Introduction to Writing a Literary Analysis Essay

The field of nursing is as much about acquiring knowledge as it is about applying that knowledge, and one crucial tool that bridges this gap is the art of crafting a literary analysis essay. As a nursing student, you might often wonder how to write a literary analysis essay that could dissect complex texts, delve into nursing theories, and connect seemingly abstract concepts with day-to-day nursing practices.

In its essence, the journey of writing a good literary analysis paper in nursing is a blend of an academic requirement and a valuable skill-building exercise. It’s not just about fulfilling the assignment or meeting the grade, it’s about engaging with the content you read critically and thoughtfully. The process calls upon you, as a nursing student, to immerse yourself into the texts you read, siphon their essence, and interpret them within the broader framework of nursing theory and practice.

When you understand how to write a literary analysis essay, you not only hone your research and writing skills but also enrich your knowledge and foster analytical thinking. With every essay, you dissect the depths of the text, weigh its worth, uncover its truths, and present your interpretations. In this process, your understanding of nursing as a field deepens, your perspective broadens, and your skills to relate theory with practice strengthen.

So, what exactly is a literary analysis? And how can you master the art of writing one in the context of nursing? Let’s find out!

What is a literary analysis?

When we speak of a literary analysis, we’re referring to an exploratory journey. It’s a voyage that navigates the depth and breadth of a piece of literature, a venture that dissects its core to understand its essence. In the realm of nursing, this literature could take numerous forms – it could be a dense research paper, an informative textbook, a comprehensive journal article, a short story, or an insightful case study.

A literary analysis essay, in this context, acts as a magnifying glass that examines every facet of these works. It’s like putting on a detective’s hat and diving deep into the depths of a literary work, exploring its various components, and unveiling the wisdom hidden within.

These components could range from explicit elements such as themes and plots to more nuanced ones such as the author’s style of writing and the characters they’ve portrayed. For instance, you may analyze the author’s depiction of healthcare professionals, patients, or healthcare institutions as ‘characters’ in a nursing case study or journal article. Alternatively, you could focus on the way a textbook explains a specific nursing theory or how a research paper structures its arguments.

In a literary analysis essay, your job is not just to identify these components but to scrutinize them. It’s to make sense of what they mean, what they represent, and how they contribute to the overall piece. This involves presenting detailed, insightful, and thoughtful analyses, laying bare your understanding, interpretations, and even your critique of the work.

You might ask, “What does this character symbolize?” or “How does this theme relate to nursing practice?” or “What is the effect of this writing style on the readers’ understanding?” or “How does the plot development impact the overall message of the work?” It’s about digging deep, looking beyond the surface, and exposing the threads that bind the entire work together.

However, literary analysis isn’t just about unraveling; it’s also about synthesizing. It’s about connecting the dots between different elements and weaving them into a cohesive understanding. It’s about seeing how these different parts contribute to the overall message of the work and how that message resonates with nursing theory and practice.

What Is The Purpose Of A Literary Analysis Essay?

Why bother analyzing literature, you might ask?  It’s an understandable question, especially considering the often demanding and time-consuming nature of writing a literary analysis essay. However, the purpose of a literary analysis essay extends far beyond mere academic obligation or grade attainment. It’s about discovery, interpretation, and understanding – it’s about diving deep to the surface with a treasure of knowledge.

One of the fundamental purposes of a literary analysis essay is to deepen your understanding of the chosen work. When you read a piece of literature, whether a research paper, case study, or a textbook, you acquire a certain level of knowledge. However, when you analyze it, you unlock a whole new dimension of understanding. You don’t just comprehend what is written but what lies beneath, behind, or between the lines. You peel back the layers of the text, delve into its core, and uncover the depth of its message.

Another purpose of a literary analysis essay is to explore underlying themes and ideas. Often, a literary work is brimming with hidden themes and underlying ideas that subtly influence the reader’s understanding. By undertaking a literary analysis, you uncover these themes, expose these ideas, and scrutinize their implications. You identify the recurring motifs, investigate their relevance, and decode their impact on the work as a whole.

