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80 Riveting Topics for Literature Essays

That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”

-Scott Fitzgerald (American author)

Aptly put by the eminent author, literature does have ensnaring elements that captivate you, transporting you to a world of its own, and evokes a strong feeling of belongingness, so you feel you are one with the world it speaks about. However, it is when you have to write a literary analysis or literature essay for your class that you realise that all is not as rosy as it seems. Tackling literature essays are troublesome indeed, and you can always look up reliable essay help online to find stable support and professional assistance from custom writers for your academic papers. However, before availing the express custom writing services from scholastic solution providers, you must know what a literature essay is and select a topic that piques your interest.

80 Riveting Topics for Literature Essays

What are literature essays?

Literature essays are analytical pieces of academic writing that look into a work of literature with careful inspection of every element. Literature essays are best approached with the “breaking into components” outlook where each component of the essay examines and analyses one element of the literary work in contention. As deft paper writers opine, literature essays are a focused and sharpened expression of in-depth study and your thoughts on the literary work. They must be coherently structured and explore the elements with respect to the ideas and underlying messages as conveyed by the author. Since you will have to analyse fictional characters, plots, themes and details, you will have a creative freedom of expressing your opinion on them in a cohesive and rational form. However, be sure not to stray from the message that the writer has sought to convey or contradict their ideas by putting forth your own. Wherever needed, you must use quotations from the original text to elucidate your stance and to highlight the basis of your argument by quoting directly from the source. According to the expert essay writers, the central idea of your topic on the work of literature that you choose for you literature essays must follow the three cardinal rules mentioned below.

  • The literature essay should explore and be based on the main topic of the essay
  • The literature essay should have a thesis statement or a central idea that takes shape through the structure and composition of the essay
  • The structure of the essay should be logically sequenced with rational transitions between the main elements

Essay writing is by no means an easy task, and literature essays require a lot of research about the literary work it deals with. Reading to analyse is a world apart from reading for leisure, and you must be careful to include the most important details about the novel, drama, song, prose, poem, or any work of literature that you choose for your literature essays.

Topics for literature essays

Literature essays offer the possibility of many topics to choose from, but how will you know which the best one is? The answer is simple. Instead of wracking your brains trying to find an essay topic that leaves a lasting impression on the minds of your readers, browse through the following list of astounding topics for literature essays. By choosing one from below, you can ensure to have a clearly outlined and precisely framed central topic around which you can compose a stellar literature essay. Here comes the ultimate list of 80 gripping literature essay topics.

