What Is Required In a Critical EssayThursday, March 12th, 2009
What You Need To Know About a Critical Essay
A critical essay is not just another book report. Especially if you happen to be a literature or arts major, a critical essay should be discussed following specific instructions. Now, if you think you can go on and on about what you thought about a book, a poem or an essay – or any piece of art for that matter – you are greatly mistaken. It is also important that you get help with essay writing in order to learn the proper format.
To have some cohesion in your paper, try to focus on one particular aspect of the material you were given. Formulate a specific argument and construct your critical analysis essay in a way that proves your argument. Do a good essay plan to make sure all your points are properly supported. Your argument may focus on the form of the material or its content.
Broadly, literature is evaluated based on form and content. Form is the style in which the material was written. Content would include the points and insights that the material covered. For instance, if you happen to be writing about Laura Esquivel’s Like Water For Chocolate, you may point out how culture or society restricts the lives of women (content) or you may discuss the author’s use of “magic” to convey the pain of discrimination (form). The bottom line is that it is not enough to say whether you liked the book or you didn’t. It is not the intent of your literature teacher to divide the class into two groups – those who enjoyed it and those who didn’t. Find here helpful classification essay tips prepared by our experts
While reading a book for class, ask yourself the following questions:
What are the distinct characteristics of the author’s style?
Which aspect of her poetry or prose is particularly unique?
Is it comparable to another author’s work?
To what literary tradition does he or she belong?
Was the style she used effective in conveying meaning?
What are the issues tackled by the piece?
Are there any historical events that may have influenced the content of the text?
What is the background – cultural, historical or political?
Does the material faithfully depict reality?
Now, there is no need to panic. You are not expected to discuss all of these points in a student essay. In fact, the more specific your argument is, the better. A specific argument of a critical essay should read this way: “Like Water For Chocolate has effectively shown how certain traditional beliefs have restricted the freedom of women.” You may support the material by agreeing with it or saying that it works. You may also say that the material has not been relevant or effective. A Marxist literary critic for example may focus on whether a material has been faithful to reality or not. Formalist critics may not consider this to be as important. There are many literary theories out there which may serve as your guideline on how to write a critical essay . The important thing is you read up and ponder more deeply because to say simply that it was good, bad, funny or boring just won’t cut it. Your grade-winning geography coursework is here
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