How to analyze a literary text

Conducting a textual analysis, or a literary commentary as this type of work is also called, is not a simple matter. It requires prior knowledge and the application of a series of concrete steps in regard to the context, its author, structure and form. For these reasons, from .com we explain how to analyze a literary text . Based on the advice we provide, it will be much easier for you to successfully complete one.


Every literary text is ascribed to a moment of concrete elaboration. This context can become a literary movement, with specific features and characteristics, or belong to the individual universe of the author.

In both cases you must verify the particularities of the historical moment in which the text was drawn up, as well as the influences that are found in that period.


There is a good number of anonymous literary works but most of them are limited to a specific author. That is why when analyzing a literary text or extract of one of his works, you will have to verify the biographical aspects of the person responsible for said text.

These components are not limited to you citing their place of birth and personal journey, but to construct the marks of that life that are present in the text, and do it explaining concrete examples.


Every literary work revolves around a main theme from which other categories are derived. It is essential that from the first moment you mark the topic that analyzes the text and signals which are the resources that you use to analyze it.

In the same way, it is also good to explain the remaining thematic categories of the work and the interconnections that exist between them with respect to the central theme.


Next, you should consider what type of structure the text reproduces. Several aspects come into play here. Among them the plot of the work, which you must explain in detail, the parts in which the story is divided, the time, the space, the mode and the narrative voice in which it is presented.

Of all the elements mentioned, it is essential that you determine the causalities that are established in it, which arise from the relationship between time and space. For this, we advise you to first stop to study the order, the duration and the temporal repetitions that are shown in the text, and then, what role the space plays in them.

Formal aspects

Rhetoric is an essential component of every literary text, which is why it is important that you know the stylistic figures that are part of it. They range from metaphors to personifications, going through hyperbole or hyperbole.