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Whether you are writing about a novel, short story, poem or play, the conclusion to your literary analysis essay needs to connect your thesis statement to the end of your essay. Summarizing your points is necessary, but the conclusion needs to synthesize all the different elements of the work you analyzed. Conclusions illustrate the significance of your essay in light of the question you have asked and demonstrate that you have successfully defended your literary argument.

A conclusion in a literature paper should begin with a reiteration of your thesis statement, which is your main argument. Inform the reader how you managed to demonstrate your view. If, for example, you are writing about Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird," your thesis may have been that the main character, Scout, has experiences throughout the novel that give her a more mature point of view by book's end. Summarize for the reader how you examined textual evidence to come to that conclusion, which is realized in your thesis statement and then restated in different language in the conclusion.

Each body paragraph in your essay should have broken down your thesis into subsections that you applied to the narrative, poem or play that you are writing about. The conclusion is where you synthesize the support you developed in the essay and form it into a cohesive statement that demonstrates how well you defended your argument. If Scout in "To Kill A Mockingbird" matured greatly throughout the novel, the conclusion reminds the reader of the way you analyzed the book's events, other critiques and theories throughout each paragraph of your essay.

Conclusions should not give a definitive answer to the question your thesis asks. Literary analysis does not stop at one particular point in time, and essays like yours keep a work of literature moving forward. A good conclusion will ask what needs to be done to solve the problem you have identified. If "To Kill A Mockingbird" centers on blatant racial problems with the criminal justice system, you could discuss aspects of that small town controversy that still exist today. Do not introduce completely new ideas, but draw from your thesis statement and connect it to a sense of duty that you have hopefully instilled in your readers.

The tone of the conclusion should be positive and achieve a feeling of completion. You can use other literary techniques, like simile or metaphor, and you can refer to on-point contemporary issues or ideas. Advanced students may refer to aspects of literary theory if you are knowledgeable about it. Overall, if you have a well-defended argument throughout the paper, the conclusion should be as strong as the rest of the essay.

Matt Rauscher has been writing professionally since 1996, recently serving as a contributing writer/film critic for "Instinct Magazine." He is also a novelist and co-author of a Chicago city guidebook. In 1997, Rauscher graduated from the University of Illinois with a B.A. in rhetoric.

Literary analysis means closely studying a text, interpreting its meanings, and exploring why the author made certain choices. It can be applied to novels, short stories, plays, poems, or any other form of literary writing.

The first step is to carefully read the text(s) and take initial notes. As you read, pay attention to the things that are most intriguing, surprising, or even confusing in the writing—these are things you can dig into in your analysis.

To get started with your analysis, there are several key areas that you can focus on. As you analyze each aspect of the text, try to think about how they all relate to each other. You can use highlights or notes to keep track of important passages and quotes.

Consider what style of language the author uses. Are the sentences short and simple or more complex and poetic?

Ask yourself:

Consider how the text is structured, and how the structure relates to the story being told.

Think about why the author chose to divide the different parts of the text in the way they did.

Your thesis in a literary analysis essay is the point you want to make about the text. It’s the core argument that gives your essay direction and prevents it from just being a collection of random observations about a text.

If you’re given a prompt for your essay, your thesis must answer or relate to the prompt. For example:

Is Franz Kafka’s “Before the Law” a religious parable?

best ideas for your essay

Okay, so you have written your initial draft. You have dotted all of the I’s and crossed all of the T’s. You know you have written the kind of essay that will blow the competition out of the water. However, as you will be aware the conclusion and the manner in which you bring a sense of closure to your critique is pivotal. Gloss over it and all of the time that you have invested in your essay to date will have been in vein. Go into overkill and you will be, well, killing the essay.

Before you start panicking or reaching for the delete button don’t worry, I you follow these basic rules then you won’t go far wrong:

I have lost count of the times when I have been excitedly reading some brilliant essays only for them to fall flat at the final hurdle. Frankly, it defies logic that someone would invest so much time and effort into the introduction and main body, only to skip over the conclusion as though it were irrelevant. Tiredness or a desire to finish are not excuses. You have to polish, and re-polish until it is absolutely flawless.

There is an art to doing this, and once you have written several essays, you will find yourself getting into a routine. You need to deftly recap on all of the main points in your essay without going over them all in depth. The last thing you want to do is repeat that which you have already written!

Your conclusion is not the place to casually throw in any new threads that you have previously forgotten about. If you do suddenly remember something, then you will need to go back and introduce it into the main body of the work rather than trying to slot it in here.

Unless you give credence to your findings, then your readers are going to be left scratching their heads and wondering what the point of it all is. If possible try and find a way of linking the literary work to the modern day, or you could maybe explain just why you feel so passionate about it and what it means to you. Whatever, your words need to resonate and connect with your audience.

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Check the IELTS writing task 2 playlist , Have explained the individual question types with examples.

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How To Conclude A Literary Analysis Essay

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