A Critical Analysis Essay

The purpose for writing a critique is to evaluate somebody's work (a book, an essay, a movie, a painting...) in order to increase the reader's understanding of it. A critical analysis is subjective writing because it expresses the writer's opinion or evaluation of a text. Analysis means to break down and study the parts. Writing a critical paper requires two steps: critical reading and critical writing.

Critical reading:

  1. Identify the author's thesis and purpose
  2. Analyze the structure of the passage by identifying all main ideas
  3. Consult a dictionary or encyclopedia to understand material that is unfamiliar to you
  4. Make an outline of the work or write a description of it
  5. Write a summary of the work
  6. Determine the purpose which could be
    • To inform with factual material
    • To persuade with appeal to reason or emotions
    • To entertain (to affect people's emotions)
  7. Evaluate the means by which the author has accomplished his purpose
  • If the purpose is to inform, has the material been presented clearly, accurately, with order and coherence?
  • If the purpose is to persuade, look for evidence, logical reasoning, contrary evidence
  • If the purpose was to entertain, determine how emotions are affected: does it make you laugh, cry, angry? Why did it affect you?
Consider the following questions: How is the material organized? Who is the intended audience? What are the writer's assumptions about the audience? What kind of language and imagery does the author use?

 
 

SAMPLE OUTLINE FOR CRITICAL ESSAY

After the passage under analysis has been carefully studied, the critique can be drafted using this sample outline.

  • I. Background information to help your readers understand the nature of the work
    • A. Information about the work
      • 1. Title
      • 2. Author
      • 3. Publication information
      • 4. Statement of topic and purpose
    • B. Thesis statement indicating writer's main reaction to the work
  • II. Summary or description of the work
  • III. Interpretation and/or evaluation
    • A. Discussion of the work's organization
    • B. Discussion of the work's style
    • C. Effectiveness
    • D. Discussion of the topic's treatment
    • E. Discussion of appeal to a particular audience

Remember:

Avoid introducing your ideas by stating "I think" or "in my opinion." Keep the focus on the subject of your analysis, not on yourself. Identifying your opinions weakens them.

Always introduce the work. Do not assume that because your reader knows what you are writing about, you do not need to mention the work's title.

Other questions to consider: Is there a controversy surrounding either the passage or the subject which it concerns?

What about the subject matter is of current interest?

What is the overall value of the passage?

What are its strengths and weaknesses?

Support your thesis with detailed evidence from the text examined. Do not forget to document quotes and paraphrases.

Remember that the purpose of a critical analysis is not merely to inform, but also to evaluate the worth, utility, excellence, distinction, truth, validity, beauty, or goodness of something.

Even though as a writer you set the standards, you should be open-minded, well informed, and fair. You can express your opinions, but you should also back them up with evidence.

Your review should provide information, interpretation, and evaluation. The information will help your reader understand the nature of the work under analysis. The interpretation will explain the meaning of the work, therefore requiring your correct understanding of it. The evaluation will discuss your opinions of the work and present valid justification for them.


PURPOSES OF WRITING A CRITICAL ANALYSIS PAPER

A critical analysis paper, or essay, is the analysis of a book, article, or a movie. The aim of such type of paper is to concentrate on one of the aspects of the text or a movie and to describe it in a broad context.

It is necessary to enlarge one's knowledge and understand some points of view, events, facts, and evidence, or reevaluate already known things. In many instances, to analyze critically, we need to apply critical thinking skills, and the main secret of successful completion of the task you are given is the ability to read between the lines, see through the text to identify author's ideas, thoughts, and purposes, hidden in the handy-dandy plot and story.

The academic critical analysis is necessary to identify particular arguments, evidence, statements, opinions and facts stated by authors of written works. Such analysis is applied in many custom works, such as a literature review, critique article, research paper and so forth. By writing an analysis essay, we have a chance of diving deeper into information stated in this or that article to be analyzed.

Hence, main purposes are to acknowledge readers and students with a specific article, book, journal or story; to provide students with a possibility to research unfamiliar aspects of certain works; to give an evaluation to the analyzed material, and improve writing and critical thinking skills, which altogether has a rather favorable effect on students.

So, what is critical analysis, and how to compose an appropriate essay? At first, it is crucial to note that such a paper should contain many supporting sources. It is important to go through the chosen film/text several times, to get a thorough understanding of it. The professionals also recommend writing down all key aspects and ideas at the time. Then you need to make an outline that will be based on the notes you have made. It is better to make your outline very detailed, as it will tremendously facilitate the actual writing. When you are done with it, edit and proofread the work several times.

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CRITICAL ANALYSIS IN ACADEMIC WRITING

When students are asked to write a critical analysis essay of a piece of literature, it means that they should focus and do their best to identify the main idea of an author, his/her point of view about the created characters and events. Such papers are more difficult than academic or scientific articles when it comes to analyzing. On the other hand, the examination of an article requires more narrow or specific knowledge and may result in the need of conducting some more research to come to a complete understanding of a problem. As you may know, the work on the assignment of such kind should start with reading, listening or watching of what should be analyzed.

Regardless, to succeed in writing a critical analysis, it is necessary to understand all angles and perspectives of a text. Critical thinking is the exact tool called to examine a text, audio track, or movie to analyze any of those pieces. It implies taking extensive notes and annotating to be able to use these thoughts later in the paper. Once a person understands the work, it is essential to research unknown aspects of the problem.

After that, a person should summarize the information provided in the source or create an outline to define strong and weak points in the draft. If you choose to summarize, be sure to give a brief review and not to go into unnecessary details.

Literary works require deeper analysis to define an original purpose of an author, his/her thesis in the plot and even hidden motives. You are welcome to analyze the entire story critically, or concentrate on a specific part of the story and carry out a detailed review to find something that others cannot even notice. Sometimes, to make writing more versatile, it is important to identify an author's appeal, i.e., to logic or feelings. Identifying these things often helps to create an aggregate picture of the analyzed material.

Writing critical analysis papers, in many instances, requires providing potential readers with some background information. You, as an author, must be sure that readers understand what you try to say, as well as what the topic of the paper is. For example, if you write about a very peculiar, but scientifically narrow topic, it is necessary to clue readers in on that topic to make sure that they understand your thoughts and ideas.

Needless to say that every academic writing needs a thesis statement, and so does this one. To elaborate the statement, it is important to examine available materials. Finally, a finished work should be double-checked for possible mistakes and drawbacks. Although, if editing is not your strongest side, you can always ask Pro-Papers for critical essay help and let the professionals review and polish your masterpiece. This will save you some time, and guarantee you an error-free work.

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Critical analysis assignment may be a tedious and consuming task, as identifying all the important details in any piece of writing is rather tiresome. In addition, a person may be unfamiliar with a proper structure of such works, and that is where it is very helpful to take a look at some templates to get a general idea about the assignment organization and structure.

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