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How to Write a Critical Essay [Ultimate Guide]

Table of Contents:

1.How to write a critical essay 2.What Makes Essay Critical 3.Steps to Write a Critical Essay 4.Creating a critical essay plan 5.Tips for Writing a Critical Essay 6.Useful techniques used in writing a critical essay 7.Critical Essay Structure 8.Topics for writing a critical essay 9.Critical Essay Examples

How to write a critical essay:

  • Examine a source: read it carefully and critically.
  • Organize your thoughts: figure out the core claim and evidence, do research of secondary resources.
  • State a thesis: make sure it has both a claim and details sustaining it.
  • Write an outline.
  • Write a draft of your critical essay.
  • Edit and improve your essay .

Critical essays are among the most common types of writing assignments in college. Also known as analytical, a critical essay is about evaluating somebody’s work (a movie, a book, an article, etc.) and proving that your evaluation is correct.

The problem is, students often confuse a critical essay with a report, a critical precis , or a review.

In this article, we’ll reveal the core characteristics of a critical essay and learn the right way of writing it.

critical-essay-featured-picture

What Makes Essay Critical

A critical essay has  a claim  and  evidence  to prove that claim.

Here you need to  analyze the work (a book, a movie, an article, whatever), respond to its central themes, and evaluate  how its author conveyed them.

Attention!  If the purpose of your paper isn’t to critique but inform or persuade readers of something, it won’t be a critical essay. Check our guides on  expository essays  or  persuasive essays  instead.

In other words,  your essay is critical if:

  • There is a thesis about the central themes of a discussed work in it.
  • It explains what an author wanted to say about those themes.
  • You describe what techniques an author used to communicate the message.

Please note that “critical” doesn’t mean “negative.” It’s about analysis and interpretation, not judging or disparaging.

When a teacher assigns a critical essay, they want to get a professionally presented and grammatically correct paper with a clear argument and consistent and accurate references to support that argument. They need a paper demonstrating that you’ve read a source, understood its theme, and evaluated the evidence relating to that theme.

Steps to Write a Critical Essay

Before you take a seat and start writing a critical essay, make sure you understand its characteristics and purpose inside out.

You need to analyze and evaluate a work.

Note:  Analysis = breaking down and studying the part; evaluation = assessing strengths and weaknesses.

You need to express a central claim of your work in a  thesis statement  and then support it with evidence in each body paragraph.

Note:  The evidence can be either the details from a source (dialogues, imagery, descriptions, text structure, etc.) or secondary resources such as scholarly articles or expert reviews that can help you support your argument.

You need to  write a conclusion .  Summarize a critical essay, emphasizing its most essential insights.

Long story short, here go your steps to write a critical essay.

Step 1: Examine a Source

You won’t write a critical essay if you don’t understand the subject of evaluation. Let’s say you write an essay on a book. It stands to reason that you need to read it first, right?

So, your first step to writing a critical essay will be critical reading. And while reading, make sure to take as many notes as possible. Utilizing an essay maker can help to organize your thoughts and structure your essay.

Take note of the instruments the author uses to communicate the message. What does he want to say? What words, grammar constructions, or stylistic devices does he use?

Also, think of the questions that come to your mind while reading. Write them down, too.

Step 2: Organize Your Thoughts

Now it’s time to figure out the core topic and problem of a piece. Find its central claim and the evidence demonstrating that claim. What does make it different or similar to other corresponding 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 the areas for further research.

You might need to  do research  and find secondary sources such as scholarly articles or online reviews by experts to understand the original piece better. Collect all the necessary references you might later need to give credit in your critical essay.

Step 3: State a Thesis

Your critical essay should have a one-sentence thesis with two components: a claim and details sustaining it. Based on the information you’ve gathered from the subject of evaluation (a book, a movie, etc.) and secondary sources, write a thesis that will specify your essay’s direction.

thesis-statement-for-critical-essay

Hint:  When making a claim, answer the question, “What point am I trying to make?” If still in doubt, introduce your idea and evidence to a  thesis statement generator : it will craft a thesis draft that you’ll modify later (if needed) to reflect your position better.

Step 4: Write a Critical Essay Outline

You can’t write an essay without outlining. At least, it will help you  save time : here you’ll structurize all the points into paragraphs so it would be easier to write them later.

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

Once the essay outline is ready, it’s time to write. (Yeap, finally!) Begin with an examination (a summary) of the work and respond to its central claim. Then, analyze and evaluate it with the evidence. And finally, conclude your critical essay with the emphasis on its most essential insights.

While writing, remember about academic style: stay formal and objective; use language precisely; remember about references; use transition words in paragraphs to guide readers and help them follow your train of thoughts.

Step 6: Edit and Improve

The best advice here would be to hold your completed draft for a short while and get some rest from writing. Then,  read your essay  a few times to see all the mistakes. You may do it yourself or ask a friend, a mom, or a groupmate to help you: they’ll see your essay from a different perspective, as readers, so it will be easier for them to identify weak points to edit.

Revise your essay, making all the necessary amendments until you see it’s perfect. To make sure it’s genuinely so, don’t hesitate to  ask writing service for professional help .

write-a-draft

Creating a critical essay plan

To write critical essay correctly, you will need a work plan. This will make it possible not to be confused by your information and to do the work consistently. More often than not, only three basic steps will suffice:

  • The first thing to do is to write an introduction that will allow the topic to be disclosed, give the first argument, and strengthen the thesis.
  • Next, you must create the central part, consisting of at least three full paragraphs. Consistently give arguments, facts, figures, and comparisons.
  • Conclude with a proper conclusion. You can rephrase the thesis statement to make a circle between the end and the beginning of your paper.

Now you know how to write a critical essay introduction and can get started efficiently.

Tips for Writing a Critical Essay

Writing a critical essay is about your thinking skills. It’s an analysis- and argument-building process, and you need to practice a lot to develop essential skills of thinking. These tips will help you start and write academic papers that work, no matter if that’s a SAT essay , a dialectic essay , or any other type of college writing.

  • Practice smart reading.  It’s when you read a text, identifying and analyzing its specific details: an author’s claims, how he or she presents those claims, controversies surrounding the message, its strengths and weaknesses, its overall value, etc.
  • Read some examples of critical essays.  It will help to understand their structure and writing style. But don’t copy others’ ideas, trying to sound smarter! Develop your writing style, use the words you know, and introduce your ideas.
  • Start writing a critical essay in advance. Don’t wait until the last moment: you’ll need time to read and evaluate the source, find evidence, introduce your thesis, write, and edit your essay. The more time you have, the better.
  • Remember to introduce the author and the work  you’re going to evaluate in your essay.
  • Avoid the “I think” or “in my opinion” stuff  when writing. You need to focus on the work, not yourself. When expressing your opinion, do it third-person and back it up with evidence.
  • Always document quotes, paraphrases, and other references  you use in essays.
  • Resist the temptation of summarizing the source in general. If you start writing lengthy descriptions of all characters and the plot, stop and double-check if this information helps your analysis. Critical essays are about interpretation and evaluation, not retelling the plot.

Useful techniques used in writing a critical essay

Writing critical analysis essays can help you with a few useful tricks that even experts use during their work:

  • you need to create a clear thesis statement to follow throughout the paper;
  • work properly with textual evidence. Don’t leave only quotes in the paragraph and give clear examples;
  • try to break paragraphs in time to create the right pauses for readers and to move from description to critique.

By doing so, your chances of succeeding in your assignment will return several times over!

Critical Essay Structure

Most essay types have a standard structure that includes an introduction (with a thesis statement), a body (paragraphs with arguments and evidence to support the thesis), and a conclusion (with a thesis restatement and essential insights). A critical essay structure is not an exception here.

But before you start writing, craft an outline,  aka  a roadmap for your essay to make sure you won’t miss any critical detail while writing a draft.

Critical Essay Outline

When you have an essay plan, its writing becomes much easier. Consider the format: as a rule, critical essays have a standard structure that consists of an introductory paragraph, a few body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Use this template that will help you write a detailed outline for your critical essay :

critical-essay-outline

Once you’ve completed the critical essay outline, it’s time to start writing. Do it quickly (you will have time to proofread and edit it later), paying attention to all the details from your outline.

Critical Essay Introduction

All essays have introductions, as it’s a part where you  hook readers , tell about the topic and its importance, and, therefore, persuade them to continue reading. But while the purpose of most introductions is to introduce the thesis, a critical essay introduction is more complicated.

  Here’s how to write a critical essay introduction:

  • First,  you need to introduce the author and the title of the work.
  • Second,  you need to state the author’s main point (of the entire work or the section you’re going to evaluate in your critical essay). Answer the question, “What does the author want readers to remember?”
  • Third,  you need to state (1-2 sentences) your evaluation of the work. (It will be your thesis statement.)
  • And finally, add any background information the reader might need to understand the work’s context (its overall topic, the controversy it might involve, etc.). While it’s not a narrative essay , you need to set the stage: the chances are, your audience didn’t read the work so they wouldn’t understand your essay without the provided background.

Critical Essay Body

It’s the most detailed part of your critical essay, and it involves several sections. Each section addresses a particular detail and evidence to support your thesis.

The first section is the work’s summary.

Write a short, objective, and unbiased report of the work (or its abstract) you’re evaluating in your critical essay. Here you need to tell about the author’s overall point and the main supports he or she offers for that point. Make sure to avoid your personal opinion: write a summary in the third person!

The second section is the work’s interpretation and evaluation.

It’s where your report ends, but your  analysis  starts. Here you’ll evaluate the work’s strong and weak parts, by the following criteria:

  • How accurate is the information in the work you’re criticizing?
  • Does it have or lack definitions and key terms?
  • Are there any controversies or hidden assumptions?
  • Is the author’s language clear?
  • Is the author fair? Does he or she cover both sides of the issue, without any bias?
  • Is the work’s organization logical? Does the author present all the points in a meaningful way?
  • Are there any gaps in his or her arguments?
  • What are (if any) the author’s fallacies? (Too emotional language, over-simplification, generalization, etc.)

After that, your interpretation comes. It’s not about judging (evaluation) anymore, but your response (opinion) on this work.

Ask yourself:

  • Where do I agree or disagree with the author?
  • What does he or she get right or wrong?
  • Would I recommend this work as a credible research source?

Your interpretation is, actually, the thesis of your essay. In this section, you’ll support the opinion you expressed in the thesis.

Critical Essay Conclusion

Yes, finally! Here comes the time to write a critical essay conclusion, and it doesn’t have to be too long. It’s like a reworded introduction, where you repeat the importance of your topic, reiterate the points you discussed, and summarize your interpretation.

  • Remind readers why this topic is essential.
  • Combine your evaluation and interpretation to focus on the work’s overall strengths and weaknesses.
  • State what makes the work so popular and successful.

Topics for writing a critical essay

A properly assembled structure of a critical essay will allow you to work with almost any topic without any problems. However, choosing it can take a while, so here are some cool examples to help you start proactively.

Choose the topic closest to you and begin to study it in depth. This will allow you to accumulate the right argument and use it competently and quickly. Don’t forget to learn how to structure a critical essay and get to writing!

Critical Essay Examples

With tons of resources available online today, it’s not that difficult to find critical essay examples. But it’s challenging to find good ones . Here we have a couple of essay abstracts for you to get an idea of what a critical essay looks and sounds. Feel free to use them for informational and educational purposes only; don’t copy them word by word in your essays to avoid duplications and  accusations of plagiarism  from your educators.

Critical essay example #1  (the abstract, taken from examples.com):

critical-essay-sample-1

Critical essay example #2  (the abstract, taken from examples.com):

critical-essay-sample-2

More examples and explanations:

  • The University of Queensland: Critical reading and analysis
  • Thompson Rivers University: Critical analysis template
  • Nova Southeastern University : Critical essay

FAQ about Critical Essay

And now, for the most interesting part:

To make a long story short for you, here go answers to the most frequently asked questions about critical essay writing. Read them if you want your analytical essay to be A-worthy.

  • What type of language should be used in a critical analysis essay?

Make sure to use a formal language in critical essays. It’s about grammatical and pronunciation norms used in intellectual and academic activities. And since your essay is analytical and requires credibility, a formal language is what you need to make it sound so.

  • How to cite a critical essay?

For citing critical essays, use the MLA format. Name the author first, followed by the title. Then, specify the publication details, including the pages from where you take the quote or reference.

how-to-cite-critical-essay

  • How to write a critical essay on movies?

Do it in the same ways as with books or articles. Watch the movie several times, engage with it critically: identify its core focus and message, interpret and evaluate it in the essay, and come up with the essential insights this movie gives to the audience.

  • How to write a self-critical essay?

Self-critical essays are about analyzing and evaluating your own writings. As a rule, educators assign them for you to reflect on your progress as a writer.

Such essays are not that difficult to craft. Follow the basic structure of a critical essay: write an introduction stating your thesis, a few body paragraphs analyzing your strengths and weaknesses as a writer, and a conclusion that restates your thesis and sums up what you’ve learned about yourself. 

  • Can a critical essay be in the first person?

Yes, if you write a self-critical essay. But if you write about others’ works, use the third person only.

In a Word…

Don’t be afraid of writing a critical essay! Yes, essays are many, and it might seem impossible to learn the differences between them and the rules of writing them. But their basic structure is the same. All you need to do is identify the purpose of your assigned work and outline it accordingly.

Critical essays are about analyzing and evaluating the work of other writers. So, just read it, figure out what the authors wanted to say, think of whether you agree or disagree with them, and write a critical essay about all this stuff. Therefore, you develop critical thinking. You learn to introduce and prove your arguments.

And you understand how to share ideas with others so they’d listen and support you.

