Quick Tips for Writing an Adequate Analysis Essay on a Short Story

Writing about a short story is an “exposition.” This means that you describe, explain, and clarify the short story to your reader(s). An assignment that requires you to write an essay on a short story generally requires detailed clarification of one aspect of the story. For example in about 500 words, you can adequately describe the plot, characterization, or theme of the story. You cannot write about everything unless you are writing a paper on the subject.

Literary analysis rules remain the same whether you analyze a poem, novel, or a short story. Careful application of these rules can make the essay writing process considerably easier.

Here are some quick tips to write an analysis essay on a short story:

  1. Read the short story twice: Once for pleasure, the second time for intellectual reasons. A story can and should elicit emotional responses. It may make you sad, happy, thoughtful, or angry. When you move from the emotional level to the intellectual level, you look at the form of the story; find out how it is that it affects you. You notice the style of writing, the tone, and the theme and character development. This is where you ask questions and start the process of critical thinking.
  2. Develop a topic and a thesis statement: list your impressions about the characters, plot, themes, and setting etc. initially these will not separate themselves into topics. You will have to pick one aspect of the short story and develop it into a thesis statement.
  3. Ask yourself questions on the aspect that you have decided to explore. If it is the plot, for example, you may want to ask yourself the following questions:
    • Is the plot leaning towards chances and coincidences? Why?
    • How does the plot develop and unfold?
    • Is there a dramatic change in events towards the end?
  4. Write and revise continuously: Once you have a thesis statement for your essay, keep coming back to it. You do not want to start your essay with a long winding sentence. Be short and succinct. This will require revisions.
  5. Make notes: Throughout your reading and rereading of the story, you should make notes. Highlight and underline wherever necessary.
  6. Develop an outline: Never ever compose a piece of writing without this essential step. This is your million-dollar tip: Write an outline!