A critical essay is an analysis and evaluation of any piece of writing. It could be a book, a movie, an article, or any other work of art. This type of essay’s main point is to interpret text or position it in a broader context. For example, if you write a critical analysis of a book, you may analyze the tone of its text and find out how it influences the overall meaning of the book. If you analyze a movie, you might concentrate on a symbol that you see repeatedly. Nevertheless, you have to include an argumentative thesis about the text and have a lot of evidence sources to support your statements.
Five steps to writing an excellent critical essay
The following steps will lead you to write a compelling critical essay that will earn you what you deserve: good grades.
Step1: Examine the text or movie you want to criticize
You will never successfully critique a piece of art you know nothing about. If it is a text, you have to read it and understand, and for movies, watch and watch again, then you can evaluate. Take as many notes as you may deem necessary.
Pay particular attention to the stylistic devices the writer uses to put across what ideas.
How are these particularly compelling, and what would you have improved?
Step 2: Organize your views
At this level, you will find out the central theme of the piece of art. You find this by answering the question: What does the author want us to remember?
Collect adequate evidence to support your claim of the main idea communicated in the text. Are there similarities with similar works?
Brainstorm to come up with what you already know, think, and feel about the topic. Think of related ideas and associations arising when you try to analyze it. Once your thoughts are on paper, start organizing them: group all the ideas and identify further research areas.
Find relevant articles and review them to understand what other scholars think about the text. How can these improve what you already know about the piece of work?
Step 3: Develop a thesis statement
The thesis statement is fundamental for your critical essay in three ways: provides your main claim, supporting evidence, and previews the format of your paper.
The thesis statement is the summary of all the information you collected about the article you are critiquing and an adequate summary of what you are going to write.
Step 4: Write the Outline
Developing an outline will save you time because you are aware of every step up to the end of your essay when you start writing.
At this stage, you’ll have arguments and evidence to evaluate in essay paragraphs. Decide on the evidence that would support your thesis statement best.
Step 5: Write a draft, edit and improve
Now it is time you begin writing! Begin with a summary of the work and provide your response to the central theme. Then, analyze and evaluate it with the evidence. And finally, conclude the critical essay with the emphasis on its most essential insights.
This is academic writing and must be treated as such. Be formal and objective. Use language candidly.
Provide references and use transitional words to sail your writer through your text.
After you have written, read through, and edit, correct any errors and mistakes. You might ask a friend to read through and assess the text to suggest any changes to improve it.
Write your final version, and I can assure you it will be one of the best.
After you have known the necessary steps and what they entail, lets now look at a few tips you can consider for that top grade. That must be cool, isn’t it?
Seven tips for top-grade critical essay
- Introduce the author and his/her work
The author and title may be the basic information you need to add in your title. You don’t need to describe the author in many words because you have a lot to write, and time will not be extended, and remember your introduction must be complete.
- Start writing in prior
You don’t want to rush cooking your yams! That is the same thing with a critical essay. Start the writing process early and finish in time. The last-minute rush is not helpful because you may not find enough time for research and proofread your work.
- Avoid personal opinions
How do you know you are digressing to your own opinions? Expressions like “in my opinion,” “I think,” “I won’t like,” etc. are the cues.
- Document your references
Provide in-text citations to recognize the sources you used. It gives your work a lot of credibilities. Don’t forget to add the list of references at the end of your text.
- Do not summarize the article
There are always temptations to summarize the author’s work. Avoid this like plague. It will waste your time, yet it is not a requirement.
- Practice smart reading
Learn to read by scanning throughout the document noting the author’s main ideas and how they are presented. Find the controversies surrounding the message and identity the strengths and the weakness. All these you find in the reading.
- Read examples of critical essay
Ask the best writers, and they will tell you they have read a lot of articles. Do the same. Read a lot of papers on critical essays and see how the best writers evaluate literature work.
To put it to bed, let’s find some tip-off on the mistakes you need to avoid ensuring you achieve the “A” mark.
Five things to avoid when writing a critical essay
- Narration- Do not narrate the author’s work in the critical essay; instead, only draw examples and be brief because your examiner already knows the work you are critiquing.
- Negative critiquing- Remember to start with the positive review and bring the negatives at the end. Please think of how painful it can be when someone who has authored nothing trashes the novel you have written for five years. It more unpleasant when they do not have enough evidence to support their adverse claims.
- Handing in work that is not proofread- Run away from this because it will steal marks from you. Some errors may devalue your critique, so it is only useful to reread your work to identify and correct any mistakes.
- Plagiarism is presenting someone’s ideas as if they are your own and without conferring due credit. This is always heavily penalized. I know you don’t want to lose a mark.