What is a Critical Essay?

A critical essay is an essay that describes a movie, a film, a book, a painting or an article. In this essay, you need to have plenty of supporting information to show why you chose to interpret the film, book, movie, article or painting like you did. Your essay should contain part of an argumentative thesis because it does not have to be like the article or the film. For those parts you choose to alter, you need to explain why you alter them and have a precise argument. Critical Essays are usually to explain the original meaning in deeper context or rather, provide a broader context.

How then should one write a critical essay or what are the factors to consider?

  • Give yourself time to understand the assignment.

Do not be quick to analyze the assignment and to quickly work on it. Allow yourself sometime to understand the assignment, so as to know what would be expected of you. If there are guidelines provided, understand them. If there are instructions give on how to tackle the essay, follow them. It is also of great importance to ask questions when you do not understand. This allows enough clarity before you go ahead to tackle the paper.

  • Critically read your sources or whatever it is you need to analyze.

Before writing your essay, you need to critically understand your source. If for instance you have been given a book to read, you will need to read it multiple times till you have understood it fully. Similarly, you will need to watch a film over and over before you can begin to analyze it. For a painting, what you will do to have all the information at your fingertips is to observe it until you have something to analyze about it. Critically reading or observing helps to print out an image and give information that will be useful in writing the essay.

  • Take notes as you reread the text or as you watch the film.

It helps a lot to take notes. It is a way of helping one remember what it is they read or observed somewhere. The most important thig about taking notes is that you only get to note down what is relevant and will be useful when it comes to writing the critical essay. From taking notes, ensure to formulate a few questions which will also be useful in writing the analysis of the critical essay.

  • Review once again the notes that you have already taken.

Reviewing your texts allows you to identify with the pattern that will help you write your essay. It is at this point that you also identify the problem.  Once you have identified the problem, try to come up with the solution. Finding a solution in this case does not necessarily mean that you have to support any argument you may have. Not at this point. Here, you have some time to think about the problem and the solution in depth and can argue out later.

  • Carry out a detailed research.

You have to ensure that you have enough time for research for your critical essay. Depending on what it is you will need to analyze, whether a film, a book or a painting, you can inquire from your tutor what best sources you could use. He may recommend the internet, books or journals. Should you decide to use the internet for research, ensure to use articles so as to have more comprehensive information. The internet alone may not provide all information you need for a critical essay.

  • Ensure that the sources you are using are credible.

Do not be in a hurry to write your critical essay. Being in a hurry leaves you falling on just any source for research. Once you have identified a source, ensure that you check its reviews. Most students are using internet sources and inquiring from them is also a way of identifying if or not a source is truly credible. Credible sources include the name of the author, the title of the material they have published, the publication date and other relevant information for use during research.

  • Go through your research through reading.

This is important because it helps you understand fully what it is you will be critiquing in your essay.

  • Once you have identified the sources, take notes as you go through them.

The importance of taking notes is that you are able to come back to the most important points while you have begun writing your essay.

  • Develop your thesis statement.

The thesis statement should come at the end of the first paragraph. For instance, earlier, you had identified a problem. It is at this point that you give a solution to the problem that you have identified. For example, if there is a certain statement in the book whose meaning you do not want to alter, but still feel there is something you wish to mention on it, you mention it here in your thesis statement.

  • From the notes you took, develop a rough outline.

You do not want to get confused when you have started writing the essay completely. An outline gives you a step by step kind of format to work with, to ensure that you do not mix up information on your paper. From the notes you had been taking while doing your research, come up with an outline.

  • Begin your introduction by a very catchy introduction.

How you introduce your essay really matters. You will at this point capture your audience or put them off completely. Your introduction should talk about the main thing you wish to discuss in your essay. Leave some suspense so that your readers will want to read more from your essay.

  • Have a background information that will help your readers understand?

Here, you have already identified what it is you want to critique. Either in the film, the book or the painting. Have some background information. For example, if you have chosen to critique a certain character in the book or in a film, have some background information about them. This makes understanding for your readers easier, as they know who it is you will be talking about in your critical essay.

  • Your body paragraphs should have specific text components.

From the sources you got, both the primary and secondary, have specific components to discuss. Just like any other essay, have a paragraph that talks about your claims and other paragraphs supporting your claims with evidence. Avoid being too repetitive in this section. Your readers want to have information that they can relate to.

  • Write a conclusion for your critical essay.

A conclusion is as important as the introduction part of your essay. Do not quickly jump into it without taking some time to review that which you have already written. Identify from your essay the main idea. From there, discuss briefly how it will affect your reader.

  • Create some time to revise your essay.

At this point, you are practically tired and need to take a break. Before revising your essay, take this break. After a few days or hours, come back and revise your draft. Ensure the writing structure is correctly followed and that no information from your research is left missing. Also remove any information you may find buffer that may be too much for your reader.

  • Finally, proof read your essay.

Your essay is not ready for submission until you have proof read it. Proof reading your essay helps correct grammatical errors and mistakes that may confuse your reader. It also helps remove any information that may look plagiarized and replace it with unique and original content. Thereafter, your essay can be submitted.

While this steps may seem simple, the truth is that a critical essay requires a lot of time for research and writing. Much time is actually spent critically identifying the main point from what you choose to work with. That is why you have to read a book severally or watch a film severally. Distractions therefore are not allowed during that time you are working on acritical essay.

While not everyone is conversant with this style of writing an essay, there are online tutors able to provide substantial help. These tutors are able to provide you with samples that you can familiarize with. This helps you know what to expect when asked to write any kind of essay. There are companies who also take up jobs of writing for students at a fee. Most are well known for submitting work that is organized, well researched and of high quality.

In conclusion then, we can say that a student working on a critical essay needs to be well prepared to spend hours or even a few days working on it. One needs to also work with something they know they can properly critique. You cannot work on a book, while you have no interest in reading books. Tutors are always available to give what we can work with and give good results.


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