Have you ever thought there could be dozens, if not hundreds, of possible ways to read a book? You can skip some places or dig into others. However, any high or middle school literature assignment contains several literary analysis questions. They allow taking a close look from a different angle. Thus, you can understand what was essential for the author, the underlying symbolism, and the intricate structure of the narrative.
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This selection of literary analysis essay topics suggests hundreds of ideas to explore in your creative writing. We will also describe the elements of textual analysis and writing steps.
❓ Top 15 Literary Analysis Questions
- https://nerdygang.com/good-central-theme-and-literary-devices-used-to-enhance-it-in-the-great-gatsby-literature-review-example/What are the main events that develop the plot?
- Which characters enhance the central theme?
- What are the antagonist and the protagonist?
- Did anything confuse you in the story?
- Can you divide the narrative into structural elements?
- Does the text contain irony, humor, or sarcasm?
- What is the central conflict?
- How does the setting description contribute to the overall mood?
- Which patterns did you notice?
- How many points of view did you notice?
- Is the narrator reliable?
- Did something about the syntax or word choice draw your attention?
- Does the text contain profound imagery?
- How does figurative language convey the author’s message?
- How do all the above elements merge into the unique author’s style?
❗ Literary Analysis Essay: Types and Structure
A literary analysis essay is a short piece of writing that analyzes or evaluates a book, short story, play, or any other written text. There are three variants of literary analysis essay topics:
- Comparison essays highlight the contrast between the text’s characters, themes, scenes, and other literary elements. Alternatively, this type of writing can compare two books of the same genre or topic.
- Debate (argumentative) essays raise a controversial problem and explore which opinion is correct.
- Description essays accumulate and analyze the imagery related to the same object or character of a work of fiction.
Be sure to include one of the above purposes in the thesis statement, which is the essential part of your literary analysis essay.
Literary Analysis Essay Structure
The section shows the topicality of the issue you chose to analyze. Three to four sentences will suffice.
A thesis statement
You should clearly explain what your reader can expect from your essay. In particular, state the opinion that you plan to argue. It is the ending sentence of your introduction.
|Main body paragraphs (at least three)||A topical sentence|
It opens your argument and underlines the paragraph’s main idea.
Examples, facts, and reasoning
In this section, you defend the statement of the topical sentence.
A logical transition
Connects the paragraph to the next and refers the argumentation to the thesis statement.
Your arguments align with your introduction, avoiding unnecessary repetitions of the main body statements.
Your thesis statement is embedded in the context of the entire work.
Remember that you write in a short format: an essay does not require analyzing every aspect of the book. Select the most striking or debatable literary element and explore it in depth.
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🚤 The Odyssey Literary Analysis Topics
- The personification of cunning in the poem of the Odyssey.
- Trickery as protection from fans.
- What does the shroud symbolize?
- Why did Odysseus choose Penelope as his wife?
- The shroud of Laertes as a symbol of loyalty.
- Can the Sea be a symbol of danger in a poem?
- The Bow is a reflection of the character of Odysseus.
- Why was Penelope worthy of Odysseus?
- Key themes appear and are described by the author in the poem Odyssey.
- Concerning what do the heroes show their loyalty?
- Religion in the poetry of Odyssey and who should Odysseus believe?
- An example of hospitality is in a poem.
- The heroes of the poem Odyssey and their characteristics
- The role of Penelope as a female heroine.
- Odysseus faced difficulties on the way to his family and homeland.
🦗 The Metamorphosis Literary Analysis Topics
- Different meanings of a female painting for Gregor.
- Father’s uniform as a disclosure that everything in life is changing.
- Gregor’s father did not take off his shirt because of laziness or fatigue.
- Father’s uniform is a symbol of a patriarchal society.
- The role of the leading man in Gregor’s family for its members.
- Father’s clothes are a symbol of the social status of the family.
- What are the main themes shown in the novel Metamorphosis?
- Possible reasons for the transformation of Gregor’s family into insects.
- Why don’t the characters think about the reasons for Gregor’s transformation?
