Literature Essay Topics For High School: Finding Fresh Ones

A literature essay is one where the writer analyzes a certain part of the work to show what they learned from the book or how the author did certain things in the book to convey his or her ideas to the reader.  Since literature essays have been written on the same books over and over again it can be hard to find a fresh topic to do your essay on.  

If you have the chance to choose your own topic for this kind of essay, you can start to find fresh ideas by reading the other ideas that other students have done on the subject.  The best thing to do is to do a Google search of the book essays that are available online and read them over to see what others did and to give you ideas on what you might want to do your topic on.  I’m going to give you some general ideas that you can use to come up with fresh ideas for you topic.  

General Literature Essay Topics


  • Gender Roles In The Novel:  Since most books that you read are from different times periods, you can examine how men and woman had different gender roles in different time periods.  You can examine their rights and how they handle themselves in that time period.
  • Genre Comparison:  If you can do a general literature essay, you can compare and contrast the different literary genres.  Here you can examine how each is written and how each one of them is different then the other.
  • The Author’s Background:  The way an author grew up or what time period they lived in can shape the kind of work that they write.   Examining this can give you insight on who the author is and why they write the way that they do.
  • Politics:  Novels like Uncle Tom’s Cabin and other books like this touch base on things like discrimination, rights, and equality.  If the book you have to do your essay on has themes like this, you can do an essay on this kind of issue.
  • Religion:  If your book has religious themes in it you can focus your essay on that aspect in your essay.
  • Compare Two Characters:  Comparing two characters in an essay shows the reader the difference between the character and how they helped shape the story.  A Separate Peace is a good example of two totally different characters that became best friends, Gene and Finny.  Though best friends, they had different personalities and didn’t always see eye to eye.

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