Naturally, the primary purpose of an essay on a literary text is to provide an interpretation of that text. In so doing, an essay needs to move beyond a description of characters and events to an analysis of the different elements of the text.
This analysis should bear in mind that the world that is presented in the text may well be fundamentally different from the world in which you live. Therefore, in analysing the characters and events of a text, you will need to take an “imaginative leap” into the moral and social framework of that text, imagining how such characters and events would be judged from within that framework.
The following essay questions are designed to highlight these two different aspects of interpreting texts: narrative vs. analysis and making judgements. All questions would be suitable for The Kite Runner or To Kill a Mockingbird.
- Analyse how ONE main character or individual changed to become more (OR less) admirable.
- Analyse how features of ONE important section made it particularly effective.
- Analyse how the writer presented a positive OR negative view of humanity and / or society.
- Analyse how ONE OR MORE symbols were used to present an important idea or ideas.
- Analyse how a text strengthened or changed your opinion of a particular topic or issue.
- Analyse how the resolution of a main conflict was important to the text as a whole.
- Analyse techniques used to show changes in a main character or individual in a text you have studied AND why these changes were important to the text as a whole.