  • Prepare an analytical study of the theme of tragic love as depicted in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
  • Analyse the character development of Atticus Finch in the novels To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman as portrayed by Harper Lee with a focus on the racial issues highlighted in the novels
  • Briefly describe the evolution of language. Give your opinions about the influencing factors behind the changing patterns observed in language such as the development of Internet and popularity of social media.
  • Choose modern-day work of literature for children and explain how it differs from the earlier stories for children
  • Explore the themes of natural and human law, civil disobedience, and faithfulness as depicted in Antigone by Sophocles
  • Discuss the themes of man vs. nature and freedom vs. slavery as portrayed by Mark Twain in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • Prepare a discussion on how the modern genres of fantasy and magic have influenced the journeys of the central characters in any one fantasy fiction novel of the 21st century
  • Choose any two protagonists from the literary works of Charles Dickens and prepare a comparative analysis of their character development through the novels
  • Discuss the five senses (vision, sound, smell, taste, touch) with respect to the use of sensory elements in three poems of your choice
  • Compose an essay with an overview of mystical poetry by W.B. Yeats
  • Assess the themes explored in Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer and state who you can relate to more with reasons to support your answer
  • Discuss violence as depicted in The Hunger Games and the Divergent series with a special emphasis on the influences of the depiction of the young generation of today
  • Explore the themes of racism and imperialism as portrayed in Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  • Critically analyse Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream”
  • Discuss about the contributions of Anton Chekov in Russian literature
  • Prepare an analysis of The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde with an emphasis on the use of humour throughout the story
  • What are your opinions on Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse as a contemporary quest narrative through the depiction of the challenging journey towards a goal used as a plot device?
  • Discuss the themes of childhood and memories depicted in Yellow Submarine and Strawberry Fields Forever by The Beatles
  • Prepare a critical analysis of Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Discuss the contributions of Alice Walker as an influential poet of the 21st century with a focus on The Colour Purple and the themes of sexism and discrimination portrayed in it
  • Explain the reasons for Ophelia committing suicide in Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  • Discuss the impacts of e-books and the advent of modern reading technologies and forums on the growth and evolution of literature
  • Prepare a discussion on the themes of marriage and social status as portrayed by Jane Austen in Emma
  • Choose a play or novel where the protagonist is required to be away from home because of the plot and how that influences the development of the character through the story
  • Critically analyse George Orwell’s 1984
  • Describe the literary techniques used in Fever by John Edgar Wideman
  • Prepare an analysis of the themes of good vs. evil and chaos as depicted in Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventure of the Speckled Band
  • Make a list of the best ten writers from the last century and give reasons to support your choices
  • Discuss The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane in the light of the American Civil War
  • Prepare a comparative analysis of the books and the cinematic adaptation of the Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling
  • Discuss your favourite fictional character, analyse the transformation of the character through the narrative and state whether the transformation has been real or symbolic with suitable evidence to support your answer
  • Explain the paradigm shift observed in the writing styles of the 19th and 20th century authors
  • Discuss the theme and conditions of freedom as depicted in Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Blood of Others by Simone de Beauvoir, and The Outsider by Albert Camus
  • Prepare a discussion of the narrative style of Sherman Alexie’s Reservation Blues
  • Explain how modern technologies have affected writing patterns of authors and whether advanced gadgets have helped them become more creative
  • Discuss the courage shown in the young children in Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • State your opinions about Michael Crichton’s flair for success in every genre with suitable examples to support your views
  • Critically analyse The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  • Prepare a comparative analysis of playwrights of the modern and the classical era
  • Do you agree that the central theme of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca is the relationship between the two wives of Maxim de Winter and not that of him and his second wife? Give reasons to support your answer.
  • Discuss about the character development of Lady Macbeth in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth with a special reference to somnambulism
  • Write a descriptive essay on the major themes of the arbitrariness of time and history and the power of love to overcome all hurdles as depicted in William Goldman’s popular work The Princess Bride
  • Explore the themes of rationality and morality as depicted in Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • Critically examine a poem with a first-person point of view for the narrative and detail how the first person narrative has helped in deepening the meaning of the poem
  • Prepare a comparative analysis of the works of Maya Angelou and Margaret Atwood
  • Explore the historical and cultural context of Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron and analyse the role of the contexts in bringing out the underlying meaning of the literary work
  • Critically analyse the use of imagery in the poems of Elizabeth Barrett Brown and Walt Whitman
  • Discuss the contributions of authors of Asian origin in the development of English literature in the 21st century
  • Prepare a critical evaluation of the themes of contrasting realities and fantasies in A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
  • Explore the relationship between identity and acting as depicted in Death and The Maiden by Ariel Dorfman
  • Form a comparative analysis of two popular detectives from literature of the mystery genre and reflect on the ways of deduction used by the authors that contribute to the character development of the protagonists
  • Critically evaluate The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant with a character analysis of Mathilde Loisel
  • Prepare a descriptive study on the evaluative, critical and reflective styles of writing with suitable examples from literature
  • Critically analyse the narrative and the central character of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick
  • Discuss the importance of dreams and the act of dreaming in three plays of your choice
  • Evaluate the themes of the intimidating power of nature and escape from near-death situations of non-fiction adventure stories or narratives such as 127 Hours by Aron Ralston
  • Express your opinions about the significance of translations in literature with suitable examples of some notable literary works and their translations
  • Explain the complexities observed in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Kubla Khan
  • What, according to you, is more important to the process of becoming a successful writer: discipline or instinct? Support your opinion with suitable examples.
  • Discuss the importance and significance of foil characters in novels and stories in introducing plot twists that take the narrative forward
  • Critically evaluate the eponymous character in Nana by Emile Zola with an emphasis on the author’s depiction of female sexuality set against the backdrop of the contrasting economic classes in Paris
  • Trace the history of the emergence and development of crime fiction in literature with suitable examples
  • Discuss about the contributions of O. Henry and his short stories in English literature with suitable examples from his literary works
  • Explain and analyse the use of allegory in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson with a special emphasis on the innate human struggle to keep his primal instincts in check
  • Critically analyse and discuss a classic novel of your choice from the perspective of critical thinking with a link to feminist theories and comment on the changes in the perception between the backdrop of the novel and modern day
  • Choose your favourite time period from the history of literature and critically analyse some of the famous literary works of that era that explain and support your choice
  • Prepare an analytical study of the central character in Pamela by Samuel Richardson and explain how she reflects and upholds the values of female chastity
  • Explore the central theme of the questionable humanity of colonialism as depicted in Waiting for the Barbarians by J. M. Coetzee
  • Choose a novel rich in symbolism and discuss the use and significance of the symbols used throughout the narrative to create a deeper and vaster underlying meaning
  • Compare and contrast between the writing style and choice of narrative as well as plot development between the science fiction novels of Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke
  • Analyse and evaluate the historical and political backdrop of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens and Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • Explore the major themes of challenging inhuman treatment to fellow humans and religious faith as depicted in Night by Elie Wiesel
  • Discuss the role of Pablo Neruda in poetry along with a critical analysis of any two of his poems
  • Critically analyse the character of Frankenstein’s monster in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
  • Explore and evaluate the contributions of Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Discuss the main themes that were recurrent in the novels and stories published in the latter half of the last century
  • Critically evaluate The Republic by Plato delineating the major philosophical tenets explored in the masterpiece
  • Explore the contribution of lyrics in putting life to the songs of jazz genre with a critical analysis of the lyrics of three songs of your choice
  • Express your opinions about the famous quote “Dystopia is merely a utopia from another point of view” by John Carey with suitable examples from literature with dystopian and utopian perspectives
  • Explore the narrative style in Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck as a classic saga of struggle

