WRITING WORKSHOP: Literary Analysis

Writing the Limited Literary Analysis Essay:
Prewriting—Choosing a Topic:
In writing about literature, the object is to say something meaningful about the work under consideration. Each of the topics below requires you to go beyond the plot of the story. Each one requires you to ponder the story, analyze it, make connections, and come to conclusions.
Format: You will be writing a 5-Paragraph essay.
  • 1st paragraph: You will have an Introductory paragraph which introduces your topic, includes the title of the book, the author, and your thesis statement which previews your paper. This means that it will state each of the three points you will be covering.
  • Paragraphs 2-4: You will have three body paragraphs. Each paragraph will discuss one main point thoroughly and include two short quotes from the book to support your point (6 quotes total).
  • Paragraph 5: You will have a concluding paragraph that ties it all together, restates your thesis in a fresh way, and goes beyond that by leaving the reader with something to ponder.


I. Gathering Evidence and Formulating Major Points:
It is a good idea to take notes as you read, as soon as you have a topic in mind. Hopefully, one of the topic options will catch your attention and interest early in your reading. As you continue to read, you will shape your topic into a rough thesis. When you feel confident that you know what you want to say, move on the next stage: Oraganizing Ideas.
REMINDER: Be sure that your thesis statement previews your paper by stating each of your three main points.
II. Organizing Ideas:
Planning is a vitally important stage of writing a paper. A plan shows your major ideas and the order in which you will present them. If you plan carefully, you will have a valuable guide to writing a coherent and effective essay. The most helpful way to state your main ideas is to write them as COMPLETE SENTENCES, not PHRASES. This forces you to clarify your ideas early, before beginning to write.
MUST DO: Three-Page “Tool”–An essential step  at this point is to take each of your three main ideas and determine if you have sufficient information, ideas, and quotations to make this statement a well-developed paragraph. The easiest way is to simply take three pieces of paper and write the main idea (topic sentence) at the top of the page. Then look through your notes and jot down the information, ideas, and quotes that support each main idea. You will soon discover if each main point will work effectively in your essay. While each paragraph does not have to be exactly equal in length, you do not want to present an idea about which you have very little to say. It is better to throw this idea out and come up with another. Scan and send these three handwritten pages to me, along with your THESIS STATEMENT, BEFORE beginning to write your essay. Use the 09.6 Planning Sheets & Thesis Statement DROPBOX.
III. Writing Your Essay:
Once you have determined that you are on the right track, have decided how to organize your ideas, and have plenty to say for each main point, you are ready to write your Introduction. A good introduction is critical. Be sure that your opening paragraph states your purpose and makes clear your thesis. Once you have a strong introduction you are ready to write your paper.
IV. Editing and Your Final Draft:
Be sure to allow time to proofread your essay when you are done. It is best to read it through once, immediately upon finishing. That way you will be able to get a good “feel” for its fluency and clarity of thought. Make notes where you think you may need to make additions or corrections when you revisit it.  Is your discussion of each point strong enough and complete enough?  Do you need further examples for any point?  Are your ideas clear and powerful?  After writing a few notes, take a break from your essay and allow some time to pass before addressing the changes and fine tuning the essay.

Options: Topics for Perelandra Essay: (Choose One)
  • Perelandra as Paradise–a picture of the Paradise God may have intended for Earth
  • The battle for good on Perelandra
  • The Great Dance–Your Vision of it, based on Perelandra
  • The nature and significance of obedience in Perelandra
  • The concept of joy as presented in Perelandra
  • The concept of age on Perelandra; what is young and what is old
  • The re-enactment of the temptation of Eve on Perelandra (the women, the tempters, the techniques used)
  • Ransom as Savior figure in Perelandra–Parallels to Jesus, differences
  • Ransom as the Hero in Quest Literature–How he fits the profile
  • Our expanded view of God and His creation in Perelandra (planets, seas, flora and fauna, animals, human-like beings)
  • The making of the King and Queen of Perelandra–how they were prepared to rule Perelandra
  1. Read the Lecture Notes in this lesson. While these notes will undoubtedly be a review for you in some ways, I am sure you will find them helpful and that you will discover some new “tools” for writing this kind of academic paper. (NOTE that I am requiring you to try the THREE-PAGE tool described above.)
  2. Write an essay on a Perelandra topic of your choosing. Options have been LISTED at the end of the Lecture Notes above.
  3. Be sure you have done the preparation necessary (see Lecture Notes in this lesson) before beginning to write. The planning (prewriting) stage is equally as important as (I believe “more important” than) the writing stage of the essay. NOTE where you are asked to submit your three handwritten pages, along with your Thesis Statement, BEFORE beginning to write your essay.)
  4. You will be writing a 5-paragraph essay.
  5. You must include at least two short quotes to support and/or illustrate each of your main points. However, do not let these quotes take the place of a thoughtful, thorough discussion of each idea. Keep your quotes short and to the point.
  6. Follow the Formatting Guide in Eagle Hall. Your essay should be a full two pages, typed, double-spaced).
  7. Use only your close reading of the book for this essay. All support for your ideas should come from the text of the book itself. This is not intended as a research paper. You are NOT expected to be an expert.
  8. This ESSAY serves is the FINAL EXAM for this class. Plenty of time has been allowed for you to think, plan, write, and edit. Follow the instructions in this lesson carefully.

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