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What You Need to Write an Amazing Literary Essay

What makes a literary essay amazing is a combination of certain qualities. A great literary essay enhances our understanding of a book, poem, or play by taking an unusual or unexpected stance on some narrow aspect of a literary work and then helping us to see the work through that narrow lens, causing us to rethink the work in the light of your assertions.

A Great Knowledge of the Fictional Work

There are several factors that must be present to take an essay from “sorta good” to “amazing.” First, you must have a mastery over the subject matter. Many students spend so much time trying to read all about what the work means, when what the teacher/professor wants is your insights – not someone else’s. For one thing, your insights are as unique of a topic as you can get.

The funny thing is—with all the time you’re going to put into NOT reading the book, you could have already read the book, constructed your insightful and personal point of view on the work, and started writing the paper.

Plus, turning in your own work gives you a feeling of rightness and academic integrity. Handing in someone else’s work or ideas will eventually make you feel “less than” and you won’t have that wonderful epiphany (the sudden realization) that you really were right after all!

Teachers Will Know If You are Plagiarizing or Slacking

In addition to plagiarism checkers, teachers prepare very hard for these literary lectures on the literary works. They study the essays and all the criticism on the internet, as they literally scour the internet for new approaches to teaching the work that might help students respond to the work in a more enthusiastic way.

So, they will know if you pick an old, tired topic that is all over the internet, just as they’ll know when you’ve constructed your own, original thesis.

Amazing Essays Are An Act of Bravery and Faith

It takes faith in your own point of view and confidence in your own ideas to approach a literary essay with your own unique insights in tow. So do this the first time. Read the work closely and think about the aspect of it that, to you, seemed to be an interesting character, theme, relationship that illuminated themes, or other aspect of the novel that evokes the major themes of the work and try to construct a unique “I think that the ______________” or “I think that the character of ______ deserves an in depth analysis because . . . “

You Must Have a Narrow Focus

For example, let’s say your class has been discussing the Nick Adams stories of Ernest Hemingway. Suppose you had noticed the importance of nature in these stories about Nick Adams and his personal growth as a young man. But a focus for one thing—focusing on all the Nick Adams story is a HUGE mission—one for a major book-length work –not an essay. Instead, think narrow, like ‘The Importance of the River as Symbol in “Big Two-Hearted River.”’

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