PDF How to Write Critical Essays: A Guide for Students of Literature

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Students are cautioned to take care and consider everything from the source material that might enhance their essay. If you are asked to critique a book or film, it is good practice to read or view the source material more than once. Step Three: Write down as many notes as possible when assessing the source material.

How to Write a Critical Analysis Essay?

Taking great notes is the key to success for any critical paper. When reviewing your chosen medium, remember to take note of the key ideas or concepts that the original creator included in their work. Step Four: Uncover the primary challenges or patterns in the work being critiqued. As you note these aspects, other issues or key concepts will begin to emerge. You should be prepared to identify these.

Intro. to Literary Analysis

Step Five: Uncover solutions to the problems identified. Next, you will need to offer solutions for the problems or patterns that were identified previously. By now, you should be on your way to creating your thesis statement. There are several different types of critical analysis that a student authoring a critical review paper might be asked to write. They include, but are not limited to:. Every essay, regardless of topic or nature, follows a standard structure which includes the introduction or thesis statement , the body paragraphs, and the conclusion or closing statement.

That being said, prior to tackling each of these sections, you must first draft an outline suitable for a critical paper. For all papers of this nature, the outline is important because it presents writers with the opportunity to begin to build a roadmap for their essay.

The introduction of your essay should offer a clear description of the topic being reviewed. Your introductory statement should be concise, but thorough enough to allow the reader to determine what your focus will be.

Writing a critical review - Research & Learning Online

In the body of your essay, every sentence should communicate the point. Each paragraph must support your thesis statement either by offering a claim or presenting an argument. These should be followed up with evidence. Most critical essays will have three to six paragraphs, unless the requirements state otherwise.

The conclusion of a critical essay is no different than the conclusion of any other type of essay. You should restate your thesis statement and summarize your key argument.

What is critical writing

It is wise to leave the reader with something to consider or a strong statement that ties into your essay as a whole. Your goal is to leave the reader with the desire to want to learn more, or the urge to research the topic more on their own free time. There are some stages and rules which you should follow in case you want to know how to write a good research paper.

The outline for your essay will be similar, regardless of the topic chosen. The above-mentioned outline can be customized and tailored to be used for any topic. The key is to always focus on the headings Introduction, Body and Conclusion and to drill down from there, adding three or four key concepts or ideas to each heading and beginning to use that as the framework for your essay.

The fear expressed, however, is not of homoeroticism per se; homoerotic pleasure is explored and sustained until it collapses into fear of erotic exclusivity and its corollary: non-reproductive sexuality. The result is a more rigid dedication to the ideology of binarism, wherein gender and status inequalities are all the more forcefully reinscribed" Desire and Anxiety: Circulations of Sexuality in Shakespearean Drama p. Catherine Belsey observes that "If the speech acts in 1. This is not consistently either a straight or a drag act" Why Shakespeare? In his introduction to the play, Greenblatt states that the "transforming power of costume unsettles fixed categories of gender and social class and allows characters to explore emotional territory that a culture officially hostile to same-sex desire and cross-class marriage would ordinarily have ruled out of bounds" or , which may lead to something "irreducibly strange about the marriages with which Twelfth Night ends" or Jean Howard argues that the "play enacts.

For drama, how would a director and actors embody and perform and address the choices for performance and communicate a particular interpretation. Take care not to assume that we readily know what particular texts mean, or what meanings are possible, given our assumptions about the time periods in which the texts were composed and how we make sense of these texts today. It is productive to inquire into the possibilities for meaning and for debate, rather than to foreclose such debate by assuming in advance that a text means something or that it could not possibly mean something that seems out of bounds, out of context.


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I encourage you to develop and to support your ideas as clearly and as cogently as space allows, including brief citations of specific lines that illustrate your interpretation, and concise use of summary and paraphrase in support of your analysis. But her desire for. The play thus represents. Moreover, it is only through X's relationship to Y that Z can be realized or established or resolved, even though. Some of these stages or building blocks for the essay may be repeated steps or , and each stage should contribute to developing the argument and potential expressed in your thesis statement.

Steps to Follow While Writing a Critical Essay

As Young states, "Your thesis statement is a sentence-long summary of your argument. Your thesis statement is an argument that you are going to examine with recourse to evidence from primary and secondary research" Moreover, does each paragraph in the essay provide support for the argument or clearly analyze opposing views to the argument. Katherine Acheson in Writing Essays About Literature states that "the task of a student assigned to write an essay about literature is to present a clearly written argument, based on evidence, about the meaning, power, or structure of the work or works" 7.

She describes the task of writing such an essay as one in which you "produce a narrative that offers an explanation for the effects the work of literature has" 8 --these effects, for instance, are the ideas and feelings produced by the work of literature produced through the things that are used to make it, the words.

Writing a critical review

Acheson describes the thesis statement in this way: "The thesis statement describes the evidence you are using, states your interpretations of this evidence, and brings those insights together into a conclusion that is about the way the literature works, what it means, or how and why it has the emotional impact it does" Acheson notes, like Tory Young, that the paragraphs in the body of your essay "will each make a point contributing to your argument, and each will highlight the evidence that supports that point.

The subject for each body paragraph is provided by your subtopic sentences" and typically the concluding sentence in each paragraph "stipulates the relationship " of the paragraph "to the argument as a whole" and also "leads to the next paragraph. Acheson offers an additional caution and encouragement: "The analytical reasons that a piece of evidence supports the argumentative contention of the paragraph are implicit in the choice you made to include that evidence in that category.


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But remember this important advice: your sentences must make those reasons explicit. Whenever you feel uncertain, return to two home bases: 1 your research and the evidence it has provided and 2 the thesis statement and the argument it articulates" William Whitla The English Handbook: A Guide to Literary Studies echoes such sentiments: "For an argument to be convincing, the relationship between generalizations or assertions and supporting evidence must be considered carefully. Many students have the most trouble at exactly this point: they either cannot qualify a generalization in the face of contradictory evidence and so ignore the exception, or they suppress that evidence and continue to assert a generalization.

An academic argument, then, is not a contest of absolute rights and wrongs, but rather is a structured statement of position that moves logically to persuade an audience of your views" Assume your audience is familiar with the text, but take care to articulate clearly your understanding and interpretation of the material, especially problems or contradictions that seem difficult to resolve.