Suggestions for Effective Literary Essay Topics

Topics and Ideas
Mar 29, 2019 | 10 Minutes

Dealing with a literary analysis is a daunting task for most people, but with interesting literary essay topics, the writing process may indeed be riveting. In this article, we will show you how to deal with a literary essay and how to find an interesting topic in literature for starting an animated discussion.

Literary Analysis Essay Topics Tips

Here are a few literary analysis essay topic tips that will help you choose the right topic and make it as elaborate and interesting as possible:

Literary Essay Topics

Literary Analysis Questions

Dwell on your fictional character.

Is your character realistic or an embodiment of a particular symbol? Can your character serve as a real-life prototype? How would the character appear if the novel was set nowadays?

Draw a parallel between the decisions that different characters take in similar situations.

If you want your essay to be more engaging, compare characters from different literary works. For instance, the main characters of The Great Gatsby and Martin Eden fall in love with girls from an upper social class, striving to strike it rich to win their hearts. At the same time, you need to establish how they feel about it.

Literary Theories in Literary Analysis

Look at your literary work from a certain philosophical perspective.

Analyzing your classical work about contemporary philosophy can help you craft a top-notch essay. For instance, you can examine Hamlet from the Freudian perspective.

Look at a literary work from a political point of view.

This approach works similarly to the philosophical one. For instance, you can elaborate on how a Marxist could read King Lear.

Study and compare the use of a similar symbol in different literary works.

While reading a particular literary work, you may have been strongly affected by using a certain omnipresent image in a particular scene. Try to understand why it was so impressive. Compare it to how it appears in other literary works.

Analyze on which sources a piece of literature is based.

Dwell on how a particular historical event differs from the myth on which it was based and how it was interpreted by the author – for instance; you can draw a parallel between Shaw’s Pygmalion and the Greek myth on which it was based. Consider why a particular story was a basis for the author’s literary work.

Break a literary work into pieces.

Try to understand how the author’s perception of the world and personal opinions are displayed in his or her work. Is Heart of Darkness indicative of the fact that Joseph Conrad was a racist?

Analyze how the social, political, and economic background affects a literary work.

How are the time and country in which the author lived displayed in this story? Could this story be written today? Does the social background depicted by Boccaccio in Decameron resonate with modern realities? If not, why does this book remain popular even these days?

Read more: How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay

Tips on How to Choose Powerful Literary Analysis Topics

Finding effective literary analysis topics is the first consideration of every student assigned to write an analytical essay. An engaging and powerful topic is a must.
Whether you need to produce an analytical paper or have been assigned to write a literary analysis essay, the most important thing to do is to find an interesting topic since it will affect the quality and content of your paper. Additionally, it influences how you present the topic and how engaging your work will be. Thus, you must be meticulous when selecting a topic for your essay.

How to Choose the Right Analytical Essay Topics

To choose win-win analytical essay topics, make use of the following tips:

  • Define your objectives before arriving at the final decision;
  • Bear in mind the purpose of your writing;
  • Choose the topic you are not only knowledgeable about but also the one you feel strongly about;
  • Analyze the topic, that you have chosen before getting down to the writing process;
  • Make sure your topic is neither too broad nor narrow;
  • Ensure you have sufficient topic-related material at your disposal;
  • Make certain that your topic is clear;
  • Don’t opt for uncommon topics since they usually prove to be excessively complicated;
  • Don’t resort to reusing a topic unless you are sure you can present it in a different light.

Literature Analysis Ideas for Essay

If you are looking for literature analysis ideas for an essay, don’t be scared to dig deeper than opting for William Shakespeare’s renowned works. Moreover, English literature is not limited solely to the works of British authors. It can encompass any literature written in any of the variants of English worldwide, including American literature. From Old English literature to the literature of our contemporaries, many works are to consider. However, narrowing down a particular work to a topic that can be carefully covered within the scope of an essay may be the first challenge you need to overcome.
The following list of literature analysis ideas for an essay perfectly fits the requirements of the essay-length paper. Although these topics mostly deal with English literature produced in Great Britain, you can adjust them to satisfy the specific needs of other types of English literature.

