Maybe you’re looking for inspiration, guidance, or a reflection of your own life.
There are as many different, valid ways of reading a book as there are books in the world.
Don’t worry if you don’t know what you want to say yet—right now you’re just collecting ideas and material and letting it all percolate.
Keep track of passages, symbols, images, or scenes that deal with your topic.
If you can find a way to explain a work’s contradictory elements, you’ve got the seeds of a great essay.
At this point, you don’t need to know exactly what you’re going to say about your topic; you just need a place to begin your exploration.
A literary essay also isn’t like the kind of book report you wrote when you were younger, where your teacher wanted you to summarize the book’s action.
A high school- or college-level literary essay asks, “How does this piece of literature actually work? ” and, “Why might the author have made the choices he or she did?
When you read for pleasure, your only goal is enjoyment.
You might find yourself reading to get caught up in an exciting story, to learn about an interesting time or place, or just to pass time.