Literary analysis also seeks to identify patterns or contradictions within the text. You trace the threads that run throughout the work, connecting its various elements and revealing its structural coherence. Simultaneously, you spot any contradictions or inconsistencies that might exist, questioning their presence and interpreting their significance.

Moreover, a literary analysis essay is a platform to formulate thoughtful interpretations and critiques. It provides you an opportunity to engage actively with the text, question its content, criticize its arguments, appreciate its insights, and present your viewpoints. It’s a space where you not just absorb what is written but interact with it, challenge it, and contribute to it.

For nursing students, writing a literary analysis essay translates into gaining a more profound grasp of nursing theories, practices, and research. You don’t just learn what a nursing theory states, you understand why it states so and how it applies to nursing practice. You don’t just read a research paper; you comprehend its methodology, appreciate its findings, and critique its limitations.

What to include in a Great Literary analysis( Elements)

An impressive literary analysis essay is much like a well-curated potpourri – a thoughtfully composed collection of diverse elements that together produce a harmonious and insightful whole. The beauty of a literary analysis essay lies in its examination of various facets of a literary piece and their thoughtful synthesis into an enlightening narrative. But what are these facets, and how should they be explored? Here are the key elements to include in your literary analysis:

The Genre and Type of the Analyzed Piece of Literature

First things first, you need to identify the genre and type of the work you’re analyzing. Is it a case study, a research paper, a theoretical article, or perhaps a chapter from a textbook? Understanding the nature of the work is essential as it lays the foundation for your analysis. Different genres have different conventions and require different lenses of analysis. For instance, a case study might require a more narrative approach, while a research paper might necessitate a methodological inspection. Being aware of the work’s genre and type will guide your analysis in the right direction and provide context to your interpretations.

A Thorough Examination of the Main Characters

In the context of a nursing literary analysis, the ‘characters’ could include healthcare professionals, patients, healthcare institutions, or even diseases. It’s crucial to examine these characters in detail. What roles do they play in the work? How do they interact with each other and the healthcare environment? What are their motivations, conflicts, or dilemmas? How do they evolve throughout the work? Investigating these questions will lend depth to your analysis and allow you to uncover the layers of the characters’ portrayals.

An Outline of the Work’s Plot and the Main Ideas Present in the Piece

Another key element to include in your analysis is a summary of the work’s plot or a breakdown of its main arguments. What are the significant events, findings, or developments in the work? What are the key ideas or theories that the author presents? It’s important to highlight these elements as they form the backbone of the work and serve as the launching pad for your analysis.

A Review of the Overall Theme of the Analyzed Text

Every work of literature carries with it an overarching theme or themes – a central idea or message that resonates throughout the work. Your job as an analyst is to identify these themes and examine their implications. What underlying themes can you glean from the work? How do these themes align with or challenge existing nursing knowledge and practices? Reflecting on these questions will provide your essay with a broader context and a deeper insight.

A Description of the Symbolism Identified in the Piece

Literary works often use symbols or metaphors to convey complex ideas or emotions. If such elements exist in the work you’re analyzing, it’s important to describe them and decipher their meanings. What do these symbols or metaphors represent? How do they contribute to the overall message or theme of the work? Analyzing these elements will add a layer of depth to your essay and reveal the subtleties of the author’s craft.

An Inspection of the Work’s Structure and the Writing Style Used to Create It

Finally, an in-depth analysis would be incomplete without inspecting the work’s structure and the author’s writing style. How is the work organized? What writing style does the author employ – formal, conversational, descriptive, or perhaps persuasive? How do these elements impact the work’s readability, persuasiveness, and overall effectiveness? Evaluating these aspects will provide you with a nuanced understanding of the work and enrich your analysis.