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Rhetorical Analysis Topics

  1. The ode to the Grecian Urn contains an indirect depiction of our society – do you agree?
  2. How do you feel about Immortal age and Immortal beauty?
  3. How do Shakespeare’s works resonate with you?
  4. Do you feel a personal relation to the works of Rabindranath Tagore?
  5. Many people deem Rabindranath Tagore Indian Shakespeare. What are your thoughts about it?
  6. Who in your opinion could be the winner in the battle between Brutus and Octavius?
  7. Can we deem Cassius just a politician in Julius Caesar? Elaborate on this character.
  8. Analyze the personality of Macbeth.
  9. Give a profound description of Lady Macbeth.
  10. How do you interpret the bond between Lady Macbeth and Lord Macbeth?
  11. The poem Inferno by Dante depicts the seven stages of hell, what are your observations about it?
  12. Who can be considered the main hero in the play Macbeth?
  13. ‘All’s well that ends well’ is instructive and cognitive by its nature. Elaborate on any one of the outcomes.
  14. Lady Macbeth madness is not justifiable according to many critics, what explanation would you provide?
  15. Dwell on one play that had a profound effect on your personal perception.
  16. Elaborate on the essence of George Orwell’s politics and its relation with English literature.
  17. How are the characters developed in Hamlet?
  18. Who can be deemed a saint character, Caesar or Brutus?
  19. Dwell on a particular short story that has changed your life.
  20. The poem that you would love to read multiple times.
  21. Who in your opinion is the best poet?
  22. What useful lessons can we derive from the short story “Gift of the Magi”?
  23. Sonnets are considered the most unique format of a poem – how can it be explained?
  24. Elaborate on Ophelia’s suicide as an unexpected and riveting turn.
  25. The role of Pushkin in Russian literature, dwell on his works and creativity.
  26. Romeo and Juliet as the genuine rebels – how do you feel about it?
  27. The poems of early times depict the structure of our society – provide an explanation.
  28. One piece of poetry you wish you had written yourself.
  29. The Ode to the West Wind contains myriad of unique messages- what do you think?

John Steinbeck's of Mice and Men

Ideas For Critical Analysis of Literature

When looking for ideas for critical literature analysis, it may be quite challenging to select an adequate topic from all the myriad possible ones. However, there are some things you should pay special attention to. First, these are the research possibilities behind the problems in question, their relation to the topics presupposed in your study plan, etc.

You will not be mistaken if you decide to write about Hemingway’s The Old and the Sea. The story combines the feature of a good narration with a powerful and thought-provoking message.

Oscar Wilde’s Canterville Ghost is also good for critically analyzing literature. While initially hilarious, the story also encompasses drama features and delicate issues, making the discussion animated and interesting.

Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil can make you bewildered. While reading it, you will get puzzled by the ideas presented in a light you had no clue of. The theme of good and evil carries a powerful message to the nowadays society even though the book was written more than one century ago.

Literature of the 21st century. Analyze the existing latter-day Literary tendencies. What distinguishes modern literature? What is behind the success of some renowned contemporaneous works? Do you think the authors have changed how a story is told beyond recognition?

Ernest Hemingway

Critical Analysis Essay Topics

  1. E-books. How did the new technologies affect Literature?
  2. Martin Luther King’s I have a Dream as one of the most outstanding speeches about human rights addressed to people who struggle for equality.
  3. 20th century most renowned authors. Compile a list of the most celebrated authors of the previous century. Explain why you chose them.
  4. The way the new technologies affect writing habits. Do you think that gadgets facilitate our communication?
  5. The evolution of the language. Talk about the effect of the Internet on our language and whether it facilitates its development.
  6. How to become a Literature writer. Does the successful writing career depend solely on hard work?
  7. Gender roles, how did the tendency develop after 19th century?
  8. The portrayal of Cleopatra: from Geoffrey Chaucer to Margaret George.
  9. The portrayal of Eve in Milton’s Paradise Lost.
  10. Emmy’s docility and Rebecca’s intelligence in Vanity Fair.
  11. Becky Sharp by Thackeray in the eyes of contemporaneous readers.
  12. How are the themes of empowerment and dependence explored in Jane Austen’s works?
  13. The cruel fate of a woman: Shakespeare’s Ophelia and Wilde’s Sibyl.
  14. A Room of One’s Own and its resonation with nowadays society.
  15. The woman who spoke up in the middle ages: Aelia Eudocia Augusta.
  16. Gender roles according to Theatre by Maugham.
  17. What themes did female writers raise in the span of 1910s and 2010s?
  18. Female characters’ merits and demerits in the 19th century.
  19. Women of color: how does the author raise the topics of cruelty, discrimination, and empowerment?
  20. A Doll’s House in the contemporary world.
  21. Is Ibsen’s A Doll’s House still applicable to nowadays society?
  22. The depiction of masculinity in the old and contemporary works.
  23. The endowment of a real man in The Garden of Eden by Ernest Hemingway.
  24. Charles Dickens’s portrayal of aging males and females.
  25. The role of fairy stories in spreading of gender stereotypes.

John Milton's Paradise Lost

Critical Analysis Topics on Death

  1. Death, perpetual open-ended questions.
  2. Demise in the poems of dying authors: Keats and Blake.
  3. Demise in Milton’s poems: symbolic and imaginary features.
  4. Omnipresent features of decay, degradation, and death in Emily Dickinson’s works.
  5. The conception of death in John Keats’s and William Shakespeare’s works.
  6. The depiction of death in the works of Renaissance authors.
  7. Homicides and self-murder in Shakespeare’s works: Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet.
  8. The concept of death in the postmodernist works.
  9. The depiction of aging in medieval, Renaissance, and postmodernist works.
  10. The motive of murder in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.