Related posts

  • What Is the Difference between Primary and Secondary Sources
  • Common Types of Plagiarism with Examples
  • Exemplification Essay – Ideas and Tips

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How to Write a Critical Essay

Last Updated: April 8, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Megan Morgan, PhD . Megan Morgan is a Graduate Program Academic Advisor in the School of Public & International Affairs at the University of Georgia. She earned her PhD in English from the University of Georgia in 2015. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 1,161,571 times.

The goal of a critical essay is to analyze a book, film, article, painting, or event and support your argument with relevant details. When writing a paper like this, you will have to come up with an interpretation of your own and then use facts or evidence from the work or other sources to prove that your interpretation is acceptable. A critical essay on a book, for example, might focus on the tone and how that influences the meaning of the book overall and would use quotations from the book to support the thesis. This type of paper requires careful planning and writing, but is often a creative way to engage with a subject that you are interested in and can be very rewarding!

Preparing to Write a Critical Essay

Step 1 Make sure that you understand the assignment.

  • Get to know the text inside and out by reading and rereading it. If you have been asked to write about a visual text like a film or piece of art, watch the film multiple times or view the painting from various angles and distances.

Step 3 Take notes as you read your text.

  • What is the text about?
  • What are the main ideas?
  • What is puzzling about the text?
  • What is the purpose of this text?
  • Does the text accomplish its purpose? If not, why not? Is so, how so? [3] X Research source Don't: summarize the plot — you should already be familiar with it. Do: jot down thoughts that may guide your paper: Does he mean __? Does this connect to __?

Step 4 Review your notes to identify patterns and problems.

  • Your solution to the problem should help you to develop a focus for your essay, but keep in mind that you do not need to have a solid argument about your text at this point. As you continue to think about the text, you will move closer to a focus and a thesis for your critical analysis essay. Don't: read the author's mind: Mary Shelley intended Frankenstein's monster to be more likable because... Do: phrase it as your own interpretation: Frankenstein's monster is more sympathetic than his creator, leading the reader to question who the true monster really is.

Conducting Research

Step 1 Find appropriate secondary sources if required.

  • Books, articles from scholarly journals, magazine articles, newspaper articles, and trustworthy websites are some sources that you might consider using.
  • Use your library’s databases rather than a general internet search. University libraries subscribe to many databases. These databases provide you with free access to articles and other resources that you cannot usually gain access to by using a search engine.

Step 2 Evaluate your sources to determine their credibility.

  • The author and his or her credentials. Choose sources that include an author’s name and that provide credentials for that author. The credentials should indicate something about why this person is qualified to speak as an authority on the subject. For example, an article about a medical condition will be more trustworthy if the author is a medical doctor. If you find a source where no author is listed or the author does not have any credentials, then this source may not be trustworthy. [5] X Research source
  • Citations. Think about whether or not this author has adequately researched the topic. Check the author’s bibliography or works cited page. If the author has provided few or no sources, then this source may not be trustworthy. [6] X Research source
  • Bias. Think about whether or not this author has presented an objective, well-reasoned account of the topic. How often does the tone indicate a strong preference for one side of the argument? How often does the argument dismiss or disregard the opposition’s concerns or valid arguments? If these are regular occurrences in the source, then it may not be a good choice. [7] X Research source (Note, however, that literary criticism often presents a very strong preference for one reading; this is not usually considered "bias" because the field of literary study is inherently subjective.) Don't: dismiss an author for favoring one point of view. Do: engage critically with their argument and make use of well-supported claims.
  • Publication date. Think about whether or not this source presents the most up to date information on the subject. Noting the publication date is especially important for scientific subjects, since new technologies and techniques have made some earlier findings irrelevant. [8] X Research source
  • Information provided in the source. If you are still questioning the trustworthiness of this source, cross check some of the information provided against a trustworthy source. If the information that this author presents contradicts one of your trustworthy sources, then it might not be a good source to use in your paper. [9] X Research source

Step 3 Read your research.

  • Clearly indicate when you have quoted a source word for word by putting it into quotation marks and including information about the source such as the author’s name, article or book title, and page number. Don't: highlight a phrase just because it sounds significant or meaningful. Do: highlight phrases that support or undermine your arguments.

Writing Your Essay

Step 1 Develop your tentative thesis.

  • Make sure your thesis provides enough detail. In other words, avoid simply saying that something is "good" or "effective" and say what specifically makes it "good" or "effective." [12] X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source
  • Place your thesis statement at the end of your first paragraph unless your instructor tells you to place it elsewhere. The end of the first paragraph is the traditional place to provide your thesis in an academic essay.
  • For example, here is a multi-sentence thesis statement about the effectiveness and purpose of the movie Mad Max: Fury Road : "Many action films follow the same traditional pattern: a male action hero (usually white and attractive) follows his gut and barks orders at others, who must follow him or die. Mad Max: Fury Road is effective because it turns this pattern on its head. Instead of following the expected progression, the movie offers an action movie with multiple heroes, many of whom are women, thereby effectively challenging patriarchal standards in the Hollywood summer blockbuster." Don't: include obvious facts ( Mad Max was directed by George Miller ) or subjective opinions ( Mad Max is the greatest movie of 2015 ). [13] X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source Do: present an argument that you can back up with evidence.

Step 2 Develop a rough...

  • You may want to use a formal outline structure that uses Roman numerals, Arabic numerals, and letters. Or, you may want to use an informal "mind-map" type of outline, which allows you to gather your ideas before you have a complete idea of how they progress.

Step 3 Begin your essay with an engaging sentence that gets right into your topic.

  • Other good techniques to open an essay include using a specific, evocative detail that links to your larger idea, asking a question that your essay will answer, or providing a compelling statistic.

Step 4 Provide background information to help guide your readers.

  • If you are writing about a book, provide the name of the work, the author, and a brief summary of the plot.
  • If you are writing about a film, provide a brief synopsis.
  • If you are writing about a painting or other still image, provide a brief description for your readers.
  • Keep in mind that your background information in the first paragraph should lead up to your thesis statement. Explain everything the reader needs to know to understand what your topic is about, then narrow it down until you reach the topic itself.

Step 5 Use your body paragraphs to discuss specific components of your text.

  • Provide a claim at the beginning of the paragraph.
  • Support your claim with at least one example from your primary source(s).
  • Support your claim with at least one example from your secondary sources.

Step 6 Develop a conclusion for your essay.

  • Summarize and review your main ideas about the text.
  • Explain how the topic affects the reader.
  • Explain how your narrow topic applies to a broader theme or observation.
  • Call the reader to action or further exploration on the topic.
  • Present new questions that your essay introduced. Don't: repeat the same points you made earlier in the essay. Do: refer back to earlier points and connect them into a single argument.

Revising Your Essay

Step 1 Set aside your paper for a few days before revising your draft.

  • It is important to begin writing a paper far enough ahead of time to allow yourself a few days or even a week to revise before it is due. If you do not allow yourself this extra time, you will be more prone to making simple mistakes and your grade may suffer as a result. [16] X Research source

Step 2 Give yourself sufficient time to do a substantive revision that clarifies any confusing logic or arguments.

  • What is your main point? How might you clarify your main point?
  • Who is your audience? Have you considered their needs and expectations?
  • What is your purpose? Have you accomplished your purpose with this paper?
  • How effective is your evidence? How might your strengthen your evidence?
  • Does every part of your paper relate back to your thesis? How might you enhance these connections?
  • Is anything confusing about your language or organization? How might your clarify your language or organization?
  • Have you made any errors with grammar, punctuation, or spelling? How can you correct these errors?
  • What might someone who disagrees with you say about your paper? How can you address these opposing arguments in your paper? [17] X Research source

Step 3 Complete your paper by carefully proofreading a printed version of your final draft.

  • If you are submitting your paper online or through email, check with your teacher or professor to find out what format s/he prefers. If you have used any textual formatting in your paper, you may wish to save it as a PDF file to preserve your formatting.

Sample Essays

how to write a critical essay introduction

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • Ask a friend, family member or other acquaintance to proofread and make constructive comments on your paper. Professional writers go through several drafts of their work and you should expect to do the same. Thanks Helpful 9 Not Helpful 0
  • It is often easier to write a rough introduction and proceed with the rest of the paper before returning to revise the introduction. If you're feeling lost on how to introduce your paper, write a placeholder introduction. Thanks Helpful 8 Not Helpful 1
  • Write in your own voice. It is better to correctly use the words you know than to misuse the words you do not know in an attempt to sound scholarly. Thanks Helpful 6 Not Helpful 1

how to write a critical essay introduction

  • Make sure to cite all of your research including quotations, statistics and theoretical concepts as accurately as possible. When in doubt, err on the side of citing more rather than less, since failing to cite your research can result in a charge of plagiarism. Thanks Helpful 6 Not Helpful 2
  • Papers written at the last minute suffer from logic gaps and poor grammar. Remember that your teacher has read hundreds, if not thousands of student papers, and as such, can tell when you've written a paper at the last minute. Thanks Helpful 6 Not Helpful 2

You Might Also Like

Write a Research Introduction

  • ↑ https://uwc.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/UWC_handouts_readingessayprompts.pdf
  • ↑ http://www.sussex.ac.uk/s3/?id=122
  • ↑ http://www2.southeastern.edu/Academics/Faculty/elejeune/critique.htm
  • ↑ https://guides.lib.uw.edu/research/faq/reliable
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/553/03/
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/673/1/
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/thesis-statements/
  • ↑ https://www.irsc.edu/students/academicsupportcenter/researchpaper/researchpaper.aspx?id=4294967433
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/engagement/2/2/58/
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/561/05/

About This Article

Megan Morgan, PhD

To write a critical essay, develop a thesis that expresses your essay's main focus and states an arguable claim. Next, write an introduction that gives a basic overview of your paper and introduces your thesis. Then, create paragraphs that discuss your specific ideas, focusing on one main idea per paragraph. Be sure to start each paragraph with a claim and use examples from primary and secondary sources to support that claim. Finally, create a conclusion that summarizes your main points. For tips on outlining and revising your paper, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Critical Essay Writing

Cathy A.

Critical Essay - A Step by Step Guide & Examples

11 min read

critical essay writing

People also read

A Comprehensive List of 260+ Inspiring Critical Essay Topics

Critical Essay Outline - Writing Guide With Examples

Many students find it tough to write a good critical essay because it's different from other essays. Understanding the deeper meanings in literature and creating a strong essay can be tricky.

This confusion makes it hard for students to analyze and explain literary works effectively. They struggle to create essays that show a strong understanding of the topic.

But don't worry! This guide will help. It gives step-by-step instructions, examples, and tips to make writing a great critical essay easier. By learning the key parts and looking at examples, students can master the skill of writing these essays.

Arrow Down

  • 1. Critical Essay Definition
  • 2. Techniques in Literary Critical Essays
  • 3. How to Write a Critical Essay?
  • 4. Critical Essay Examples
  • 5. Critical Essay Topics
  • 6. Tips For Writing a Critical Essay

Critical Essay Definition

A critical is a form of analytical essay that analyzes, evaluates, and interprets a piece of literature, movie, book, play, etc. 

The writer signifies the meaning of the text by claiming the themes. The claims are then supported by facts using primary and secondary sources of information.

What Makes An Essay Critical?

People often confuse this type of essay with an argumentative essay. It is because they both deal with claims and provide evidence on the subject matter. 

An argumentative essay uses evidence to persuade the reader. On the other hand, a critical analysis essay discusses the themes, analyzes, and interprets them for its audience. 

Here are the key characteristics of a critical essay:

  • Looking Beyond the Surface: In a critical essay, it's not just about summarizing. It goes deeper, looking into the hidden meanings and themes of the text.
  • Sharing Opinions with Evidence: It's not only about what you think. You need to back up your ideas with proof from the text or other sources.
  • Examining from Different Angles: A critical essay doesn't just focus on one side. It looks at different viewpoints and examines things from various perspectives.
  • Finding Strengths and Weaknesses: It's about discussing what's good and what's not so good in the text or artwork. This helps in forming a balanced opinion.
  • Staying Objective: Instead of being emotional, it stays fair and objective, using facts and examples to support arguments.
  • Creating a Strong Argument: A critical essay builds a strong argument by analyzing the content and forming a clear opinion that's well-supported.
  • Analyzing the 'Why' and 'How': It's not just about what happens in the text but why it happens and how it influences the overall meaning.

Techniques in Literary Critical Essays

Analyzing literature involves a set of techniques that form the backbone of literary criticism. Let's delve into these techniques, providing a comprehensive understanding before exploring illustrative examples:

Formalism in literary criticism directs attention to the inherent structure, style, and linguistic elements within a text. It is concerned with the way a work is crafted, examining how literary devices contribute to its overall impact.

Example: In Emily Brontë's "Wuthering Heights," a formalist analysis might emphasize the novel's intricate narrative structure and the use of Gothic elements.

Psychoanalytic Criticism

Psychoanalytic Criticism delves into the psychological motivations and subconscious elements of characters and authors. It often draws on psychoanalytic theories, such as those developed by Sigmund Freud, to explore the deeper layers of the human psyche reflected in literature.

Example: In "Orlando," Virginia Woolf employs psychoanalytic elements to symbolically explore identity and gender fluidity. The protagonist's centuries-spanning transformation reflects Woolf's subconscious struggles, using fantasy as a lens to navigate psychological complexities.

Feminist Criticism

Feminist Criticism evaluates how gender roles, stereotypes, and power dynamics are portrayed in literature. It seeks to uncover and challenge representations that may perpetuate gender inequalities or reinforce stereotypes.

Example: Applying feminist criticism to Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" involves scrutinizing the representation of women's mental health and societal expectations.

