Literary Analysis Essay Topics: Best Ideas for Analytical Works

  • Apr 02, 2020

Some people spend their life analyzing just one work of literature written by their favorite author, and then, their analysis males a great contribution to the academic world. However, if you are a student who was assigned to write a literary analysis essay, your task is less complicated. And here, you have less time to cope with the analysis. Besides, before you start with the analytical assignment, you need to read the work of literature or even reread some parts important for your study. The next step is to choose the topic. It should interest you and fit your inner experience towards the novel or the story you've read. As a rule, the professor assigns a generalized theme connected with the text, but sometimes you can (or should) narrow down a subject matter and pick a specific aspect of literature under discussion. That may be a bit challenging, especially if you haven't faced this type of writing before.

That's why we prepared a wide variety of literary analysis essay topics that can be used as a basis for your analytical writings.

Literary Analysis Ideas: Where to Find?

You can try to come up with a topic idea while reading the novel. For instance, if some elements of the plot or the described events resonate with something you're read or experienced before, you can use it as a foundation for the topic. Many students prefer to compare and contrast how different authors depicted the same historical period or events. Also, pay attention to the important details and note the passages which you consider important - that can simplify the writing process. Later, you will need this information to remember what exactly caught your attention and use it as references. A good thing is taking notes about the major characters and paying attention to the way the author portrays them. What makes a character unique, and what images or issues are described through their personalities? All those notes and interesting observations can be useful not only for formulating a topic - you can include them in the essay as well.

Here are other particularities of the literary work for you to consider:

  • Speech and its figures
  • Dialogues
  • Tone and mood of the narration
  • The rhythm of the story
  • Imagers and storylines in the book
  • Point of view, its connection to the theme

So, the main recommendation for finding a relevant literature analysis essay topic is brainstorming.


Topics for American Literature Works

American literature has its own rich traditions as well as notable names and figures. Therefore, anyone can find something interesting to discuss in an essay.

For instance, let's take the novel "The Great Gatsby," written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. If you have to write an assignment based on it, you can examine a theme from the following list:

  • Imagine a man rising from poverty to a luxurious life today. Can he end up being rich? Do the circumstances of place and time Influence the flow of events, or the character's life depends on their decisions only?
  • American dream vs. American tragedy in American literature.
  • Analyze the metaphorical meaning of the Valley of Ashes in the novel.

Do you enjoy the dark atmosphere is the works of Edgar Allan Poe? Then, why don't you try to write about it?

  • Edgar Allan Poe and his attitude to death that we can see through his works.
  • Poe's representation of human emotions. What means does he use to depict the spectrum of feelings, and why?
  • Poe's depiction of a woman's portrait.

In case you're fond of James Fenimore Cooper's "The Last of the Mohicans," the following ideas might be helpful:

  • Racism and clash between races and cultures. What is the author's attitude toward it? How do we know about it in the novel?
  • Does the language of the novel makes it unique or distract modern readers? Give specific examples from other works of literature to support your opinion.
  • How do you think, did Cooper succeed or fail in making Hawkeye both a believable human being and a mythic symbol?

Maybe, you are the genuine lover of Mark Twain's literature? Then, these analytical essay topics can be good for you:

  • Speculate on the struggles in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." Tell what characters depict the political class and which of their true characteristics can be found in modern society? Bring up the themes of slavery vs. freedom or man vs. nature.
  • Dwell on the Influence of society on the main characters of the novel.
  • Can lies and deceit of Huck and Jim be called legitimate measures taken for their own protection?

The list of prominent American authors doesn't end here. You can also choose the work of Jane Austen for literary analysis.

  • In Austen's view, what is it like to be a woman at the end of the 17th-century? What challenges did women face back then?
  • How does Austen uncover two key topics, social standing and wealth, in her "Pride and Prejudice"?
  • Analyze what limitations in terms of marriage and social standing were placed upon women in the 1700s.

The main thing to remember is that your topic always hugely depends on the author of the book. Each of them has highlighted particular issues in their works, and your task is to find and analyze them profoundly.

English Literature: Analytical Topics and ideas

English literature is another unique source of amazing novels and stories. For example, take a look at several topics based on "David Copperfield" by Charles Dickens.

  • David, as a narrator and his role in our understanding of the different characters in the novel.
  • Does foreshadowing contribute to the narrative flow of the novel? Give examples and your arguments.
  • The mystical role of the sea in the novel. Why does the author refer to it that frequently?

Enjoy reading Oscar Wilde's stories? You may consider writing about the following issues:

  • How is corruption portrayed in Oscar Wilde's "Picture of Dorian Gray"?
  • Find the connection between Victorian attitudes to marriage and the plot of the "Importance of Being Earnest."
  • How genders and their roles are described in the "Importance of Being Earnest"?
  • Is marriage the end of freedom? How does Wilde demonstrate his attitude towards marriage in his works? Do you agree with the author?
  • Do you believe there are more "Dorian Grays" in modern society? If yes, try to describe their typical behavior.

For those who enjoy complicated and even mysterious stories, "Mrs. Dalloway" by Virginia Woolfmay be a good choice cause it allows speculating on interesting topics:

  • Why does the author pay close attention to nature in the novel?
  • Choose three characters to depict their relationships with the natural world. What do these relationships tell about the characters and their roles in the story?
  • Select several minor characters in the novel and describe their roles. What is their importance to the story as a whole?


William Shakespeare's plays lovers may easily delve into the following topics for a critical analysis essay:

  • How is the topic of mortality uncovered in Shakespeare's "Hamlet"? Why do a lot of characters end up dead?
  • Take the motive of madness in William Shakespeare's "Hamlet" and tell why it is one of the essential characteristics of the play.
  • How does Shakespeare depict King Lear's slow descent into madness in the eponymous piece?
  • Stress the role of fate in "Romeo and Juliet." What clues were used to show all over the text that the love story was sealed by fate?

Or, why not examine the works of John Milton? Here is some food for your thought:

  • Analyze how well Milton depicts Eve in his "Paradise Lost."
  • Speculate on imagery and symbols and their role in the depiction of death.
  • Talk about religious controversies in Milton's "Paradise Lost."

With so many authors and ideas behind, we hope you got a clearer idea of what literary analysis essay topics you can write on. Whether you choose Shakspeare's, Milton's, Austen's, or any other work, we hope you'll make the best of it, ending up with a compelling analytical story.

Have no time and don't feel like delving into a topic? You can always rely on our professionals: they are ready to take over all your writing tasks at any time of day or night. Just tell us about your order and indicate when you need to get it. Let our experts help you!


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