Analyzing something asks you to dig deeper into the subject, breaking down its parts and investigating how the parts come together as a whole. This can mean reading a short story to see how character development, plot line, or setting each contribute to the meaning; reading a poem to see what effects are created by line breaks and punctuation; reading a scholarly article to see how outside sources contribute to the author’s thesis; or watching a movie to see how cinematography and music help develop the plot. You can write a meaningful analysis of virtually anything, as long you take the time and effort to read between the lines. A successful analysis reveals the message of the subject, and how that message is being created.
Sometimes doing analysis can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re analyzing something long or complex. Writing a detailed description or creating an outline of the subject can help you organize your thoughts, decide exactly what you want to write about, and select the elements necessary for your analysis (remembering that you don’t need to write about every single part of the subject can help you keep your analysis tight and focused).