How to Write an Excellent Critical Essay: An Informative Guide
Whether you are simply writing an essay in your class or planning to specialize in literature, you must know how to write an essay, especially a critical essay. Writing a critical essay is a common form of assignment that is usually assigned in colleges and schools. Professors often assign these essays to the students for developing their academic writing skills and critical thinking skills.
When you critically analyze a text or a paper, then undeniably you think in a more productive way. This is because for analyzing any text or book, you need to go through the overall book and then interpret it in a wider context.
If you have been provided with an assignment to write a critical essay, then check out this write-up till the end. Here you will get to know how to master writing a critical essay. Prior to that, take a look at what a critical essay is exactly.
What is a Critical Essay?
A critical essay, often known as an analytical essay, is a popular form of academic writing which evaluates or interprets someone’s work, be it an article, a book, or a movie. These essays are usually written for specific readers who like reading different interpretations and are deeply interested to understand the points being discussed in any literary piece.
While writing a critical essay, the writer makes a specific claim regarding how any particular themes, thoughts, or ideas are being conveyed in a text. Later on, he or she specifically supports that particular claim by presenting evidence from both primary and secondary sources.
Causally, when we use the term ‘critical’, it is often been connoted as something negative; whereas, in a critical essay, the term ‘critical’ means analytical or discerning. In a critical essay, we usually do not judge the quality of the text or context; rather we analyze and interpret the meaning as well as the importance of the text.
Students often get confused when they are asked to write a critical essay. They often confuse it with writing a critical review or report. But if you are aware of the key characteristics of a critical essay, then probably you will never get confused.
Core Characteristics of a Critical Essay
Unlike that of expository essays where the purpose is to inform the readers and of a persuasive essay where the main objective is to persuade the readers, a critical essay usually has a claim and evidence to validate that claim. These essays are written on various academic disciplines and on a wide range of subjects which includes novels, visual arts, films, poetry, and so on.
Despite the fact that their subject matters are diverse, all critical essays share similar characteristics:
- Central Claim: All critical essays possess a central claim or argument about the literary piece which is being evaluated. Typically, this is being expressed in the thesis statement and then further the argument is supported with evidence.
- Evidence: The central argument of these essays is supported by evidence from both primary and secondary sources. This evidence comes in the form of textual support like descriptions, imageries, structure, dialogues, etc. for strengthening or bolstering the main argument.
- Conclusion: These critical essays come with a succinct conclusion. Not only it emphasizes the significant insights of the essay but also provides a synopsis of the essay’s arguments.
If you get to find these characteristics in your essay then ensure that it’s a critical essay.
Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Write a Compelling Critical Essay
While writing a critical essay, the writer challenges his/her ability to analyze the given text and provides evidence after well researching the text. To write the essay in an effective way, go through the step-by-step guidelines suggested by the professional essay writers.
Step 1: Identify the Subject of your Essay
Whether you are analyzing a poem, book, or play, you need to read it twice and take note of the following things:
- Central theme: What exactly the literary piece is all about
- Stylistic Observations: Whether the literary piece of writing is representing the postmodern or modern text
- Features: What characteristics make it similar to other works or unique from other works?
Step 2: Perform Research Work
Do enough research work from credible sources and come up with a wide range of opinions and thoughts. Take note of it and later you can narrow down your ideas as per your requirement.
Step 3: Craft your Thesis Well
While developing your thesis, you must ensure that it must possess a strong opinion. If your thesis statement will be strong throughout then someone could project strong opposition to it
Step 4: Choose Strong Evidence
You might find several pieces of evidence to be compelling, but including all of them will not be possible. So, you have to decide to include only a strong piece of evidence, i.e., which evidence is from the most well-known authorities and which supports the statement in the best way, etc.
Step 5: Use an Antithesis
In a critical essay, you must address the counterargument. It provides the reader with thorough knowledge on the subject and also presents them with different sides of it
Step 6: Make an Outline of the Essay
Before composing your final essay, it is important to write your essay outline. Make sure that it must include all the points that have been jotted down previously. Distribute the information well in different sections- introduction, essay body, and conclusion.
Step 7: Write your Final Draft of the Essay
Of course, your essay outline will help you a lot in composing your final draft. Apart from that, if you want to write an academically perfect essay, then use words and expressions that are relevant to your subject. Also, make proper use of transition words for linking the paragraphs and sentences.
Step 8: Proofread and Edit it
Before submitting your final draft, proofread your essay; lookout for all sorts of spelling and grammatical errors. Correct all structural issues and make edits whenever necessary.
How to Write your Critical Essay Outline?
Like all other essays, a critical essay also follows the same essay format. To get a detailed insight on it, go through the section hereunder:
- Introduction : In your essay introduction, you should include background information about the work that you are evaluating. Information like the topic and purpose of writing, the title and author of the work you are criticizing, publication information, and so on. In addition to this, you must include an attention-grabbing thesis statement that also holds the central claim of the essay.
- Body : In the body paragraphs, you must summarize the overall work. You must present an analysis of the topic, discuss the style of work, and examine the effectiveness of the work and its appeal to the audience. Evidence from credible sources should be presented here.
- Conclusion : In your essay conclusion, you must remind the significance of the topic; discuss its overall strengths and weaknesses, and finally restate your thesis.
You can also go through some essay topics and examples for a better understanding of the essay structure.
Excellent Tips to Follow to Write a Critical Essay
Unlike other types of essays, a critical essay is more of an argument-building process; thus, for writing this essay you need to develop your thinking skills. If you want to excel in writing this academic essay, then for your convenience, we have provided you with some tips that will help you out in mastering a critical essay.
- Use smart reading strategies: Whenever you are reading a literary text, you need to analyze and evaluate its details specifically. You can identify claims made by the author, its strengths and weaknesses, controversies surrounding it, etc.
- Go through some critical essay examples: By reading some essay examples, you will be able to understand the writing style and structure of the essay in a better way. But you need not copy the ideas, instead introduce your own.
- Ensure to introduce the writer as well as his/her work that you will be analyzing in the essay
- Remember to document the references, paraphrases, and quotes used in the essay
- Begin writing in advance: You will require time to evaluate the sources, make claims, and prove evidence and finally edit your essay. So, it is advised not to wait too long, proceed to compose your critical essay
- Avoid using stuff like “I think” or “in my opinion.” While writing, if at any point, you are expressing your opinion then use third-person and back it up with evidence
- Avoid summarizing the text: Well, critical essays are all about evaluation and interpretation, so avoid writing lengthy descriptions and retelling the plot.
By now, you have got enough information on writing an interesting piece of a critical essay. If you don’t have enough time to go through the entire blog, then just ask help from paper writers.
If you are struggling to find out a reliable website for essay writing, then don’t worry. We have a team of writers and subject matter experts who will help in ‘my paper writing.’ If asked, they can also help you with customized essays as per your academic requirements. For that, you need to come in contact with our executives via an online chat facility and approach them for ready-made essays. You can also place your order with us along with all your requirements and we will customize it as per your need. So, order now!