100 Literary Essay Topics

Updated: May 23, 2023

Writing a literature research paper can seem like an uphill task for many students. It is almost impossible to go through school without writing at least one literary essay. Well, you don’t have to worry anymore. We are here to help! The first step to writing a great literary essay is selecting a great topic, and that is where we come in. We provide you with topics, questions, and ideas that you can analyze in-depth and create an outstanding essay from. And best of all, we can also help you write your essay or research paper.

Have You Been Researching on How to Select the Best Literary Essay Topic?

There are many ways that you can select a literary topic for your essay. One way is by selecting a literary style as your topic. This way you can discover and analyze works within this literary style and describe the features of this style. Another way is by selecting a specific author and studying their works. When doing this, be careful not to turn your essay into a biography. Concentrate on the literary legacy of the author and how their works impacted their life and the lives of others. You can also compare their works at the beginning and end of their literary career. Another way to select a topic is to focus on a single work of literature. This requires in-depth research and analysis, but it can be very rewarding to provide your exclusive research on a classic literary work.

List of Literary Essay Topics

Here are some topics that can help you get started on your paper. Feel free to use any you like!

  1. Role of e-books in literature today
  2. Evolution of language
  3. Revolutionary authors of the 20th century
  4. The dark humor in literature
  5. Utopian and dystopian literature
  6. The relevance of Shakespearean writings today
  7. Materialism in The Great Gatsby
  8. Effect of new technologies on writing
  9. Justice and Revenge in Hamlet
  10. Racism, as seen in “How to Kill a Mockingbird.”
  11. Misogyny and sexism in literature
  12. The ‘American Dream’ as portrayed in literature
  13. Myth and folktale in literature
  14. Role of fate in Romeo and Juliet
  15. Literature in the 21st century
  16. Socialism through the eyes of George Orwell
  17. Marxism literary criticism
  18. Feminism in literature
  19. Literature as an aid for psychological development
  20. Mythology and mythic grandeur in Moby Dick
  21. Existentialism in literature
  22. Romantic fatalism in Shakespearean work
  23. Religion in Renaissance literature
  24. Literature in the Age of Enlightenment
  25. Gender stereotypes in erotic literature
  26. Outstanding female authors
  27. Racism and sexism in The Color Purple
  28. Schizophrenia as portrayed in Macbeth
  29. Mental illness in Hamlet
  30. Mortality and Immortality in literature

20 Best Literary Essay Topics for 2023

  1. The Impact of Technology on Dystopian Literature: Examining the Representation of Advanced Technology and its Societal Consequences.
  2. Intersectionality in Contemporary Literature: Analyzing the Interconnectedness of Race, Gender, and Class in Recent Works.
  3. Climate Change and Ecological Crisis in Speculative Fiction: Exploring the Depiction of Environmental Issues in Literature.
  4. Posthumanism in Science Fiction: Investigating the Blurring Boundaries between Humans and Machines in Contemporary Works.
  5. The Resurgence of Gothic Literature in the 21st Century: Analyzing the Themes of Horror, Mystery, and Psychological Tension.
  6. Representations of Mental Health in Modern Novels: Examining the Portrayal of Mental Illness and its Impact on Characters.
  7. Literature and Social Activism: Exploring the Role of Literature in Promoting Social Change and Addressing Social Issues.
  8. Indigenous Voices in Literature: Analyzing the Works of Indigenous Authors and their Contributions to the Literary Landscape.
  9. Post-truth and Reality in Literature: Investigating the Depiction of Truth, Perception, and Manipulation in Contemporary Narratives.
  10. Exploring Afrofuturism in Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature: Interrogating Black Identity, History, and Future Possibilities.
  11. Rewriting Classics: Examining Contemporary Adaptations and Retellings of Classic Works of Literature.
  12. Literature and the #MeToo Movement: Analyzing the Representation of Sexual Assault, Consent, and Gender Dynamics in Recent Works.
  13. The Power of Narratives: Investigating the Influence of Storytelling in Shaping Cultural, Political, and Personal Identities.
  14. Exploring Magical Realism in Global Literature: Examining the Fusion of Reality and the Supernatural in Various Cultural Contexts.
  15. Literature and Immigration: Analyzing Narratives of Migration, Exile, and Cultural Identity in Contemporary Works.
  16. The Role of Memory in Postmemory Literature: Exploring Intergenerational Trauma and the Transmission of History.
  17. Literature and Mental Well-being: Investigating the Therapeutic Benefits of Reading and Writing for Mental Health.
  18. Queerness and Identity in Young Adult Literature: Examining LGBTQ+ Representation and Coming-of-Age Narratives.
  19. Literature and Artificial Intelligence: Analyzing the Ethical Implications and Philosophical Questions Raised by AI Characters in Novels.
  20. Literary Adaptations in Film and Television: Comparing and Contrasting the Transitions from Page to Screen in Recent Adaptations.