- The father’s rush to work symbolizes immersion in everyday affairs.
- A special bond between Gregor and his sister Greta.
- What is the reason for the father becoming the primary breadwinner, and what can it mean?
- Why does the family home become a prison?
- For what reason cannot Gregor’s family leave him unattended?
🏠 Pride and Prejudice Literary Analysis Essay Topics
- Why is wealth so significant in Pride and Prejudice?
- The role of the Bennet sisters’ upbringing.
- The opposition of individuality and community.
- Why is Elizabeth Bennett one of the unique characters in British literature?
- The source of Elizabeth Bennett’s self-confidence.
- The theme of opposites in Pride and Prejudice.
- Why does Elizabeth change her opinion about Darcy?
- Literary devices are used in Elizabeth’s rejection of Darcy’s proposal.
- Pemberley estate’s significance in Pride and Prejudice.
- Historical context and cultural setting in Pride and Prejudice.
- The contrast between Darcy’s and Wickham’s characters.
- Wickham’s role in defining Elizabeth’s opinion about Darcy.
- How does the Pemberley estate symbolize Darcy’s character?
- The role of the setting in defining interactions between characters.
📢 A Good Man Is Hard to Find Literary Analysis Topics
- The definition of a ‘good man’ in A Good Man Is Hard to Find.
- The importance of characters’ age in A Good Man Is Hard to Find.
- The significance of the setting in A Good Man Is Hard to Find.
- The image of the Old South’s decline.
- The grandmother’s character as a symbol of the American South’s culture.
- The role of religion in the conflict between the grandmother and the Misfit.
- The elements of Southern gothic literature in A Good Man Is Hard to Find.
- The theme of the good and the evil.
- The theme of generational conflict in A Good Man Is Hard to Find.
- The role of the grandmother’s moral code.
- The symbolism of the grandmother’s outfit.
- The ignorance and hypocrisy in the grandmother’s morality.
- The grandmother’s perception of The Misfit.
- The grandmother’s views on Red Sammy Butts.
- Is the Misfit a good man?
- Why does the grandmother change her opinion about the Misfit?
- The Misfit’s motivation and religious beliefs.
▶️ Antigone Literary Analysis Essay Topics
- The contrast between Antigone and Ismene in Anouilh’s play.
- Anouilh’s approach to the theme of sibling rivalry.
- How does Anouilh use humour in Antigone?
- Why does Anouilh’s Antigone choose death over marriage?
- The role of the Chorus in Anouilh’s play.
- What tragic elements does Anouilh incorporate in Antigone?
- The importance of saying “no” in Anouilh’s play.
- How does melodrama influence Anouilh’s Antigone?
- The role of gray color in Anouilh’s Antigone setting.
- How does Anouilh use the stillness metaphor in his play?
- Character analysis of Anouilh’s Antigone.
- Is Anouilh’s Creon selfless or selfish?
- The irony of Antigone’s motive in Anouilh’s play.
- Anouilh’s exploration of gender roles and femininity.
- The tragic beauty of Anouilh’s Antigone.
- The symbol of Eurydice’s knitting in Antigone.
- How does Anouilh use Creon’s attack symbol?
- What role do the guards play in Anouilh’s Antigone?
- How does Anouilh explore the historical context of Antigone?
- Anouilh’s use of individualism and society in his play.
💌 The Scarlet Letter Literary Analysis Essay Topics
- How important is the physical setting in The Scarlet Letter?
- How are forest and town contrasted in Hawthorne’s novel?
- Relationship between Hester and Pearl in The Scarlet Letter.
- Hawthorne’s use of night and day in The Scarlet Letter.
- Hawthorne’s exploration of individualism in his novel.
- Hawthorne’s portrayal of weak and conflicted characters.
- How does Hawthorne depict Europe in The Scarlet Letter?
- What symbolic names does The Scarlet Letter use?
- Femininity and independence in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.
- What Biblical allusions are present in Hawthorne’s novel?
- The meteor incident in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.
- How does Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter criticize Puritan beliefs?
- How does Hawthorne explore the theme of sinfulness?
