How To Write Analytical Essay: A Beginner Guide

Have you ever encountered a piece of writing, a painting, or even a historical event, and felt compelled to dig deeper? Analytical essays are all about delving into the specifics of a subject, meticulously dissecting its various parts to uncover its core meaning.  While this approach can be applied across many disciplines, it’s a cornerstone in analysing art and literature. By deconstructing these creative works, analytical essays shed light on underlying themes, symbolic elements, and the overall message the artist or author intended to convey.

This guide serves as a student’s toolkit for tackling analytical essays. We’ll address common concerns, including the recommended structure and the essential components of a well-organised outline. But first, let’s begin with a fundamental question: what exactly is an analytical essay?

What Is An Analytical Essay?

An analytical essay is one of the main types of essays. It closely examines a single topic to explain specific arguments or prove the author’s theories. These essays often look at creative works like art, literature, film, or music, exploring the themes the creator used and finding hidden meanings. They can also discuss other topics in areas like science, politics, or society.

Analytical essays are a type of expository essay, meaning they shouldn’t show bias, opinions, or try to persuade. Even when the author is proving their own theory or disproving an opposing one, they should stick to facts and logic and keep their personal feelings to a minimum.

For example, an analytical essay could thoroughly explore the character of Hamlet. There could be different interpretations, like whether Hamlet truly loved Ophelia, questioning why he hesitated so much, or even trying to prove the theory that he was mentally ill, especially since he saw apparitions.

How to structure an analytical essay

Even though analytical essays can get into more detail and specifics compared to other essays, they still stick to the same basic essay setup:




The introduction is where you introduce your main idea and get your reader ready for what’s coming. Since analytical essays focus on one topic, the introduction should provide all the background info and context needed for the reader to understand your argument. Save the deep analysis for the body.


The body is the core of your essay. This is where you explain each point and give evidence to back up your thesis. You break down your argument into paragraphs. While the intro and conclusion are usually short, the body can stretch over several pages, making up most of your essay.

Each paragraph in the body should still be about your topic and thesis, but they should each make a different point or focus on different evidence. For instance, if you’re talking about how Edgar Allan Poe uses death in his writing, one paragraph could look at “The Tell-Tale Heart,” while another could focus on “The Raven,” and so on.

Lastly, the conclusion ties everything together. Conclusions typically don’t introduce new evidence but summarise the main points and reinforce your thesis. By now, your reader should understand the topic well enough. With your examples in mind, they’ll be more open to your main argument when you present it again.

A Guide to Mastering Analytical Essays

Step 1: Selecting Your Subject


This initial stage is crucial. Unlike broader essay themes, analytical essays demand a focused topic. Imagine dissecting a human cell – attempting to analyse an entire organism would be overwhelming. Similarly, “Love in Literature” is too vast. Consider narrowing it down to a specific author, genre, or even a particular work’s portrayal of love.

The key is to strike a balance. Excessive specificity can leave you with limited material, while a broad topic might render a thorough analysis impossible.  Choose a subject that allows you to delve deeply while still offering enough scope for exploration.

Step 2: Explore Your Topic

Once you’ve chosen your topic, start gathering information about it. If you’re analysing a creative work, like a film or painting, spend time examining it closely. Also, check out what others have said about it to get new ideas or notice details you missed.

Remember to note down where you find your information, like page numbers or time codes. This will help when you need to cite your sources later.

It’s good to have a thesis idea early on, but your research might change it. That’s okay! By the end of your research, you should know what your thesis will be.

Step 3: Create a Plan

Make an outline to organise your thoughts and research. Decide the order to discuss each point in your essay.

Break your outline into paragraphs, each focusing on one point and including evidence or data. If a paragraph feels too crowded, split it into two.

Feel free to move paragraphs around while outlining. It’s easier to fix issues now than when you’re writing.

Step 4; Write Your First Draft

Now it’s time to sit down and write the first rough version of your analytical essay. This step takes the longest, so make sure you have enough time.

If you made a good outline, just follow it paragraph by paragraph. Include all the evidence and data you planned. Don’t worry about getting the wording perfect or fixing grammar yet—that comes later. Just focus on getting everything written down.

Pay attention to how you start your essay. The introduction should tell the reader what to expect, give background info, and present your thesis. Make sure it does all that.

Be careful with your conclusion too. There are tricks to writing a good one, like using a strong ending and avoiding cliches. The conclusion is important because it’s the last thing the reader sees.

Also, use transition sentences between paragraphs to help the essay flow smoothly.

Step 5: Revise Your Draft

Your first draft won’t be perfect. Now that your ideas are on paper, it’s easier to go back and make improvements. Focus on fixing your wording and cutting out any extra or unclear parts.

Pay attention to details. Look for things to cut to make your essay shorter or parts that need more explanation. Think about whether someone without background knowledge will understand your points.

Step 6: Check your essay for mistakes

Finally, it’s time to correct any grammar and spelling errors by reading through it carefully. It’s better to do this separately from your revisions so you can concentrate fully. When revising, focus on improving your writing and making changes, and during proofreading, pay attention only to language mistakes.

If you’re not sure about your grammar or spelling, you can always ask for essay help UK. Professional essays and assignments help services can highlight errors in your text and offer suggestions on how to correct them. It also helps you to make sure that your essay is written up to the mark and according to academic requirements.

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