Practice General Test # 3 Analytical Writing Sample Essays and …

Practice General Test # 3 Analytical Writing Sample Essays and …

The following is a sample of the kind of analytical
essay you are being asked to write.

Although this essay ends up agreeing with the authors, one could have
a well-argued paper that disagrees with them.  In that case, one might
want to spend more time developing the objection, so as to ensure that
one is still being charitable.


  • Do not treat this as a cookie-cutter.  That is, do not
    try to copy the exact form of this sample, paragraph-for-paragraph. 
    The number of paragraphs that are necessary for summarizing the argument,
    or providing a criticism, or responding to that criticism (if appropriate)
    will vary from case to case.


  • Instead, you can use this as a sample of the style of paper you are being
    asked to write.  For example, once you have figured out what the key
    premises of the author�s argument are, you can communicate them discursively
    as I have done in this sample essay.
  • Note the use of topic sentences in the paragraphs.  This helps
    to focus the principle point of the paragraph.  Note that the conclusion
    is essentially a re-statement of the thesis, which is acceptable for a
    philosophy paper.

Having trouble cutting your paper to within 750 words (give or take)? 
Click to see the original version
of this paper which was about 150 words over limit.  It shows where
I cut, so you can have an idea of how to cut down your paper.

Student Name (Student Number)

Tutorial: D1.XX (Day, Time)

Tutorial Leader: TA�s name

Word Count: 754 (comes out to just under 3 pages, double-spaced)


Just Confessions

  Saul Kassin and Gisli Gudjonsson, in their article for Scientific
American Mind, �True Crimes, False Confessions,� argue that �society should
discuss the urgent need to reform practices that contribute to false confessions
and to require mandatory videotaping of all interviews and interrogations�
(2005, p. 26).  After analyzing their argument, I shall argue that,
although one might object that Kassin and Gudjonsson focus too heavily
on the importance of protecting criminal suspects, they provide a compelling
argument that social justice requires such reforms as mandatory video-tapping
of police interrogations.

In developing their case for the need to reform interrogation tactics,
Kassin and Gudjonsson survey a number of studies regarding the role of
confessions in criminal investigations.  For example, they are at
pains to provide evidence that interrogations are often influenced by a
bias on the part of the interrogator.  Further concern is found in
the fact that Miranda rights, as found in the American legal system, are
insufficient safeguards, given that suspects, especially innocent ones,
often waive those rights.  Finally, Kassin and Gudjonsson note that
aggressive interrogation tactics can often produce false confessions.

    What makes these findings most troubling, according
to Kassin and Gudjonsson, is the strong correlation between false confession
and wrongful conviction.  Trial jurors, we are told, are inclined
to give disproportionate weight to a confessions, even taking it to outweigh
so-called �hard evidence.�  As a characteristic example, Kassin and
Gudjonsson cite the case of Bruce Godschalk.  Even when DNA evidence
proved Godschalk could not have been the rapist, the District Attorney
of the case refused to release him from prison, stating that ��I trust
my detective and his tape-recorded evidence� (Kassin and Gudjonsson, 2005,
p. 28).  Because of this tendency on the part of jurors and prosecutors,
together with the facts listed above regarding the potential for unrestricted
interrogations to elicit false confessions,  Kassin and Gudjonsson
argue for the need to reform police interrogation tactics.

    Underlying their argument is the implicit moral
principle that social justice requires that we do everything we can to
minimize the potential to wrongly convict innocent persons.  This
may seem obvious, but one could reasonably question whether it puts too
much emphasis on protecting potentially innocent suspects and not enough
on convicting potentially guilty criminals.  In a perfectly just system,
criminals would always be brought to justice and treated appropriately,
and innocent suspects would always be exonerate.  However, any system
devised and implemented by humans must deal with the reality of imperfection.

