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How to Write an Essay on a Book: Study Guidelines

For most of your life now you have simply been asked to read a specific book and hand in a book report. It all starts in the lower grades when they have you use a cereal box to make a book report project. You glue on all of the relevant information such as the summary, theme of the book, plot and characters. You glue everything on different parts of the box and hand it in. then you get to real book reports that include all of those things but in a written format instead of a project. Now they want you to write an in depth essay on the book. So as an essay, what changes? What do you need to study now that you didn’t before? Here are some book essay study tips.

What to pay attention to

  • The plot
  • The moral of the story
  • Any symbolism

The plot

The plot of the story is still very important to an essay just like it was to a simple book report. The plot of the story should be included much like your summary in your previous book reports. The difference is that an essay requires better grammar and deeper thought. Don’t just tell them what happened but include why and what motivations were. Study up and make notes on these things as you read to help you later.

The moral of the story

Every book has some kind of lessen hidden inside of it. The storyteller is teaching you something about life whether they mean to or not. Look at Moby Dick for example. The moral of the story was that nothing good comes of being consumed by obsession. Other stories will make different points.

Symbolism

While reading, make note of anything that seems to have a deeper meaning. If a character has a dream, write it down to look for the hidden symbolism. Colors and words can be used symbolically as well so look out for it while you read. In Moby Dick some say that the whale symbolized evil and the chase symbolized the pursuit of evil. Others say that it symbolized a man’s need to find his own inner strength or power.

All through your life a book report will be pretty much the same. The difference is because they grow with you. All of your life, every grade will expect more of you than the last. You have to be up to the challenge and constantly raise the bar.