10 Featured Literary Analysis Essay Topics

  1. Analyze Orwell’s society in the book 1984. What is the moral of the story?
  2. Why were some books banned from libraries?
  3. Discuss the power and influence of books on generations.
  4. Analyze women that influenced literature and some of the first published female authors.
  5. What was Shakespeare’s view of women? Support your claims with examples.
  6. Talk about the age of enlightenment. Where did it come from, and what did it do?
  7. Discuss African American authors throughout history and their writing styles.
  8. Are there gender stereotypes in literary sales?
  9. Analyze literature of the 21st century. How has it changed compared to 20th-century literature?
  10. How has technology changed writing?

Literary Argumentative Essay Topics

  1. The Role of Tragic Flaws in Shakespearean Tragedies: A Comparative Analysis of Macbeth, Hamlet, and Othello.
  2. The Portrayal of Women in Classic Literature: Challenging Stereotypes in Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and Madame Bovary.
  3. The Use of Allegory in George Orwell’s Animal Farm: A Critique of Totalitarianism.
  4. The Representation of Colonialism and its Effects in Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart.
  5. The Significance of the American Dream in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby: Illusion versus Reality.
  6. Censorship and Freedom of Expression in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
  7. The Role of Nature and the Environment in Literature: Examining the Ecocritical Perspectives in Walden and The Grapes of Wrath.
  8. The Question of Morality in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies: Are Humans Inherently Good or Evil?
  9. Exploring the Consequences of Power in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and George Orwell’s 1984.
  10. The Dystopian Elements in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Lois Lowry’s The Giver: Critiquing Societal Conformity.

Literary Research Essay Topics

  1. The Influence of Mythology on Modern Fantasy Literature: Tracing Archetypal Elements in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia.
  2. The Evolution of the Heroine in Victorian Literature: Analyzing the Roles and Representations of Women in Jane Austen’s Novels.
  3. The Symbolism of the Journey in Homer’s Odyssey and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness: A Comparative Study.
  4. The Concept of Identity in Postcolonial Literature: Exploring Cultural Hybridity in Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children.
  5. The Impact of War on Literature: Examining the Themes of Loss, Trauma, and Redemption in Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms and Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five.
  6. Literary Depictions of Social Injustice: Investigating Racial Discrimination in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Toni Morrison’s Beloved.
  7. The Influence of Gothic Literature on Contemporary Horror Fiction: Analyzing the Elements of Fear and Terror in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Stephen King’s The Shining.
  8. Postmodern Narratives and Metafiction: Unraveling the Narrative Techniques in Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler and Jorge Luis Borges’s Fictions.
  9. Exploring Magical Realism in Latin American Literature: Unveiling the Surreal Elements in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude.
  10. The Representation of War and its Aftermath in Modernist Poetry: A Comparative Analysis of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and Wilfred Owen’s War Poems.

Literary Theory Essay Topics

  1. Feminist Literary Theory and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway: Examining Gender Roles and Patriarchy.
  2. Postcolonial Literary Theory and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart: Analyzing Colonialism, Identity, and Cultural Hegemony.
  3. Marxist Literary Theory and John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath: Interpreting Class Struggle and Exploitation.
  4. Psychoanalytic Literary Theory and Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis: Exploring the Unconscious Mind and Symbolism.
  5. Reader-Response Literary Theory and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude: Investigating the Role of the Reader’s Interpretation and Engagement.
  6. Poststructuralist Literary Theory and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot: Examining Language, Meaning, and Absurdity.
  7. Queer Theory and Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire: Analyzing Sexuality, Desire, and Identity.
  8. Ecocriticism and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale: Interpreting Environmentalism, Power, and Dystopia.
  9. Formalist Literary Theory and Emily Dickinson’s Poetry: Exploring Structure, Language, and Literary Devices.
  10. New Historicist Literary Theory and Shakespeare’s Macbeth: Investigating Power, Politics, and Historical Context.

