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How to Write a Critical Analysis Essay

Writing a critical analysis essay provides students the opportunity to showcase their critical thinking skills. These abilities are vital for completing your educational course as well as building your career. Application of the skills involved in writing your critical essay will set you apart in a competitive world.

Critical Analysis Essay

What is a Critical Analysis Essay?

A critical analysis essay is an examination of another person’s ideas or work. In most cases, it evaluates the use of language in literary works. However, in some cases, it can be written to criticize a play, piece of art, or a movie.

The purpose of a critical analysis is to weigh up a literary work to increase the reader’s understanding of it. Analysis implies a breakdown and evaluation of the parts of a piece. This must involve careful reading and interpretation of the material under analysis.

The first step is to scrutinize the piece under study.

Through an assessment of the work, you should identify the thesis and purpose of the author. A literary work can only have one thesis. Several different points, however, can be used to support the thesis. Identify the main idea within each passage.

Take note of how the author ties the arguments to the thesis. Identify how this helps the author to structure the flow of thought. Below are some critical review thesis examples.

If you encounter any unfamiliar terms or phrases, consult a dictionary or encyclopedia. Additional research will ensure you have a good understanding of the subject. You cannot analyze a work before a thorough comprehension of its content.

Establish the purpose of the work, whether it aims to; inform, persuade, or entertain the audience. Note the strategy or means the author uses to accomplish a particular purpose.

Determine who the author’s target audience is and list any assumptions the author may have about them. Assess the style of language the author uses. This will aid you in identifying the context of the piece.

Rhetorical Styles of Analysis

As you assess the effectiveness of a piece, it is crucial to identify the rhetorical devices the author uses to achieve a particular goal. The author may employ at least one or more of these devices throughout the text.

There are three main stylistic strategies that authors use to bring the intended result in the audience. These are ethos, pathos, and logos.

  1. Ethos (An Appeal to Credibility)

This strategy holds that an audience is more inclined to listen to someone who is considered an expert in the matter at hand. A reader will be receptive to information disseminated by a respected authority. The author will use their credentials to establish the reliability of their information.

This appeals to a reader because they will suppose that the author is providing information that may benefit them.

This style is context-specific. This means that the expertise cited should be relevant to the context of the discussion. For example, in a health conference, the information provided by doctors or other healthcare providers will be considered legitimate. However, if a renowned athlete were to speak in such a setting, the knowledge they impart may not be considered relevant.

  • Pathos (An Appeal to Emotion)

In this style, the author appeals to the reader’s emotions. This is done through the use of particular words that can affect the emotional state of the audience. Such words are referred to as emotive words.

Authors use these words to evoke a sensational state in the reader. Different emotional states will cause diverse responses. For instance, if the author targets greed, they may attempt to persuade the audience that their response will gain them something in return. Or if fear is the target, the writer will try to convince the audience that their actions can prevent suffering.

According to the author’s purpose, they will choose words that are likely to bring the desired effect in place.

  • Logos (An Appeal to Logic)

Authors use this strategy to allure the reader’s attention using logic. This strategy holds that the audience will respond as expected if the author provides them a reason.

Using this style, the author will press on the reader’s inclination to rationalism. According to this style, it is not enough for the author to suggest what action the audience should take, but also why they should take it.

Authors using this method will state their arguments and provide the corresponding evidence to support their claim.

Authors use these strategies individually or corporately to persuade the reader. Understanding them will help make your analysis as objective as possible. Have a look at these strategies in the critical analysis examples below.

How to Write a Critical Analysis Essay for Dummies

After an analysis of a particular work, you may start writing your paper. To do so, you will need a critical essay outline and an understanding of what is required.

Example of Critical Analysis Essay

Critical analysis essay outline

As a student, you may be familiar with the overall structure of a typical academic essay. A critical essay will take the same approach. It should consist of; an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

  1. Introduction

Begin with a description of the work you are analyzing, which should include; the title of the work, author’s credentials, and date of publication. Outline the main ideas of the work and the author’s thesis.

You may state your crucial points as well as your thesis statement in this section.

  • Summary

Recapitulate the author’s essential points concisely. To ensure that you include all vital details, check whether your summary answers the; who, what, why, when, where, and how of the piece. You may choose to discuss the style or perspective of the author’s argument.

  • Analysis

You may state your likes and dislikes of the piece. However, it is essential to make sure that you do not state your opinions as facts. Explain your thoughts while basing them on specific examples from work.

Evaluate whether the author was able to achieve the desired goal using the adopted strategy. Analyze whether the piece was directed at the appropriate audience.

  • Conclusion

Reword your thesis and summarize your main points using different terms. You may include a call to action for your reader.


The process of writing a critical analysis essay is not all-together-impossible. The pointers provided in this article will assist you in writing your paper in no time.

Critical Analysis Essay

Keep in mind critical analysis skills are career builders that you can adopt with practice. Enough time spent in mastering the process will guarantee a praiseworthy write up and a good grade.

How to Write a Research Paper Proposal

How to Write a Descriptive Essay

How to Write a Conclusion Paragraph

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