Marxist Criticism

Marxist Criticism focuses on economic and social aspects, exploring how literature reflects and critiques class structures. It examines how power dynamics, societal hierarchies, and economic systems are portrayed in literary works.

Example: Analyzing George Orwell's "Animal Farm" through a Marxist lens involves examining its allegorical representation of societal class struggles.

Cultural Criticism

Cultural Criticism considers the cultural context and societal influences shaping the creation and reception of literature. It examines how cultural norms, values, and historical contexts impact the meaning and interpretation of a work.

Example: Cultural criticism of Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" may delve into the impact of colonialism on African identity.

Postcolonial Criticism

Postcolonial Criticism examines the representation of colonial and postcolonial experiences in literature. It explores how authors engage with and respond to the legacy of colonialism, addressing issues of identity, cultural hybridity, and power.

Example: A postcolonial analysis of Salman Rushdie's "Midnight's Children" may explore themes of identity and cultural hybridity.

Understanding these techniques provides a comprehensive toolkit for navigating the diverse landscape of literary criticism.

How to Write a Critical Essay?

Crafting a critical essay involves a step-by-step process that every student can follow to create a compelling piece of analysis.

Step 1: Explore the Subject in Depth

Start by diving into the primary subject of the work. When critically reading the original text, focus on identifying key elements:

  • Main themes: Discover the central ideas explored in the work.
  • Different features: Examine the distinctive components and specific details in the story.
  • Style: Observe the techniques and writing style  used to persuade the audience.
  • Strengths and weaknesses: Evaluate notable aspects and potential shortcomings.

Step 2: Conduct Research

To support your insights, conduct thorough research using credible sources. 

Take detailed notes as you read, highlighting key points and interesting quotes. Also make sure you’re paying attention to the specific points that directly support and strengthen your analysis of the work. 

Step 3: Create an Outline

After you have gathered the sources and information, organize what you have in an outline. This will serve as a roadmap for your writing process, ensuring a structured essay.

Here is a standard critical essay outline:

Make sure to structure and organize your critical essay with this in-depth guide on creating a critical essay outline !

Step 4: Develop Your Thesis Statement

Create a strong thesis statement encapsulating your stance on the subject. This statement will guide the content in the body sections.

A good thesis keeps your essay clear and organized, making sure all your points fit together. To make a strong thesis, first, be clear about what main idea you want to talk about. Avoid being vague and clearly state your key arguments and analysis. 

Here's what a typical thesis statement for a critical essay looks like:

"In [Title/Author/Work], [Your Main Claim] because [Brief Overview of Reasons/Key Points] . Through a focused analysis of [Specific Aspects or Elements] , this essay aims to [Purpose of the Critical Examination] ."

Step 5: Decide on Supporting Material

While reading the text, select compelling pieces of evidence that strongly support your thesis statement. Ask yourself:

  • Which information is recognized by authorities in the subject?
  • Which information is supported by other authors?
  • Which information best defines and supports the thesis statement?

Step 6: Include an Opposing Argument

Present an opposing argument that challenges your thesis statement. This step requires you critically read your own analysis and find counterarguments so you can refute them.

This not only makes your discussion richer but also makes your own argument stronger by addressing different opinions. 

Step 7:  Critical Essay Introduction

Begin your critical essay with an introduction that clearly suggests the reader what they should expect from the rest of the essay. Here are the essential elements of an introduction paragraph:

  • Hook: Start with a compelling opening line that captivates your reader's interest.
  • Background Information: Provide essential context to ensure your readers grasp the subject matter. Add brief context of the story that contributes to a better understanding.
  • Thesis Statement: Conclude with a clear thesis statement, summarizing the core argument of your critical essay. This serves as a roadmap, guiding the reader through the main focus of your analysis.

Step 8: Critical Essay Body Paragraphs

The body presents arguments and supporting evidence. Each paragraph starts with a topic sentence, addressing a specific idea. Use transitional words to guide the reader seamlessly through your analysis.

Here’s the standard format for a critical essay body paragraph:

  • Topic Sentence: Introduces the central idea of the paragraph, acting as a roadmap for the reader.
  • Analysis: Objectively examines data, facts, theories, and approaches used in the work.
  • Evaluation: Assesses the work based on earlier claims and evidence, establishing logical consistency.
  • Relate Back to Topic Sentence: Reinforces how the analyzed details connect to the main idea introduced at the beginning of the paragraph.
  • Transition: Creates a seamless transition from one body paragraph to the next.

Step 9: Critical Essay Conclusion

Summarize your key points in the conclusion. Reiterate the validity of your thesis statement, the main point of your essay. 

Finally, offer an objective analysis in your conclusion. Look at the broader picture and discuss the larger implications or significance of your critique. Consider how your analysis fits into the larger context and what it contributes to the understanding of the subject.

Step 10: Proofread and Edit

Allocate time for meticulous revision. Scrutinize your essay for errors. Rectify all mistakes to ensure a polished academic piece.

Following these steps will empower you to dissect a work critically and present your insights persuasively.

Critical Essay Examples

Writing a critical essay about any theme requires you take on different approaches. Here are some examples of critical essays about literary works and movies exploring different themes:

Critical Essay About A Movie

Equality By Maya Angelou Critical Essay

Higher English Critical Essay

Analysis Critical Essay Example

Critical Essay on Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

Critical Essay On Tess Of The d'Urbervilles

Critical Essay Topics

A strong critical essay topic is both interesting and relevant, encouraging in-depth analysis and unique perspectives.

A good critical essay topic tackles current issues, questions established ideas, and has enough existing literature for thorough research. Here are some critical analysis topic:

  • The Representation of Diversity in Modern Literature
  • Impact of Social Media on Character Relationships in Novels
  • Challenging Stereotypes: Gender Portrayal in Contemporary Fiction
  • Exploring Economic Disparities in Urban Novels
  • Postcolonial Themes in Global Literature
  • Mental Health Narratives: Realism vs. Romanticism
  • Ecocriticism: Nature's Role in Classic Literature
  • Unveiling Power Struggles in Family Dynamics in Literary Works
  • Satire and Political Commentary in Modern Fiction
  • Quest for Identity: Coming-of-Age Novels in the 21st Century

Need more topic ideas? Check out these interesting and unique critical essay topics and get inspired!

Tips For Writing a Critical Essay

Become a skilled critical essay writer by following these practical tips:

  • Dig deep into your topic. Understand themes, characters, and literary elements thoroughly.
  • Think about different opinions to make your argument stronger and show you understand the whole picture.
  • Get information from reliable places like books, academic journals, and experts to make your essay more trustworthy.
  • Make a straightforward and strong statement that sums up your main point.
  • Support your ideas with solid proof from the text or other sources. Use quotes, examples, and references wisely.
  • Keep a neutral and academic tone. Avoid sharing too many personal opinions and focus on analyzing the facts.
  • Arrange your essay logically with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Make sure your ideas flow well.
  • Go beyond just summarizing. Think deeply about the strengths, weaknesses, and overall impact of the work.
  • Read through your essay multiple times to fix mistakes and make sure it's clear. A well-edited essay shows you care about the details.

You can use these tips to make your critical essays more insightful and well-written. Now that you have this helpful guide, you can start working on your critical essay. 

If it seems too much, no worries. Our essay writing service is here to help. 

Our experienced writers can handle critical essays on any topic, making it easier for you. Just reach out, and we've got your back throughout your essay journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many paragraphs is a critical essay.

FAQ Icon

Keep in mind that every sentence should communicate the point. Every paragraph must support your thesis statement either by offering a claim or presenting an argument, and these are followed up with evidence for success! Most critical essays will have three to six paragraphs unless otherwise specified on examinations so make sure you follow them closely if applicable.

Can critical essays be in the first person?

The critical essay is an informative and persuasive work that stresses the importance of your argument. You need to support any claims or observations with evidence, so in order for it to be most effective, you should avoid using first-person pronouns like I/me when writing this type of paper.

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critical essay topics

How to Write a Critical Essay

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  • An Introduction to Punctuation

Olivia Valdes was the Associate Editorial Director for ThoughtCo. She worked with Dotdash Meredith from 2017 to 2021.

how to write a critical essay introduction

  • B.A., American Studies, Yale University

A critical essay is a form of academic writing that analyzes, interprets, and/or evaluates a text. In a critical essay, an author makes a claim about how particular ideas or themes are conveyed in a text, then supports that claim with evidence from primary and/or secondary sources.

In casual conversation, we often associate the word "critical" with a negative perspective. However, in the context of a critical essay, the word "critical" simply means discerning and analytical. Critical essays analyze and evaluate the meaning and significance of a text, rather than making a judgment about its content or quality.

What Makes an Essay "Critical"? 

Imagine you've just watched the movie "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." If you were chatting with friends in the movie theater lobby, you might say something like, "Charlie was so lucky to find a Golden Ticket. That ticket changed his life." A friend might reply, "Yeah, but Willy Wonka shouldn't have let those raucous kids into his chocolate factory in the first place. They caused a big mess."

These comments make for an enjoyable conversation, but they do not belong in a critical essay. Why? Because they respond to (and pass judgment on) the raw content of the movie, rather than analyzing its themes or how the director conveyed those themes.

On the other hand, a critical essay about "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" might take the following topic as its thesis: "In 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,' director Mel Stuart intertwines money and morality through his depiction of children: the angelic appearance of Charlie Bucket, a good-hearted boy of modest means, is sharply contrasted against the physically grotesque portrayal of the wealthy, and thus immoral, children."

This thesis includes a claim about the themes of the film, what the director seems to be saying about those themes, and what techniques the director employs in order to communicate his message. In addition, this thesis is both supportable  and  disputable using evidence from the film itself, which means it's a strong central argument for a critical essay .

Characteristics of a Critical Essay

Critical essays are written across many academic disciplines and can have wide-ranging textual subjects: films, novels, poetry, video games, visual art, and more. However, despite their diverse subject matter, all critical essays share the following characteristics.

  • Central claim . All critical essays contain a central claim about the text. This argument is typically expressed at the beginning of the essay in a thesis statement , then supported with evidence in each body paragraph. Some critical essays bolster their argument even further by including potential counterarguments, then using evidence to dispute them.
  • Evidence . The central claim of a critical essay must be supported by evidence. In many critical essays, most of the evidence comes in the form of textual support: particular details from the text (dialogue, descriptions, word choice, structure, imagery, et cetera) that bolster the argument. Critical essays may also include evidence from secondary sources, often scholarly works that support or strengthen the main argument.
  • Conclusion . After making a claim and supporting it with evidence, critical essays offer a succinct conclusion. The conclusion summarizes the trajectory of the essay's argument and emphasizes the essays' most important insights.

Tips for Writing a Critical Essay

Writing a critical essay requires rigorous analysis and a meticulous argument-building process. If you're struggling with a critical essay assignment, these tips will help you get started.

  • Practice active reading strategies . These strategies for staying focused and retaining information will help you identify specific details in the text that will serve as evidence for your main argument. Active reading is an essential skill, especially if you're writing a critical essay for a literature class.
  • Read example essays . If you're unfamiliar with critical essays as a form, writing one is going to be extremely challenging. Before you dive into the writing process, read a variety of published critical essays, paying careful attention to their structure and writing style. (As always, remember that paraphrasing an author's ideas without proper attribution is a form of plagiarism .)
  • Resist the urge to summarize . Critical essays should consist of your own analysis and interpretation of a text, not a summary of the text in general. If you find yourself writing lengthy plot or character descriptions, pause and consider whether these summaries are in the service of your main argument or whether they are simply taking up space.
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How to Write an Essay Introduction (with Examples)   

essay introduction

The introduction of an essay plays a critical role in engaging the reader and providing contextual information about the topic. It sets the stage for the rest of the essay, establishes the tone and style, and motivates the reader to continue reading. 

Table of Contents

What is an essay introduction , what to include in an essay introduction, how to create an essay structure , step-by-step process for writing an essay introduction , how to write an introduction paragraph , how to write a hook for your essay , how to include background information , how to write a thesis statement .

  • Argumentative Essay Introduction Example: 
  • Expository Essay Introduction Example 

Literary Analysis Essay Introduction Example

Check and revise – checklist for essay introduction , key takeaways , frequently asked questions .

An introduction is the opening section of an essay, paper, or other written work. It introduces the topic and provides background information, context, and an overview of what the reader can expect from the rest of the work. 1 The key is to be concise and to the point, providing enough information to engage the reader without delving into excessive detail. 

The essay introduction is crucial as it sets the tone for the entire piece and provides the reader with a roadmap of what to expect. Here are key elements to include in your essay introduction: 

  • Hook : Start with an attention-grabbing statement or question to engage the reader. This could be a surprising fact, a relevant quote, or a compelling anecdote. 
  • Background information : Provide context and background information to help the reader understand the topic. This can include historical information, definitions of key terms, or an overview of the current state of affairs related to your topic. 
  • Thesis statement : Clearly state your main argument or position on the topic. Your thesis should be concise and specific, providing a clear direction for your essay. 

