How can I successfully structure an English Literature essay?

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The easiest and most straightforward structural method for an English Literature essay is to use the P.E.E. (Point/Evidence/Explanation) method throughout the body paragraphs.

This is especially useful when trying to combat the difficult job of inputting quotations and textual analysis whilst trying to maintain a strong writing style and produce a piece of work that reads fluidly. 

A body paragraph should always begin with a strong opening sentence, containing a summary of the paragraph so that if the reader were just to skim through they would be able to tell you the main points within your essay - this is the 'point' of the P.E.E.

The 'evidence' portion of the paragraph concerns the quotation(s) which act to back up the point made within your opening sentence. Is it essential to try to input these quotations in a way in which it seems they fit perfectly were you to read the sentence aloud, so doing that may help to achieve this in terms of writing style. 

The final portion of your body paragraph should contain the 'explanation' in relation to the first two areas you have already covered. It should be the way in which you use your own thoughts and knowledge to bond your point and the evidence you have to confirm it in a way that links back to your essay title and therefore aids the reaching of a conclusion.

It is also important within any essay to include a strong introduction in which you clearly state your position and argument in relation to your given question/statement and a conclusion which concisely acts to link all the points within your essay and show a thorough understanding of the question/statement given. 

Perhaps the key thing to remember when structuring an essay (especially in an exam) is to read and re-read the question, and to ALWAYS make sure you actually answer it! 

Grace W. GCSE English Literature tutor, GCSE History tutor

About the author

is an online GCSE English Literature tutor with MyTutor studying at Exeter University

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