- The evil force in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.
- Guilt’s role in emotional destruction in The Scarlet Letter.
- How is Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter ironic?
- What is the historical context of The Scarlet Letter?
🔑 Hamlet Literary Analysis Essay Topics
- Metaphors in Hamlet: swords and vine as symbols of struggle.
- Female characters in Hamlet: how Ophelia and Gertrude betray the prince.
- Desolation in Hamlet: what makes the prince detached?
- Death and its meanings in Hamlet: dying from love, anger, greed, and fear.
- How is prince Hamlet a solid male character?
- Analysis of stylistic techniques in Hamlet: hyperbole, metaphor, simile.
- How did Hamlet’s environment determine the tragic ending?
- Hamlet and Ophelia – was their love doomed from the beginning?
- Hamlet and his pretenses for the Dutch throne.
- Hamlet as a leader: why he transferred the throne to Fortinbras?
- Ingenuity in methods of killing in Hamlet: historical context.
- Elements of romanticism in Hamlet: analysis of Ophelia’s suicide.
- Enmity in Hamlet: why does Claudius eventually win, even after being defeated?
- How and why is Hamlet a weak character?
- Friendships in Hamlet: does the prince have loyal friends?
- The supernatural in Hamlet: how does the Ghost change history?
- Genre frameworks: why does love not overcome obstacles in Hamlet?
- How did the character of Hamlet determine the female stage performance?
- Can prince Hamlet be considered a feminine character?
📿 The Necklace Literary Analysis Topics
- How does Mathilde waste her life due to dishonesty in The Necklace?
- Twist ending as a hallmark of Maupassant’s style in The Necklace.
- Symbols in The Necklace – what do the two necklaces symbolize?
- The flow of time spent in pursuit of riches in The Necklace.
- The drama of Mathilde’s life: when being in love is not enough.
- Recognition as the only aspiration of a woman in The Necklace.
- The inner enemy in The Necklace – why is Mathilde destroying her life?
- Married life in The Necklace – why does the husband support Mathilde?
- The hard way up in The Necklace.
- Diamond necklace as a symbol of true love in The Necklace.
- The setting of the ball as a historical background for The Necklace.
- How The Necklace has a happy ending?
- Social injustice in The Necklace.
- How in The Necklace does society destroy marriage?
- Why did Mathilde need to wear expensive jewelry in The Necklace?
- Why did the marriage not save Mathilde from suffering?
📒 The Yellow Wallpaper Literary Analysis Essay Topics
- The relationship dynamic between John and the Narrator.
- Manifestations of patriarchy in The Yellow Wallpaper.
- The rest cure as a tool of oppression.
- The Narrator’s guilt and Jennie.
- Stigmatization of women’s mental health in The Yellow Wallpaper.
- John’s discouragement of the Narrator.
- Identity and self-expression in The Yellow Wallpaper.
- Gender roles and confinement: The Narrator.
- Jennie as an anti-feminist character.
- Implications of benevolent patriarchy.
- Mental health and socioeconomic status in The Yellow Wallpaper.
- The role of Jennie in the feminist framework.
- The risks of isolation in The Yellow Wallpaper.
- The Narrator’s female experience and loneliness.
- The perception of justice by the Narrator.
- Husband vs. Physician: The role of John.
- The pervasiveness of gender roles in family structure.
- The relationship dynamic between Jennie and John.
☮️ The Things They Carried Literary Analysis Essay Topics
- Pacifism in The Things They Carried.
- Duty to the nation vs. non-violence.
- Jimmy Cross’s leadership qualities in The Things They Carried.
- Kindness during the war: Mitchell Sanders.
- Mitchell Sanders as a father figure.
- Atrocities of war and rational morality.
- Unforgiving cruelty in war: Kiowa.
- Post-war experience of Norman Bowker.
- Death, friendship, and post-war experience.
- Escaping the draft: Moral implications.
- The loss of innocence in war: Mary Anne Bell.
- Shaming as a motivator in The Things They Carried.
- Fear of shame and drafting.
- Commitment to truth vs. storytelling.