Common Types of Literary Analysis

Literary analysis isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavor; it comes in various shapes and sizes, each offering a unique perspective on the work at hand. The different types of literary analysis can be likened to different types of lenses through which to view a piece of literature. Each lens brings certain elements into focus while leaving others in the background, thus offering a unique view of the work. Let’s explore these lenses:

Theoretical Analysis

Theoretical analysis is like a microscopic lens that brings theoretical aspects of the work into sharp focus. This type of analysis examines the work through the lens of a specific nursing theory. The chosen theory provides the framework for interpreting the work and the means to connect it to broader nursing concepts. It could be a general nursing theory like Florence Nightingale’s Environmental Theory or a more specific one like Dorothea Orem’s Self-care Theory, depending on the work’s content and the objectives of your analysis.

Close Reading Analysis

Imagine viewing a work through a magnifying glass. Every word, sentence, and paragraph comes under intense scrutiny, revealing the finest details. That’s a close reading analysis for you! Here, the focus is on analyzing specific components of the work in detail. It could be the methodology used in a research paper, the discussion section of a case study, or the portrayal of a character in a narrative paper. The goal is to uncover the nuances of these elements and interpret their significance in the overall work.

Applied Analysis

If a theoretical analysis is a microscopic lens and close reading of the magnifying glass, then applied analysis can be compared to a binocular – it helps you see far and wide. This form of analysis involves applying the work’s findings or ideas to a specific nursing practice or scenario. The focus here is not just on understanding the work itself but on exploring its practical implications and real-world applicability. How do the work’s theories, arguments, or findings translate into nursing practice? What impact do they have on patient care, nursing education, or healthcare policy? Such questions guide the applied analysis.

Comparative or Synergistic Analysis

Switching from a single lens to a pair of 3D glasses, the comparative or synergistic analysis enables you to view not one but two or more works simultaneously. This form of analysis involves comparing and contrasting different works to draw parallels, contrast ideas, or synthesize information. The works could be related in various ways – they might address the same topic, use similar methodologies, or debate the same issues. The goal is to build a richer understanding of the topic by viewing it from multiple perspectives.

Contextual or Historical Analysis

Lastly, imagine viewing a work through a wide-angle lens that captures not just the work itself but its surroundings too. That’s what a contextual or historical analysis does. This form of analysis views the work in its broader historical, societal, or healthcare context. The focus here is on understanding the work’s relationship with its environment – the historical era it was produced in, the societal issues it addresses, or the healthcare context it reflects. Such an analysis offers a holistic view of the work and deepens the understanding of its relevance and impact.

Outline of a Literary Analysis

Just like a building stands on a firm foundation, a well-written essay relies on a solid structure. Having a clear essay outline not only keeps your thoughts organized but also guides your writing process. For a literary analysis essay, the structure typically consists of three key components: an introduction, the body, and a conclusion. Let’s dive deeper into what each of these sections should contain.

The Introduction

Think of the introduction as the opening act of a play that sets the stage for what’s to come. It is here that you acquaint your reader with the work you’re going to analyze. Begin by providing some basic information about the work, such as the title, the author, the genre, and a brief summary of its content.

You should also highlight your reasons for choosing this particular work for analysis. Is it because it provides unique insights into a nursing practice? Does it challenge prevailing theories? Or does it offer a fresh perspective on a familiar topic?

Most importantly, the introduction should contain your thesis statement. This is a concise statement that expresses the main argument or point of your essay. It’s like a compass that guides your analysis and informs the reader about the direction of your essay. Remember, a compelling thesis statement is specific, arguable, and sets the stage for your analysis.

The Body

Welcome to the main event! The body of your essay is where you dive headfirst into the analysis. This section should be organized into several paragraphs, each focusing on a different aspect of your analysis, like the work’s structure, main characters, themes, writing style, symbolism, or the author’s argument and evidence.

Each paragraph should follow a clear structure: a topic sentence that introduces the main idea, textual evidence from the work that supports your thesis, and your interpretation of the evidence. Ensure that each paragraph relates back to your thesis statement and contributes to building your overall argument. Use quotes or paraphrases from the work to substantiate your points but remember to interpret them – don’t assume that their significance is self-evident!