Before we get into how to write an essay introduction, we need to know how it is structured. The structure of an essay is crucial for organizing your thoughts and presenting them clearly and logically. It is divided as follows: 2  

  • Introduction:  The introduction should grab the reader’s attention with a hook, provide context, and include a thesis statement that presents the main argument or purpose of the essay.  
  • Body:  The body should consist of focused paragraphs that support your thesis statement using evidence and analysis. Each paragraph should concentrate on a single central idea or argument and provide evidence, examples, or analysis to back it up.  
  • Conclusion:  The conclusion should summarize the main points and restate the thesis differently. End with a final statement that leaves a lasting impression on the reader. Avoid new information or arguments. 

how to write a critical essay introduction

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to write an essay introduction: 

  • Start with a Hook : Begin your introduction paragraph with an attention-grabbing statement, question, quote, or anecdote related to your topic. The hook should pique the reader’s interest and encourage them to continue reading. 
  • Provide Background Information : This helps the reader understand the relevance and importance of the topic. 
  • State Your Thesis Statement : The last sentence is the main argument or point of your essay. It should be clear, concise, and directly address the topic of your essay. 
  • Preview the Main Points : This gives the reader an idea of what to expect and how you will support your thesis. 
  • Keep it Concise and Clear : Avoid going into too much detail or including information not directly relevant to your topic. 
  • Revise : Revise your introduction after you’ve written the rest of your essay to ensure it aligns with your final argument. 

Here’s an example of an essay introduction paragraph about the importance of education: 

Education is often viewed as a fundamental human right and a key social and economic development driver. As Nelson Mandela once famously said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” It is the key to unlocking a wide range of opportunities and benefits for individuals, societies, and nations. In today’s constantly evolving world, education has become even more critical. It has expanded beyond traditional classroom learning to include digital and remote learning, making education more accessible and convenient. This essay will delve into the importance of education in empowering individuals to achieve their dreams, improving societies by promoting social justice and equality, and driving economic growth by developing a skilled workforce and promoting innovation. 

This introduction paragraph example includes a hook (the quote by Nelson Mandela), provides some background information on education, and states the thesis statement (the importance of education). 

This is one of the key steps in how to write an essay introduction. Crafting a compelling hook is vital because it sets the tone for your entire essay and determines whether your readers will stay interested. A good hook draws the reader in and sets the stage for the rest of your essay.  

  • Avoid Dry Fact : Instead of simply stating a bland fact, try to make it engaging and relevant to your topic. For example, if you’re writing about the benefits of exercise, you could start with a startling statistic like, “Did you know that regular exercise can increase your lifespan by up to seven years?” 
  • Avoid Using a Dictionary Definition : While definitions can be informative, they’re not always the most captivating way to start an essay. Instead, try to use a quote, anecdote, or provocative question to pique the reader’s interest. For instance, if you’re writing about freedom, you could begin with a quote from a famous freedom fighter or philosopher. 
  • Do Not Just State a Fact That the Reader Already Knows : This ties back to the first point—your hook should surprise or intrigue the reader. For Here’s an introduction paragraph example, if you’re writing about climate change, you could start with a thought-provoking statement like, “Despite overwhelming evidence, many people still refuse to believe in the reality of climate change.” 

Including background information in the introduction section of your essay is important to provide context and establish the relevance of your topic. When writing the background information, you can follow these steps: 

  • Start with a General Statement:  Begin with a general statement about the topic and gradually narrow it down to your specific focus. For example, when discussing the impact of social media, you can begin by making a broad statement about social media and its widespread use in today’s society, as follows: “Social media has become an integral part of modern life, with billions of users worldwide.” 
  • Define Key Terms : Define any key terms or concepts that may be unfamiliar to your readers but are essential for understanding your argument. 
  • Provide Relevant Statistics:  Use statistics or facts to highlight the significance of the issue you’re discussing. For instance, “According to a report by Statista, the number of social media users is expected to reach 4.41 billion by 2025.” 
  • Discuss the Evolution:  Mention previous research or studies that have been conducted on the topic, especially those that are relevant to your argument. Mention key milestones or developments that have shaped its current impact. You can also outline some of the major effects of social media. For example, you can briefly describe how social media has evolved, including positives such as increased connectivity and issues like cyberbullying and privacy concerns. 
  • Transition to Your Thesis:  Use the background information to lead into your thesis statement, which should clearly state the main argument or purpose of your essay. For example, “Given its pervasive influence, it is crucial to examine the impact of social media on mental health.” 

how to write a critical essay introduction

A thesis statement is a concise summary of the main point or claim of an essay, research paper, or other type of academic writing. It appears near the end of the introduction. Here’s how to write a thesis statement: 

  • Identify the topic:  Start by identifying the topic of your essay. For example, if your essay is about the importance of exercise for overall health, your topic is “exercise.” 
  • State your position:  Next, state your position or claim about the topic. This is the main argument or point you want to make. For example, if you believe that regular exercise is crucial for maintaining good health, your position could be: “Regular exercise is essential for maintaining good health.” 
  • Support your position:  Provide a brief overview of the reasons or evidence that support your position. These will be the main points of your essay. For example, if you’re writing an essay about the importance of exercise, you could mention the physical health benefits, mental health benefits, and the role of exercise in disease prevention. 
  • Make it specific:  Ensure your thesis statement clearly states what you will discuss in your essay. For example, instead of saying, “Exercise is good for you,” you could say, “Regular exercise, including cardiovascular and strength training, can improve overall health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.” 

Examples of essay introduction 

Here are examples of essay introductions for different types of essays: 

Argumentative Essay Introduction Example:  

Topic: Should the voting age be lowered to 16? 

“The question of whether the voting age should be lowered to 16 has sparked nationwide debate. While some argue that 16-year-olds lack the requisite maturity and knowledge to make informed decisions, others argue that doing so would imbue young people with agency and give them a voice in shaping their future.” 

Expository Essay Introduction Example  

Topic: The benefits of regular exercise 

“In today’s fast-paced world, the importance of regular exercise cannot be overstated. From improving physical health to boosting mental well-being, the benefits of exercise are numerous and far-reaching. This essay will examine the various advantages of regular exercise and provide tips on incorporating it into your daily routine.” 

Text: “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee 

“Harper Lee’s novel, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ is a timeless classic that explores themes of racism, injustice, and morality in the American South. Through the eyes of young Scout Finch, the reader is taken on a journey that challenges societal norms and forces characters to confront their prejudices. This essay will analyze the novel’s use of symbolism, character development, and narrative structure to uncover its deeper meaning and relevance to contemporary society.” 

  • Engaging and Relevant First Sentence : The opening sentence captures the reader’s attention and relates directly to the topic. 
  • Background Information : Enough background information is introduced to provide context for the thesis statement. 
  • Definition of Important Terms : Key terms or concepts that might be unfamiliar to the audience or are central to the argument are defined. 
  • Clear Thesis Statement : The thesis statement presents the main point or argument of the essay. 
  • Relevance to Main Body : Everything in the introduction directly relates to and sets up the discussion in the main body of the essay. 

how to write a critical essay introduction

Writing a strong introduction is crucial for setting the tone and context of your essay. Here are the key takeaways for how to write essay introduction: 3  

  • Hook the Reader : Start with an engaging hook to grab the reader’s attention. This could be a compelling question, a surprising fact, a relevant quote, or an anecdote. 
  • Provide Background : Give a brief overview of the topic, setting the context and stage for the discussion. 
  • Thesis Statement : State your thesis, which is the main argument or point of your essay. It should be concise, clear, and specific. 
  • Preview the Structure : Outline the main points or arguments to help the reader understand the organization of your essay. 
  • Keep it Concise : Avoid including unnecessary details or information not directly related to your thesis. 
  • Revise and Edit : Revise your introduction to ensure clarity, coherence, and relevance. Check for grammar and spelling errors. 
  • Seek Feedback : Get feedback from peers or instructors to improve your introduction further. 

The purpose of an essay introduction is to give an overview of the topic, context, and main ideas of the essay. It is meant to engage the reader, establish the tone for the rest of the essay, and introduce the thesis statement or central argument.  

An essay introduction typically ranges from 5-10% of the total word count. For example, in a 1,000-word essay, the introduction would be roughly 50-100 words. However, the length can vary depending on the complexity of the topic and the overall length of the essay.

An essay introduction is critical in engaging the reader and providing contextual information about the topic. To ensure its effectiveness, consider incorporating these key elements: a compelling hook, background information, a clear thesis statement, an outline of the essay’s scope, a smooth transition to the body, and optional signposting sentences.  

The process of writing an essay introduction is not necessarily straightforward, but there are several strategies that can be employed to achieve this end. When experiencing difficulty initiating the process, consider the following techniques: begin with an anecdote, a quotation, an image, a question, or a startling fact to pique the reader’s interest. It may also be helpful to consider the five W’s of journalism: who, what, when, where, why, and how.   For instance, an anecdotal opening could be structured as follows: “As I ascended the stage, momentarily blinded by the intense lights, I could sense the weight of a hundred eyes upon me, anticipating my next move. The topic of discussion was climate change, a subject I was passionate about, and it was my first public speaking event. Little did I know , that pivotal moment would not only alter my perspective but also chart my life’s course.” 

Crafting a compelling thesis statement for your introduction paragraph is crucial to grab your reader’s attention. To achieve this, avoid using overused phrases such as “In this paper, I will write about” or “I will focus on” as they lack originality. Instead, strive to engage your reader by substantiating your stance or proposition with a “so what” clause. While writing your thesis statement, aim to be precise, succinct, and clear in conveying your main argument.  

To create an effective essay introduction, ensure it is clear, engaging, relevant, and contains a concise thesis statement. It should transition smoothly into the essay and be long enough to cover necessary points but not become overwhelming. Seek feedback from peers or instructors to assess its effectiveness. 

References  

  • Cui, L. (2022). Unit 6 Essay Introduction.  Building Academic Writing Skills . 
  • West, H., Malcolm, G., Keywood, S., & Hill, J. (2019). Writing a successful essay.  Journal of Geography in Higher Education ,  43 (4), 609-617. 
  • Beavers, M. E., Thoune, D. L., & McBeth, M. (2023). Bibliographic Essay: Reading, Researching, Teaching, and Writing with Hooks: A Queer Literacy Sponsorship. College English, 85(3), 230-242. 

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How To Write A Critical Essay

Table of Contents

Content of this article

  • Purposes of writing
  • Preparation process
  • Finalizing an essay
  • How to choose topic for a critical writing

1. How To Write A Critical Essay

A critical essay seeks to provide an analysis or interpretation of either a book, a piece of art, or a film . A critical essay is not the same as a review because, unlike a review, it encompasses an academic purpose or goal. Students should not just aim at reviewing a book or a film but should have an argument and include scholarly observations within their essays. Contrary to popular belief by a significant portion of students, critical essay writing is not about criticizing or focusing on the negative aspect of analysis. It is possible to have a critical essay that supports an idea or an author’s or director’s view regarding a particular theme. A critical essay is thus an objective analysis of a particular subject whose aim is to analyze the strengths or weaknesses of text, art , or film. The above is of great importance, especially to students who think that critical essays are supposed to focus on the negative aspects of a subject.

The goal or purpose of a critical essay is to provide readers with an explanation or an interpretation of a specific idea or concept that an author, painter, or director included in their work. Additionally, writers can be asked to situate a certain theme in a book or film within a broader context. Essentially, critical essay writing involves weighing up the consistency of an author or director is trying to convey a particular message to their audience. It is thus vital to be keen and observant and note the different feelings as well as emotions conjured within a text, a film, or a painting. Writing a critical paper or criticizing might seem easy at first, but it can also be challenging.

Some of the purposes of a critical essay writing are as shown below:

  • Provide an objective account of an author’s, director’s, or painter’s work.
  • Analyze the consistency of an author’s work in presenting their ideas.
  • Assess the consistency of an author’s work in maintaining and supporting their main argument or idea.
  • Present the strengths as well as weaknesses of an article.
  • Criticize the work of an author or a painter.

2. Preparation For Writing

Step 1: understand the requirements.

Students are often at fault for starting their essays without clearly understanding the instructor’s requirements. Instead of starting an essay immediately after reading the requirements, it is wise to seek any clarification from the teacher.

Step 2: Familiarize yourself with the primary source

The primary source is the book, film, or painting a student has been asked to write a critical essay about. Here, students are always advised to be careful and note everything within the source for purpose of making their essays better. If asked to write a particular book, film, or painting, students should read the book more than once, watch the film more than once, or look at the painting from different perspectives to understand the underlying themes.

Step 3: Take notes when reading/watching/assessing the primary source

Note-taking is also vital to identifying the different patterns and problems within a text, film, or painting. While reading the text, or watching the movie, it is important to note the important concepts and ideas that an author or director, or painter decided to incorporate into their work. The important points or aspects can indeed be overwhelming, and it is thus essential to ensure none will skip or escape the writer’s mind.

Step 4: Identify the main problems or patterns within a text, movie, or art

After reviewing a text, watching a movie, or keenly analyzing a piece of art and taking notes, the next step is to identify the main problems or patterns that emerge from the notes. While noting the important aspects, certain issues or points are bound to emerge and stand out. Students thus need to be keen and identify these patterns and problems.

Step 5: Find solutions to the identified problems and patterns

The next thing after this is to try and find solutions for the identified problems and patterns. At this point, the writer should be developing their thesis statement and have their perspective clearly outlined .

3. Performing Research

Critical Essay writing is heavily dependent on how much research an individual does. In some instances, students make the mistake of depending on their primary source to write their critical essays. Unless otherwise specified by the instructor, it is always advisable to find other sources to help expand and increase the essay’s depth in content. Secondary sources help to increase an essay’s credibility and thus if needed should always be included.

Finding the right sources can be a problem and students often find themselves at fault for using unreliable sources. It is important to find genuine sources which offer reliable and accurate information lest one’s essay is filled with lies and inaccurate information. Just like how one is advised to take notes while reading or watching the primary source, it is also essential to take notes while going through the secondary sources. The notes help to determine or find patterns and points of correlation between the primary and secondary sources. Understanding the relationship or the connection between the primary and secondary sources is key to writing a decent critical essay. Below are some criteria for choosing the right secondary source:

  • Assess the timeliness of the source, that is, how current is the material.
  • Accuracy of the information. How reliable is the information within the source?
  • Coverage or relevance to the topic under study. Assess whether the material is of any importance or adds any value to the topic.
  • Evaluate the source of the information, that is, the author, painter, or director’s credibility.
  • Examine the objectivity or purpose of the information presented within a source. Here one assesses the possible bias within a text.