    The difficult moral question we need to ask is how
we are to balance the needs of society to protect itself from criminals
while at the same time protecting the rights of innocent persons. 
We need to ask at what cost we are willing to limit the ability of police
and Crown prosecutors to prosecute criminal suspects.   Imagine,
for example, the following two systems: (1) Almost no innocent persons
are ever convicted, but a very high percentage of recidivist offenders
are able to escape conviction, (2) A very high percentage of offenders
are caught and brought to justice; however, a small but non-negligible
percentage (say 3%) of innocent persons are unjustly caught in the system
and thus wrongly punished for crimes they never committed.  Neither
of these is very palatable, but if forced to choose, my intuitions favor
result (2).  Of course, there are many variables at work here, and
I do not have the space to delve into a detailed discussion of all the
relevant trade-offs.  My basic point is that social justice requires
not only that we protect innocent individuals from prosecution, but that
we hold guilty persons accountable for their actions.

    While I think that this is a reasonable worry to
raise given the tenor of Kassin and Gudjonsson�s article, I do not think
it ultimately undermines their argument.  That is, I think one might
reasonably object that they are overly focused on the possibility of false
confessions without saying much about the utility of true confessions. 
However, their specific proposal that interrogations be video-taped does
not seem to diminish the ability of police to effectively interrogate suspects
and, when possible, to elicit a confession.  Indeed, they conclude
their essay by citing a study showing that police largely found the practice
of video-taping to be quite useful and not to inhibit criminal investigations.

So, even if one thinks that Kassin and Gudjonsson are a bit one-side
in focusing on false confessions, ultimately I think these authors provide
a compelling argument for the need for such reforms as mandatory video-taping
of police interrogations.



Kassin, Saul and Gudjonsson, Gisli (2005). �True Crimes, False Confessions,�
American Mind
, July, pp. 24-31.


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    Secrets of writing a successful analytical essay

    11 Nov 2016

    Somehow in the high school, your teacher stated something like an analytical essay, defined it as a type of writing that tries to analyze a text in an already established topic. This sounds like a perfect simplified mode of writing that just summarizes the events or characters but in practice, it can prove to be hectic. So, before learning how to write a good analytical essay, need have to have a clear understanding of what it actually is.

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    By definition, it’s an academic writing that separates the ideas and facts, gives the meaning to the facts to enable the reader to understand them easily. From this definition, it is very clear that it is not just a summary of the text, but an arrangement of how themes and characters align in a narrative. Analytical essay assists the reader to have a larger scope of understanding than it would be provided in a summary, as the facts are scrutinized and examined closely to portray the actual meaning of the text in a broader clearer picture.

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    How to write a good analytical essay

    Writing a successful paper is not as automatic as you might think, thus, it requires some critical considerations. Remember that every word appealing and also helpful to the reader. The first genuine step is by studying examples of analytical essays considered successful.

    This step sets a clear understanding of how to arrange the ideas and facts, and how to present them in the analysis. Of course, you are not confined to write exactly the way other samples outline, but it a great way to kick start your learning process.

    Once an idea has been incepted in your memory, scrutinize the topics to have a clear understanding of the facts at hand.

    Proper formatting

    There are several writing outlines but generally, three general parts namely the Introduction, the Body and the Conclusion incorporated in every essay. The three make the general format of an essay.

    The introduction

    Plays an integral part of the overall writing. The first sentence should be interesting and attractive to the reader so that it can instill a motivation to continue studying the analysis. There are several options available to kick start your creative writing like making a compromising statement, giving interesting breathtaking facts or even asking a rhetorical question. This style draws the inspiration and the reader cannot wait to see the content in the whole review. After this, create a proper thesis statement that now introduces the reader to the main subject as it is.

    The last bit is the proof of how you the thesis statement are supported throughout your analysis. It is from the introduction where you develop a list of ideas and topics to be included in the body.

    The body

    – is the PowerPoint of the entire writing so creativity should be portrayed at its best here. Typically, the body should not have less than three paragraphs depending on the topic under scrutiny but a writer can incorporate as many as deemed fit with his work.

    The essay structure of the body mainly involves a topic sentence, a claim and the evidence. This is the general template of an analytical essay. The topic sentence introduces the reader on what the paragraph entails. The claim narrows down on more specific details concerning the topic sentence. And finally, the evidence section supports the claim. The three should allow the reader to understand the topic under consideration leaving no loopholes along. The evidence should directly relate to the claim to give a good flow of ideas in the topic.