- The durability of friendship in wartime.
- War’s fundamental pointlessness in The Things They Carried.
- The power of death in life.
- Duty and justice: The Things They Carried.
🧔 Othello Literary Analysis Essay Topics
- The tragedy of sexual jealousy in Othello.
- Othello as a leadership figure.
- Manifestations of racism in Othello.
- Discrimination of Othello as an African general.
- Hatred of Roderigo and Iago towards Othello.
- The art of deception: Iago.
- Envy and comradery in Othello.
- Bravery and honesty of Othello.
- Soldier as a leader: Othello.
- Othello’s minority experience in Venice.
- The concept of evil in Iago’s deception.
- The risks of isolation in Othello.
- Othello’s Black experience and loneliness.
- Interracial marriage as a target of racism.
- The perception of justice by Othello.
- Post-war social adaptation of Othello.
- Othello’s weakness: Manipulation and treachery.
🌃 Night Literary Analysis Topics
- The test of faith through benevolence.
- Earth as a reflection of God.
- Evils of the Holocaust and God’s qualities.
- Capacity for evil by ordinary people.
- Annihilation of faith through evil.
- Holocaust experience and religious restoration.
- The role of silence in Night.
- Holocaust: The ultimate test of faith.
- Sacrifice through compassion in Night.
- God’s benevolence and experience of cruelty.
- The implications of the Father-Son bond in Night.
- The strength of Eliezer’s solidarity and love.
- Self-preservation, survival, and godhood.
- The relationship between the narrator and Eliezer.
- Reconciliation of pain and trauma of the Holocaust experience.
- Emotional truth vs. historical truth.
- Jewish disbelief in Hitler’s intentions in Night.
- Confronting evil through the truth.
✍️ Frankenstein Literary Analysis
- What Connection Is There Between Frankenstein and Reality?
- Why Do Walton’s Letters Start and End Frankenstein?
- What Does Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Imply Regarding Parenting?
- What Positions and Duties Do Women Have in Frankenstein?
- What Gothic elements does Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein language reflect?
- In Frankenstein, how does Mary Shelley examine anguish?
- How Does Shelley’s Frankenstein Transmit Horror to the Reader?
- What Significant Role Does Separation Play in Frankenstein?
- Compassion for the creature in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
- Frankenstein and the Parent’s Responsibility in a Children’s future.
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: Symbolism and Naturalistic Aspects.
- Frankenstein’s depiction of alienation from family members.
- Frankenstein: conflict between destiny and free choice.
- The Scientific Method in Frankenstein.
- In Frankenstein, how are taboo subjects rendered gothic?
- What Struggles relate to Frankenstein’s Main Conflict?
- The right for euthanasia in Frankenstein.
📜 Iliad Literary Analysis
- The Iliad by Homer and the Glorification of Violence.
- The Iliad by Homer: Truth and Fantasy in the Trojan War Myth.
- The Development of Achilles’ Personality in Homer’s Iliad.
- Hector’s depiction in The Iliad by Homer.
- Justice and Destiny in Homer’s Iliad.
- The characteristics of a Homeric hero in Homer’s Iliad.
- The Iliad’s use of metaphors, dialogue, and analogies.
- The Iliad by Homer and The Tragedy of the Trojans.
- Different Viewpoints on War in Homer’s Iliad.
- Why Did Homer Include Honor as a Major Theme in The Iliad?
- A contrast between Hector’s and Achilles’ pride and dignity.
- The Iliad and the theme of revenge.
- How Moral Are the Gods in The Iliad?
- Who Was the True Hero in Homer’s Iliad?
- Why Does The Iliad end with Hektor’s Burial?
- Was Achilles in The Iliad an ethical person?
⚡ Barn Burning Literary Analysis Topics
- How Sarty shows loyalty in Barn Burning?
- How is justice depicted in Barn Burning?
- Class conflict in Barn Burning: how de Spain is different from Abner Snopes?
- The role of historical context in Barn Burning.
- Time and space in Barn Burning: historical background and scenery.
- How does Barn Burning represent the theme of resentment?
