Shmoop's Guide to Writing the Perfect Essay
You can tell you are writing an Analysis Essay if your paper is about a book, story, essay, film, TV show, painting, restaurant, and so on. You know—if the subject of your paper is A Thing That Did Not Come out of Your Head. Speaking of which, that thing that did come out of your head this morning was kind of disgusting. You might want to use a Q-tip more often.
For an Analysis Essay, you might be asked to analyze this Thing—whatever it is: What does it mean? Why is it important? How does it relate to the voting rights of bunny rabbits? and so on. (This is just a silly example, of course. Bunny rabbits can never be allowed to vote, or else our nation’s restaurants will become overrun by salad bars.)
Alternatively, the assignment might ask you to say if you liked this Thing or not and say why. You might also be asked to summarize and respond to the Thing, especially if the Thing is a movie, book, or story. Such as… The Thing, for example. (Writing about literature? Chances are we’ve Shmooped it. You can check here: Literature Learning Guide)
Teachers love to assign this type of essay because it not only shows them that you are doing the assigned reading, but also that you are engaging with and thinking about, you know, Things.
So how do you know when the essay you are expected to write is an Analysis Essay? Will it be wearing a nametag?
As always, your teacher will say so—most of the time. He or she might also call it by one of its various other names (like “The Essay Who Must Not Be Named”).
Watch for these bad boys:
Or, the question might be something like: “Did you like such and such book? Explain why or why not.” (Note: Currently, the book Such and Such is out of print. Please check back later this month.)