The Trick of Writing Interesting Analysis Essays

What are you doing when you’re writing an analysis essay? The essence of what you are doing is helping a reader understand the meaning of the object you’re analyzing, whether it is a poem or novel, a historical event or person, or an artwork of some kind. There are an infinite amount of objects you can analyze, and an infinite number of ways you can analyze any particular one. For this reason, writing an analytical essay can be very intimidating for a student. It’s hard to know even where to begin. The good news is that the process is the same no matter what you are analyzing.

The trick to writing a compelling essay is simple, but can seem difficult: you have to love what you are writing about. You have to be curious about how it works and what it means. Your reader will only be as interested in what you’re writing about as you are. In your case, your reader will probably be a professor who is jaded from having to read a bunch of papers about the same thing. But if you can find a way to be interested in your subject, you’ll already have a leg up on the competition. 

But wait a minute, what if you’ve been assigned to write about something that you just don’t care about? I admit, this seems like a conundrum. But keep at it. Look at the painting again. Read the story again. Know it inside and out. If you don’t eventually find something you love, I guarantee you will find something you hate. Guess what? That’s just as good. It might be a scene in a novel that you just don’t think works. Now you start thinking about why it doesn’t work, and write about that. Is there something that you don’t understand? Focus on it, and make your essay about what it means.

Here are some other helpful tips for writing:

  • Have a thesis. This must be a definite claim that someone could potentially disagree with.
  • Take careful notes. You’re going to need to provide evidence not just for you thesis, but for all the claims in your paper.
  • Brainstorm. Write down all of your ideas, even the ones that seem stupid at first. The best way to produce good ideas is to produce a lot of bad ones.