Quick tips for composing literature essays

Literature essays explore the elements of a literary work with particular focus on analysis and detail. One of the most difficult tasks in academic paper writing, mastering the art of composing winning literature essays is not a mean feat and requires a lot of practice and a sharp and focused mind. The following are some quick tips on structuring your literature essays to perfection, for every superb essay begins with a robust structure of its mainframe and components. Therefore, here goes!

  • Selecting the topic

As with every other kind of essay, the selection of the essay writing topic is crucial for literature essays too. Choose the topic of your essay carefully, and with special regard to your area of interest. Do not pick an unconventional topic not suited to your area of interest with the sole purpose of making your essay stand out. Ultimately, the conviction that you have for the topic will need to shine through the essay, so it is best to choose a topic that you will be able to carry out with élan. Browse through the list of topics that we have provided to see if any piques your interest, or you can always frame one following the pattern that suits your academic and personal requirements.

  • Thesis statement and introduction

The thesis statement for your literary essay is the central theme of your essay, or the topic explained in a nutshell along with your opinion. It is the backbone of the literature essay and must be succinctly framed to work in favour of your essay. As for the introduction, the main purpose is to capture the interest of the readers about your topic. So it is best to start with a compelling quote or anecdote about the author or an interesting take on the backdrop of the main plot or theme. Briefly introducing the literary work that clearly states the full name of the author as well as the name of the piece of literature that is the mainframe of the essay, you must emphasis on the main idea of your essay in the opening paragraph. The thesis statement is ideally placed as the closing sentence of the opening paragraph of your essay.

  • Body of the essay

For the body of your literature essay, you must follow an organised plan of structuring them in the proper sequence following a rational stream of thought. Each body paragraph should deal with one element or component of the literary work with regard to your topic. At the beginning of each body paragraph, you must mention the topic sentence for that paragraph, or the main idea that you will be discussing in that paragraph. The topic sentence is then further elaborated within the paragraph with further supporting statements along with evidence and quotes from the text. Textual evidence comes in the form of summary, specific detailing, paraphrasing the source text, and direct quotations. The main structuring theme of the body paragraphs should be linked to each topic sentence that it deals with, and the topic sentences should together be formed around the central idea or theme of the topic of your literature essay.

  • Concluding your essay

For the conclusion of your literature essay, keep in mind that having gone through all the major factors of the literary work in analysis, you must now wrap up the essay in a captivating manner. Be careful not to introduce any topic sentence in the concluding paragraph. Rather, the conclusion should ideally be a summary of all the main points that you have highlighted in the essay, showing how they can be tied back to the thesis statement mentioned in the opening paragraph. For the closing line of the literature essay it is best to comment on your views and opinions about the literary work or close with a relevant quote that is along similar lines with the main idea of your essay.

  • Reread and revise

After you finish writing the essay, you must carefully revise it to identify the grammatical or punctuation errors that you might have earlier overlooked. Also, cover all the logical discrepancies you find, if any, in the composition of the essay. The expert essay proofreaders and experienced essay editors stress on the revision process a lot because they know that a piece of writing that has a strong grammar and punctuation game is halfway there on the road to impress your professors. Lastly, check to see if you have maintained the length of the paragraphs, and how interesting the literature essay has turned out be. If you find yourself yawning halfway through it, your literature essay probably needs restructuring or rewriting in certain bits. Keeping in mind these steps, go ahead and revise that essay once last time before you turn it in.

Armed with an awe-inspiring list of ideas and expert tips for your literature essay, it is time to compose the one that will earn you a brownie point with your professors or you can always fall back on the effective essay helpers and academic solution providers online in case your attempts at composing an impressive one falls through. Wishing you all the luck with your literature essay!

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