How to Write an Interpretive Essay Properly?

When you hear an interpretive essay definition, you will hardly think that the essay can be challenging. At first sight, everything seems easy — you need to interpret something. But do you know how to write an interpretive essay and how to structure it? The focus of analysis depends on your choice and preferences. The only thing you need to bear in mind is that you should not deviate from the topic. When you are assigned a specific literary work or some video materials to analyze and interpret, keep your focus on them. Your work may be focused on identifying symbolism, providing an evaluation of the work, sharing your emotions and feelings related to it, or interpreting the overall meaning. 

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In some cases, you may be given some specific tasks, for example, to critically analyze feelings, thoughts, and emotions of the main characters whatsoever. So, in this case, you need to look for the evidence in the text and then transform your opinions in an analytical manner within the boundaries of the topic.

However, before you start to write the paper itself, it is essential to find a sufficient number of credible and peer-reviewed sources that you could use for expert evidence. You can look for them in the local libraries or in the online databases. When it comes to providing arguments in essay writing, it is essential that you can support them with credible expert opinions. More so, exploring different sources will help you be more sure when it comes to your own decisions. 

After you have found the sources and jotted down the key information from them, you can start preparing a plan or an extended outline. Here you need to include the key information, formulate topic sentences, and then elaborate on the ideas. 

How to Write an Interpretive Essay: Writers’ Goals and Paper Requirements

As was mentioned above, the underlying aim of a literary analysis essay is to carefully read the assigned literary work, critically analyze it, and provide your own evaluation of it. The first step to adequate analysis is to select the focus of your critique. For example, you may pick a specific scene, a separate character or a group of characters and their interaction, some storyline, event or activity, etc. If you choose some larger segment, it is recommended to break it down into smaller parts.

When you analyze each part, the best way to do it is to explain its role, meanings, functions, and also to compare and contrast one specific part with the other. When providing an interpretation or analysis, it is essential to maintain logical order and coherence of the discussion. You need to come up with a relevant structure: your paper should have an introductory paragraph, the main body, and conclusion. 

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What to Include in Your Interpretive Essay?

First and foremost, you should care about the structure: make sure there is a clear introductory section, body paragraphs, and a conclusive paragraph. They should be logically developed thanks to the usage of proper transitions. If you rely on some literary works, be sure to extract sufficient quotes, examples, and illustrations, which will help to uncover the possible meanings. With the help of expert evidence taken from the sources, you will be able to support your arguments and prove their credibility. Just keep in mind that you should properly cite the sources and reference them according to the required citation style. Check out how each paper paragraph or chapter should be developed:

  • Introduction

Read the assigned literary work again and pay attention to its main ideas, symbols, and meanings. Try to interpret the content and emphasize the literary devices and figures that are used by the author. Try to focus on the most relevant details, as you will not have enough space and time to devote your attention to virtually all elements. 

After you have written out the literary figures and devices that you are going to interpret, develop the introductory paragraph, where you will mention the title of the work and the author’s name, as well as some background information. If you have outlined some main topics in the given literary work, be sure to mention them in the introduction and pinpoint their significance or contribution. 

  • The Main Body

Make sure that the number of body paragraphs relates to the number of ideas you have mentioned in your thesis statement presented in the introduction. Devote each body paragraph to a separate idea. Mention the ideas in a well-formulated topic sentence. After that, provide sufficient examples, illustrations, and other expert evidence. In some cases, it is relevant to compare and contrast the given literary work with some similar ones or with the other works of the same author. It may also be a good idea to provide a literary analysis and interpretation depending on the historical or cultural periods, backgrounds, etc. 

  • Conclusion

Remember that you are not to introduce any new ideas in the conclusive paragraph. So, try just to re-emphasize the key findings or ideas and reiterate the thesis statement. In the conclusion, you may sum up the main argument or focus on the importance of criteria you have chosen for analysis or comparison and contrast. It is also a good idea to finish your piece of writing with an emphasis on the significance of the paper

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Additional Tips on How to Write an Interpretive Essay

  • Make sure you think of some brand-new, creative ways of interpreting the literary work.
  • Try to broaden your focus and pay attention to some specific elements of the literary work, such as character traits, symbolism, storylines, settings, and other aspects. 
  • Provide adequate and sufficient reasons as to why your interpretation is worth attention and why it may be considered true or plausible. 
  • Develop these reasons in separate body paragraphs, make sure there is enough evidence, as well as sufficient examples and illustrations. 
  • Make your paper interesting, especially taking into account the fact that your target audience may have read the book or story before. 
  • Formulate a clear and strong conclusion that re-emphasizes the most crucial elements from the whole paper. 

Many students may become worried when they are assigned an interpretative essay to submit. For many of them, especially those majoring in Literature or humanities, it may be an inescapable task. Still, not all students have to work on such kind of writing. If you study Literature or major in this subject, keep in mind that you may be assigned an interpretive essay anytime — whether during the introductory classes or even in advanced classes. 

Free Interpretive Paper Sample to Read

Download Interpretive PDF Sample

We fully realize how challenging and overwhelming this assignment can be — to interpret a work of literature written by another author. To cope with the assignment successfully, it is important to decide where to start, what aspects to focus on, what perspective to choose, etc. Still, with the help of custom writing service, even an interpretive essay can be an easy assignment. When you find yourself at a loss as to how to tackle the task, feel free to rely on our professional assistance. Once you choose us, you will never want to search for other custom writing services.

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