Literary analysis often engages novels and short stories, poems, or plays. Assignments typically ask writers to develop a claim/argument/interpretation about a key concern or tactic in a literary text by analyzing important moments, passages, or lines.

While the different literary genres offer specific features to consider (e.g., line breaks in poetry and stage directions in plays), literary analysis assignments usually share two common concerns: favor analysis over summary and work to introduce/frame the importance of the passage(s) you focus on (instead of ripping them out of context.

Analyzing Novels and Short Stories

Analyzing literature

A list of basic tips (dos and don'ts)

How to analyze passages from literature: this webpage looks clunky, but we know the author, and we like the guiding questions it offers.

A comprehensive literary analysis guide for students from a textbook publisher

Analyzing Poetry

Analyzing poetry

Understanding poetry explications

Student sample essay about a poem (with comments)

Analyzing Drama

Structure of a Play Review

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