Literature Review Essays: How To Be Original

Reviewing literature is a common part of many different programs and classes at all educational levels. Middle schools, high schools, colleges and graduate schools all rely on literature to convey a certain view or theme --- and expect students to draw from what they read to come to complex and sometimes exciting conclusions.

Because some of the titles students review have been reviewed time and again, it can be difficult to write an original essay that is different from the rest.

How to Be Original – Literature Review Essays

After reading the piece or pieces of literature that are assigned, there are a few steps you can take to ensure that your review is unique and well planned.

  • Create an outline: Using an outline format, review what you have read and not important themes and characters found in the reading. Taking it chapter-by-chapter will help you map out the big picture offered by the author.
  • Create a list of questions: As the reader, create a list of questions about the piece. Consider questions that readers may have about the theme, the time and place, the characters, or even the author’s life as it relates to what they wrote.
  • Answer questions: Using your outline and list of questions, write answers. If there are questions about the piece that could have a variety of answers, consider them all. Those topics that have multiple angles that could answer them are often the most compelling to take a stand on.
  • Review other opinions: Some of the most reviewed classic pieces are ones that are featured widely on the internet. Review what book and literature experts have to say. After reviewing some other opinions on the piece, consider whether or not you agree.
  • Review your information: After doing some searching, consider which questions may not have been answered. Or others that you may answer differently than most reviewers. If you have a fresh idea that isn’t expressed (or isn’t often expressed), consider that as your topic.

With some literature review assignments, it can be hard to establish an entirely new idea – simply because so many have already reviewed it. But it is possible to put your own spin on old viewpoints. Regardless of the slant you choose to explore in your review, make sure it is something that interests you. If it does, the piece will be original because it will be yours – and that makes it unique and worth reviewing.