What are analytical essays?
What makes them different to an exposition?
Well, an analytical essay is an essay that responds to an essay prompt.
This essay prompt is usually based on a text you have studied.
It is called an analytical essay, because your job is to explain in deep detail why one side or the other in an essay prompt is right.
You will have to present an argument, or claim, about what you are analysing.
For instance, if you have studied the text ‘Medea’ throughout the year, and you have the essay prompt:
Medea is marginalised more for being a foreigner in exile than for being a woman. To what extent do you agree?
For more tips and tricks on how to break down this essay prompt, check out our blog post ‘Medea: Essay Prompt Breakdown’ to get a boost.
What you have to do, is decide whether or not you agree with the essay prompt, and explain to the reader why that idea is correct.
You can do so with the following tips.
Avoid Personal Pronouns and Informal Language
Personal pronouns to avoid in analytical essays are: I, we, and us.
Always avoid using personal pronouns, because it makes you sound too emotional and personal, when you should be trying to sound factual and convincing.
To sound as convincing as you can, also use formal language rather than slang or casual speak, so that you sound more sophisticated.
Let’s use the play ‘Medea’ as an example.
Your writing should look something along the lines of this:
E.g. Medea is a victim to the patriarchy of Ancient Greece, as Jason’s unfair treatment towards her provoked her in committing such heinous crimes.
See how there aren’t any personal pronouns? E.g. you did not put any I, Me, Us - first person pronouns
It comes across as very logical and unemotional.
However, if we use personal pronouns and informal language:
E.g. I think that Medea is totally the victim, cause all the guys treat her like crap, which is super unfair, I reckon. If the guys didn’t treat her so bad, she wouldn’t have killed her kids like that.
Feel the difference?
Using personal pronouns and informal language makes it sound really annoying to the reader, and kinda obnoxious.
So start getting into the habit of cutting out personal pronouns, and sound as professional as possible in expressing your arguments.
For VCE students, this template would have been drilled into your brains constantly.
But do we remember what it means?
Topic Sentence, Explanation, Evidence, and Linking Sentence.
This template is for body paragraphs in essays, especially analytical ones, and will be your Holy Grail when it comes to writing.
TEEL is really important, because it organises your arguments and ideas neatly.
This helps the reader understand where you’re coming from, rather than having to search your essay five times, and still not finding your point.
For more tips and tricks about how to structure your body paragraphs, check out our other blog post ‘Easiest TEEL Explanation’.
Include Textual Evidence
One of the most important parts of an analytical essay is proof that you know what you’re talking about.
Yes, it’s nice to see that you can explain your argument.
But, you’re going to have to back it up with textual evidence.
This means that you need quotes from the text itself.
Not from the Dalai Lama, not from Martin Luther King, and not from that sign you saw at the gift shop last week.
A solid, real, published quote from the text.
If it’s a movie, find the transcript.
But make sure the quote is legit, rather than something you’ve just made up or found somewhere else.
And, make sure that it’s relevant - meaning ‘on-topic’.
E.g. Women are oppressed and mistreated in the world of the play script, Medea professing that, “Of all creatures that can feel and think…” women are “…the worst treated things alive.”
If you guys find that you struggle to incorporate quotes smoothly, check out our video and blog posts titled ‘3 Tips on How to Incorporate and Blend Quotes Into Your Essays’ for a quick run down.
Analytical essays can be tricky for those who speak really chill, which is pretty much all students.
But you can solve this problem by following our tips and tricks, and with practise, you guys will be skyrocketing in English.
Go on and give these tips a crack, and share your progress with us!
Study smarter, not harder, with SAC!