How to Write an Interpretive Essay Properly

When you get an interpretive essay as a writing task, you might feel rather overwhelmed. Yes, this kind of writing requires from you not only excellent writing skills or rather a writing talent but something else. You need to know which literary means exist and how they are used. It is good if you know some more opinions about the work.

So, how to write an interpretive essay? How to preserve its main features and follow all the necessary rules? What should you include in the interpretive analysis essay and what should you leave out? Which literary means are worth describing and which aren’t worth your attention? Everything depends on the topic. Hence, you should select it depending on the situation and the requirements.

What Is an Interpretive Essay — Clear Definition

When we speak about the interpretive essay definition, everything seems to be very simple. An interpretive essay is an essay where you analyze another literary work, another written piece. What are you going to analyze? That depends only on you. If your task is to analyze the symbols present in work, then, you look for them and check how they are expressed and what they mean.

If your task is to analyze the feelings and emotions of the characters, you search for their signs and their ways of expression. And so on. Just make sure you are writing a paper that complies with requirements and has some relation to the topic you have selected.

But before writing, check any crucial sources that are available: in a local library or online or wherever you can find them. What do other people tell about the work that you are going to analyze? Do you agree or disagree with their opinions? Even if you believe you can do everything on your own, checking other ideas is very useful.

Then, make a plan. Write each point with as many details as you can. Write down ideas that you are going to use. What about making transitions from one idea to another, at the planning stage? After you are ready with it, you can move to the writing stage.

Interpretive Essay Introduction: Hook the Reader

An interpretive essay introduction offers you plenty of options to hook the reader`s attention.

Prominent writers advice to write:

  • A personal story.
  • A funny story happened to your friend.
  • A story from a book.
  • Your interpretation of a story.
  • A story concerning social problems.

The main task is to make your reader super interested in your paper. And interpretive essay allows plenty of options to do it.

Interpretive Essay Body: Ideas and Suggestions

Now, the time came to explain all your ideas regarding the literary work you are writing about. Here, in the interpretive essay body, you can give your ideas and substantiate them with the opinions of other people. If those are the opinions of specialists, it is better, however, if those are just the opinions of your group-mates, it is okay, as well. Are there any contrasting ideas? Which of them is, in your opinion, correct? Why do you believe so? An interpretive argument essay is based on such discussions.

Interpretive Essay Conclusion: Sum It Up

Here, in the interpretive essay conclusion, you provide the summary of your paper. As well, here, you give the conclusions, to which you came. How to write a conclusion for an interpretive essay? Come on, and there is nothing complicated here if you have already managed the entire paper. Indicate which ideas were right, with which of them you don’t agree, and make conclusions about the literary work.

Interpretive Essay Outline Points

So, as you can see, there is nothing special in the outline of an interpretive essay. Like any other paper, it consists of three parts:

  • An introduction with a thesis statement.
  • The main part consisting of at least three paragraphs.
  • A conclusion where you restate your main idea and answer the central question.

However, those parts can be written in plenty of ways. You can use any writing style and writing method. You can analyze any aspect of the literary work. The interpretive essay format allows it.

After you have completed your writing, proofread your paper. It is better if you read it several times. One time you, for example, should check if the sentences are easy to read and if the structure is logical. Then, check your assignment for major errors. Finally, read it once more: pay attention to the spelling of each word. After that, you can submit your paper.


So, now, you can write an interpretive essay on any literary work. Just make sure you read the work, read the opinions of experts about it and make sure that you understand the topic. As well, check, if you need, any and which literary means. They might be helpful while analyzing the work, and well, if you use them, you will definitely impress your teacher.