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How to Write a Critical Essay on Literature

How to Write a Critical Essay on Literature: a Simple Guide for Beginners

Academic writing forms part of mandatory fulfillment in most college programs. Students often encounter numerous assignments to complete. Critical essays are among the academic papers that your professor can give out in a literature class. It is an essay that requires extensive analytical skills to interpret a particular book, text, or research paper.

Whether you are pursuing a literature course or other programs, understanding how to compose critical essays is vital. You have to identify main themes, analyze and develop necessary arguments using supporting evidence from relevant research sources. Such pieces help you develop essential critical thinking skills, focused reading, in-depth analysis, and meticulous writing. It will give you an upper hand in college and your future career.

This article discusses significant aspects of writing a critical essay on literature, requirements, and tips to help you craft an exceptional paper.

Critical Essay Format Explained

Writing a critical essay might seem complicated for many students, but the right approach and format can simplify your writing. First, you must keenly read the subject matter that will form part of your essay. Reading is an essential component since the paper should clearly explain in detail your understanding of the content. Then, after an in-depth comprehension, you can embark on the writing process.

It is imperative to have a proper critical essay format to help you in thought organization and articulation. Many learners often underestimate the significance of designing an outline, not knowing it is essential in essay writing. Having a suitable format allows you to compose a meticulous essay with consistency and clarity.

Below is an overview of a critical essay format.

Introduction

This is the first section that comprises the introductory paragraph. Include the title, name of the author, and publication date. You should clearly outline the significant points derived in the subject matter while identifying the writer’s thesis.

You should also develop your thesis statement and your thoughts about the original paper.

Summary

This section is similar to the main body paragraph, presenting the significant ideas from the original work. It can be a film, a book, or a research paper. Here, it would be best to incorporate the 5Ws and H (What, why, when, where, who, and how), giving an in-depth presentation of the work. In addition, you can give out your perspective, style, and structure of the essay.

Analysis

In this section, you have to present your analysis critically about the subject matter. Make sure you explain in detail with supporting examples from the original work. Moreover, you need to inform your audience if the author attained the primary goal or not.

Your analysis should present a detailed perspective of the work regarding focus, target audience, originality, clarity, and persuasiveness, among other essential aspects, giving the audience an objective standpoint.

Conclusion

This is the final section of your essay that summarizes the central point using different but striking words. You need to paraphrase your thesis statement while incorporating a call to action for the audience.

Critical Argument Essay

Just like an argumentative essay, this academic paper presents arguments from the original work and the student’s perspective.

Definition

It is an academic paper that critically analyses specific published material with valid arguments. The paper also includes counter-arguments from the analyzer’s viewpoint.

Purpose of Writing

The primary objective is to examine the author’s argument in detail. In addition, you must present the discussion and include your perspective on the subject. It allows you to determine the pros and cons of the author’s work clearly and logically.

Outline

  1. Introduction
  • Article details
  • Background information
  • Thesis statement
  1. Body
  • Topic sentence
  • Main arguments
  • Counter arguments
  • Supporting arguments
  1. Conclusion
  • Summary of the significant arguments
  • Essay’s significance

Do’s & Don’ts

Do’s:

  • Identify central ideas in the main paper.
  • Practice keen and focused reading.
  • Compose original arguments
  • Identify the target audience.

Don’ts:

  • Don’t summarize the entire article.
  • Don’t include weak arguments without evidence.
  • Don’t use unreliable citation sources.

Critical Summary Essay

Definition

It is an essay that critically summarizes a published work with an in-depth analysis and evaluation. The paper should be clear, concise, and have a critical comment about the outcome.

Purpose of Writing

The primary purpose is to inform the audience about a particular subject matter with detailed meaning. It also comprises your personal perspective and critical analysis.

Outline

  1. Introduction
  • Article details
  • Background information
  • Thesis statement
  1. Body
  • Summary of major ideas
  • Present detailed analysis
  • Proper referencing
  1. Conclusion
  • Summary of the entire paper
  • Personal viewpoint
  • Essay significance and implications

Do’s & Don’ts

Do’s:

  • Prepare adequately by reading the article.
  • Write down relevant annotations.
  • Develop detailed arguments.

Don’ts:

  • Don’t copy the author’s work word by word.
  • Don’t write a lengthy essay.
  • Don’t present an argument without supporting examples.

Critical Evaluation Essay

After reading a particular book or article, you have to present an objective evaluation as per your evidence. This is how you compose a critical evaluation paper.

Definition

It is an essay that comprises a detailed evaluation of a particular subject without a biased approach. The writer critically evaluates the author’s original work and presents an objective standpoint. The essay can either take a negative or positive perspective.

Purpose of Writing

The primary purpose is to determine the effectiveness of the work in question. It aims to reveal whether a book, a film or any other literature piece attained its objective on the audience.

Outline

  1. Introduction
  • Article details
  • Background information
  • Thesis statement
  1. Methods
  • Location of the literature
  • Justification of methods used
  1. Findings
  • Literature review summary
  • Critique the work – pros and cons
  1. Conclusion
  • Summary of the essential ideas
  • Personal viewpoint
  • Essay significance and implications

Do’s & Don’ts

Do’s:

  • Understand the significant concepts.
  • Be objective while presenting your findings.
  • Use proper referencing styles.

Don’ts:

  • Don’t present an essay without credible examples.
  • Don’t forget to conduct thorough editing and proofreading.
  • Don’t write the essay without a proper format.

Final Word

Critical essay composition needs intense research and analysis to develop relevant arguments that align with the subject matter. Therefore, you need to practice regular reading to instill focus and information retention, which will help you during critical essay writing. Active, critical reading is also a crucial skill that allows you to identify important details in the subject matter.

Furthermore, you can read critical essay samples to give you an overview of the paper’s expectations. Familiarize yourself with the format and style while considering correct attribution to the original work.

Ensure you paraphrase your work to capture an authentic evaluation and explanation that doesn’t seem like a summary of the work. Present your arguments logically and critically to craft a remarkable paper.

Therefore, follow the above guide to assist students in composing an effective critical essay. If you find it challenging, contact us, and our competent writers will deliver polished assignments.

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