Advancing an Assessment: The Critical Analysis
In a critical analysis, you examine and assess a work from a number of points of view. Requirements often vary by instructor or company, but you should always include the following:
enough background information to familiarize readers with the piece you're analyzing (including the name of the author or artist)
a description of the way the piece was written
the general thesis behind the piece or a synopsis of the work
Since details and the proper use of quotations and citations are important in a critical analysis, you should take care to follow classroom or company directions explicitly.
Considering the following list of questions may be helpful when composing a critical analysis.
What is important biographical data about the author or artist?
What are the purpose, tone, and format of the piece?
How can the work be interpreted? (Remember, you're not writing a summary of the work but rather an interpretation of its meaning.)Is any information in the work inaccurate or incomplete?
In what ways was the work successful? How did the author or artist achieve the success?
In what ways was the work unsuccessful? How did the author or artist fail?
What could the author or artist have done to be more successful?
Is the piece you're analyzing fair? If not, what's your evidence that it's biased or subjective?
Do any historical, psychological, geographical, gender, racial, cultural, or religious considerations have an impact on the work?
If you're writing a critical analysis of a literary work, consider points such as theme, symbolism, imagery, figurative language, setting, and characterization. Avoid using the first-person point of view in a critical analysis unless you have permission. In most instances, your like or dislike of a work wouldn't be considered a suitable subject (but you probably already figured that out).
In order to get the ball rolling, you might begin this way:
But when you're revising, cross out “I think that” and then begin your sentence.