original 1 - Three ideas on writing a critical essay on literature

Three ideas on writing a critical essay on literature

Writing a critical essay is a good way to share and discuss the literature that you have read. A critical essay can analyze one work of literature (characters, themes, conspiracy points) or compare and contrast multiple works of literature of the same author

Step 1: Introduction

Write an introduction that includes a strong statement of the thesis. Your introductory paragraph should introduce a work of literature that you will write about. Imagine that your readers have not read the work. Give a brief overview of the work, including the protagonists and the conflict. Imagine the argument or topic you will be referring to. Your statement of the thesis should state your position on the topic.

A good thesis should be supported by evidence from the text when writing a critical analysis, a very important point to always remember. A weak thesis is a matter of taste, which can not be proved with examples from the text. An example of a good thesis, “Lorraine Hansberry’s “Zest in the Sun” demonstrates how Walter’s pursuit of money jeopardizes his family and ultimately leads to his collapse.” A weak thesis would be, “‘Zest in the sun’ is a good game.

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Step 2: Body 

The body of your critical essay should be filled with evidence from the text that supports your statement of the thesis. Include excerpts from the text that prove your arguments. Be sure to use the quotations and quote the page number where the evidence is found. The body of your essay should be at least three paragraphs and use at least three examples from the text. For “Zest in the sun” you could discuss how Walter’s decision to give Willy money to invest instead of putting it in the bank was fueled by greed and his misconception that he knew what was best for his family.

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Step 3: Conclusion

Finish your essay. Your conclusion should sum up your position and reiterate your thesis. Repeat the important points and link your main ideas. Leave the reader with something to reflect on. A good conclusion for the essay might be, “Although Walter’s actions nearly destroyed his family, he was able to find forgiveness and ransom, and he understood the true meaning of wealth.”

The conclusion, as a rule, is the most difficult part of the essay. The conclusion should include a paraphrased thesis taking into account what has been said in the main part, ie. the explanation of how the arguments reinforce the thesis, as well as the final sentence, which draws a line under the main idea of the essay.

The more clearly the thesis is formulated the easier it is to write a conclusion. The difficulty in writing a conclusion most likely means that the thesis is too vague. In this case, you can try to rewrite the introduction and then start to conclude again.

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