Critical Essay Examples

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What’s a Critical Essay?

A critical essay is a specific type of academic essay that requires the writer to do an in-depth analysis of a particular text, evaluate it and construe meaning from it. This kind of assignment analyzes and interprets the importance and meaning of a literary piece in a specific context and adds a unique viewpoint to it.

This task requires the writer to identify the themes of the text, make a specific claim and then substantiate that claim through citing primary and secondary sources. More importantly, a paper of analytical nature refrains from passing judgment on the text’s subject or its quality. Rather, it attempts to raise important questions, provide a different perspective and direction to reader’s thoughts by posing radical ideas. Looking at A class critical essay samples is very useful in this regard.

An analytical assignment needs one to carry out intensive research and prepare before attempting to write. Just extending one’s class lectures and the class note is not enough; though these can certainly help you decide which direction to take. Firstly, the title of the essay needs to be closely unpacked to enable one to comprehend the underlying meaning and the type of inquiry that is required to be done. Once this is done, the author is able to decide which angles to explore, what to look for specifically in the relevant research material and the tone to adopt. Having an open mind, paying full attention, adopting an investigative stance and proper utilization of time and concentration are vital factors in doing this kind of assignment successfully.

Seeing a few critical essays examples would help one understand what this type of academic writing is all about.

The Most Popular Types of Critical Essays

There is more than one way to examine and interpret a text seriously; therefore, there are different ways a piece of literature can be examined. Some of which are:

  • Sociological Criticism

This kind of analysis is done from a sociological perspective and tries to place a piece of literature in a context. This critical paper sample would also discuss the social relationships and societal dimensions addressed in the manuscript in focus. This type of essay may also try to discuss the impact of the society and its forces on the writer and their possible role in shaping the piece of literature under discussion.

  • Mythological Criticism

This type of examination of a text is done from a mythological perspective, i.e., through making allusions to myths. Mythological scrutiny examines the given piece of literature from an anthological, psychological, historical and comparative religion’s perspective. This way the writer tries to imbibe a universal quality to the critique essay example at hand.

  • Biographical Criticism

This type of academic work is an attempt to contextualize a piece in the light of the writer’s biography, i.e., the events in his or her life, personal inclinations and the influences shaping his or her thoughts. This kind of composition requires one to make certain presumptions regarding the author’s thought patterns, formative influences and their impact on the narrative under study.

  • Reader-response Criticism

This type of academic reasoning focuses on the form instead of the content of a given literary piece. Instead of examining the form or content, the reader’s individual and unique response to the text under analysis creates the basis of the write-up. This particular genre allows the readers and their experience of interacting with the texts and the resultant inferences to occupy the center position. This form of academic endeavor requires one not only to have an opinion about the text but to defend this stance and reaction on logical grounds.

  • Psychoanalytic Criticism

This form of academic writing interprets particular literature through applied psychoanalysis. This convention is attributed to Sigmund Freud, a renowned psychotherapist. This form of analyzing connects the conscious world in the manuscript under examination with the unconscious workings and psychological processes of the characters. This type of critical essay example also tries to review unearth the sexual connotations, conflicts, and ambiguity in character.

  • Gender Criticism

This type of critique is a way to determine how a particular gender or sexual identity has influenced a particular piece. This type of analytical also examines the male or female characters from the feminist or even homosexual perspective. Adopting a gender perspective allows the author to cut through gender and patriarchal bias.

  • New Historicism

This lens tries to establish the connection of the literature under discussion with the society and the cultural, economic, and political dimensions of that particular time period. It attempts to situate the text in a particular cultural movement and ideology and historical position. This kind of inquiry also tries to understand how the text contributes to our cultural and intellectual history.

  • Formalist Criticism

A formalist form of work focuses solely on the form of the text rather than its content. It pays close attention to details like the style, plot, structure, imagery, diction, tone, symbolism, irony, etc. This type of write up analyzes and evaluates how well these formalistic elements serve the writer’s purpose, how well they gel together, and what kind of impact they have on the reader.

Example of a Good Critical Essay Structure

A good investigative write-up has a carefully nuanced and balanced structure which comprises several paragraphs. The structure constitutes the following elements:

The Main Claim

There is the main claim or a central position that the author of the write up assumes at the beginning of the essay, i.e., in the thesis statement. In the rest of the essay, the claim is further established. Most importantly, the author not just takes a stance but supports it with evidence. The claim is also balanced with counterclaims which are rebutted, thus making the argument stronger.

Evidence-based Support

A claim is primarily substantiated through a close and in-depth analysis of the text (word choice, hidden or implied imagery, imagery, themes, plot, etc.). The next important way to substantiate a claim is to cite direct and indirect quotes from relevant primary and secondary scholarly essays.


In a critical paper sample, it’s the conclusion that ties in all that has been discussed in the work above concisely and still leave the readers with some food for thought. This means that the thesis statement is reinstated, the main points are reiterated, and the unique perspective of the author acts as the final seal.

Find Your Critical Essay Sample in Our Huge Database

It is understandable that doing analytical work is not an easy feat because it requires one to have or develop an analytical perspective and stance, which takes time and practice. Most students end up summarizing literature instead of doing an intuitive analysis. That’s why it is always helpful to look at a few critical essay samples or critical essays examples on different topics to understand the nuances and the structure. It is also important that you go through the correctly done analytical samples and not the shoddily written ones so that you learn what it goes in pinning down the perfect assignment. At this site, there is a huge cache of premium quality critical paper examples on various topics. You can go through these samples to get understanding and guidance regarding doing your own analytical assignment.

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