A textual analysis essay is essentially an analysis of various texts, fictional or non-fictional. It involves critically reading the text and studying it analytically to formulate an opinion of the text. Authors usually dissect the text and evaluate it by examining the underlying assumptions and overall idea of the text. For fictional texts, writers usually focus on the use of rhetoric, language devices, writing style, metaphors, imagery, and figurative language employed by the author. Similarly, for non-fictional texts, the analysis comprises evaluating the text through compare and contrast and an assessment of the validity of the arguments. College and university students must write a textual analysis essay for their coursework. Therefore it is important to get familiar with how to write it, and this article will provide a comprehensive overview of textual analysis essay.
What is a textual analysis essay?
A textual analysis essay pertains to a form of writing that evaluates written discourse. The authors evaluate various texts to formulate an opinion and provide a better understanding of the text. At the same time, textual analysis involves appreciating the text’s strengths while highlighting its shortcomings. A textual analysis essay involves a critical reading of the text and interpreting its underlying assumptions and ideas. It also entails an evaluation of the rationale behind the writer’s choice of words and language devices and what was the intended effect of the author.
Researchers can evaluate literary and non-literary texts such as books, novels, short stories, plays and poems and critical non-fictional texts. A textual analysis essay does not seek to summarise a book or a short story; instead, it seeks to evaluate the text by exploring the underpinning assumptions and evaluation of the structure, ideas and intended effect of language devices. Therefore, before attempting the essay, a close reading of the text is mandatory to grasp the overall meaning of the text. It also entails formulating a thesis statement to define your position or stance on the text. A typical textual analysis essay has the following structure:
- Introduction: This section introduces the focus of your essay to the readers.
- The main body comprising the body paragraphs caters to the development of your central argument substantiated by the corroborating evidence.
- Conclusion section that brings the discussion to its logical end.
What are the steps involved in writing a textual analysis essay?
Step 1: Critical reading
Fictional Texts Reading
The first step in writing a textual analysis essay is critically reading the text. When evaluating a fictional text, you must identify the literary devices used by the author. While reading, you must highlight the imagery, symbolism, figurative and metaphorical language employed by the author. Identifying the literacy devices will help in your analysis. A textual analysis essay is not about repeating the events or characters mentioned in the text, but it is an attempt to evaluate the deeper meaning of the text.
Your primary task is to spot the literary devices used by the author to comprehend the rationale behind choosing those linguistic elements. Moreover, a closer inspection of the text will expose you to the structural elements the author weaves together to create a perspective and impression on the reader’s mind. You can also evaluate multiple texts for writing a compare-and-contrast textual analysis essay in which you will compare the various texts from the same genre and identify the common patterns, themes, and linkages.
Reading of Non-Fictional Texts
Reading non-fictional texts has a different strategy than reading fictional texts. Non-fictional texts use logic, evidence, and argumentation to build a case for something. You must evaluate the text with the help of complex reasoning. Complex reasoning entails applying the rules of logic to the text. It necessitates critical introspection and evaluation of the consistency and validity of arguments. You must evaluate the author’s arguments in light of the evidence employed to develop arguments. It requires evaluating the logical consistency between ideas and ascertaining whether the data supports the inferences.
Moreover, you must identify the underlying philosophy of the text, i.e., positivist or interpretivist. It also entails identifying the author’s biases and prejudices. You can also compare various non-fictional texts belonging to the same field and use a comparative approach for evaluating the text. It will provide you with a varied and diverse perspective on the issue and ample content for writing the textual analysis essay.
Formulate A Thesis Statement
Once you are done with the reading, the next step is formulating a coherent thesis statement. A thesis statement defines your position on the text. It is your perspective on the text and how you perceive it. You must compose a logical thesis statement that captures the essence of the text and informs the reader about your stance.
Formulating a thesis statement clarifies the writing process since the entire essay revolves around the thesis statement. It is the central idea which delineates the overarching theme of your essay. Therefore, it is imperative to write a coherent and argumentative thesis statement. A vague thesis statement distorts the entire essay and does not cast a good impression on the readers. Therefore, it is always preferable to take the help of expert writers. You can take help from expert writers at Essay Writing Services to develop a strong thesis statement in your essay.
Maintain Consistency between ideas
Consistency between ideas throughout the entire essay is crucial. You must expand the essay logically and build connections between the ideas. Use transition words and conjunctions to show contrast and consistency between the arguments. Also, it is imperative to use substantial evidence to corroborate your claims. Moreover, you must divide the paragraphs according to the key ideas. Each paragraph must be based on a single idea linked to the central idea. Maintaining coherence and unity between the paragraphs is essential, and each idea must flow naturally from one paragraph to the next.
A textual analysis essay involves a critical reading of the text; therefore, you must read the text carefully before attempting to write down the essay. You must have a clear stance on the issue and develop and expand it with the help of supporting arguments and details. You can refer to the above-mentioned guidelines for writing an exceptional essay.