the racist society that discriminates against people and judges them based on the color of their skin.
Find Additional Evidence
Supporting your thesis with evidence will strengthen your paper and will persuade the reader to accept your point of view. In order to have the necessary evidence, you need to be thorough with the subject of your analysis. If it is a book, read it carefully, mark the most important points and use that to your advantage. An example would be how the people of Maycomb reacted to the events of Tom Robinson’s trial and his death. Were they shocked? Sorry? Confused? It all supports your claim and exemplifies racism.
Write an Essay Outline
Structure is a significant part of a good assignment. Creating a plan, also known as an outline, will make it easier to proceed with the paper. Usually, an essay has a five-paragraph structure: an introduction, a main body—consisting of three paragraphs, and a conclusion.
Create a Strong Analytical Essay Thesis
The thesis statement is the central argument of an essay. It’s a claim created to prove an assumption created by the writer, using facts, statistics, examples, and research findings. For certain topics, it’s important to introduce the outside forces that contributed to the creation of your thesis statement. The purpose of the thesis is to present the most significant information at the very beginning. It sets the reader in the direction of the essay topic and concentrates the attention to the main point.
The thesis statement tells the reader the importance of your subject matter. It is a directory for the reader regarding the expectations of what the paper is going to be about. Your thesis absolutely must contain an opinion on something, it cannot be just “Romeo and Juliet”, it has to be something like “The tragedy of young love experienced by Romeo and Juliet due to the social conflicts of two influential families”. The rest of the essay is your supporting evidence of the thesis. It organizes the facts and examples that persuade the reader to accept your opinion.
If you are talking about historical events, it’s essential to introduce the external factors (books or manuscripts) that led to your analytical essay thesis. If you are talking about scientific research, considering the scientific method is a necessity.
The thesis should be controversial and debatable. It requires a ton of thorough research to come up with a respectable statement. This part of your work should be a high impact statement that strongly affects the topic of choice.
Here are a couple of examples of thesis statements that showcase how important a strong statement can be.
Writing something like, Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn is a great American novel, is extremely vague and does not tell virtually anything about what YOUR opinion is and what your paper is about. On the other hand, Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twain’s Huckleberry Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American democratic ideals, one must leave “civilized” society and go back to nature, is very specific and gives a great idea of what to expect from reading your article further.
Create an Analytical Essay Outline
To learn how to write an analytical essay, one should organize the structure of the paper—as it makes the entire writing process easier. Experts recommend having up to five paragraphs on your paper outline. Regardless, the Intro-Body(s)-Conclusion formula is a staple in any analytical essay outlne.
Writing an Analytical Essay Introduction
Start out with some sort of background information. Using a hook statement can be effective. For the hook to have a strong effect, it should be interesting and surprising enough to grab the reader’s attention. It is the best time to do this, and you should not take your chances on having a sloppy hook.
A hook is made up of one to two sentences aimed to grab the reader’s attention from the opening lines of the analytical essay. The choice of a hook depends on the mood of the work, and also the intended audience:
- it could be a funny joke/anecdote,
- proven fact,
- shaking statistics,
- rhetorical question to provoke debate,
- a literary term like a metaphor or simile,
- quote of a famous person,
or a combination of several together. After the hook, you should present your thesis statement, which explains your essay’s subject and your opinion on the statement.
There is no specific format for the introduction, but background information is the most common method of approach in creating one—you should provide information that is relevant to your thesis. This information should start out broad, and narrow in towards the thesis—while remaining relevant.
We prepared a summary of the introduction below:
- Hook Statement/ Brief Introductory Point
- Background Info (Narrowed)
- Transition sentence
- Thesis Statement
Creating an interesting and fun introduction is a great way to set the groundwork for your readers to enjoy the rest of the paper. Make sure they are hooked from the first to the very last lines, and do not let them be disappointed.
Write Your Body Paragraphs
The main goal of the body paragraphs is to prove the thesis statement. Each individual paragraph should focus on a certain aspect of the thesis.
If the thesis of an analytical essay is centred around the evolution of Good Will Hunting, the body paragraphs should each hold their own point; one body paragraph can focus on his diminishing self-guilt, and the second could talk about the ever-increasing support system and its impact on his mentality.
The body paragraphs should maintain a proper structure:
- Topic Sentence: Introduce the main point of the body paragraph in one straightforward and effective sentence.
- Analysis: Analyze your supporting evidence. Explain how the evidence supports your thesis statement. This part should take up about one or two sentences and is arguably the most important part of the entire analytical essay writing.
- Evidence: The analysis is created from the supporting evidence that you find (facts, statistics, etc.), so they should always go hand in hand. Make sure that these two parts link together in a straightforward manner.
- Concluding Sentence: Restate to the reader your analysis and its significance to the point in hand.
After reading a single body paragraph, the viewer should have clearly understood the argument or point you were trying to prove. Depending on the topic, each essay’s length will vary based on the depth of the thesis.
How to Write a Conclusion for an Analytical Essay
The conclusion ties up the entire paper. Start out by restating your thesis statement. The significance of this is to exemplify to your viewer that you have proven the thesis statement and to summarize the steps you took. Also, the conclusion can help the reader understand your thoughts and their organization into a cohesive piece.
It is important to make a smooth transition from the body paragraphs to the conclusion. Do not jump to it too quickly, as it may interrupt the flow of your paper. The best way to remind the reader about your thesis statement is to paraphrase it. Next, you need to summarize the main points of body paragraphs by extracting the most significant facts.
To end the entire essay, it’s necessary to create an overall concluding statement. This can be either what you have learned from writing the essay, or what the audience should take away from your work.
Again, the structure should be:
- Rephrase the thesis statement
- Summarize key points
- Overall concluding statement
The perfect way to end an analytical essay is to end with a hook as well. Ideally, you would refer to the hook, but in a playful way that will remind the reader of the clever hook they read at the beginning of your paper.
That is how to write a conclusion for an analytical essay. Grab some writing tips below to succeed with this type of writing at any academic level.
General Tips & Advice
Check your essay for grammar and spelling mistakes. If you have plenty of grammatical errors, all the great work you have done crafting your analytical essay will go in vain. It is not a rare case when essays with great content receive poor marks because of grammar mistakes. Make sure you double check your paper for those in order to receive the grade you’ve earned. Or, simply delegate that task to a professional editor.
Read the whole paper aloud. It might sound silly, but it actually works. Surprisingly, way too many errors get discovered when you hear what you wrote. Some things just sound out of the ordinary and you’re more likely to catch your mistakes that way. The rhythm and flow of the paper are also easier to check when you are listening to the text, rather than reading it. Reading your paper aloud will give you the unique opportunity to become your own reader.
Check the facts. Check the names of the people you are referencing, list of characters of the book you are analyzing, and correct spelling of the places and events. It is important to be thorough with these things to show your professionalism and attention to detail.