4. Critical Essay Structure

All essays follow a particular standard or format which includes an introduction, body, and conclusion. These parts must be included in an essay to be termed as complete. However, before tackling these sections, it is important first to develop an outline for a critical essay. Critical essay outlining is essential because it provides students with a step-by-step guide to developing their essays.

If, for example, the topic under study is “ the use of ethnic music by mainstream musicians ” the outline should be as shown below:

The Use of Ethnic Music by Mainstream Musicians

Introduction

–    Explain how music keeps changing.

–    Provide a brief description of the use of ethnic music in mainstream music.

–    Pick an artist and explain why their music is of interest in this paper.

–    Assess the change in music production of the artist.

–    Provide an analysis of how the artist has managed to use ethnic music.

–    Include the reception of the music of the above artist and how fans find his music.

–   Restate the argument or thesis statement while also mentioning why the focus was narrowed to the specified artist and their music.

–    Provide a summary of the main points.

Writing a Critical Essay Introduction

An introduction provides a description of the topic under study. While some students like providing a lot of information in the introduction, it is advisable to be brief and direct. An introduction should be specific and short but usher the readers into the topic under study. Readers should be able to determine the writer’s focus or perspective without much fuss or without the need of reading deep into a text.  Background information is true of the essence, and it is thus important to include some information that will help readers to understand the entire essay.

Writing a Thesis Statement for a Critical Essay

A thesis statement reveals the main focus of the essay. Readers need to know the writer’s focus and hence the importance of a thesis statement. On many occasions, students often have flat and simple thesis statements which even though are not against any rules only help to reveal the lack of imagination or research involved. A thesis statement should be argumentative and provide readers with an assurance that they will indeed enjoy what they are reading.

Below are some tips for writing a good thesis statement:

  • Always include it in the introduction. A thesis statement should be provided early in the essay.
  • Avoid ambiguity and be as clear as possible.
  • Cliché sentence structures should be avoided. For example, “The main point of this paper is…” or “The focus of this article will be…”
  • Be specific and narrow down the statement’s scope.
  • Be original.

Writing a Critical Essay Body

While writing an essay, each sentence in the body should communicate its point. The above is almost a cliché, but it is indeed crucial to being a good critical essay writer. Each paragraph should support the thesis statement by including a claim or an argument and following it up with supporting evidence or sentences. Unless otherwise stated, critical essays should have three to six paragraphs and each of these is supposed to have five to six sentences.

Writing a Critical Essay Conclusion

A critical essay conclusion is not any different from other essay conclusions. When writing a conclusion for a critical essay, one should reiterate their stance or main argument followed by the main supporting arguments or points. Only a summary is needed here, and hence writers are asked to be brief and only include what is necessary. Readers should feel directly linked or impacted by the topic under study. An essay should leave the readers with the need or urge of finding out more about a topic.

5. Finalizing Essay

Once the paper is complete, it is essential to revise, proofread, choose a captivating title, and make appropriate citations. Revising an assignment is important because it helps to clarify the main point as well as ensures the readers’ needs are met. Having a purpose is indeed essential to writing a decent critical essay and it is important to outline it clearly. Proofreading helps one to correct grammatical errors and maintain their stance throughout their essay.

A reader’s interest is always enticed by the title and developing one is indeed an important aspect of an essay. Citations are also of the essence and help to avoid issues of plagiarism. Paraphrasing and in-text citations should hence be taken seriously, lest a student’s work is graded poorly.

6. How to choose a topic for a critical analysis

Choosing a topic can be a challenge. Writers are, however, often advised to select a topic that they are familiar with and that will gift them with enough information to write the entire essay .

Below are some examples of critical essay topics:

  • Examine the literary and cultural context of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.
  • Examine the use of satire in John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight Show.
  • How accurate is the assertion that satirical news shows offer people more credible news than some news channels?
  • How is the movie 21 Jump Street accurate in its depiction of high school life?
  • How does the recent Texas Chainsaw Massacre horror film use the aspect of suspense to create horror?
  • What makes/made comedy series such as The Big Bang Theory, Friends, and How I met Your Mother popular?
  • What unique features did the directors of The Big Bang Theory, Friends, and How I met Your Mother include that made their shows stand out?
  • Video games contribute to a significant reduction in the attention span of both children and adults.
  • Adoption of children by gay couples.
  • How does exposure to violent videos impact the temperament of young children?
  • How is fashion a central part of a person’s identity?
  • Analyze the role of women characters in the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne.
  • Examine the cultural and historical accuracy of the TV series Merlin.
  • How do the director and producer of Merlin make use of humor throughout the TV series?
  • Examine how well the Game of Thrones books have been adapted into the TV series Game of Thrones.

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how to write a critical essay introduction

how to write a critical essay introduction

What Is a Critical Analysis Essay: Definition

how to write a critical essay introduction

Have you ever had to read a book or watch a movie for school and then write an essay about it? Well, a critical analysis essay is a type of essay where you do just that! So, when wondering what is a critical analysis essay, know that it's a fancy way of saying that you're going to take a closer look at something and analyze it.

So, let's say you're assigned to read a novel for your literature class. A critical analysis essay would require you to examine the characters, plot, themes, and writing style of the book. You would need to evaluate its strengths and weaknesses and provide your own thoughts and opinions on the text.

Similarly, if you're tasked with writing a critical analysis essay on a scientific article, you would need to analyze the methodology, results, and conclusions presented in the article and evaluate its significance and potential impact on the field.

The key to a successful critical analysis essay is to approach the subject matter with an open mind and a willingness to engage with it on a deeper level. By doing so, you can gain a greater appreciation and understanding of the subject matter and develop your own informed opinions and perspectives. Considering this, we bet you want to learn how to write critical analysis essay easily and efficiently, so keep on reading to find out more!

Meanwhile, if you'd rather have your own sample critical analysis essay crafted by professionals from our custom writings , contact us to buy essays online .

How to Write a Critical Analysis

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Critical Analysis Essay Topics by Category

If you're looking for an interesting and thought-provoking topic for your critical analysis essay, you've come to the right place! Critical analysis essays can cover many subjects and topics, with endless possibilities. To help you get started, we've compiled a list of critical analysis essay topics by category. We've got you covered whether you're interested in literature, science, social issues, or something else. So, grab a notebook and pen, and get ready to dive deep into your chosen topic. In the following sections, we will provide you with various good critical analysis paper topics to choose from, each with its unique angle and approach.

Critical Analysis Essay Topics on Mass Media

From television and radio to social media and advertising, mass media is everywhere, shaping our perceptions of the world around us. As a result, it's no surprise that critical analysis essays on mass media are a popular choice for students and scholars alike. To help you get started, here are ten critical essay example topics on mass media:

  • The Influence of Viral Memes on Pop Culture: An In-Depth Analysis.
  • The Portrayal of Mental Health in Television: Examining Stigmatization and Advocacy.
  • The Power of Satirical News Shows: Analyzing the Impact of Political Commentary.
  • Mass Media and Consumer Behavior: Investigating Advertising and Persuasion Techniques.
  • The Ethics of Deepfake Technology: Implications for Trust and Authenticity in Media.
  • Media Framing and Public Perception: A Critical Analysis of News Coverage.
  • The Role of Social Media in Shaping Political Discourse and Activism.
  • Fake News in the Digital Age: Identifying Disinformation and Its Effects.
  • The Representation of Gender and Diversity in Hollywood Films: A Critical Examination.
  • Media Ownership and Its Impact on Journalism and News Reporting: A Comprehensive Study.

Critical Analysis Essay Topics on Sports

Sports are a ubiquitous aspect of our culture, and they have the power to unite and inspire people from all walks of life. Whether you're an athlete, a fan, or just someone who appreciates the beauty of competition, there's no denying the significance of sports in our society. If you're looking for an engaging and thought-provoking topic for your critical analysis essay, sports offer a wealth of possibilities:

  • The Role of Sports in Diplomacy: Examining International Relations Through Athletic Events.
  • Sports and Identity: How Athletic Success Shapes National and Cultural Pride.
  • The Business of Sports: Analyzing the Economics and Commercialization of Athletics.
  • Athlete Activism: Exploring the Impact of Athletes' Social and Political Engagement.
  • Sports Fandom and Online Communities: The Impact of Social Media on Fan Engagement.
  • The Representation of Athletes in the Media: Gender, Race, and Stereotypes.
  • The Psychology of Sports: Exploring Mental Toughness, Motivation, and Peak Performance.
  • The Evolution of Sports Equipment and Technology: From Innovation to Regulation.
  • The Legacy of Sports Legends: Analyzing Their Impact Beyond Athletic Achievement.
  • Sports and Social Change: How Athletic Movements Shape Societal Attitudes and Policies.

Critical Analysis Essay Topics on Literature and Arts

Literature and arts can inspire, challenge, and transform our perceptions of the world around us. From classic novels to contemporary art, the realm of literature and arts offers many possibilities for critical analysis essays. Here are ten original critic essay example topics on literature and arts:

  • The Use of Symbolism in Contemporary Poetry: Analyzing Hidden Meanings and Significance.
  • The Intersection of Art and Identity: How Self-Expression Shapes Artists' Works.
  • The Role of Nonlinear Narrative in Postmodern Novels: Techniques and Interpretation.
  • The Influence of Jazz on African American Literature: A Comparative Study.
  • The Complexity of Visual Storytelling: Graphic Novels and Their Narrative Power.
  • The Art of Literary Translation: Challenges, Impact, and Interpretation.
  • The Evolution of Music Videos: From Promotional Tools to a Unique Art Form.
  • The Literary Techniques of Magical Realism: Exploring Reality and Fantasy.
  • The Impact of Visual Arts in Advertising: Analyzing the Connection Between Art and Commerce.
  • Art in Times of Crisis: How Artists Respond to Societal and Political Challenges.

Critical Analysis Essay Topics on Culture

Culture is a dynamic and multifaceted aspect of our society, encompassing everything from language and religion to art and music. As a result, there are countless possibilities for critical analysis essays on culture. Whether you're interested in exploring the complexities of globalization or delving into the nuances of cultural identity, there's a wealth of topics to choose from:

  • The Influence of K-Pop on Global Youth Culture: A Comparative Study.
  • Cultural Significance of Street Art in Urban Spaces: Beyond Vandalism.
  • The Role of Mythology in Shaping Indigenous Cultures and Belief Systems.
  • Nollywood: Analyzing the Cultural Impact of Nigerian Cinema on the African Diaspora.
  • The Language of Hip-Hop Lyrics: A Semiotic Analysis of Cultural Expression.
  • Digital Nomads and Cultural Adaptation: Examining the Subculture of Remote Work.
  • The Cultural Significance of Tattooing Among Indigenous Tribes in Oceania.
  • The Art of Culinary Fusion: Analyzing Cross-Cultural Food Trends and Innovation.
  • The Impact of Cultural Festivals on Local Identity and Economy.
  • The Influence of Internet Memes on Language and Cultural Evolution.

How to Write a Critical Analysis: Easy Steps

When wondering how to write a critical analysis essay, remember that it can be a challenging but rewarding process. Crafting a critical analysis example requires a careful and thoughtful examination of a text or artwork to assess its strengths and weaknesses and broader implications. The key to success is to approach the task in a systematic and organized manner, breaking it down into two distinct steps: critical reading and critical writing. Here are some tips for each step of the process to help you write a critical essay.

Step 1: Critical Reading

Here are some tips for critical reading that can help you with your critical analysis paper:

  • Read actively : Don't just read the text passively, but actively engage with it by highlighting or underlining important points, taking notes, and asking questions.
  • Identify the author's main argument: Figure out what the author is trying to say and what evidence they use to support their argument.
  • Evaluate the evidence: Determine whether the evidence is reliable, relevant, and sufficient to support the author's argument.
  • Analyze the author's tone and style: Consider the author's tone and style and how it affects the reader's interpretation of the text.
  • Identify assumptions: Identify any underlying assumptions the author makes and consider whether they are valid or questionable.
  • Consider alternative perspectives: Consider alternative perspectives or interpretations of the text and consider how they might affect the author's argument.
  • Assess the author's credibility : Evaluate the author's credibility by considering their expertise, biases, and motivations.
  • Consider the context: Consider the historical, social, cultural, and political context in which the text was written and how it affects its meaning.
  • Pay attention to language: Pay attention to the author's language, including metaphors, symbolism, and other literary devices.
  • Synthesize your analysis: Use your analysis of the text to develop a well-supported argument in your critical analysis essay.

