Critical Essay Examples with Step by Step Guide for You

Filed in Education by on April 12, 2021

Critical Essay: Whether you specialize in literature or just writing an essay for a class, knowing how to write a critical essay will give you an advantage throughout your studies at a university and in your professional career. Keep reading for more on critical essay examples and step-by-step guides.

Critical Essay Examples with Step by Step Guide

Just before I take you in properly, let me give you a highlight of this whole article.

Writing critical essays allows you to develop critical thinking skills, including attentive reading, technical analysis, academic writing skills, searching for reference books, and editing.

Mastering these skills will help you conduct a scientific conversation and allow you to communicate and think more productively.

What is a Critical Essay?

A critical essay is an analysis of any piece of text. It can be a book, a movie, an article, or even a painting. The main point of this type of essay is to interpret text or position it in a wider context. For instance, if you write a critical analysis of a book, you may analyze the tone of its text and find out how it influences the overall meaning of the book.

If you analyze a movie, you might concentrate on a symbol that you see over and over again. Nevertheless, you have to include an argumentative thesis about the text and have a lot of evidence sources, obviously textual, to support your statements.

7 Main Steps to Write a Critical Essay

It may seem like a complicated form of writing when it comes to writing a critical essay but be rest assured it is easy. Below are the step-by-step guidelines to writing a well-structured critical essay that is captivating to the target audience.

Step One: Have a deep understanding of what is required of you: find clarification in instances that you might feel uncertain.

Step Two: With the source material available, develop a reliable understanding of it: the source material can be from a book or a film among other forms of media. With the excerpt provided, try working with it as your source material and it is advisable to read or review the source material several times.

Step Three: Write down notes as you assess the source material: this helps craft a top-notch critical paper by taking notes of the main ideas or concepts originating from the original creator’s work.

Step Four: Bring to light the primary challenges or patterns that are under critique: after careful review of the text or film, identifying prevailing new challenges will help provide a critique to areas of concern

Step Five: Realize solutions to all problems identified: offering solutions to all problems identified is essential, and a summary of this could be used as your thesis statement.

Step Six: Come up with a well-structured outline that will help develop the critical essay and have a logical flow of ideas, the more information used within the plan, the direct the description of the writing process.

Step Seven: Write your essay using the rough draft you created for your specified topic of discussion.

Even with a topic provided and despite its nature, a standard structure should be followed while writing a critical essay. All the parts of the structure should be included while writing a critical essay. Below is the critical essay structure that you might use while writing a critical essay:

How to begin your Introduction

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 compelling thesis statement:

  • Be clear with your description
  • Avoid repetition
  • Embed the thesis statement in the last sentence of your introduction
  • Always specify your work and stick to a description of the central purpose of the paper

What about the Body?

The main body for the critical essay ought to express the theme or communication intended. The paragraphs are meant to provide substantial support to the thesis statement. Support provided is achievable by offering a claim or evidence.

How to Write a Conclusion

The conclusion involves restating the thesis statement and a summary of your main argument. Additionally, give the reader something that they may consider and think about, or provide a strong statement that will directly link your essay in totality.

The main agenda is to give the reader an incentive to study more about the topic and give them an incentive to research more about it, the basis of the research proposal.

Examples of Critical Essay in Literature

Examples of Critical Essay in Literature

Example One: A Sample Critical Essay on Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises (by Richard Nordquist)

“To keep Jake Barnes drunk, fed, clean, mobile, and distracted in The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway employs a large retinue of minor functionaries: maids, cab drivers, bartenders, porters, tailors, bootblacks, barbers, policemen, and one village idiot.
But of all the retainers seen working quietly in the background of the novel, the most familiar figure by far is the waiter. In cafés from Paris to Madrid, from one sunrise to the next, over two dozen waiters deliver drinks and relay messages to Barnes and his compatriots.
As frequently in attendance and as indistinguishable from one another as they are, these various waiters seem to merge into a single emblematic figure as the novel progresses. A detached observer of human vanity, this figure does more than serve food and drink: he serves to illuminate the character of Jake Barnes.”

This is an excerpt from an essay written about Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. This paragraph mentions all the characters of the novel in an interpretative way. It also highlights the major motif of the essay.

Example Two: Jack and Gill: A Mock Criticism (by Joseph Dennie)

“The personages being now seen, their situation is next to be discovered. Of this, we are immediately informed in the subsequent line when we are told,

Jack and Gill
I went up a hill.

Here the imagery is distinct, yet the description concise. We instantly figure to ourselves the two persons traveling up an ascent, which we may accommodate to our own ideas of declivity, barrenness, rockiness, sandiness, etc. all which, as they exercise the imagination, are beauties of a high order.
The reader will pardon my presumption, if I here attempt to broach a new principle which no critic, with whom I am acquainted, has ever mentioned.
It is this, that poetic beauties may be divided into negative and positive, the former consisting of mere absence of fault, the latter in the presence of excellence; the first of an inferior order, but requiring considerable critical acumen to discover them, the latter of a higher rank, but obvious to the meanest capacity.”

This is an excerpt from the critical essay of Joseph Dennie. It is an interpretative type of essay in which Dennie has interpreted the structure and content of Jack and Jill.

Example Three: On the Knocking at the Gate in Macbeth (by Thomas De Quincey)

“But to return from this digression, my understanding could furnish no reason why the knocking at the gate in Macbeth should produce any effect, direct or reflected. In fact, my understanding said positively that it could not produce any effect.
But I knew better; I felt that it did; and I waited and clung to the problem until further knowledge should enable me to solve it. At length, in 1812, Mr. Williams made his debut on the stage of Ratcliffe Highway, and executed those unparalleled murders which have procured for him such a brilliant and undying reputation.
On which murders, by the way, I must observe, that in one respect they have had an ill effect, by making the connoisseur in murder very fastidious in his taste, and dissatisfied by anything that has been since done in that line.”

This is an excerpt from Thomas De Quincey about his criticism of Macbeth, a play by William Shakespeare. This essay sheds light on Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and their thinking. This is an interpretative type of essay.

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CSN Team.

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