How to Write a Good Textual Analysis Essay: Example and Tips
Textual analysis is a way of interpreting how humans make sense of the world around them, usually, by collecting information on them. The methodology of textual analysis features the gathering of large amounts of data on different cultures, processing this data in order to facilitate understanding. Textual analysis is the most generally used by researchers or professors in cultural and social sciences to understand how cultures and subcultures understand who they are and define themselves in terms of their identity.
A textual analysis follows an analysis of text's pieces - when we analyze a section of a text we can get a lot of ideas about how it was written, why it was written and what kind of person wrote it. If you try and interpret a text you can, probably, make a guess who wrote it, for example, if it contains short sentences about a pet cat, it was probably written by a child in kindergarten. This kind of logic is used in a textual analysis. A wide range of texts from magazines, blogs, letters, and advertisements are interpreted to get an idea of the culture surrounding them and to understand the world around the writers at that particular time. Understanding how different people view the world and making sense of another culture, we can improve our own culture and change things for the better - this is why its use is so important.
When you think of the word “text” in textual analysis, this doesn’t always mean a series of words in the traditional sense. In textual analysis, a text is an interpretation of something’s meaning, for instance, a film, a T-shirt or a piece of clothing can all be treated as a text because we draw meaning from these things. There is no real word other than “text” to describe this concept in the English language.
Even though this textual analysis is quite an interpretive and complex task, the basics are still trying to be employed in schools and even in secondary level education, it is common to see textual analysis based tasks feature throughout the curriculum. Many subjects that are related to sociology, communication or social science can involve a lot of textual analysis tasks. If you wish to progress in the field of humanities, it will be important to develop good textual analysis skills. Understanding your field is one thing, but knowing how to explain the meaning of what has been written about or conveyed in your field is another more important thing. You can really understand your subject better if you can comprehend and convey just how something’s meaning can be interpreted. The textual analysis can help you read between the lines and discover what is there amid the literal content.
There are many different ways to interpret a meaning within a text. Methodologies can, actually, change depending on what text you’re trying to analyze. For instance, if your text is more of a physical article, such as a piece of clothing, but in most cases, the textual analysis will feature some form of written text analysis, so we can consider that here. Let’s look how you can approach a piece of written text and make a good textual analysis on it. Here are some helpful tips you need when writing your essay
1. Read and re-read
The most important thing towards good textual analysis is understanding of your text in depth, so once you’ve read your text, read it again. When you’re re-reading, you can think a little deeper about what kind of meaning you can draw from it because you’ve already grasped the comprehension beforehand. It’s important that you don’t go too deep into understanding every element of text - this step will come later. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with particular arguments and concepts of the text before you can work your way into a deeper analysis.
2. More Detail
When you’re fully familiar with your piece of text, you can proceed with a more detailed reading. In your textual analysis, you will want to draw upon whatever you’ve discovered as you’ve read your text for the second time. Underline ideas and chunks to help you formulate a deeper knowing. It’s important to think all the time about how this text can be interpreted not only by you but by others too.
3. A Catchy Title
Your text needs the title that encapsulates precisely what you’ve drawn upon from your analysis. This will give a reader an exact understanding of what’s to come. With an in-depth textual analysis, you’ll want to remove any ambiguity as soon as possible not to confuse your audience. Under your title you can even list some key ideas as subheadings, naming the discipline or, perhaps, the name of the text assessed.
Make a textual analysis draft in order to keep things organized and help you formulate ideas. If you don’t have a draft, you can find yourself repeating your points over and over. A good draft goes a long way in any textual analysis.
5. Some Extra Research
Make sure that you find out as much information as possible regarding the background of your work. The key to an in-depth analysis is to understand the mind of the author - did something in the author’s life have a significant impact on his work? It’s highly likely that culture surrounding authors leads to their perception and execution of their writing.
6. Ask Further Questions
A good way to improve your analysis is to consider how this text assumes and what other people’s assumptions of this text will be. What issues are raised and what is left unchallenged? There must be something that the author of the text thinks is worth to be known. How does the reader convey their message to you?
7. Look At Other Work
Your understanding of the text you're analyzing can be greatly intensified if you consider some other pieces of work from the author. If your author is an iconic one, read around to see what else they’ve written to get an idea and feel their style. Is there consistency with their style?
Citing examples is a key to honing in your analysis. It’s good to write an opinion or commentary, but whatever you have to say needs to be backed up with examples, otherwise, it’s hardly going to be a robust analysis. The audience needs to understand the reasons for analyses and without examples; there really isn’t much that can be said.
Whatever analyses you have made about your chosen text, everything needs to come together in the end. The conclusion is the place to wrap up everything you’ve made in a clear and succinct manner - this is, certainly, not the place to start adding any new information. Writing a solid conclusion will allow your textual analysis to flow smoothly as the reader works their way through the structure. Your conclusion should incorporate your thesis statement
and all the ideas within it. It’s important that you can relay back to your thesis statement in order to prove to the reader that you have, in fact, set out what you’ve aimed to do.
With any textual analysis, you’ll discover just how much a piece of text (if you’re analyzing words) can communicate. Every text can be put under intense scrutiny and deep analysis, from a short blog post to a long and drawn out novel - each author has a true identity that comes across in their text, this identity having been shaped over time by the culture surrounding them.