Step 2: Critical Analysis Writing

Here are some tips for critical analysis writing, with examples:

How to Write a Critical Analysis

  • Start with a strong thesis statement: A strong critical analysis thesis is the foundation of any critical analysis essay. It should clearly state your argument or interpretation of the text. You can also consult us on how to write a thesis statement . Meanwhile, here is a clear example:
  • Weak thesis statement: 'The author of this article is wrong.'
  • Strong thesis statement: 'In this article, the author's argument fails to consider the socio-economic factors that contributed to the issue, rendering their analysis incomplete.'
  • Use evidence to support your argument: Use evidence from the text to support your thesis statement, and make sure to explain how the evidence supports your argument. For example:
  • Weak argument: 'The author of this article is biased.'
  • Strong argument: 'The author's use of emotional language and selective evidence suggests a bias towards one particular viewpoint, as they fail to consider counterarguments and present a balanced analysis.'
  • Analyze the evidence : Analyze the evidence you use by considering its relevance, reliability, and sufficiency. For example:
  • Weak analysis: 'The author mentions statistics in their argument.'
  • Strong analysis: 'The author uses statistics to support their argument, but it is important to note that these statistics are outdated and do not take into account recent developments in the field.'
  • Use quotes and paraphrases effectively: Use quotes and paraphrases to support your argument and properly cite your sources. For example:
  • Weak use of quotes: 'The author said, 'This is important.'
  • Strong use of quotes: 'As the author points out, 'This issue is of utmost importance in shaping our understanding of the problem' (p. 25).'
  • Use clear and concise language: Use clear and concise language to make your argument easy to understand, and avoid jargon or overly complicated language. For example:
  • Weak language: 'The author's rhetorical devices obfuscate the issue.'
  • Strong language: 'The author's use of rhetorical devices such as metaphor and hyperbole obscures the key issues at play.'
  • Address counterarguments: Address potential counterarguments to your argument and explain why your interpretation is more convincing. For example:
  • Weak argument: 'The author is wrong because they did not consider X.'
  • Strong argument: 'While the author's analysis is thorough, it overlooks the role of X in shaping the issue. However, by considering this factor, a more nuanced understanding of the problem emerges.'
  • Consider the audience: Consider your audience during your writing process. Your language and tone should be appropriate for your audience and should reflect the level of knowledge they have about the topic. For example:
  • Weak language: 'As any knowledgeable reader can see, the author's argument is flawed.'
  • Strong language: 'Through a critical analysis of the author's argument, it becomes clear that there are gaps in their analysis that require further consideration.'

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Creating a Detailed Critical Analysis Essay Outline

Creating a detailed outline is essential when writing a critical analysis essay. It helps you organize your thoughts and arguments, ensuring your essay flows logically and coherently. Here is a detailed critical analysis outline from our dissertation writers :

I. Introduction

A. Background information about the text and its author

B. Brief summary of the text

C. Thesis statement that clearly states your argument

II. Analysis of the Text

A. Overview of the text's main themes and ideas

B. Examination of the author's writing style and techniques

C. Analysis of the text's structure and organization

III. Evaluation of the Text

A. Evaluation of the author's argument and evidence

B. Analysis of the author's use of language and rhetorical strategies

C. Assessment of the text's effectiveness and relevance to the topic

IV. Discussion of the Context

A. Exploration of the historical, cultural, and social context of the text

B. Examination of the text's influence on its audience and society

C. Analysis of the text's significance and relevance to the present day

V. Counter Arguments and Responses

A. Identification of potential counterarguments to your argument

B. Refutation of counterarguments and defense of your position

C. Acknowledgement of the limitations and weaknesses of your argument

VI. Conclusion

A. Recap of your argument and main points

B. Evaluation of the text's significance and relevance

C. Final thoughts and recommendations for further research or analysis.

This outline can be adjusted to fit the specific requirements of your essay. Still, it should give you a solid foundation for creating a detailed and well-organized critical analysis essay.

Useful Techniques Used in Literary Criticism

There are several techniques used in literary criticism to analyze and evaluate a work of literature. Here are some of the most common techniques:

How to Write a Critical Analysis

  • Close reading: This technique involves carefully analyzing a text to identify its literary devices, themes, and meanings.
  • Historical and cultural context: This technique involves examining the historical and cultural context of a work of literature to understand the social, political, and cultural influences that shaped it.
  • Structural analysis: This technique involves analyzing the structure of a text, including its plot, characters, and narrative techniques, to identify patterns and themes.
  • Formalism: This technique focuses on the literary elements of a text, such as its language, imagery, and symbolism, to analyze its meaning and significance.
  • Psychological analysis: This technique examines the psychological and emotional aspects of a text, including the motivations and desires of its characters, to understand the deeper meanings and themes.
  • Feminist and gender analysis: This technique focuses on the representation of gender and sexuality in a text, including how gender roles and stereotypes are reinforced or challenged.
  • Marxist and social analysis: This technique examines the social and economic structures portrayed in a text, including issues of class, power, and inequality.

By using these and other techniques, literary critics can offer insightful and nuanced analyses of works of literature, helping readers to understand and appreciate the complexity and richness of the texts.

Sample Critical Analysis Essay

Now that you know how to write a critical analysis, take a look at the critical analysis essay sample provided by our research paper writers and better understand this kind of paper!

Final Words

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By using our essay writing service , you can save time and energy while also learning from our expert writers and improving your own writing skills. We take pride in our work and are dedicated to providing friendly and responsive customer support to ensure your satisfaction with every order. So why struggle with difficult assignments when you can trust our professional writing services to deliver the quality and originality you need? Place your order today and experience the benefits of working with our team of skilled and dedicated writers.

If you need help with any of the STEPS ABOVE

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“A relevant and coherent beginning is perhaps your best single guarantee that the essay as a whole will achieve its object.” Gordon Taylor, A Student's Writing Guide

Your introduction is the first thing your marker will read and should be approximately 10% of your word count. Within the first minute they should know if your essay is going to be a good one or not. An introduction has several components but the most important of these are the last two we give here. You need to show the reader what your position is and how you are going to argue the case to get there so that the essay becomes your answer to the question rather than just an answer.

What an introduction should include:

  • A little basic background about the key subject area (just enough to put your essay into context, no more or you'll bore the reader).
  • Explanation of how you are defining any key terms . Confusion on this could be your undoing.
  • A road-map of how your essay will answer the question. What is your overall argument and how will you develop it?
  • A confirmation of your position .

Background information

It is good to start with a statement that fixes your essay topic and focus in a wider context so that the reader is sure of where they are within the field. This is a very small part of the introduction though - do not fall into the trap of writing a whole paragraph that is nothing but background information.

Beware though, this only has to be a little bit wider, not completely universal. That is, do not start with something like "In the whole field of nursing...." or "Since man could write, he has always...". Instead, simply situate the area that you are writing about within a slightly bigger area. For example, you could start with a general statement about a topic, outlining some key issues but explain that your essay will focus on only one. Here is an example:

The ability to communicate effectively and compassionately is a key skill within nursing. Communication is about more than being able to speak confidently and clearly, it is about effective listening (Singh, 2019), the use of gesture, body language and tone (Adebe et al., 2016) and the ability to tailor language and messaging to particular situations (Smith & Jones, 2015). This essay will explore the importance of non-verbal communication ...

The example introduction at the bottom of this page also starts with similar, short background information.

Prehistoric man with the caption "Since the dawn of man..."

Defining key terms

This does not mean quoting dictionary definitions - we all have access to dictionary.com with a click or two. There are many words we use in academic work that can have multiple or nuanced definitions. You have to write about how you are defining any potentially ambiguous terms in relation to  your  essay topic. This is really important for your reader, as it will inform them how you are using such words in the context of your essay and prevent confusion or misunderstanding.

Student deciding if 'superpower' relates to the USA and China or Superman and Spider-man

Stating your case (road mapping)

The main thing an introduction will do is...introduce your essay! That means you need to tell the reader what your conclusion is and how you will get there.

There is no need to worry about *SPOILER ALERTS* - this is not a detective novel you can give away the ending! Sorry, but building up suspense is just going to irritate the reader rather than eventually satisfy. Simply outline how your main arguments (give them in order) lead to your conclusion. In American essay guides you will see something described as the ‘thesis statement’ - although we don't use this terminology in the UK, it is still necessary to state in your introduction what the over-arching argument of your essay will be. Think of it as the mega-argument , to distinguish it from the mini-arguments you make in each paragraph. Look at the example introduction at the bottom of this page which includes both of these elements.

Car on a road to a place called 'Conclusion'

Confirming your position

To some extent, this is covered in your roadmap (above), but it is so important, it deserves some additional attention here. Setting out your position is an essential component of all essays. Brick et al. (2016:143) even suggest

"The purpose of an essay is to present a clear position and defend it"

It is, however, very difficult to defend a position if you have not made it clear in the first place. This is where your introduction comes in. In stating your position, you are ultimately outlining the answer to the question. You can then make the rest of your essay about providing the evidence that supports your answer. As such, if you make your position clear, you will find all subsequent paragraphs in your essay easier to write and join together. As you have already told your reader where the essay is going, you can be explicit in how each paragraph contributes to your mega-argument.

In establishing your position and defending it, you are ultimately engaging in scholarly debate. This is because your positions are supported by academic evidence and analysis. It is in your analysis of the academic evidence that should lead your reader to understand your position. Once again - this is only possible if your introduction has explained your position in the first place.

student standing on a cross holding a sign saying "my position"

An example introduction

(Essay title = Evaluate the role of stories as pedagogical tools in higher education)

Stories have been an essential communication technique for thousands of years and although teachers and parents still think they are important for educating younger children, they have been restricted to the role of entertainment for most of us since our teenage years. This essay will claim that stories make ideal pedagogical tools, whatever the age of the student, due to their unique position in cultural and cognitive development. To argue this, it will consider three main areas: firstly, the prevalence of stories across time and cultures and how the similarity of story structure suggests an inherent understanding of their form which could be of use to academics teaching multicultural cohorts when organising lecture material; secondly, the power of stories to enable listeners to personally relate to the content and how this increases the likelihood of changing thoughts, behaviours and decisions - a concept that has not gone unnoticed in some fields, both professional and academic; and finally, the way that different areas of the brain are activated when reading, listening to or watching a story unfold, which suggests that both understanding and ease of recall, two key components of learning, are both likely to be increased . Each of these alone could make a reasoned argument for including more stories within higher education teaching – taken together, this argument is even more compelling.

Key:   Background information (scene setting)   Stating the case (r oad map)    Confirming a position (in two places). Note in this introduction there was no need to define key terms.

Brick, J., Herke, M., and Wong, D., (2016) Academic Culture, A students guide to studying at university, 3rd edition. Victoria, Australia: Palgrave Macmillan.

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Critical Essay

John K.

Critical Essay - An Ultimate Guide For Students

Published on: Jan 6, 2023

Last updated on: May 26, 2023

Critical Essay

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A critical essay is a type of essay writing assignment that expects you to examine another person’s work, critically analyze it, and present your own idea.

In order to come up with effective critical writing, you must have knowledge of source material and the basic principles of writing this type of essay.

In this article, we will discuss what is a critical essay in detail and how to write one for an A+ grade.

Follow the guide and understand the key information for writing an impressive critical analysis essay.

Critical Essay Definition

A critical essay is a form of academic writing in which a writer evaluates and analyzes a text. It can be a book, article, or movie, etc.

In this type of writing, the main objective is not to convince your audience but to create an informative analysis.

You have to come up with your interpretation and prove with facts or evidence from other sources of work.

Teachers assign this type of assignment to challenge the critical analyzing ability of students. They want to get a well-written paper with clear arguments and reliable references to support the claim.

Characteristics of a Critical Essay

All critical essays, despite the subject matter, share the following characteristics.

  • Critical essays contain a central point that is usually expressed at the start of the essay.
  • It includes facts and evidential information to support your thesis statement.
  • All critical essays offer a brief and concise conclusion. It summarizes the main argument and emphasizes the most important points of the essay.

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How to Write a Critical Essay?

Here is a step-by-step guide that you need to go through for writing an excellent critical analysis essay.

Find and Examine a Source

Find the information you need to include in your essay to support the central claim. Books, journals, articles, encyclopedias, and news are the most common sources of information that you can use.

Start critical reading and gather the relevant information and refer to it when writing your essay.

Make Notes of Your Thoughts and Ideas

Now identify the main problem to be discussed in your essay. After the central claim, find the evidence for demonstrating that claim.

Brainstorm ideas and think about how it can relate to what you are analyzing. Think about the associated ideas and write it all on paper and figure out which ideas need further research.

Compose a Thesis Statement

All critical essays must have a one-sentence thesis statement at the end of the introductory paragraph.

The thesis statement should be composed based on the information that you gather from different sources.

When composing a thesis statement, answer the question, ‘What point are you trying to prove?’. If you are still not sure, read some interesting  thesis statement examples  and know-how to come up with a strong point.

Create an Outline

Don’t think about writing an essay without creating its outline first. An outline will help you save your time and organize your ideas more effectively. Here you need to structure all the points so the writing process is easier for you.

Write Your Essay

Once you are done with the outline, start the writing process. Begin your essay with an interesting introduction that ends with the central claim of your essay. After that, analyze and evaluate it with facts and evidence in the body paragraphs. And end it with the key points of the claim in conclusion.

Edit and Proofread

After writing your essay, leave it for a few days if the deadline is not soon. Then review your essay to find and correct mistakes. You may do it yourself or ask your friend or family member to do it for you.

Make the changes until you feel like the essay is perfect and without any mistakes. You can also hire an  essay writer  for professional editing and proofreading services.

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Critical Essay Outline

The critical analysis essay outline also follows a 5 paragraph structure format. It includes an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Introduction

The introduction of the essay should describe the topic and provide some background information of the work in a few sentences. It should end with a strong  thesis statement  that will help the reader determine what the essay is focusing on.

Body Paragraphs

In this section, you need to cover all the ideas that have been outlined. Answer the question that you have mentioned in the introduction. Explain the significance of the work with facts, examples, and quotes. Keep in mind that your main aim is to analyze and inform your readers so pay attention to how the original work is presented.

Wrap up your essay by restating the main point of view of your essay. Summarize the main argument and emphasize the key points of the essay.

Critical Essay Format

Here is the most commonly used format that you can use for creating a detailed  critical essay outline  and organize your ideas.

