Critical analysis is a piece of academic writing which aim is to increase the understanding of a written work or an art object. Its subject may be a book or movie, painting, a music composition, etc. But the majority of the students usually needs to write critical analysis of books and movies. Analyzing means that you break a complex topic (or text) into parts to understand the whole thing better. So, what does critical analysis mean? You elaborate the separate aspects of the masterpiece to increase the understanding of it as a whole.
What To Include In A Critical Analysis:
- Name a thesis and a theme of the piece, its context, the problem and its possible solution provided by the author. Your Introduction paragraph should contain a comprehensive introduction to the book as well as the bibliographical information. Also, state your own thesis – the general resolution about the book or movie under critique.
- Note, what persuasion modes are used: pathos, ethos or logos. In other words, did the author attempted to appeal to emotions, authority/credibility or logic. For example, in Macbeth Shakespeare mostly appeals to the emotions of the audience, so the pathos is the main persuasion mode.
- Analyze other rhetorical devices or tropes, if present in the book: metaphors, irony, allegory, sonic devices, etc. How, where and why did the author use these devices, what can be called his or her favorite means. For example, Emily Dickinson was especially masterful in creating special rhythmic patterns in her poems using the accent. Also, she had some constant metaphors, repeated in many poems, like “the sea” implied an erotic feeling. To support your opinion, quote corresponding passages from the source. Don’t forget about the quotations format.
- Write the critique of the story development, the plot. Analyze the turning points, the dynamics and the tempo of the novel, characterize the crisis and the outcome. If you suggest that something could be improved, support your opinion with strong arguments. The author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies must have written the original novel critical analysis once, and must have developed a very strong independent interpretation of the story! You should also take into account the epoch when the piece was created, its requirements and traditions. Did the author follow them or made a difference and found a unique approach, that influenced the literature or art after him?
- Analyze the characters, the means the author have used to show their traits. Did he use the description to introduce the protagonist and other characters, or their individuality was demonstrated through the action? Are they as bright as Hamlet or Frankenstein in literature or Big Lebowski in a movie which became figures known to everybody, forming kind of archetypes?
- Analyze the contribution of the given masterpiece to the world culture. Necessarily mention, if it produced the notion, that became a metaphor, a trope for some phenomenon or situation, or any other strong influential concept. For example, be sure to write that the Clockwork Orange gave raise to the idea of Ultra Violence; the 1984 critical analysis can’t be full without explaining that the name 1984 itself became a symbol of dystopian totalitarian society.
If you are allowed to choose what to critique by yourself, don’t rush to choose your favorite movie or book. To write The Evil Dead or Do The Right Thing critical analysis is not that easy as to watch them. Sometimes, the more you like a book, the more difficult is to critique it. So, try and select something that is not only interesting but won’t be too difficult to research. Be careful with popular pieces which were analyzed by known specialists – their reviews can be a great basis to produce your content, but it may distract you from making your own points and writing something unique. For example, The Great Gatsby, both the novel and the movie, were analyzed plenty of times, so you hardly find any new arguments for your assignment. A critical analysis of To Kill A Mockingbird can also be a difficult task, but you can try and search a different angle or provide a modern interpretation and analyze it.
- Avoid focusing on summary; it shouldn’t take too much of your time and place within your paper.
- Make a new paragraph each time you start writing about a separate aspect.
- Try to find at least as many positive points as negative. Balance them.
- Expressing your opinion, never get too personal and try to do it in a neutral and objective manner.
So, the importance of critical analysis can’t be overestimated. This assignment type is similar to some others, like the literature review, book review and reaction paper (where you have to comment a given piece). So, the experience in writing the analysis will be useful while accomplishing other tasks.