What Is An Analytical Essay And How Does One Write It?


Analytical essays are common assignments for student who are in college. These essays are often assigned in history classes as well as science and language arts classes. The idea behind an analytical essay is that the writer looks at an event, issue, text, or study by breaking down the pieces to understand the meaning as a whole. This type of essay can be challenging, until you know the little tricks that make the essay easier to craft.

  • Common Mistakes
  • Many students make mistakes with an analytical essay by writing a summary instead of an analysis. This type of essay does require some summary, so the reader knows what is being analyzed, but the summary only needs to be a sentence or two in length. You do not need to give away the entire event, text, or study in the analysis. The analysis needs to include more than just summaries and explanations of the “what” that occurred in the topic.

  • What Questions to Ask
  • Analytical essays require more of the how and why to explain the what. When you choose a topic, you should pick something that is fascinating to you so you are able to learn what is behind that topic. You are attempting to make sense of the topic by putting the small pieces together. You should be sure your topic is something that can be broken down into smaller pieces which is why analytical essays tend to be written about literature or major historical events.

  • Picking a Topic
  • It is important that you have a good understanding of the topic, so you can effectively analyze what pulled the pieces together. Your thesis statement will explain what you are going to prove by breaking down the pieces of the topic. The body of the paper will attack the small pieces and show how they relate to the topic. For example, if you are writing about a poem, you could look at the figurative language, poetic style, and word choice and show how those aspects help make up the whole poem. You could also do this with historical events by analyzing the people and events that came before the biggest event occurred.

  • Examples and Explanations
  • You will need to support your topic with examples and explanations so your reader can get a complete pictures. The examples can include small summaries, but the explanations need to show the reader why you chose those examples. Once you have written an analysis paper for one class, you will have a much easier time writing one for another class.



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