HOW TO STRUCTURE A LITERARY ANALYSIS ESSAY – “CHEAT SHEET”

Paragraph 1: Introduction
First sentence: “Big Idea” (something general, large-in-scope) that relates to your topic
Middle sentences: Gradually narrow down your “Big Idea” to…
Last sentence: Your Thesis Statement.
[Thesis always includes the title(s) of the text and the author(s) name.]

Paragraph 2: Body Paragraph (about first idea that supports thesis)
A “SPA” Paragraph
First sentence: Your Statement about this idea (should prove your thesis is true)
· This is a statement that concisely says what this paragraph will be about.
Middle sentences: Your Proof (use SOAP, then give the quote)
· Quotes from the text – with citation at the end of the quote –
that prove your Statement is true.
Last HALF of paragraph (biggest part of paragraph): Your Analysis
· Thoroughly and clearly explain in DETAIL exactly how your Proof
proves that your Statement is true.

Paragraph 3: Body Paragraph (about second idea that supports thesis)
A “SPA” Paragraph
First sentence: Your Statement about this idea (should prove your thesis is true)
· This is a statement that concisely says what this paragraph will be about.
Middle sentences: Your Proof (use SOAP, then give the quote)
· Quotes from the text – with citation at the end of the quote –
that prove your Statement is true.
Last HALF of paragraph (biggest part of paragraph): Your Analysis
· Thoroughly and clearly explain in DETAIL exactly how your Proof
proves that your Statement is true.

Paragraph 4: Body Paragraph (about third idea that supports thesis)
A “SPA” Paragraph
First sentence: Your Statement about this idea (should prove your thesis is true)
· This is a statement that concisely says what this paragraph will be about.
Middle sentences: Your Proof (use SOAP, then give the quote)
· Quotes from the text – with citation at the end of the quote –
that prove your Statement is true.
Last HALF of paragraph (biggest part of paragraph): Your Analysis
· Thoroughly and clearly explain in DETAIL exactly how your Proof
proves that your Statement is true.

Paragraph 5: Conclusion
First sentence: Restate your thesis as if it is a fact.
Middle sentences: Briefly summarize how your evidence proved that your thesis is correct.
Last HALF of paragraph: Connect your thesis to some “Big Idea” that all people
could relate to. (Universal human feelings, beliefs, etc. work well.)