How to Write A Critical Essay

There are different types of essays in writing. Some of them are documentaries while others are analytical essays. A critical essay is a form of analytical essay. Read on to find out exactly how to accomplish writing one.

Essay Writing, the Bane of Existence for Students

Just when students were getting the hang of school with regards to attending classes and being punctual, there came the great ego destroyer, essays. Big ones, little ones, ones with long titles, and ones that students had no idea whatsoever about. Unfortunately, these essays are what forms the bulk of the schooling and assessment systems in educational systems.

When you are asked to produce an essay, sometimes you are at liberty to choose your own topic and then all you need to do is possibly, follow the outline given by the professor. Some topics however, most unfortunately are given by the professor to a group of students in order to assess all of them on a level playing field. One of these types of essays is a critical essay.

A critical essay can be explained as one that is simply to analytically interpret, dissect and evaluate another piece of writing or media. Most of the time, the target audience for such essays are academics, namely professors, your colleagues and other people who will mostly be at your presentation to mark your work.

Such essays are simply ordered for the good of the student, although students would disagree. Writing a critical essay serves as the perfect platform to take hold of and develop students skills in critical writing. Since these types of essays also require a deeper than normal level of thinking, students are also able to explore the depths of their analytical thinking and more importantly bring it to light, putting forth an argument in favour of all the points they raised. In actual fact, you could call it an essay to make you see things the way the writer did. The preparation for such a piece is no simple task, especially when writers have to be at a high level of understanding of the material presented to them, and they have to bring to light an angle hat has probably not been taken before with regards to the original text or media form. The winner becomes hothead student with the most compelling argument with substantial proof to back their claim.

Sometime, critiquing an original text also means deriving the actual meaning of the text, that the writer may have not been able to do, and giving it to the audience in ways that can be best digested. As mentioned before, this is no easy task.

Basic Details of a Critical Essay

Just like almost all academic essays, there are some features that distinguish a critical essay from other forms of essays. One of these is the length of the essay. The typical critical essay consists of just about a 1000 words. It is a creative piece which focuses on the ability of a student to critically look into any media form that could have been placed before them. The media forms could be anything from films to articles, to journals, to even music albums. Anything that has to do with an artist’s creative piece has the chance to be critiqued, and critical essays showcase how students are meant to go about it. True, there are some people that do this for a living, writing reviews and such, but a critical essay sometimes goes beyond a simple review.

With a critical essay, there should be academic or literary backing to the arguments raised, and not necessarily feelings or ideas. As they read into these works, students are also expected to break down the work in a way the reveals the ideas of the writer. All this has to be done intelligently to impress the professors. You simply cannot achieve this task without reading the work placed before you, and you certainly cannot manage it without patience and diligence.

One of the simplest ways to offer critique to a literary work is to lay out the pros and cons of what has been written and possibly not written. In truth, the main idea is not to win people to your side, but simply to ‘say it like it is’ or ‘lay it out straight, having no biases.’ In truth however, your writing should either make people want to read the original or simply ignore it. That’s what a critical writing piece is.

How to Write a Critical Essay

Now that you have a little more than an idea of what you are up against, you are probably asking how you could possibly undertake this task. There are several steps that you should consider if you want to write an essay. First and foremost, you have to be able to understand what goals should be achieved by the time you have completed writing your analysis. Bear in mind that you may not just have to analyze other essays but you might even have to analysis other art forms. Here are some goals you should have completed by the time your critical writing is finished

  1.  You should have presented an insight into the artist’s mind and ideas he has brought forth in his piece.
  2.  You should have given a full critique on how the authors work reflects who has been since he stepped into the scene. You might want to take a look at other works by the author to get an understanding on the person of the author before you continue.
  3.  You have to state categorically if the ideas portrayed by the artist were well executed and if a person could easily see the heart of the author through his work.
  4.  You should have been able to tell your audience the pros and the cons of the work sitting before them and whether the author succeeded or failed in winning the audience to his side.
  5.  You should have been able to pick the work apart enough to tell which ideas were well executed and which weren’t. You are more or less objectively marking the author’s work based on his ability to win over his target audience.

Now that you know the goals you should have completed by the time you have to write, here are some steps you should follow in order for your writing to be a tad easier than not. These steps will help water down the so called complexity of producing a critical essay.

  •  Be sure of what the question is Most times, when students are asked to write a piece, they deviate because they are not sure what is expected of them. Most universities offer help in the form of consultation and guidance. Take care to clarify any blurry points in the assignment before starting to write. This will help you to streamline your ideas and be confident enough to give it a good shot.
  •  Study the material given The material could be anything from a piece of painting to a boring academic paper. In order to be able to properly critique it, your understanding of the art form has to be succinct. In other words you need to thoroughly study the material placed before you. Thoroughly studying it includes knowing the history and the background of the work, researching the sources referenced in the work, study in the form of writing the writer used to bring out his point, taking note of the target audience, understanding the times during which the writing or media work was created. Your critique of the work can only be top notch if you understand the intentions of the writer. This would stop you from critiquing a work that was meant for a lover like a piece of writing that was addressed to an entire room or nation. Proper studying of the material includes reading or revising the material several times such that it becomes second nature to you. It also includes making as notes on the material as possible and being able to dissect it in order to gain the understanding behind it. It takes time to do this, and so it is important to start studying the material as soon as you get it. Procrastination cannot be your friend at this point.
  •  Take your time to pick out any challenges revealed in the work you are critiquing- Any literary work or art from can be shaped based on the environment around it. Take the time to seek out any challenges that might have been faced that has had an effect on the outcome of the work. Revealing these main problems would definitely bring to light other issues surrounding the work, the era and the state of mind or mood of the writer at the time he was writing.
  •  Suggest solutions to issues brought to light by your study These solutions should be what can possibly make the work a better reflection of the artist’s ideas, if indeed they were unable to pass on their point as succinctly as necessary from any piece of writing. The solutions also take note of the readers and understands why some audience may not have appreciated the writer’s point of view possibly because they were flawed by so many challenges.

While writing: The Structure of a Critical essay

Like any other piece of writing, there is a structure for your critical analysis. This is so that your paler will be presented well, and not haphazardly. Here is the basic outline you should by all means use

  •  Introduction Consider beginning with a catchy phrase or hook, and begin your discussion from the very beginning. Putting in thought provoking questions right there in the introduction makes your discussion interesting from the start. Apart from, that, you definitely need to write the name of the author, the work you are critiquing, the sort of literary or media form it is, and also lay down some of your major points. Bu the time you are done with your introduction, your audience should be hooked abs have an idea where you are taking them.
  •  The body This is the exposition of your main ideas which were derived from the main work. This exposition includes outlining the challenges, the points to note, your understanding of the work and your explanation of the writer’s point of view of the writer. The body should be divided into paragraphs and sections, each possibly dissecting a key idea but definitely flowing into each other.
  •  Conclusion This contains the general assessment of the work, your thoughts, how the work was understood and a good enough wrap up of all you have said. It needs not be lengthy.

Writing a critical essay can be less daunting and frustrating that what students follow simple rules and tips in order to create a great work. Just take the time to prepare adequately and plan your work, then you will definitely be on the right track to producing a top notch essay.

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