The Conclusion

Finally, it’s time for the curtain call – the conclusion. This section serves to round off your essay by synthesizing the main points of your analysis and reiterating your thesis statement in light of your findings. You should not introduce any new arguments or evidence in this section.

The conclusion should also touch upon the implications of the work for nursing practice, theory, or research. Does the work offer new insights that can inform nursing practices? Does it challenge established theories or validate them? Or does it point to gaps in research that need further exploration?

How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay

Alright, let’s roll up our sleeves and dive into the nuts and bolts of how to write a literary analysis essay. Remember, good writing is like a captivating journey. The clearer your roadmap, the smoother your journey will be. So, let’s get started with these eight essential steps.

1. Read the Text Carefully

Your journey begins with a thorough and thoughtful reading of the text. This is not just a cursory glance over the material but a deep dive into the world created by the author. During this stage, try to understand the content, identify key ideas, and take note of any patterns or peculiarities that stand out. Jot down your initial reactions and thoughts – these can serve as seeds for your analysis later. Remember, this stage may require multiple readings. After all, the devil is in the detail!

2. Brainstorm a Topic

After immersing yourself in the text, it’s time to decide your essay’s focus. What aspect of the work do you find most intriguing? It could be a recurring theme, a unique character, an intriguing theory, or a particular method used in the work. Whatever it is, make sure it is something that offers enough depth to explore in your essay and aligns with your assignment’s guidelines.

3. Collect and Interpret the Evidence

Now comes the detective work. Your mission is to gather evidence from the text to support your chosen topic. This evidence can come in various forms – quotes that illustrate a point, summaries of significant parts of the text, or descriptions of important events. Once you have your evidence, don’t just present it. Interpret it. Explain why it is significant and how it supports your argument.

4. Write a Thesis

Your thesis statement is the cornerstone of your essay. It defines what you’re analyzing and what your main argument or interpretation is. A well-crafted thesis is specific, debatable, and encapsulates your essay’s central argument in one or two sentences. Remember, this is the compass that will guide your entire essay.

5. Develop and Organize Your Arguments

With your thesis in place, it’s time to build your arguments. Think of each argument as a building block of your essay. Each block should be solid (make a clear point), fit well with the others (relate to your overall argument), and be well-crafted (substantiated with evidence from the text). Organize your arguments in a logical sequence that builds towards your conclusion.

6. Write a Rough Draft

With your roadmap in hand, you’re now ready to start writing your essay. At this stage, don’t worry about getting it perfect. Your goal is to get your ideas down in a coherent form. Follow your outline, let your ideas flow, and give your arguments life.

7. Refine Your Arguments and Review

Once your rough draft is complete, it’s time to fine-tune your essay. Review your arguments, make sure your evidence is convincing, and ensure your thesis is clear and well-supported. Look out for any gaps in your argument, clumsy sentences, or unclear ideas. And don’t forget to check for grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors.

8. Get Another Opinion and Finalize

The final step involves getting feedback from a fresh pair of eyes. This could be a classmate, a tutor, or a family member. They might spot something you’ve overlooked or offer a new perspective on your essay. Once you’ve received feedback, revise your essay accordingly, and voila! You’ve mastered how to write a literary analysis essay!

Nursing Literary Analysis Essay Example

Here is an example of a literary analysis essay analyzing the research article “Communication in Nursing Practice” authored by Froschl, C. (2020).

Title:  “The Art of Communication: A Deeper Look into Froschl’s View of Nursing Practice.”


Communication in Nursing Practice,” written by Catherine Froschl, delves into the complex dynamics of communication in the healthcare setting, emphasizing its pivotal role in quality patient care. This essay seeks to analyze Froschl’s exploration of the issue, focusing on the core themes of patient-centered communication, inter-professional collaboration, and barriers to effective communication.

