How to Select Interesting Literary Analysis Essay Topics

Literary analysis might seem boring, but only up to the point where you discover the ways to craft interesting topics. Here are several approaches you may use to make your essay topic unique.

  • Discuss a fictional character.
  • Is it a realistic or symbolic figure? Do you think this character could have a real-life prototype? What could this character look like if the novel was set in present day?

  • Compare and contrast the choices different characters make in similar situations.
  • To make your essay more interesting, compare characters from different works. For example, the protagonists of The Great Gatsby and Martin Eden both were in love with a girl from more advantageous backgrounds, and both became wealthy men in order to win her. However, how did each of them feel about it?

  • Analyze a literary work from a specific philosophical perspective.
  • You can produce a great essay by looking at a classical work from the perspective of a recent philosophy. For example, analyze Hamlet from the Freudian point of view.

  • Analyze a literary work from a political perspective.
  • This approach is similar to the previous one. Think of how a Marxist would read King Lear.

  • Explore and compare the use of a particular image across different works.
  • While reading a novel or a short story, you might have been strongly impressed by the use of a particular image (e. g. moon, cross, or doll) in a particular scene. Think of why it was so impressive. Compare it to the ways in which this imagery is used in several other novels, stories, or plays.

  • Explore the sources of a literary work.
  • Discuss the differences and similarities between a myth or historical event, and its reconsideration by the author – for example, between G. B. Shaw’s Pygmalion and the original Greek myth. Why do you think the author selected this story to base his or her own work on?

  • Deconstruct a literary work.
  • Find out how the author’s worldview and personal opinions are reflected in his or her work. Does Heart of Darkness demonstrate that Joseph Conrad was a racist?

  • Explore the impact of the social, political, and economic context on a literary work.
  • How does the age and country in which the author lived reflect in this story? Speculate whether this work could have been written if the author lived today. Is the social background painted by Boccaccio in Decameron much similar to what we have today? If not, why does this book still read with interest?