How to Write a Close Reading Essay in a Proper Way

When you get a close reading essay as a writing assignment, you might have mixed feelings. This kind of essay is both interesting and challenging. You have an opportunity to show your knowledge and a sharp mind as well as to show your complete negligence of the subject.

What Is a Close Reading Essay: Definition and General Information

But first of all, let`s see what is a close reading essay. As you can guess from the essay kind, it is connected with reading. Actually, it is an essay about any literary work, but with a very deep analysis of the work. So, the paper task is to show even the smallest details that indicate the features of the characters, time, and so on.

How to Write a Close Reading Essay: General Guide

For example, if you are going to write about a story that you like, you need not only to check the plot and how it reflects a social condition or something else but analyze every word.

For example, what can you tell about the character if he uses official language in an everyday conversation?

Sometimes, you might get an impression that you are moving too deep. However, this is the idea of how to write a close reading essay. So, it means if you get that feeling, you are moving in the right direction. Don’t be afraid to overanalyze, and this is the primary target of a close reading essay.

Close Reading Essay Structure: Just Use the Standard One

The close reading essay structure is the same as of any other paper. You don’t need to invent anything new. All parts have been established long ago, and it is not your task to change them. However, the content is only up to you. So, the close reading essay outline is the following:

  • Introduction, where you explain why you have selected the topic.
  • The central part, where you analyze the parts that have touched you.
  • Conclusion, where you give the general impression from the literary work and give the summary of all that has been written in the introduction and the main part.

How to Write an Introduction

The close reading essay introduction should be really extraordinary. You know, there are so many papers that analyze literary works that you need to invent something extraordinary to make your reader want to read it. What about some story from your life? And think how it might be connected with the literary work? Or maybe the literary work, or some characters of it, have influenced you in some way?

Just write something very special. If you know a joke that you could fit in the introduction, do it. If you have an important question that bothers you, ask it. Make your reader understand that this task isn’t something ordinary to you. If you manage to do it, half of the work is done.

Writing the Main Part or Details Are Important

In the main part, you analyze the literary work. Make sure you don’t mention only linguistics, grammatical and lexical means that the author uses. Show why the author uses one or another expression or word, or why he writes in one style or another.

And remember that in such cases, a wrong opinion doesn’t exist. You can write whatever you feel about the work. That is the process of writing close reading essay. Just make sure you have mentioned the most important and emotional cases for you. Then, you will be able to prove whatever you want.

How to Write a Conclusion for a Close Reading Essay

Actually, you follow common rules for your essay conclusion. Just sum up everything. Give your conclusions, impressions, feelings and explain their reasons. And that’s it. Note, please, that your ideas might be different from the ideas of your teacher, but this is absolutely okay.

Close Reading Essay Outline: Summary

So, as you can see, there is nothing special in a close reading essay outline. It is the same as the outline for any other kind of paper. But in your essay, you are free to tell about all your impressions and feelings regarding the literary work. Anything is fine, even if your teacher might not agree with your conclusions.


Those students who like reading and have a sharp critical way of thinking can write a great close reading essay. You should be able to see the feelings and emotions behind each word and to understand that usually, each word means something.