The critical analysis essay will be based on one of the essays students have read thus far in the course . Write an essay that identifies and discusses one or two nonfiction elements that are most essential to the reading selection.
First, identify the nonfiction element—for example, characterization—that is most important in the selection. Next, explain why that element is important and whether the element had a positive or negative impact on the narrative and thus the reader. Use the following information to help structure the essay.
Introduction: In the first paragraph, identify the essay’s title and author. The opening paragraph must provide a broad, but accurate, synopsis of the selected essay as well as a clearly defined thesis statement. In the critical analysis essay thesis statement, identify the one or two nonfiction elements to discuss in the body paragraphs. Also, the thesis statement should clarify how the nonfiction elements impact the narrative.
Body Paragraphs: If writing about one nonfiction element, each body paragraph should provide an in-depth analysis of closely related examples of that element. If writing about two nonfiction elements, make sure to present a balanced exploration of both (e.g., two paragraphs of approximately the same length for each element). As supporting evidence, provide appropriate and sufficient direct quotations, paraphrases, and/or summaries, properly cited. Each paragraph should also include a combination of summary and analysis. Finally, if there is mention of a secondary character or related plot point that is not listed in the opening-paragraph synopsis, briefly explain this character or plot point.
Remember that when writing about literature, refer to actions and events that take place in the present tense. For example, instead of writing “The main character wanted to go to Bolivia,” write “The main character wants to go to Bolivia.”
Conclusion: The closing paragraph should restate the main idea discussed in the essay but should not repeat the language in the introduction or body paragraphs verbatim. The conclusion is the final opportunity to make a lasting impression on the reader. Think about excellent books or movies that have memorable endings. What characteristics make those endings memorable? Do the final words or images leave a question in audience’s mind? Do they prompt one to action? A strong conclusion resonates with the reader, casting a net beyond the confines of the text to make a statement or observation about the larger world.