How to write a conclusion for a literary analysis essay

Written by erica sweeney
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How to write a conclusion for a literary analysis essay
The conclusion to a literary analysis essay should not bring up new points. (Books image by explicitly from

A literary analysis essay focuses on a particular aspect of a work of literature. This type of essay should be written in a scholarly style and format to professionally discuss the literary work. Conclusions for literary analysis sum up the main points of the essay and restate the thesis.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Read through your essay. It should have a strong thesis, which is supported throughout the body.

  2. 2

    Make a list of the essay's main points. For a basic, college-level essay, there should be about three main points related to the essay's topic.

  3. 3

    Rewrite these main points into sentence form. For example, if your essay discusses the symbols of the bird cage, the stitching and the messy kitchen in Susan Glaspell's short story "A Jury of Her Peers," you should write one sentence for each symbol summing up its significance as discussed in the essay.

  4. 4

    Rewrite your thesis statement in a way that suggests that it is a conclusion drawn from the main points. For example, if your thesis suggests that the symbols of the example above display gender inequality of the story's social setting, directly link this idea to explanation of the symbols. Write "Therefore, the birdcage, the stitches and the state of the kitchen show the characters' difficulty in living in this unequal climate."

  5. 5

    Combine the sentences into a cohesive paragraph. The explanation of the essay's main points should be first and then the restatement of the thesis.

  6. 6

    Make sure that the paragraph makes sense on its own and is a strong paragraph in its own right.

  7. 7

    Use transitions to make these statements fit together in a clear, concise way. You don't want the conclusion to read like a bunch of sentences just stuck together.

  8. 8

    Do not introduce new ideas in the conclusion. If you are discussing the three symbols mentioned above, don't bring up another one in the conclusion. The essay is over--this is the end. It will be very confusing for the reader if you begin discussing something new.

  9. 9

    Do not contradict your previous points. If the body explains the symbol in one way, don't describe it a different way in the conclusion.

  10. 10

    Leave the reader with some type of parting word. Conclusions should answer questions, such as "why should we care?"--include this in with the statements you've already written or add an additional statement. The most important thing is to tie everything together and put it in perspective for the reader.

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