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Outline Structure for Literary Analysis Essay

I. Catchy Title

II. Paragraph 1: Introduction (Use HATMAT)
A. Hook
B. Author
C. Title
D. Main characters
E. A short summary
F. Thesis

III. Paragraph 2: First Body Paragraph
A. Topic sentence (what this paragraph will discuss, how it will prove your thesis)
B. Context for the quote

1. Who says it?
2. What’s happening in the text when they say it?

C. Quote from the text (cited appropriately)
D. Analysis of the quote: How does it prove your thesis?
E. Closing sentence (wrap up the paragraph to effectively transition to the next paragraph)

IV. Paragraph 3: Second Body Paragraph
A. Topic sentence (what this paragraph will discuss, how it will prove your thesis)
B. Context for the quote

1. Who says it?
2. What’s happening in the text when they say it?

C. Quote from the text (cited appropriately)
D. Analysis of the quote: How does it prove your thesis?
E. Closing sentence (wrap up the paragraph to effectively transition to the next paragraph

V. Paragraph 4: Third Body Paragraph
A. Topic sentence (what this paragraph will discuss, how it will prove your thesis)
B. Context for the quote

1. Who says it?
2. What’s happening in the text when they say it?

C. Quote from the text (cited appropriately)
D. Analysis of the quote: How does it prove your thesis?
E. Closing sentence (wrap up the paragraph to effectively transition to the next paragraph

VI. Conclusion (You do not necessarily have to follow this order, but include the following):
A. Summarize your argument.
B. Extend the argument.
C. Show why the text is important.

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Parts to a Great Essay

same as above, just worded differently

1. A Catchy Title

2. Introduction: the opening paragraph. The introduction should include the
following:

a. Hook, Author, Title, Main Characters, A Short Summary, Thesis
b. Hook: The beginning sentences of the introduction that catch the reader’s

interest. Ways of beginning creatively include the following:
 A startling fact or bit of information
 A meaningful quotation (from the work or another source)
 A rich, vivid description
 An analogy or metaphor

c. Introductions should identify the work of literature being discussed, name
the author, and briefly present the issue that the body of your essay will
more fully develop (your thesis). Basically, introductions suggest that
something interesting is occurring in a particular work of literature.

3. Body: The body of your paper should logically and fully develop and support your
thesis.

a. Each body paragraph should focus on one main idea that supports your
thesis statement.

b. These paragraphs include:
i. A topic sentence – a topic sentence states the main point of a

paragraph: it serves as a mini-thesis for the paragraph. You might
think of it as a signpost for your readers—or a headline—something
that alerts them to the most important, interpretive points in your
essay. It might be helpful to think of a topic sentence as working in
two directions simultaneously. It relates the paragraph to the essay’s
thesis, and thereby acts as a signpost for the argument of the paper as
a whole, but it also defines the scope of the paragraph itself.

ii. Context for the quote
1. Who says it? What is happening in the text when they say it?
2. This prepares the reader for the quote by introducing the speaker,

setting, and/or situation.
iii. Quote/Concrete details – a specific example from the work used to

provide evidence for your topic sentence/support thesis.
iv. Commentary – your explanation and interpretation of the concrete detail.

Commentary explains how the concrete detail proves the thesis.
v. Clincher/Concluding Sentence – last sentence of the body paragraph. It

concludes the paragraph by tying the concrete details and commentary

back to the major thesis.

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4. Conclusion: the last paragraph where you are given one last chance to convince the
reader of your argument and provide a sense of closure.

a. Summarize your argument AND extend your argument.
b. A sophisticated conclusion does not simply restate the thesis of the introduction or

summarize the logic presented in the body of the essay. Your conclusion, most

often, will try to suggest the broader significance of your discussion – why is it

important?

In other words, suggest in your introduction that some literary phenomenon is occurring. In the

body of your essay, use examples and fully developed logic to prove that the literary

phenomenon takes place. Finally, in your conclusion suggest why such a phenomenon is

significant.

Source: amundsenhs.org/