How to Write A Simple Literary Analysis

Here's a fail proof template for those students writing their first literary analysis.

Simple Literary Analysis Poster

One Paragraph Analysis of a Single Event

Here is a simple introduction to literary analysis for elementary or remedial students: the one paragraph analysis. (Of course, this provides the basic skills for a more advanced analysis.)

Basic Pattern

Here's the formula:
  1. Choose an event in the story: What happened?
  2. What caused that event? It happened because?
  3. What was the outcome? After that?
  4. What is your assessment? This matters because?
When you write the essay, you will reverse the order of the first two events on your list.

Example

  1. Choose an event in the story: The wolf blew down the first brother's house.
  2. What caused that event? The youngest brother built his house out of straw because it was easy.
  3. What was the outcome? The pig ran to the next house.
  4. What is your assessment? The easy way is not the best.

Sample

The youngest of the three pig brothers wanted a cheap and simple solution to their wolf-problem so he quickly built a house out of straw. Along came the cranky old wolf and simply blew the straw house down with a simple huff and puff. Junior ran to his older brother, barely escaping with his life. Hopefully he learned that when it comes to safety, cheap and simple is not the best way to go.

Teaching Notes

Multi-Paragraph Analysis of a Single Event

After doing the single paragraph analysis, it is a simple step of applying the principles of paragraph development to create a simple literary essay.

Basic Pattern

The basic formula is the same. The difference is the student writes a paragraph instead of a single sentence about each item on the outline.

  1. Choose an event in the story: What happened?
  2. What caused that event? It happened because?
  3. What was the outcome? After that?
  4. What is your assessment? This matters because?

Sample

Have you ever had a really scary night at home alone? Well nothing probably compared to Junior Pig's adventure with the Big Bad Wolf crawling around Junior's flimsy home.

You see, it all started when Wolf moved to the neighborhood. Junior and his brothers realized they were in trouble so they each built their own shelter. Junior, being both the youngest and the laziest of the bunch decided to build his house out of straw. It was cheap. It was easy. After all, how much does it take to stack a bunch of bales of hay in a box and slap on a roof and a door?

As can be expected, the wolf came creeping up one evening after dark. He threatened Junior who at first laughed at the wolf. It wasn't such a laughing matter when all the straw began to tremble with the first huff. By the second puff the roof was off and the race was on.

Junior was off running through the night as fast as his fat little pig legs could carry him. Just in time, he made it into his brother's house. Good thing, too, because Wolf was right behind him.

Well, maybe it wasn't so great but you will have to read the next chapter for yourself. What Junior learned is that cheap and easy isn't the best way to go. Well, hopefully he learned it. Because even though THIS adventure turned out in the end, I've heard Wolf has a sister who is now prowling about.

Teaching Notes

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