How To Structure A Literary Essay And Why Use MLA Citation – Essay Example

Literary Essay I. In structuring a literary essay there are a number of guidelines that must be adhered Literary Essay Structure All analytic literary essays must begin with an introduction. The introduction functions to supply the reader with background information regarding the work being examined. It also tells the reader general themes and contextual elements regarding the work in question. Finally, the introduction must contain a thesis statement that tells the reader what specific subjects will be examined in the body paragraphs of the essay. The essays body paragraphs are the next section that is included. While there is a traditional five paragraph essay structure, with three body paragraphs, in actuality there can exist any number of body paragraphs. Each body paragraph should contain an introductory sentence that details what element the paragraph will examine; the paragraph should then focus on this singular element. For a literary analysis it is necessary to include evidence for the claims made, in most instances this involves including quoted material from the text in question, or from outside sources that examine the text. The final element of the literary essay is the conclusion paragraph. The conclusion begins with a restatement of the thesis statement. The conclusion then summarizes the main points explored in the body paragraphs, and sometimes extends them to universal human concerns.
There are a great number of reasons why individuals must use MLA citations within their works ("Writing Center"). One of the most pervasive reasons is to avoid plagiarism in ones work. Without including adequate citation, it would be impossible for the reader to discern which ideas are ones own and which are simply retreads of another persons thoughts. When constructing a literary essay using MLA citation allows the reader to quickly identify the author of the quoted material as well as the page number. With a page number, the reader is then able to examine the text themselves and consider the writers points in more depth, utilizing a greater contextual understanding. In these regards, MLA citation is important as it potentially allows the reader of the essay to engage with it on a more in-depth level, to either refute or embrace its central arguments. Another element is to give credit to the writer that originally developed the ideas. While in many student essays this isnt as important an issue, when essays become more widely disseminated gaining acknowledgment from other writers in terms of citations is an important means of recognition. Finally, MLA citation allows future writers to examine ones ideas in more depth and build on them in future essays. In these regards, one might think of the literary essay as a sort of science experiment, with citations the articulation of the method by which it was accomplished.
"Why Cite?." The Writing Center. Yale University , n.d. Web. 3 Nov 2010.
"Writing Your Literary Analysis." Literary Essay Structure. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Nov 2010.