Writing the Critique Paper
Do not let the term “critique” make you nervous
You do not have to be a master commentator to write such an essay or paper – you just have to have a personal response or reaction to something. And that is just what a critique is – your response to something you have read or viewed. So, now that you have a critique definition, you are ready to learn how to write one, using a few standard steps.
Read or View More than Once
Unless you are writing a critique paper on a major work of fiction or non-fiction, you will want to read the piece or view the speech, movie, etc., more than once. Here’s why.
- The first time through, you want to just get a holistic impression of what is being said or portrayed. Write down your overall impression after this first exposure.
- The second time, you will take notes – listing the main points being made, or the specifics of what you will be including in your critique of a film.
Suppose you have read an article on homelessness in the U.S. As you go through your second reading, list the points the author makes, both factual and opinion-based. Suppose you are critiquing a film. Pay attention to the actors and their credibility, to the plot development, to the special effects, etc.
Do a Bit of Research
Learning a bit about the author usually gives you some perspective. For example, is the writer of the article on homelessness a respected journalist or one who has a career of investigative work? If the author a former victim of homelessness him/herself? This information will allow you to speak to the credibility of what is being said.
If a work to be critiqued includes facts or data to support opinion, check out those facts and figures from another source. Are they correct?
Plan for Writing
You are now ready to organize your thoughts for writing. Usually, an informal outline will work well, in which you list the major points you will be covering in your body paragraphs. You will need to respond to each point, by asking yourself questions?
- Is the point valid? Is it backed by facts and detail?
- Does the plot of the movie keep you engaged or is it just another re-make of an overworked story? Does it achieve its purpose of getting the emotional response (fear, sorrow, happiness, fun, etc.)? Are the actors credible and do they maintain their roles well?
You need at least 3 points, one for each paragraph. In the article on homelessness, for example, the author may cover the causes, the depth of the problem on the streets of America’s cities, the difficulty the homeless have getting out of their situation, and so forth. S/he may also propose solutions, and those must be addressed as well. Are they realistic? Are political leaders ready and willing to address the problems?
In the case of a movie critique, you may want to devote a paragraph each to plot and theme, actors, and special effects.
On to the Writing
- The Introduction: Obviously, you will name the piece. Include the author’s or screenwriter’s or director’s name. And state the main point made by the author, or the overall plot/theme of the movie. For example:
“Respected journalist Joe Smith has produced a clear and succinct description of homelessness in America, putting real “faces” on an issue that we would rather ignore.” Or Director John Smith has produced another winner with his latest movie (title here).
Your introduction should also have a thesis statement that includes your overall response to the work.
- The Body Paragraphs: If you have carefully outlined each of your paragraphs, they should just about write themselves. Just be certain to have a topic sentence and a good transition to the next paragraphs.
- The Conclusion: Re-state again your overall reaction to what you read or viewed. Did it achieve its purpose? Did the article on homelessness call you to some type of action? Did you leave the movie viewing with the emotional response that was intended, ready to recommend that others see it?
There you have it in a “nutshell.” A critique is not really scary, if you follow the steps required. If you are still unsure, you certain can conduct a simple “Google” search with the term “critique define” and you will get pages of information and some good samples of critique essays and papers to guide you. Or, if you are quite nervous because you have never produced a critique before, get some professional help from an essay writing service – a good one has pros on staff who can produce great critiques.
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