    It is a summary of your essay stating your main points indirectly.

    This is the finishing point of any paper . This section should be literary good to prompt the reader to go over the topic again and again to probably get some facts right about a misunderstood section. It’s a point of reference and review . The reader can use it as a guide to refer back to the topics discussed. It is better if the conclusion can leave the reader satisfied and contented with the facts and evidences outlined on the essay.

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    It is important

    From the above points, analytical essay writing follows the outlined general structure. It is the effort of the writer to make it as persuasive as possible so as to accomplish the intended purpose in its meaning. It is important to review the whole work after done writing to see and improve on the ideas outlined in the whole statement.

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    Expert Reviewed

    How to Write an Analytical Essay

    Three Parts: Prewriting for Your Essay Writing Your Essay Finalizing Your Essay Community Q&A

    Writing an analytical essay can seem daunting, especially if you’ve never done it before. Don’t worry! Take a deep breath, buy yourself a caffeinated beverage, and follow these steps to create a well-crafted analytical essay.


    Part 1

    Prewriting for Your Essay

    1. Image titled Write an Analytical Essay Step 1

      Understand the objective of an analytical essay. An analytical essay means you will need to present some type of argument, or claim, about what you are analyzing. Most often you will have to analyze another piece of writing or a film, but you could also be asked to analyze an issue, or an idea. To do this, you must break the topic down into parts and provide evidence, either from the text/film or from your own research, that supports your claim. [1]

      • For example, “Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining uses a repeating motif of Native American culture and art to comment on America’s history of colonizing Native Americans’ lands” is an analytical thesis. It is analyzing a particular text and setting forth an argument about it in the form of a thesis statement.
    2. Image titled Write an Analytical Essay Step 2

      Decide what to write about. If you are writing this for a class, your teacher will generally assign you a topic (or topics) to write about. Read the prompt carefully. What is the prompt asking you to do? However, sometimes you will have to come up with your own topic.

      • If you’re writing an analytical essay about a work of fiction, you could focus your argument on what motivates a specific character or group of characters. Or, you could argue why a certain line or paragraph is central to the work as a whole. For example: Explore the concept of vengeance in the epic poem Beowulf.
      • If you’re writing about a historical event, try focusing on the forces that contributed to what happened.
      • If you’re writing about scientific research or findings, follow the scientific method to analyze your results.
    3. Image titled Write an Analytical Essay Step 3

      Brainstorm. You may not immediately know what your thesis statement should be, even once you’ve chosen your topic. That’s okay! Doing some brainstorming can help you discover what you think about your topic. Consider it from as many angles as you can. [2]

      • Look for repeated imagery, metaphors, phrases, or ideas. Things that repeat are often important. See if you can decipher why these things are so crucial. Do they repeat in the same way each time, or differently?
      • How does the text work? If you’re writing a rhetorical analysis, for example, you might analyze how the author uses logical appeals to support her argument and decide whether you think the argument is effective. If you’re analyzing a creative work, consider things like imagery, visuals in a film, etc. If you’re analyzing research, you may want to consider the methods and results and analyze whether the experiment is a good design.
      • A mind map can be helpful to some people. Start with your central topic, and arrange smaller ideas around it in bubbles. Connect the bubbles to identify patterns and how things are related. [3]
      • Good brainstorming can be all over the place. In fact, that can be a good way to start off! Don’t discount any ideas just yet. Write down any element or fact that you think of as you examine your topic.
    4. Image titled Write an Analytical Essay Step 4

      Come up with a thesis statement . The thesis statement is a sentence or two that summarizes the claim you will make in your paper. It tells the reader what your essay will be about.

