Literary Analysis Essay Guidelines

English Comp 101                                                                     Inst: Pauline Escudero Shafer
Assignment # 4: Literary Analysis Essay: Analysis of Film


The Literary Analysis Essay assignment is meant to introduce you to the process involved in how to interpret and analyze a text and then write about it. Much of what falls under the practice of literary analysis involves discovering what others who are experts in their field have written about a text, then taking those interpretations and opinions and utilizing them to back up your own assertion. For the purposes of this exercise, you do not need to formulate an original assertion, merely discuss in a organized, clear, and well-written manner the interpretive points discussed in class or gathered from reading.

You will be analyzing the film Blade Runner (Scott 1992) as your primary text. In your introduction relay the main interpretive points that you will be discussing and the order in which you'll be discussing them. Also include information about the film itself, such as which genre it occupies or information about the director in the introduction or the first paragraph, depending on how long you wish to spend on this kind of information. In class we exsmined Mario's essay on South Park noting how he provided context for his main points and some basic introductory information about the show. In the body of the essay you will present your main points and your support for them. For example:


In the film The Matrix (Wachowski Bros. 1999) names can be seen to yield added meaning to the characters and the meaning of the film itself. First I will examine how the names of characters reveal more about the nature of those characters within a larger symbolic system. Next I will discuss the names of the roles that those characters hold, such as 'The Oracle' and how those fit in with the dominant symbolic system at work in The Matrix. Finally, I will consider the names of places and things within the film.


The essay should have an original title that hints at your main thesis, the subject of your essay. You should also have at least one outside source that supports your assertion about the film. By 'outside source' I mean someone other than yourself, such as a film scholar, a reputable Blade Runner website, or my own lectures from last week when we discussed major interpretive strategies and meanings for Blade Runner.

Please recall that a literary analysis:

Here is a format that you can utilize to structure your essay:

The first paragraph introduces the text you are writing about which includes the director/author. In addition you will include the main point(s) you will be discussing. You can utilize a question to hook the reader's interest or pose a scenario. The following paragraphs will deal with each element that illustrate your main point or each point when there is more than one. For example, in my example about The Matrix my main point was about names, but I had three elements that supported that, which would mean I could have three or more paragraphs in addition to the introduction and conclusion. The concluding paragraph can include information such as reiterating your main point and how you demonstrated it, how the film drew upon concepts such as you discussed to create a striking work or art, etc....

Works Cited

Blade Runner. Dir. Ridley Scott, Pref. Harrison Ford, Darryl Hannah, Rutger Hauer, Edward James Olmos, Sean Young. Warner Bros. 1992.
The Matrix. Dir. The Wachowski Bros., Pref. Keanu Reaves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss. Warner Bros, 1999.