In analysis essays, students break down how a writer makes a series of specific language choices in order to convey his or her intended message.

Effective analytical writing consists of the following three elements:

  1. Claims identifying choices/devices/strategies the writer uses

  2. Data--textual evidence to back up claims, showing that the identified choices do, in fact, occur

  3. Commentary on the author’s intended effect of the language used (this commentary should elaborate on HOW the language serves the author’s overall purpose for the work)

What to avoid

  • misunderstanding the text/passage

  • misrepresenting the strategies/choices in the passage (i.e. calling something a simile that is not a simile)

  • analyzing the effect(s) of the strategies/choices inaccurately

  • using evidence or explanations that are insufficient or less convincing

Please see the PDF files below for Analysis of Fiction and Analysis of Nonfiction essay samples.