      Don’t: write a vague or obvious thesis such as “Revenge is a central theme in Beowulf.”
      Do: make a specific argument such as “Beowulf explores different styles of vengeance in the Anglo-Saxon age, contrasting the dragon’s honorable retribution with the response of Grendel’s mother.”
      • This is an analytical thesis because it examines a text and makes a particular claim.
      • The claim is “arguable,” meaning it’s not a statement of pure fact that nobody could contest. An analytical essay takes a side and makes an argument.
      • Make sure your thesis is narrow enough to fit the scope of your assignment. “Revenge in Beowulf could be a PhD dissertation, it’s so broad. It’s probably much too big for a student essay. However, arguing that one character’s revenge is more honorable than another’s is manageable within a shorter student essay. [4]
      • Unless instructed to write one, avoid the “three-prong” thesis that presents three points to be discussed later. These thesis statements usually limit your analysis too much and give your argument a formulaic feel. It’s okay to state generally what your argument will be.
    5. Image titled Write an Analytical Essay Step 5

      Find supporting evidence. Depending on your assignment, you may need to work only with your primary sources (the text or texts you’re analyzing) or with primary and secondary sources, such as other books or journal articles. The assignment should tell you what types of sources are required. Good evidence supports your claim and makes your argument more convincing. List out the supporting evidence, noting where you found it, and how it supports your claim. [5] [6]

      • Example of supporting evidence: To support a claim that the dragon’s vengeance was more righteous than Grendel’s mother’s, look at the passages in the poem that discuss the events leading up to each monster’s attack, the attacks themselves, as well as the reactions to those attacks.

        Don’t: ignore or twist evidence to fit your thesis.
        Do: adjust your thesis to a more nuanced position as you learn more about the topic.
    6. Image titled Write an Analytical Essay Step 6

      Make an outline. An outline will help structure your essay and make writing it easier. Be sure that you understand how long your essay needs to be. While some teachers are fine with the standard “5 paragraph essay” (introduction, 3 body paragraphs, conclusion), many teachers prefer essays to be longer and explore topics more in-depth. Structure your outline accordingly.

      • If you’re not quite sure how all your evidence fits together, don’t worry! Making an outline can help you figure out how your argument should progress.
      • You can also make a more informal outline that groups your ideas together in large groups. From there, you can decide what to talk about where.
      • Your essay will be as long as it needs to be to adequately discuss your topic. A common mistake students make is to choose a large topic and then allow only 3 body paragraphs to discuss it. This makes essays feel shallow or rushed. Don’t be afraid to spend enough time discussing each detail!

    Part 2

    Writing Your Essay

    1. Image titled Write an Analytical Essay Step 7

      Write your introduction. Your introduction should give your reader background information about your topic. Try to make your introduction engaging but not too overzealous. Avoid summarizing the prompt–it’s best to simply state your argument. Also avoid dramatic introductions (beginning an essay with a question or exclamation is generally best to avoid). In general, do not use the first (I) or second (you) person in your essay. State your thesis, generally as the last sentence in the first paragraph.

      • Example introduction: Revenge was a legally recognized right in ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. The many revenges in the epic poem Beowulf show that retribution was an essential part of the Anglo-Saxon age. However, not all revenges are created alike. The poet’s portrayal of these revenges suggests that the dragon was more honorable in his act of revenge than Grendel’s mother.
      • This introduction gives your readers information they should know to understand your argument, and then presents an argument about the complexity of a general topic (revenge) in the poem. This type of argument can be interesting because it suggests that the reader needs to think about the text very carefully and not take it at face value.
        Don’t: include filler and fluff sentences beginning with “In modern society” or “Throughout time.”
        Do: briefly mention the title, author, and publication date of the text you’re analyzing.
    2. Image titled Write an Analytical Essay Step 8

      Write your body paragraphs. Each body paragraph should have 1) a topic sentence, 2) an analysis of some part of the text and 3) evidence from the text that supports your analysis and your thesis statement. A topic sentence tells the reader what the body paragraph will be about. The analysis of the text is where you make your argument. The evidence you provide supports your argument. Remember that each claim you make should support your thesis. [7]