1. Introduction

  • Introduce the topic
  • Provide some background information
  • Thesis statement

2. Body Paragraphs

  • A summary of the whole work
  • Cover your ideas and answer the main question
  • Analyze and evaluate

3. Conclusion

  • Restate the thesis statement
  • Summarize the key pieces of evidence
  • The work’s overall importance

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Critical Essay Topics

Here are some interesting  critical essay topics  for college students. Feel free to choose any topic and start the research process.

  • The impact of violent video games on young children
  • What are the negative effects of modern technology?
  • Pros and cons of standardized tests
  • Analyze the three types of decision making
  • What is the impact of human-nature relationships on health?
  • Analyze the economic development of the UK since 1950
  • Critically examine the novel ‘Jane Eyre’.
  • How are humans related to nature?
  • What is the role of modern art in our society?
  • What is the ideology of feminism?
  • The most important elements in Chinese religious culture
  • The future of the oil industry

Critical Essay Examples

Before you start writing your essay, get inspired with some interesting critical analysis essay examples.

Critical Essay About the Leadership of Duterte PDF

The Great Gatsby Critical Essay Example PDF

Critical Essay on my Papa’s Waltz PDF

Critical Essay of Aristotle on Tragedy PDF

These examples will definitely help you learn how to write a good critical essay no matter if you are a beginner writer.

You may also see our  free essays  and understand the basic principles of writing academic essays.

Critical Essay Writing Tips

Below are some expert tips to remember when writing a critical essay.

  • In critical essays, your personal opinion plays an important role but avoid writing it if you don't have enough evidence to support it.
  • Critically analyzing a piece of work does not mean you need to bring out the negative aspects of it. You are evaluating another person’s work, you need to be informative and that means the claims you made need to be backed up by credible evidence.
  • Your critical essay should inform your audience of something new. Whether it is a new idea or new lesson or a new perspective.
  • Do you know what type of language should be used in a critical analysis essay? Your tone and language in a critical analysis essay should be objective throughout. Although you can use a humorous tone if you are not writing on a serious topic.

Critical essay writing is not an easy task especially if you are writing about a topic which you don’t know anything about.

The task becomes even more difficult if you do not have enough time to research and the deadline is approaching soon. You can handle this by delegating your task to professional essay writers at  FreeEssayWriter.net .

All you have to do is place your  order  with your initial requirements and get your critical essay done on time.

John K. (Research)

John K. is a professional writer and author with many publications to his name. He has a Ph.D. in the field of management sciences, making him an expert on the subject matter. John is highly sought after for his insights and knowledge, and he regularly delivers keynote speeches and conducts workshops on various topics related to writing and publishing. He is also a regular contributor to various online publications.

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  • How to write a literary analysis essay | A step-by-step guide

How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay | A Step-by-Step Guide

Published on January 30, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on August 14, 2023.

Literary analysis means closely studying a text, interpreting its meanings, and exploring why the author made certain choices. It can be applied to novels, short stories, plays, poems, or any other form of literary writing.

A literary analysis essay is not a rhetorical analysis , nor is it just a summary of the plot or a book review. Instead, it is a type of argumentative essay where you need to analyze elements such as the language, perspective, and structure of the text, and explain how the author uses literary devices to create effects and convey ideas.

Before beginning a literary analysis essay, it’s essential to carefully read the text and c ome up with a thesis statement to keep your essay focused. As you write, follow the standard structure of an academic essay :

  • An introduction that tells the reader what your essay will focus on.
  • A main body, divided into paragraphs , that builds an argument using evidence from the text.
  • A conclusion that clearly states the main point that you have shown with your analysis.

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Table of contents

Step 1: reading the text and identifying literary devices, step 2: coming up with a thesis, step 3: writing a title and introduction, step 4: writing the body of the essay, step 5: writing a conclusion, other interesting articles.

The first step is to carefully read the text(s) and take initial notes. As you read, pay attention to the things that are most intriguing, surprising, or even confusing in the writing—these are things you can dig into in your analysis.

Your goal in literary analysis is not simply to explain the events described in the text, but to analyze the writing itself and discuss how the text works on a deeper level. Primarily, you’re looking out for literary devices —textual elements that writers use to convey meaning and create effects. If you’re comparing and contrasting multiple texts, you can also look for connections between different texts.

To get started with your analysis, there are several key areas that you can focus on. As you analyze each aspect of the text, try to think about how they all relate to each other. You can use highlights or notes to keep track of important passages and quotes.

Language choices

Consider what style of language the author uses. Are the sentences short and simple or more complex and poetic?

What word choices stand out as interesting or unusual? Are words used figuratively to mean something other than their literal definition? Figurative language includes things like metaphor (e.g. “her eyes were oceans”) and simile (e.g. “her eyes were like oceans”).

Also keep an eye out for imagery in the text—recurring images that create a certain atmosphere or symbolize something important. Remember that language is used in literary texts to say more than it means on the surface.

Narrative voice

Ask yourself:

  • Who is telling the story?
  • How are they telling it?

Is it a first-person narrator (“I”) who is personally involved in the story, or a third-person narrator who tells us about the characters from a distance?

Consider the narrator’s perspective . Is the narrator omniscient (where they know everything about all the characters and events), or do they only have partial knowledge? Are they an unreliable narrator who we are not supposed to take at face value? Authors often hint that their narrator might be giving us a distorted or dishonest version of events.

The tone of the text is also worth considering. Is the story intended to be comic, tragic, or something else? Are usually serious topics treated as funny, or vice versa ? Is the story realistic or fantastical (or somewhere in between)?

Consider how the text is structured, and how the structure relates to the story being told.

  • Novels are often divided into chapters and parts.
  • Poems are divided into lines, stanzas, and sometime cantos.
  • Plays are divided into scenes and acts.

Think about why the author chose to divide the different parts of the text in the way they did.

There are also less formal structural elements to take into account. Does the story unfold in chronological order, or does it jump back and forth in time? Does it begin in medias res —in the middle of the action? Does the plot advance towards a clearly defined climax?

With poetry, consider how the rhyme and meter shape your understanding of the text and your impression of the tone. Try reading the poem aloud to get a sense of this.

In a play, you might consider how relationships between characters are built up through different scenes, and how the setting relates to the action. Watch out for  dramatic irony , where the audience knows some detail that the characters don’t, creating a double meaning in their words, thoughts, or actions.

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how to write a critical essay introduction

Your thesis in a literary analysis essay is the point you want to make about the text. It’s the core argument that gives your essay direction and prevents it from just being a collection of random observations about a text.

If you’re given a prompt for your essay, your thesis must answer or relate to the prompt. For example:

Essay question example

Is Franz Kafka’s “Before the Law” a religious parable?

Your thesis statement should be an answer to this question—not a simple yes or no, but a statement of why this is or isn’t the case:

Thesis statement example

Franz Kafka’s “Before the Law” is not a religious parable, but a story about bureaucratic alienation.

Sometimes you’ll be given freedom to choose your own topic; in this case, you’ll have to come up with an original thesis. Consider what stood out to you in the text; ask yourself questions about the elements that interested you, and consider how you might answer them.

Your thesis should be something arguable—that is, something that you think is true about the text, but which is not a simple matter of fact. It must be complex enough to develop through evidence and arguments across the course of your essay.

Say you’re analyzing the novel Frankenstein . You could start by asking yourself:

Your initial answer might be a surface-level description:

The character Frankenstein is portrayed negatively in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein .

However, this statement is too simple to be an interesting thesis. After reading the text and analyzing its narrative voice and structure, you can develop the answer into a more nuanced and arguable thesis statement:

Mary Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to portray Frankenstein in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as.

Remember that you can revise your thesis statement throughout the writing process , so it doesn’t need to be perfectly formulated at this stage. The aim is to keep you focused as you analyze the text.

Finding textual evidence

To support your thesis statement, your essay will build an argument using textual evidence —specific parts of the text that demonstrate your point. This evidence is quoted and analyzed throughout your essay to explain your argument to the reader.

It can be useful to comb through the text in search of relevant quotations before you start writing. You might not end up using everything you find, and you may have to return to the text for more evidence as you write, but collecting textual evidence from the beginning will help you to structure your arguments and assess whether they’re convincing.

To start your literary analysis paper, you’ll need two things: a good title, and an introduction.

Your title should clearly indicate what your analysis will focus on. It usually contains the name of the author and text(s) you’re analyzing. Keep it as concise and engaging as possible.

A common approach to the title is to use a relevant quote from the text, followed by a colon and then the rest of your title.

If you struggle to come up with a good title at first, don’t worry—this will be easier once you’ve begun writing the essay and have a better sense of your arguments.

“Fearful symmetry” : The violence of creation in William Blake’s “The Tyger”

The introduction

The essay introduction provides a quick overview of where your argument is going. It should include your thesis statement and a summary of the essay’s structure.

A typical structure for an introduction is to begin with a general statement about the text and author, using this to lead into your thesis statement. You might refer to a commonly held idea about the text and show how your thesis will contradict it, or zoom in on a particular device you intend to focus on.

Then you can end with a brief indication of what’s coming up in the main body of the essay. This is called signposting. It will be more elaborate in longer essays, but in a short five-paragraph essay structure, it shouldn’t be more than one sentence.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, protagonist Victor Frankenstein is a stable representation of the callous ambition of modern science throughout the novel. This essay, however, argues that far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to portray Frankenstein in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as. This essay begins by exploring the positive portrayal of Frankenstein in the first volume, then moves on to the creature’s perception of him, and finally discusses the third volume’s narrative shift toward viewing Frankenstein as the creature views him.

Some students prefer to write the introduction later in the process, and it’s not a bad idea. After all, you’ll have a clearer idea of the overall shape of your arguments once you’ve begun writing them!

If you do write the introduction first, you should still return to it later to make sure it lines up with what you ended up writing, and edit as necessary.

The body of your essay is everything between the introduction and conclusion. It contains your arguments and the textual evidence that supports them.

Paragraph structure

A typical structure for a high school literary analysis essay consists of five paragraphs : the three paragraphs of the body, plus the introduction and conclusion.

Each paragraph in the main body should focus on one topic. In the five-paragraph model, try to divide your argument into three main areas of analysis, all linked to your thesis. Don’t try to include everything you can think of to say about the text—only analysis that drives your argument.

In longer essays, the same principle applies on a broader scale. For example, you might have two or three sections in your main body, each with multiple paragraphs. Within these sections, you still want to begin new paragraphs at logical moments—a turn in the argument or the introduction of a new idea.

Robert’s first encounter with Gil-Martin suggests something of his sinister power. Robert feels “a sort of invisible power that drew me towards him.” He identifies the moment of their meeting as “the beginning of a series of adventures which has puzzled myself, and will puzzle the world when I am no more in it” (p. 89). Gil-Martin’s “invisible power” seems to be at work even at this distance from the moment described; before continuing the story, Robert feels compelled to anticipate at length what readers will make of his narrative after his approaching death. With this interjection, Hogg emphasizes the fatal influence Gil-Martin exercises from his first appearance.

Topic sentences

To keep your points focused, it’s important to use a topic sentence at the beginning of each paragraph.

A good topic sentence allows a reader to see at a glance what the paragraph is about. It can introduce a new line of argument and connect or contrast it with the previous paragraph. Transition words like “however” or “moreover” are useful for creating smooth transitions:

… The story’s focus, therefore, is not upon the divine revelation that may be waiting beyond the door, but upon the mundane process of aging undergone by the man as he waits.

Nevertheless, the “radiance” that appears to stream from the door is typically treated as religious symbolism.

This topic sentence signals that the paragraph will address the question of religious symbolism, while the linking word “nevertheless” points out a contrast with the previous paragraph’s conclusion.

Using textual evidence

A key part of literary analysis is backing up your arguments with relevant evidence from the text. This involves introducing quotes from the text and explaining their significance to your point.

It’s important to contextualize quotes and explain why you’re using them; they should be properly introduced and analyzed, not treated as self-explanatory:

It isn’t always necessary to use a quote. Quoting is useful when you’re discussing the author’s language, but sometimes you’ll have to refer to plot points or structural elements that can’t be captured in a short quote.

In these cases, it’s more appropriate to paraphrase or summarize parts of the text—that is, to describe the relevant part in your own words:

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The conclusion of your analysis shouldn’t introduce any new quotations or arguments. Instead, it’s about wrapping up the essay. Here, you summarize your key points and try to emphasize their significance to the reader.

A good way to approach this is to briefly summarize your key arguments, and then stress the conclusion they’ve led you to, highlighting the new perspective your thesis provides on the text as a whole:

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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By tracing the depiction of Frankenstein through the novel’s three volumes, I have demonstrated how the narrative structure shifts our perception of the character. While the Frankenstein of the first volume is depicted as having innocent intentions, the second and third volumes—first in the creature’s accusatory voice, and then in his own voice—increasingly undermine him, causing him to appear alternately ridiculous and vindictive. Far from the one-dimensional villain he is often taken to be, the character of Frankenstein is compelling because of the dynamic narrative frame in which he is placed. In this frame, Frankenstein’s narrative self-presentation responds to the images of him we see from others’ perspectives. This conclusion sheds new light on the novel, foregrounding Shelley’s unique layering of narrative perspectives and its importance for the depiction of character.

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How To Write a Critical Analysis Essay?

13 April, 2020

8 minutes read

Author:  Tomas White

All works of art are subject to criticism. That criticism comes in the form of this essay type. Every time you read or watch a review or a discussion on a piece, you are exposing yourself to a critical analysis. Handmadewriting team has prepared this guide for You to learn how to write a critical analysis essay. Let's rock!

Critical Analysis Essay

What is a Critical Analysis Essay?

A critical analysis essay puts you, the writer, in the position of judging creative work. Generally, these essays cover what you believe the work did well and what it did wrong while adding some personal insight. You will use examples from the piece to support your claims.

