Critical essay is a type of essay that shows students’ ability to analyze a short story, poem, novel, or a play. In other words, your goal is to evaluate the source given, providing your audience with an analysis of the setting, major characters, or the entire story.

‘How to write a critical essay’ is thus a common question that college and high school students type into Google search toolbar. If writing an original critical essay makes your blood run cold, don’t wait and order your custom essay paper from writing service! Or follow our short guide to writing the best critical essay that will help you get you an A easily and without stress.


Critical essay: structure, definition, how-to

Step 1: Remember the purpose

The first thing to keep in mind when working on your critical essay is its purpose. Although there are several types of critical essays (for example, critical reflection essay, critical response essay etc.), their purpose is the same: to evaluate, interpret or analyze a piece of literature.

The topic of your essay will give you the idea what you are expected to do (analyze a character? the setting? the whole story?). For instance, if you are assigned a critical lens essay, your task is to interpret a direct quote from a story or a novel or a poem.

Critical essay: important!

Remember that your goal is to create an informative analysis of a piece of literature, rather than to persuade your reader. Do you have a critical essay due soon? Share this task with our experts and get quality academic help for a page!

Step 2: Come up with a compelling topic

In some courses, instructors assign topics or writing prompts. However, sometimes students can also have a say in choosing a topic for their critical essay. If this is your case, take a look at some fresh ideas for your critical essay here:

  • Topic #1: Write a critical analysis of ‘The Great Gatsby‘.
  • Topic #2: Analyze the character of Huckleberry Finn in ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’.
  • Topic #3: Analyze the setting of ‘Moby-Dick, or The Whale’.
  • Topic #4: Analyze the character of Holden Caulfield in ‘The Catcher in the Rye’.
  • Topic #5: Discuss the main characters in ‘Wuthering Heights’.

Step 3: Create an outline

Any critical essay follows a standard structure: the introduction with a thesis statement, the body (2-4 paragraphs), and the conclusion. But prior to writing each of these sections, students should first create a plan of their critical essay. If drafting an outline seems a daunting task for you, outsource your paper to our professionals – and get your critical essay stress-free and at affordable price!

Step 4: Take notes

When assessing your source, be sure to write down as many notes as you can. This will help you develop a strong understanding of the source material and remember all the key ideas that the author included in their piece of literature.

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Critical essay: common mistakes

When we write essays, we make mistakes. It’s totally human. We have identified three common mistakes in critical essays – as you are editing your essay, keep an eye out for these frustrating errors.

MistakeOriginal sentenceRevision
Mistake 1: Too descriptive

In a crucial essay, you should distinguish between descriptive and critical content. Remember that your goal is to analyze and evaluate, rather than describe and summarize.

Mr. and Mrs. Caulfield are parents of Holden and his brothers D.B. and Allie, as well as their sister Phoebe Caulfield. Holden Caulfield’s parents are mentioned several times, although they do not appear in the novel. Holden’s relationships with parents are problematic and lead to Holden Caulfield’s emotional breakdown. Several events lead to Holden Caulfield’s emotional breakdown. One of these events is Holden’s problematic relationship with his family. Due to unhealthy upbringing, Holden can neither trust his parents, nor talk to them about any of his problems.
Mistake 2: Not enough evidence to support your point of view

In a critical essay, using evidence is crucial, as it proves that you have carried out research. Evidence can be a quote from a novel / poem or a paraphrase from your source. Avoid making a claim if you have no evidence to support it.

Ralph is a committed leader who can lead by establishing rules in order to secure peace and stability on the island. He also struggles to return to civilization. (No evidence to support the claim)Ralph is a committed leader who can lead by establishing rules in order to secure peace and stability on the island. He also struggles to return to civilization. One of the multiple quotes that prove Ralph’s abilities as a leader can be found in Chapter Two ‘Fire on the Mountain’: “If we have a signal going, they’ll come and take us off. And another thing. We ought to have more rules. Where the conch is, that’s a meeting. The same up here as down there.”
Mistake 3: Repetitions

Avoiding repetitions can be challenging for both experienced writers and novices. Use synonyms and different sentence structures to make sure your work does not sound repetitive.

Charlie Bucket, the protagonist of the novel, comes from a warm and close-knit family. The family is not wealthy; however, the family gets along very well and has a strong bond of love.Charlie Bucket, the protagonist of the novel, comes from a warm and close-knit family. They are not wealthy; however, everyone gets along very well and has a strong bond of love.

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