How does one go about constructing a top notch English Literature essay?
Clarity of vision and voice is absolutely foremost. If you're unsure or unsteady in your thesis, how can you expect your reader to have any confidence in or understanding of your ideas? Constructing a concrete, arguable, and original thesis statement is always the first step to developing a strong English Lit essay. After all, the rest of your essay will be dedicated to the development and support of the main argument you've presented in your introductory paragraph.
What are one of the benefits of reading literature?
Literary expression strives to redeem the smallness and insufficiency of our lives and seeks to ennoble our experience of being human. Our brains have been biologically conceived to imagine with transformative potency. All we can know is the particularity and specificity of our own being, and yet we have a common desire to grasp the universal, to know others, comprehensively and viscerally, apart from and outside of our own selves. Fiction extends our otherwise narrow, finite, and ontologically cloistered human experience, in essence liberating our imaginative minds. To read and study literary works of art is to heighten the primacy of our moral imagination and perception.
Does one write in English similar to the way one speaks in English?
That depends on the context. If you're a travel or fashion blogger you may decide to adopt a more casual and conversational tone in order to connect with your audience. If you're in a university English class, however, and asked to write a short response to one of the literary texts you've been assigned, the tone should already be more formal, less conversational (yes, this rule applies even when you're not being asked to write an essay!).