Topics for Analytical Essay on People and Nature

  1. The depiction of people deprived of human qualities: Robinson Crusoe and Lord of the Flies.
  2. Face-to-face struggle with the natural world: Defoe’s Crusoe and Paulsen’s Hatchet.
  3. Nature’s marvels and hazards in Emily Dickenson’s lyrics.
  4. Powerful natural forces in William Shakespeare’s Tempest.
  5. The depiction of the natural world in Fears in Solitude by Coleridge.
  6. William Wordsworth’s expressive language and symbolism in describing the natural world.
  7. Natural world in Huxley’s dystopia: city and village settings.
  8. The depiction of the natural world in post-apocalyptic novels: downhill and revival.

Analytical Paper Topics on Religion

  1. The portrayal of religious influences in Beowulf.
  2. Religion as a heavy brunt in The Bluest Eye.
  3. The depiction of religious traditions in Milton’s Paradise Lost.
  4. Jonathan Swift’s skepticism about religion in Gulliver’s Travels.
  5. The importance of religion in Charles Dickens’s prose.
  6. The presence of religious beliefs in Dryden’s prose.
  7. Religious contemptuous matters in John Milton’s Paradise Lost.

Literature Topics on Justice and Judgment

  1. The importance of judgment in Jane Austen’s works.
  2. Judgment in Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child.
  3. The depiction of justice in John Milton’s Paradise Lost.
  4. Justice in dystopian literature: Orwell and Huxley novels.

The Odyssey by Homer

War and Peace

  1. The theme of war in Homer’s Iliad and Shakespeare’s dramas.
  2. The concept of war and peace in George Orwell’s dystopian world.
  3. War as human nature in Faulkner’s A Fable.
  4. Steinbeck’s depiction of unfairness in The Grapes of Wrath.
  5. Wrongdoings of the nowadays society in Palahniuk’s Fight Club.

Geoffrey Chaucer

  1. The main themes in Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde.
  2. Women’s merits according to Chaucer and his contemporaries.
  3. Gender: conventions and novelties in Geoffrey Chaucer’s lyrics.
  4. Chaucer’s input in the development of a heroic couplet.
  5. Religious ethics in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.

Geoffrey Chaucer

British Literature Topics: William Shakespeare

  1. William Shakespeare, the eternal dramatist.
  2. The View on the crown in Shakespeare’s Henry IV.
  3. Ambition in Hamlet and Macbeth: choices of men and women.
  4. The use of disguise as an indispensable element of William Shakespeare’s dramas.
  5. Appearance as the most powerful disguise in Shakespeare’s plays.
  6. The use of satire in William Shakespeare’s works.
  7. Differences and similarities in Shakespeare’s King Lear and Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex.
  8. The difficulties in interpreting the female character in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra.
  9. William Shakespeare’s unique style.
  10. Shakespeare’s legacy in the world.
  11. The portrayal of superhuman powers in William Shakespeare’s works.
  12. The theme of ethnicity in William Shakespeare’s Othello.
  13. Personal identity in Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Henry IV.

Oscar Wilde

  1. The embodiment of a perfect wife according to Wilde’s An Ideal Husband.
  2. The Picture of Dorian Gray as the aesthete’s manifesto.
  3. Wilde’s sources of inspiration and the formation of his views.
  4. The Picture of Dorian Gray: can beauty bring salvation to this world?
  5. How Oscar Wilde’s personality is embodied in his characters.
  6. The Picture of Dorian Gray: Lord Henry’s virtues and vices.
  7. Established traditions and novelties in Oscar Wilde’s fairy stories.
  8. Oscar Wilde and his masterful use of paradox.

Oscar Wilde

Latest Posts

Topics and Ideas
Jun 21, 2023 | 9 Minutes
150 Best Satire Essay Topics Ideas for Students

This blog post is your guide through the captivating realm of satire. We aim to spark your interest and inspiration with a selection of potentially captivating satire essay topics, discuss the advantages of satirical writing, and share insights on crafting compelling satire. We’ll also offer a glimpse at renowned satirical works from different epochs. This […]

Topics and Ideas
Mar 29, 2019 | 10 Minutes
Suggestions for Effective Literary Essay Topics

Literary Analysis Questions Dwell on your fictional character. Is your character realistic or an embodiment of a particular symbol? Can your character serve as a real-life prototype? How would the character appear if the novel was set nowadays? Draw a parallel between the decisions that different characters take in similar situations. If you want your […]

Topics and Ideas
Jan 23, 2018 | 9 Minutes
The Happiness Project

It’s funny how you can love and hate something simultaneously. Let me share a book review of The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and convert it into a version for college and university students. The first thing I must be honest about is that this book is extremely controversial and unsatisfying for many people. It’s not […]

1 (888) 456 - 4855