      • Example topic sentence: The key to differentiating between the two attacks is the notion of excessive retribution.
      • Example analysis: Grendel’s mother does not simply want vengeance, as per the Medieval concept of ‘an eye for an eye.’ Instead, she wants to take a life for a life while also throwing Hrothgar’s kingdom into chaos.
      • Example evidence: Instead of simply killing Aeschere, and thus enacting just revenge, she “quickly [snatches] up” that nobleman and, with him “tight in her clutches,” she leaves for the fen (1294). She does this to lure Beowulf away from Heorot so she can kill him as well.
      • The formula “CEE” may help you remember: Claim-Evidence-Explanation. Whenever you present a claim, make sure you present evidence to support that claim and explain how the evidence relates to your claim.
    3. Image titled Write an Analytical Essay Step 9

      Know when to quote or paraphrase. Quoting means that you take the exact text and, placing it in quotation marks, insert it into your essay. Quoting is good when you use the precise wording of something to support your claim. Make sure that you use the correct form of quotation, depending on if you are using MLA, APA or Chicago style. Paraphrasing, on the other hand, is when you summarize the text. Paraphrasing can be used to give background or compress a lot of details into a short space. It can be good if you have a lot of information or would need to quote a huge portion of text to convey something. [8]

      Don’t: quote from more than two passages per paragraph, as a rule of thumb.
      Do: support all subtle or controversial claims with quotes or paraphrasing.
      • Example of a quote: Instead of simply killing Aeschere, and thus enacting just revenge, she “quickly [snatches] up” that nobleman and, with him “tight in her clutches,” she leaves for the fen (1294).
      • Example of a paraphrased sentence: The female Grendel enters Heorot, snatches up one of the men sleeping inside it, and runs away to the fen (1294).
    4. Image titled Write an Analytical Essay Step 10

      Write your conclusion. Your conclusion is where you remind your reader of how you supported your argument. Some teachers also want you to make a broader connection in your conclusion. This means that they want you to make a ‘bigger world connection’. This could mean stating how your argument affects other claims about the text, or how your claim could change the view of someone reading the text you analyzed.

      Don’t: introduce a completely new argument in your conclusion.
      Do: expand beyond your thesis statement by discussing its implications or wider context.
      • Example conclusion: The concept of an ‘eye for an eye’ was very present in the early Medieval world. However, by comparing the attacks of both Grendel’s mother and the dragon, the medieval world’s perception of righteous vengeance versus unjust revenge is made clear. While the dragon acts out in the only way he knows how, Grendel’s mother attacks with evil intent.
      • Example conclusion with a ‘bigger world connection’: The concept of an ‘eye for an eye’ was very present in the early Medieval world. However, by comparing the attacks of both Grendel’s mother and the dragon, the medieval world’s perception of righteous vengeance versus unjust revenge is made clear. While the dragon acts out in the only way he knows how, Grendel’s mother attacks with evil intent. As we saw from the study of other characters, these portrayals may tie into an early Medieval perception that women had greater potential for evil.

    Part 3

    Finalizing Your Essay

    1. Image titled Write an Analytical Essay Step 11

      Proofread your essay for spelling or grammar mistakes. A paper that contains many mistakes generally gets a lower grade than one that has been proofread and polished. Run a spell check, look for run-on sentences, and check for punctuation errors.

      • Make sure to also format your essay correctly. For example, using a 12-pt standard font (like Arial or Times New Roman) and 1″ margins is standard.
    2. Image titled Write an Analytical Essay Step 12

      Read your paper out loud. Reading out loud helps you to find places in the essay that might sound awkward. This is also a great way to find run-on sentences that you might not have noticed before.

    3. Image titled Write an Analytical Essay Step 13

      Make sure that all characters, titles, places, etc. are spelled correctly. Teachers will often mark you down if the name of a main character is spelled incorrectly throughout your paper. Go back to the text or article and confirm that your spelling is correct.

      • If you are analyzing a film, look up the list of characters online. Check two or three sources to make sure that you have the correct spelling.
    4. Image titled Write an Analytical Essay Step 14

      Read your paper as if you were your teacher. Do you get your point across clearly? Is the structure of your essay easy to understand? Does your paper explain why the topic matters?

    5. Image titled Write an Analytical Essay Step 15

      Ask someone else to read your paper. Is there anything they think you should add or remove? Do they understand the point you are trying to make?

