How to write a literary essay on Shakespeare's sonnets

When you are writing a literature essay your goal is to critically evaluate or compare the literature. No matter your particular assignment you should try and adhere to the following writing tips throughout the writing process. Doing so will help you to write a comprehensive and high quality essay while also getting a high grade for your course:

Answer the question: Of course this sounds obvious. However, it is not easy to remain grounded when answering the question. You might find yourself deviating from the entire topic. The best way to go about it is to go back to the paragraph that you have written and reread it. Is it answering the question that was asked? If it doesn’t, go back to the drawing board and rewrite it.

Selection: You should not re-tell the story. You should be very selective on how you use the text for the essay. You should use the parts of the book that help you answer the questions that are asked.

Style: The general feel of the essay should be formal. You should avoid chatty writing model. The simplest way to go about this is to assume that you are a lawyer in a court of law trying to prove a point.

Be creative: You should not make the mistake of trying to agree with what other writers and researchers have argued. Your role here should be to provide solid facts about the topic. It is acceptable to completely disagree with what the authors are trying to say. You should back up your argument with solid evidence. You should be very creative to incorporate different aspects in the essay that differentiates you from what the authors have done.

Checklist after writing your essay

Have you:

  1. Put the title of the questions and the date on top?
  2. Write in clear language?
  3. Produced references to prove your points?
  4. Used a maximum of 5 quotes?
  5. Answered all questions?

Drama essay

The following are addressed: Theme, plot, setting, characters and techniques. If the question wants you to address the characters, you should discuss how it affects the others (theme, plot, setting and techniques) one per paragraph.

Tools of the Trade: Subjects and Verbs

It is very important for you to use strong subjects and active constructions instead of using verbal nouns or abstractions. Weak passive or linking should also be used.


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