Writing a Critical Analysis of an Essay
Discuss the five Elements of Exposition in the Critical Analysis of an Essay assignment. Points to remember:
1) You are critiquing someone else’s writing.
2) Avoid using your whole essay to argue the issue with the writer; instead, only deal with the writer’s argument in the Strategy portion of your analysis.
3) Avoid using your whole essay to present your opinion of the issue; the focus of this assignment is your critique of the essay, not your opinion of the issue. (Use the persuasion assignment to express your opinion.) ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW
Consider using the following structure in writing your Critical Analysis of an Essay:
¶ 1—Introduction: Include the essay title, author’s name, and any qualifications of the author that seem relevant to the issue addressed in the essay you will analyze. Comment on whether you think the essay succeeds or fails. You might also indicate your reasons for selecting this essay for analysis.
(The order in which you discuss the Elements of Exposition is up to you; start with the elements that provide the most discussion. Include all of these factors in your analysis.)
¶ 2—Purpose: Comment on what you think the writer is trying to accomplish with this piece of writing—to provide information, to raise awareness, to convince, to support a cause, to urge to action, to promote change, to refute a theory, to arouse sympathy, to stimulate interest, to entertain. This element addresses why the writer chose to write about this issue.
¶ 3—Thesis: Comment on what you think the point is that the writer is trying to make with this piece of writing. If there is one sentence in the piece that seems to you to express the writer’s point, quote it directly. Look for any bias on the issue. Find the writer’s final statement on the issue. Find what you think the writer wants you to know (or do) after reading the essay. If there is no single statement, summarize in one sentence in your own words what you believe the writer’s thesis to be. ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW
¶ 4—Strategy: Comment on how you think the writer uses the introduction to interest you in or to supply background information on the issue. Comment on how you think the writer structured the essay. Look for examples of the writing strategies you know (narration, description, comparison, process analysis, classification, definition, cause/effect, illustration/example, persuasion). Look for the writer’s use of facts, reasons, opinions, statistics, and research. Point out any logical fallacies, contradictions, and inaccurate information the writer uses. Look for a variety of supporting information; an essay that relies entirely upon the writer’s personal experiences to support the thesis will have limited usefulness. You should be able to verify the sources, references, or citations for the facts and statistics presented and turn to those sources if you wish to read more on the issue.
¶ 5—Audience: Comment on whom you think the writer might be trying to reach with the essay and why. Speculate on which readers may have been overlooked and why, the familiarity of the audience with the issue, and the audience’s willingness to hear a new position on the issue.
¶ 6—Tone: Comment on what you understand to be the mood of the piece. Determine whether or not the tone of voice the writer uses is appropriate for the issue and the audience. Give specific examples of phrases or expressions to support you analysis. Comment on how the writer’s tone affects your perception of the thesis of the essay or the issue at large.
(Include these three ¶s in your essay after your analysis of the Elements of Exposition.)
¶ 7—Essay Weaknesses: Summarize the weaknesses you have discovered in the essay.
¶ 8—Essay Strengths: Summarize the strengths you have discovered in the essay.
¶ 9—Conclusion: Indicate your opinion of the success or failure of the essay, based upon the analysis you have performed (and not upon your opinion of the issue). Comment on how the writer has affected you through this essay: how you have changed your mind or had your convictions confirmed.