Literary Criticism Essay Topics

  1. Deconstructing Gender and Power in Shakespeare’s Macbeth: A Feminist Critique.
  2. Psychoanalytic Criticism of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”: Unveiling the Depths of the Unconscious.
  3. Postcolonial Criticism and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness: Analyzing the Representation of Imperialism and Otherness.
  4. Marxist Critique of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations: Examining Social Class and Economic Inequality.
  5. Queer Theory and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray: Subverting Normative Sexuality and Identity.
  6. Ecocritical Perspective on William Wordsworth’s Poetry: Nature, Romanticism, and Environmental Ethics.
  7. Postmodernist Criticism of Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49: Exploring Fragmentation and Hyperreality.
  8. New Historicism and William Shakespeare’s Hamlet: Interpreting the Play in its Cultural and Historical Context.
  9. Structuralist Analysis of Jorge Luis Borges’s “The Garden of Forking Paths”: Decoding the Symbolic Structure of the Text.
  10. Reader-Response Criticism and J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye: Examining the Reader’s Subjective Interpretation and Empathy.

Literary Essay Topics for High School Students

  1. The Theme of Madness in Shakespeare’s Hamlet and King Lear: A Comparative Analysis.
  2. Gender Roles and Power Dynamics in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.
  3. The Use of Symbolism in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby: Exploring the Green Light, the Valley of Ashes, and the Eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg.
  4. Social Criticism in George Orwell’s 1984: Analyzing the Dystopian Society and its Implications.
  5. The Loss of Innocence in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird: Examining Scout’s Journey and Lessons Learned.
  6. The Motif of Love and Desire in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Antony and Cleopatra.
  7. The Power of Language in George Orwell’s Animal Farm: How Propaganda Shapes Society.
  8. Exploring Identity and Belonging in J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye.
  9. The Role of Fate and Free Will in Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex and William Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
  10. Analyzing the Historical and Political Context in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Literary Essay Questions

There are also essay questions available for your paper. Here are a few of them:

  1. Why was William Shakespeare so exceptional as an author?
  2. What constitutes a literary genius?
  3. What is the relation between education and literary success?
  4. Is erotic literature art or obscenity?
  5. How did Jane Austin’s works explore and affect the role of women in society?
  6. What are some great literary works that blur the distinction between fiction and nonfiction?
  7. How did Charles Dicken’s portray himself through some of his best-known characters?
  8. How has the rise of fanfiction impacted literature?
  9. Does children’s literature get away with perpetuating stereotypes, racism, and cultural bias?
  10. What are some instances where literature has been used as a tool for propaganda?

Literary Essay Ideas

These are some literary essay ideas that can also help you as you write your research paper or essay.

  1. Analyze Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis of literature as a manifestation of an author’s unconscious desires and anxieties.
  2. Examine the role of erotic literature in shaping ancient views on sex, sexual fantasies, and intimacy.
  3. Determine the major themes and characteristics of each literary-historical period.
  4. Explore why Western literary work has been continuously celebrated at the expense of work from other regions in the world.
  5. Analyze the role of postcolonial literature in promoting nationalism and anti-colonialism in Africa.

We hope our literary essay topics inspired you to write a great research paper! If you feel like you still need more help from us, then we are here for all your writing needs. We offer pro essay writer expert help in academic writing, so you never have to feel stuck on your essay. We can write a paper based on the topic you have selected, or we can come up with one ourselves. Either way, our essay writers for hire will guarantee you a high-quality paper that you will be more than proud to submit. So what are you waiting for? Order your essay today!

George Lynch
George Lynch
Literature, Psychology, Religion
Experience: 3+ years
I’ve been enjoying academic writing since day one in college. Today, having a full-time job, I’m still looking forward to writing essays and research papers online for others.
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