Unusual Analysis Paper Topics

If you have to write an analysis paper there's a good chance that you'll be assigned a topic to write about. This isn't always the case, though, and sometimes you'll be able to choose your own topic. This causes a lot of stress for some people, but it's also a great opportunity. You can pick a topic that interests you or that you already know a lot about, and both of these options boost your chances of a good grade.

There's another option, though. Some topics get used a lot for essays, including controversial political issues and popular books. There are obvious reasons for this; lots of people have knowledge (and opinions) about them, and there's plenty of material available to help you out. It can get boring reading a bunch of similar essays about the same subject, however, so whoever is marking your essay might not be feeling their most enthusiastic. What if you can find an unusual topic, though? Seeing something new will grab their attention and make them sit up; that gives you a big advantage.

Of course it's not always easy to think of an unusual topic that you can also find plenty of material on, so here are a few suggestions to help out.

  • Compare a piece of classical literature with a modern film. Possible things to compare include themes like relationships or character development. You can also look at things like changes in morality. Try to pick similar basic plots; this shouldn't be too hard, as it's often said that there are only seven basic plots (although it's surprisingly hard to find a list.) Sometimes the comparison is easy; Apocalypse Now is just Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, but moved from the 19th century Belgian Congo to the Vietnam war.
  • Examine a frequently analysed topic from a completely different angle. If you're free to write about political issues you could look at the death penalty from an economic viewpoint; completely ignore questions of morality and crime prevention and discuss what it costs. Points to raise include the tax someone would pay if they served time in prison then were released and found a job. If you need to write about a book you can do something similar. Bram Stoker's Dracula introduces new technologies for the time, like the phonograph (an early recording device that used wax cylinders) and steam boats. Compare the social effects of these to modern devices like smart phones and cheap air travel; try to get through the entire essay without using the word "vampire."
  • Look at how modern technology affects our lives. Lots of people choose technologies like the internet or social networking, of course, so avoid these. How have our lives been changed by TV remote controls, though? Of course they make us lazier, because we don't have to get off the sofa to change channels, but how about the time we spend looking for them behind the cushions? Have they changed how we store small objects around the house? What about toasters? If they'd never been invented would more people still have open fires at home?

These are just three examples of how you can choose an unusual topic. The key is to use your imagination. Just make sure that you can come up with good arguments that will interest your readers.

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Posted by September 15th, 2014