Process of writing

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How to Start A Critical Analysis Essay

Before you start the writing portion of your essay, you’ll need to spend some time with the creative work and get a good idea of the messages it attempts to portray.

Identify the Author’s Thesis

What is the main message behind the creative piece? Identify what the author is trying to argue. Which side of the argument do they fall on? Do they offer solutions to the argument or simply present to show awareness? This isn’t always clear in the work, and some outside research may be needed to fully understand the message.

Outline the Main Ideas

Go through the piece and note down any overarching messages. How does the creator appeal to your emotions? Is it done effectively, or could it have been done better? In most creative works, all of the main ideas come together to form the thesis statement.

A good way of searching for these is to work backwards from the previously established thesis. View the piece with the thesis in mind, and jot down each and every point that contributes to it.

Evaluate the Author’s Points

Summarize these points and state how well they support the thesis. Are they the strongest possible arguments for the thesis? What examples does the creator present against the thesis? Are they fair and objective, or do they lean heavily to one side? Like a good critical analysis, a good creative piece evaluates all sides of the presented argument and supports each side with evidence.

Check this guide in case you need to learn more about a rhetorical analysis .

Organizing your research into an outline is the best way to prepare for the writing. A proper outline will allow your writing to flow and give you a structure to adhere to.

Structure of critical analysis

How to write a Critical Analysis Essay Outline:

Introduction.

When starting a critical analysis essay, you need to state the name of the creative work, the creator, and any relevant publication/distribution details. Then, outline what parts of the work you’re going to discuss. This is when you should introduce the creator’s thesis and how they supported that thesis.

Once that’s done, end the introduction with your thesis statement . Your thesis should consist of your original thoughts and reactions to the creation and its message. Come up with a main idea about the work and use different examples from it to support your statement.

This is your opinion and it should not be the same as the creator’s thesis. A good thesis example would state what the creator’s argument is, and then what it does well/badly and how it accomplishes that.

Here, you’re going to go more in-depth on the main ideas you outlined in your introduction. Break down what the piece is about. Talk about the characters, the themes, how the creator utilizes these to show their vision and argue their points.

Pretend the reader hasn’t been exposed to the piece of creative work. Don’t hold back, show them what the piece is so they can understand where you are coming from.

The part you’ve waited for. The analysis is broken into multiple body paragraphs, much like other types of essays. Break down your ideas that you stated in your thesis, giving each their own paragraph. Do your best to state both positive and negative parts of the creative work. If you really feel strongly one way or the other, highlight the opposite feeling early on before getting into your opinions. If you hate the film, discuss what it did well at the beginning of your analysis, then get into what it did wrong.

When breaking down your ideas, be sure to discuss the three different types of appeals:

  • Ethos: How the creator shows their credibility in their art. Why should they be trusted, or how did they fail to establish credibility?
  • Pathos: All art is based on emotion. How did the creators work to appeal to your emotions specifically? Did you agree with how the creator wanted you to feel, or did they miss the mark completely?
  • Logos: How does the creator use logic to get you on their side?

At the end of your analysis paragraphs, your paper should clearly state your thoughts and opinions on the creation, have those thoughts supported with examples from the piece, and address whether or not the creator achieved their goal.

Restate your thesis. Say it in a different, but similar, way to reaffirm it. Summarize the main point of each body paragraph, strengthening your thesis even more. Finally, your conclusion should show what the reader shall take away from the creation:

  • You shouldn’t watch this movie because it’s offensive to all genders.
  • You should read this book because it is an incredibly informative retelling of the Watergate scandal

While working on the planning and pre-planning stages of your essay, be sure to keep these tips in mind for a stronger end product:

Useful advice for critical analysis essay

Critical Analysis Essay Writing Tips from HandmadeWriting 

  • Provoke your reader to rethink their opinions on the piece. Strive to make your opinion so sound that they have no choice but to consider it.
  • Be fair. If you’re just whining or mindlessly praising the piece, no one is going to take your analysis seriously. Provide a quality argument with strong examples. Create a strong foundation for your opinion.
  • Have fun. You’re speaking your mind on a creation. Really get into why you feel the way you do. If you’re having fun, it will show, and the reader will too. Check out our  paper writing guide  to learn how to write other essay types.

And finally, check your essay upon completion and make sure it follows these guidelines. If it does, you’re set:

Do’s and Don’ts in essay writing

Do’s and Don’ts From Our Writing Team

  • Take the time to find strong examples both for and against your argument.
  • Ensure the reader has a clear vision on what the piece is about before you get into the analysis.
  • Be honest. Share your emotions with the reader. It will build a stronger argument, and an apt reader will see right through you being fake.
  • Research the piece. Reading up on it will give you some insight you may not have considered, leading to a stronger argument.
  • Lean too far one way without discussing the other.
  • Write “My thoughts” or “My opinion is”. Just state your opinions.
  • Use first or second pronouns. Say “the audience” or “the reader”.
  • Spend too much time on the summary. Your analysis should be the biggest part of your paper.

A life lesson in Romeo and Juliet taught by death

A life lesson in Romeo and Juliet taught by death

Due to human nature, we draw conclusions only when life gives us a lesson since the experience of others is not so effective and powerful. Therefore, when analyzing and sorting out common problems we face, we may trace a parallel with well-known book characters or real historical figures. Moreover, we often compare our situations with […]

Ethical Research Paper Topics

Ethical Research Paper Topics

Writing a research paper on ethics is not an easy task, especially if you do not possess excellent writing skills and do not like to contemplate controversial questions. But an ethics course is obligatory in all higher education institutions, and students have to look for a way out and be creative. When you find an […]

Art Research Paper Topics

Art Research Paper Topics

Students obtaining degrees in fine art and art & design programs most commonly need to write a paper on art topics. However, this subject is becoming more popular in educational institutions for expanding students’ horizons. Thus, both groups of receivers of education: those who are into arts and those who only get acquainted with art […]

IMAGES

  1. PPT

    how to write a critical essay introduction

  2. How to Write a Critical Essay: Ultimate Guide by Bid4Papers

    how to write a critical essay introduction

  3. How to Write a Critical Essay: Outline, Thesis, and Other Tips

    how to write a critical essay introduction

  4. Writing A Critical Essay : Formatting Your Assignment Correctly

    how to write a critical essay introduction

  5. What Is a Critical Analysis Essay? Simple Guide With Examples

    how to write a critical essay introduction

  6. 008 Critical Essay Outline Format 130831 Example ~ Thatsnotus

    how to write a critical essay introduction

VIDEO

  1. How to write a Critical Appreciation l Sec- B2 paper l Format of critical Appreciation

  2. How to write and develop critical essays

  3. How to write an essay introduction/ KCSE essay introduction

  4. How to write Critical Appreciation l Sec- B2 paper solved 2022l Part -2

  5. How To Write Critical Summary / Critical Appreciation /Summary Writing

  6. Critical Essay 1

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write an Essay Introduction

    Table of contents. Step 1: Hook your reader. Step 2: Give background information. Step 3: Present your thesis statement. Step 4: Map your essay's structure. Step 5: Check and revise. More examples of essay introductions. Other interesting articles. Frequently asked questions about the essay introduction.

  2. PDF Introductions

    Harvard College Writing Center 1 Introductions The introduction to an academic essay will generally present an analytical question or problem and then offer an answer to that question (the thesis). Your introduction is also your opportunity to explain to your readers what your essay is about and why they should be interested in reading it.

  3. PDF Strategies for Essay Writing

    Harvard College Writing Center 5 Asking Analytical Questions When you write an essay for a course you are taking, you are being asked not only to create a product (the essay) but, more importantly, to go through a process of thinking more deeply about a question or problem related to the course. By writing about a

  4. How to Write a Critical Essay [Ultimate Guide]

    Step 3: State a Thesis. Your critical essay should have a one-sentence thesis with two components: a claim and details sustaining it. Based on the information you've gathered from the subject of evaluation (a book, a movie, etc.) and secondary sources, write a thesis that will specify your essay's direction.

  5. How to Write a Critical Analysis Essay

    1. Read Thoroughly and Carefully. You will need to accurately represent an author's point of view and techniques. Be sure you truly understand them before you begin the writing process. 2. Choose a Thesis Statement. Your thesis should make a claim about the author's point of view and writing style.

  6. How to Write a Critical Essay (with Pictures)

    3. Take notes as you read your text. Taking notes as you read will help your to remember important aspects of the text, and it will also help you to think critically about the text. Keep some key questions in mind as you read and attempt to answer those questions through your notes.

  7. How to Craft a Critical Essay

    Introduction: Hook Statement: [Engaging sentence to captivate the reader's attention] Background information: [Brief context about the subject or work being analyzed] Thesis Statement: [Clearly state your main argument or evaluation] II. Body Paragraphs A. Summary and Description: 1. Main Aspects: [Summarize the main aspects of the work] 2. Techniques Used: [Describe the methods or techniques ...

  8. How to write a critical essay

    It is important to plan your critical essay before you start writing.; An essay has a clear structure with an introduction, paragraphs with evidence and a conclusion.; Evidence, in the form of ...

  9. Critical Essay Writing: How to Write an Introduction ...

    This video describes how to write a successful introduction to an English Critical Essay. It suggests a mnemonic to help you structure the introduction and ...

  10. How to Write a Critical Essay

    A critical essay is a form of academic writing that analyzes, interprets, and/or evaluates a text. In a critical essay, an author makes a claim about how particular ideas or themes are conveyed in a text, then supports that claim with evidence from primary and/or secondary sources. In casual conversation, we often associate the word "critical ...

  11. How to Write an Essay Introduction (with Examples)

    Here are the key takeaways for how to write essay introduction: 3. Hook the Reader: Start with an engaging hook to grab the reader's attention. This could be a compelling question, a surprising fact, a relevant quote, or an anecdote. Provide Background: Give a brief overview of the topic, setting the context and stage for the discussion.

  12. How To Write A Critical Essay, with Samples

    Writing a Critical Essay Introduction. An introduction provides a description of the topic under study. While some students like providing a lot of information in the introduction, it is advisable to be brief and direct. An introduction should be specific and short but usher the readers into the topic under study.

  13. PDF INTRODUCTION TO CRITICAL WRITING

    As part of your essay will need to include descriptive, as well as analytical, writing. The descriptive element of your essay may not add any weight to your argument, but not including it could adversely affect the clarity and impact of your work. 4 - Maxim of Manner This comes in four parts. Firstly avoid obscurity of expression.

  14. Quick Guide on How to Write a Critical Analysis: Topics and ...

    Step 2: Critical Analysis Writing. Here are some tips for critical analysis writing, with examples: Start with a strong thesis statement: A strong critical analysis thesis is the foundation of any critical analysis essay. It should clearly state your argument or interpretation of the text.

  15. How to Write a Critical Essay

    How to Write Introduction for a Critical Essay. The introduction should have a direct description of the topic that is to be discussed. The initial statement should be precise and direct to the point but extensive enough to enable the target audience to know what area of focus is targeted. The following are the best tips for writing a ...

  16. Critical Essay Introductions (Part 1)

    How to write a successful introduction to your SQA Higher English Critical Essays. Part 1 of 2. For more free videos subscribe and visit http://www.explainit...

  17. How to Write a Critical Analysis Essay (Examples & Steps)

    Learn how to write a compelling critical analysis essay in this educational YouTube video. We'll guide you through the step-by-step process, from crafting an...

  18. The Critical Analysis Essay: An Introduction and Topic Resources

    A critical analysis essay involves reading a text critically and stating your evaluation, or opinion, of what the author was meaning. In order to write this kind of essay, there are two steps: reading critically and writing critically. When writing a critical analysis, your teacher has usually assigned a short piece of work like a poem or short ...

  19. Introductions

    Essay writing: Introductions. "A relevant and coherent beginning is perhaps your best single guarantee that the essay as a whole will achieve its object.". Gordon Taylor, A Student's Writing Guide. Your introduction is the first thing your marker will read and should be approximately 10% of your word count. Within the first minute they ...

  20. What is a Critical Essay

    Critical Essay Definition. A critical essay is a form of academic writing in which a writer evaluates and analyzes a text. It can be a book, article, or movie, etc. In this type of writing, the main objective is not to convince your audience but to create an informative analysis. You have to come up with your interpretation and prove with facts ...

  21. Structure of a critical essay

    The introduction should not be too long and detailed and it should focus on the question right from the start. You should: identify the author and text. use words from the task. indicate the ...

  22. Ultimate Guide to Writing Your College Essay

    This guide will give you tips to write an effective college essay. Want free help with your college essay? UPchieve connects you with knowledgeable and friendly college advisors—online, 24/7, and completely free. Get 1:1 help brainstorming topics, outlining your essay, revising a draft, or editing grammar. ...

  23. How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay

    Table of contents. Step 1: Reading the text and identifying literary devices. Step 2: Coming up with a thesis. Step 3: Writing a title and introduction. Step 4: Writing the body of the essay. Step 5: Writing a conclusion. Other interesting articles.

  24. How to Write a Critical Analysis Essay

    Critical Analysis Essay Writing Tips from HandmadeWriting. Provoke your reader to rethink their opinions on the piece. Strive to make your opinion so sound that they have no choice but to consider it. Be fair. If you're just whining or mindlessly praising the piece, no one is going to take your analysis seriously.

  25. How to Write an Argumentative Essay

    Second, follow these steps on how to write an argumentative essay: Brainstorm: research, free-write, and read samples to choose a debatable topic; Prepare: organize thoughts, craft a thesis, decide on arguments and evidence; Draft: outline an essay, start with an engaging introduction, delve into arguments, and conclude like a boss