The Facts of File Guide to Writing a Literary Essay is an excellent resource to use to learn a little more about how to write literary essays on themes, characters, symbolism, imagery, historical context, and more.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Once you have chosen which works you will be writing about consider the general elements that make up those works. Use the questions below along with those posed in your assignment to gain a thorough understanding of the works and begin to put together your thesis. Depending on the particular work only some of these questions may apply.
When and where did the story take place? (place and time)
What is the atmosphere? (historical / sociological)
How is the story told? (narrative / point of view)
What language is used? (style, tone, and irony)
Who are the main characters? (protagonist / antagonist / others)
Are there symbols used? (symbols)
How does the plot help the reader understand the theme?
What is the dramatic moment? What is the conflict?
What is the moment of climax? (turning point / illumination / understanding)