- Describe the role of the grotesque in Barn Burning.
- Barn Burning: The symbolism of fire.
- Sarty’s internal conflict in Barn Burning.
- Image of a woman in Barn Burning: thinking of Sarty’s sisters.
- The symbolism of dirt in Barn Burning: why it is so powerful?
- Reflect on the theme of morality in Barn Burning.
- How does Barn Burning explore race and prejudice?
- Symbolism in Barn Burning: describing three central symbols.
- How do the heroes in Barn Burning experience loneliness?
- How did the author highlight anger and hatred in Barn Burning?
- Loyalty and betrayal in Barn Burning: who will take the responsibility?
🎆 Gilgamesh Literary Analysis Topics
- How is the theme of death presented in The Epic of Gilgamesh?
- Seduction in The Epic of Gilgamesh: why was Enkidu seduced?
- The Epic of Gilgamesh: how Mesopotamian gods participate in the story.
- The symbolism of the doorway in The Epic of Gilgamesh. Enkidu’s exploit.
- What are literary devices used in The Epic of Gilgamesh?
- How is the theme of the meaning of life presented in The Epic of Gilgamesh?
- Heroism in The Epic of Gilgamesh: exploits of Gilgamesh and Enkidu.
- Friendship in The Epic of Gilgamesh: how Gilgamesh showed his feelings?
- What is the meaning of the dreams in The Epic of Gilgamesh?
- Gilgamesh’s internal dialogues: how do they stimulate the hero?
- What are the essential virtues in The Epic of Gilgamesh?
- Is Gilgamesh an epic hero, and if yes, how so?
- Why do all characters in The Epic of Gilgamesh experience desolation?
- Female characters in The Epic of Gilgamesh: Shamhat, Ninsun, and Ishtar.
- Emotions as the main driving forces in The Epic of Gilgamesh.
- Describe the stylistic features of The Epic of Gilgamesh.
- The Epic of Gilgamesh: The theme of violence and destruction.
😊 Candide Literary Analysis Topics
- How is Jacques different from other characters?
- How vital is Jacques’ death for the novel?
- Was it possible to end the story without deaths?
- How is the value of human life shown in the novel?
- Provide an example showing the importance of human life importance.
- Which character had intentions to commit murder?
- What does murder symbolize?
- What is the problem with the composition?
- The role of society in the novel.
- What are the key features of the characters?
- Describe the most memorable event in the novel.
- What can other novels be compared with this?
- How do the characters’ life experiences help them in Candide’s novel?
- Was Candide’s novel written under the influence of historical events?
- Do you agree with this statement? If yes, give examples.
- Does Voltaire agree with his characters’ views on life?
🎟️ The Lottery Literary Analysis Topics
- What are the main characters in the composition?
- How do the characters evolve during the novel?
- What distinguishable features does each of the characters get?
- The main difficulties and obstacles encountered by the characters.
- Is the work filled with satire and commentary by the author?
- Are the characters in the novel unambiguous?
- Which side does each character pursue?
- What is the gender role in the work?
- What is the peculiarity of the disclosure of the inequality problem?
- Is the division into social classes presented in the novel?
- Author’s attitude to the characters?
- Investigate the phenomenon of hypocrisy in The Lottery.
- How significant is the role of names in the novel?
- Does the author emphasize his characters?
- Name the key peculiarities of the composition.
🌹 A Rose for Emily Literary Analysis Topics
- What influenced the author most in writing his novel?
- How are the author’s views portrayed in the book?
- How effective is the novel’s system of imagery?
- Mention the main difficulties the characters face during the book.
- How does the author raise the inequality question?
- Does the problem differ from other similar works?
- Explain the novel’s system of imagery.
- Were there any other names for the novel?
- What motives drive the characters in the novel?
- Can the ending of the story be considered complete?
- What character decisions would you say are vital to the piece?
- Why did the author name the novel “A Rose for Emily”?
- Is Emily the main character? Why/why not?
- Give an example of a conflict of interest.
- What does the rose symbolize?
- What allusions can be found in the novel?