Many students associate the concept of critical essay with the negative opinion about the author. However, in this case it is not exactly true, because critical here is more likely to be used in the meaning of “evaluative” in both positive or negative way depending on the idea of the writer about the coherence, informativity and the data provided in the book or the article.
Taking into account the peculiarities of this type of writing, the key points to bear in mind when writing a critical essay are as follows:
- Critical essay must include analysis of the book in question.
- The analysis must contain brief explanation of the author’s main idea, point of view, facts the author uses to support his/her idea and action plan or suggestion in the book, if any.
- The second step of the analysis is to evaluate the data the author uses in terms of reliability, plausibility and explications.
- Critical essay must be informative, so as to put emphasis not on the subjective feelings, but on the facts, structure, and the way the literal text works.
- Criticism here is a means of analysis, but not the way to criticize by saying that something in the book is bad.
- Any idea and any claim must be supported with evidence, and the most useful and easiest way to provide it is citation of the literal work.
- When choosing a topic for a critical essay, do not try to write about everything, or you will simply get overwhelmed by the amount of material you have to fit into the limits of your essay. Thus, it is better to choose one aspect of the book under analysis and focus on it.
- Remember to proofread your essay to eliminate all typos and mistakes, stick to the format and provide a well-structured list of references.