Understanding the Genre and Type

Froschl’s work is a research article, which, through the lens of qualitative and quantitative data, offers a comprehensive look into communication dynamics within nursing practice. It brings to light various components, such as practical anecdotes, statistical analyses, and theoretical discourse, creating a rich tapestry of insights.

Examining the Main Characters

The main ‘characters’ in this piece are nurses, patients, and other healthcare professionals. Froschl portrays nurses as vital connectors – linking patients with the healthcare system and orchestrating inter-professional collaborations.

Unpacking the Plot and Main Ideas

The article unfolds as a detailed investigation into the realm of nursing communication. Froschl underscores the significance of empathy and active listening in patient-centered communication, probes into the dynamics of inter-professional communication, and delineates the barriers obstructing effective communication.

Exploring the Themes

The overarching theme in Froschl’s work is the indispensable role of effective communication in nursing. She weaves a compelling narrative that highlights empathy, active listening, and collaboration as the cornerstones of effective nursing communication.

Identifying the Symbolism

The recurring symbol in the article is the ‘Bridge.’ Froschl uses it to represent the role of nurses in bridging the gap between patients and the often intimidating labyrinth of the healthcare system.

Analyzing the Structure and Writing Style

The article is methodically structured into distinct sections, each delving into a facet of communication in nursing. Froschl’s writing style is academic yet engaging, employing a judicious mix of anecdotal evidence and empirical data to substantiate her points.


In “Communication in Nursing Practice,” Froschl brings to light the multifaceted nature of communication in healthcare and underscores its centrality in nursing practice. Her emphasis on empathy, active listening, and collaboration presents valuable insights for enhancing communication within the healthcare system.

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to write a literary analysis essay in nursing is an invaluable skill. It deepens your understanding of nursing literature and sharpens your analytical abilities. With practice, patience, and the tips outlined in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to writing literary analysis essays that are a cut above the rest.

However, if you are stuck or overwhelmed, remember that help is just a click away. Our team of skilled and experienced nursing essay writers is eager to assist you. Our experts can guide you through every step of writing analytical essays including process analysis, case study analysis, and rhetorical analysis, from brainstorming topics to fine-tuning your final draft. Don’t hesitate to seek support because you’re not alone in this academic journey. So, why wait? Let’s start crafting your stellar literary analysis essay together!

FAQs on Writing Literary Analysis Essays

What is a literary analysis essay?

A literary analysis essay is an academic piece that requires a deep, detailed examination of a piece of literature. It involves understanding, interpreting, and critiquing the work based on its various components, such as characters, plot, themes, style, and structure.

How to write a literary analysis.

To write a literary analysis, start by thoroughly reading the text to understand its content and main ideas. Then, choose a specific focus for your essay, gather and interpret evidence from the text to support this focus, and formulate a clear thesis statement. Develop and organize your arguments, write a rough draft, refine it, and then finalize your essay after getting a second opinion.

How do you start a literary analysis essay?

A literary analysis essay should start with an introduction that provides an overview of the work being analyzed, the reason for choosing it, and a clear, succinct thesis statement that outlines your main argument or interpretation.

What is a book analysis essay?

A book analysis essay is a detailed examination of a book. It involves delving into the book’s characters, plot, themes, and writing style. The analysis may include exploring the book’s cultural, historical, or philosophical context, as well as interpreting its symbolism and underlying meanings.

What are the 4 components of literary analysis?

The four main components of literary analysis are plot, character, theme, and style. The plot involves the main events or actions in the work. Characters are the individuals involved in these actions. The theme refers to the underlying message or main idea of the work, while the style relates to how the author uses language to convey the plot, character, and theme.

What is the fundamental characteristic of a literary analysis essay?

The fundamental characteristic of a literary analysis essay is its focus on the detailed and insightful examination of a literary work. It involves not just summarizing the work but interpreting, analyzing, and critiquing it based on its various components. The aim is to provide a fresh and deep understanding of the work, its context, and its implications.