For Students – Textual Analysis

A textual analysis is, simply put, an analysis of a single text. However, the phrase, textual analysis, is a bit too self-evident, and sometimes results in confusing students. For help, students should consider expanding their definition of the word text. For example, a text can be a book, poem, or essay, but it can also be a song, television show, film, ancient artifact, painting, or fashion accessory, among other things. Moreover, a textual analysis can function as a kind of bridge to more formal research as the assignment often exposes a writer’s larger research interests, or otherwise grants students access a wider range of subjects.


  • What criteria do these writers use to craft their evaluations and analyses?
  • How convincing is the evidence they use to support their claims? Where do you see the writers’ own opinions and judgments come into play?
  • Identify each writer’s thesis statement. How are these thesis statements supported?
  • Comment on each writer’s ethos (credibility), pathos (appeals to emotion), and logos (use of evidence/facts). How do these writers achieve credibility and use pathos/logos to develop their claims?

Consult the Purdue OWL for a presentation on writing literary analysis. (Important: If you use this or any other Purdue OWL resource, you must attribute the source).