    Community Q&A


    Add New Question

    • Question
      What would be a good topic to assign for writing an essay about the movie “Inside Out”?
      wikiHow Contributor
      Community Answer

      Sadness is vital to our well-being. Early in the film, Joy admits that she doesn’t understand what Sadness is for or why it’s in Riley’s head. She’s not alone; at one time or another, many of us have probably wondered what purpose sadness serves in our lives. That’s why we love that Sadness rather than Joy emerges as the hero of the movie. Why? Because Sadness connects deeply with people—a critical component of happiness—and helps Riley do the same.

      Not Helpful 5
      Helpful 26

    • Question
      How long should the essay be?
      wikiHow Contributor
      Community Answer

      It depends. If it’s for school or work, there will be a length requirement. If not, the length is up to you.

      Not Helpful 11
      Helpful 16

    • Question
      How would I write an analytical essay on The Lion King?
      wikiHow Contributor
      Community Answer

      Read the book and watch the movie. State the small (but necessary) details and their effects on the whole story. Analyze the tone and the message of the author and/or the characters and try to tell what kind of people they mirror today. Also, state some differences and similarities of both the book and movie version.

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    • Question
      How do I know if I should add works cited? Should I always add it just to be on the safe side? What is the rule of thumb for adding works cited?
      wikiHow Contributor
      Community Answer

      Always add works cited. It is more professional and official to ensure all sources in your text are cited appropriately.

      Not Helpful 1
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    • Question
      How do I pick a good a title for my analytical essay?
      wikiHow Contributor
      Community Answer

      Think about the main idea of your essay. What’s the point of your essay? Name it.

      Not Helpful 10
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      Quick Summary

      To write an analytical essay, first write an introduction that gives your reader background information and introduces your thesis. Then, write body paragraphs in support of your thesis that include a topic sentence, an analysis of some part of the text, and evidence from the text that supports your analysis. You can use direct quotes from the text that support your point of view or paraphrase if you’re trying to summarize information. Finally, complete your essay with a conclusion that reiterates your thesis and your primary support for it.

      Did this summary help you?


      • Ask yourself “What am I trying to prove?” The answer should be in your thesis. If not, go back and fix it.
      • If you are writing a formal analysis or critique, then avoid using colloquial writing . Though informal language may bring some color to a paper, you do not want to risk weakening your argument by influencing it with verbal slang.
      • Avoid being too vague. Vagueness leaves room for misinterpretation and in a coherent, analytical essay, leaving room for misinterpretation decreases the effectiveness of your argument.

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      Article Info

      Categories: Essays

      In other languages:

      Français:  rédiger une dissertation , Italiano:  Scrivere un Saggio Analitico , Español:  escribir un ensayo analítico , Português:  Escrever um Ensaio Analítico , Deutsch:  Eingewachsene Haare (Rasieren) , 中文:  写说明性论文 , Русский:  написать аналитическое эссе , Čeština:  Jak napsat analytickou esej , Bahasa Indonesia:  Menulis Esai Analisis , Nederlands:  Een analytisch essay schrijven , Tiếng Việt:  Viết một Bài văn Phân tích , العربية:  كتابة مقال تحليلي , 한국어:  분석하는 글 작성법

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      Expert Review By:


      Megan Morgan
      Ph.D. in English

      This version of How to Write an Analytical Essay was reviewed by Megan Morgan on June 8, 2015.

      Co-authors: 89
      Views: 1,767,561

      80% of readers found this article helpful.

      98 votes – 80%

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      Josh Blair

      Aug 24

      “This helped me to write a good essay!”
      Rated this article:


      Janet Winston

      Dec 11, 2016

      “Part 1, step 4, which gave good and bad examples of thesis statements and explanations for each, was excellent. It helped me to write a powerful thesis statement for my paper on suffrage and slavery.”…” more


      Tahlia M.

      Feb 23, 2017

      “This article is extremely helpful for me. I return each time I have to write an analytical, guides you through each step of writing and assists in writing the best essay possible.”…” more


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