This handout is a step-by-step guide to help students revise literary analysis papers in which they argue a thesis based on close reading of a text.
The idea behind this handout is that all writing is, to some extent, writing to learn. Writers should have a general idea of what they want to say when they start writing, but they will never truly clarify their ideas until they write through them.
Therefore, the conclusion is often the strongest part of a paper. If students have done their work—analyzing, unpacking, working to explain and understand the text—then by the time they get to their conclusion, they finally understand their ideas.
But often, once they understand their ideas, they then need to cut the parts of their paper that are no longer relevant and add evidence that is now missing.
Simply instructing them to revise is not especially helpful, but giving them concrete steps to follow makes the process both less intimidating and more productive.