Writing about Literature
Paraphrase, Summary, Description
Before turning to the essay, let’s briefly consider three other basic ways of writing about literature: paraphrase, summary, and description. Each of these can be useful both as an exercise to prepare for writing an essay and as part of a completed essay. That is, an essay about a literary text must do more than paraphrase, summarize, or describe the text; yet a good essay about a literary text almost always incorporates some paraphrase, summary, and description of the literature and, in the case of a research essay, of secondary sources as well.