A critical essay is not an essay to argue about a particular literary work. It is rather a depiction of the authors attitude. It is more of an analysis which deals with the point to point approach of an article or a book. The analysis done in a critical essay of an article or book must have the following points:
1. A summarized version of the authors point of view. This will include –
A statement depicting the authors main idea
A synopsis of the important facts and figures, which is used to support the idea of the critical essay.
The authors explicit or implied values
The authors concluding points an suggestive actions
2. The evaluation of the work. This will include –
Assessment of the facts, an whether any important aspects were missed out
An evaluation of the authors argument
Appraisal of the author’s values
A critical essay needs to be informative. It is not about a personal opinion or belief. A critical essay is the study of a work of literature and is backed by facts. It is all about fact finding and then critically study the work based on such ascertained facts. Whatever you write about the work must be provable. It is not based on any assumptions. At times a critical essay can be based on the criticism provided by other essayists or critics.
The critical essay may be based on new findings of the literary work. This can be done by exploring the woks of the author and discussing the same in your critical essay. You must be specific about the points of discussion of the work, but it must also be substantiated by the evidence and facts unearthed from the literary work. But a mere quotation will not do. What is required is going deep into the work and finding the various nuances of it and using the facts to write the essay. The facts can also be taken from the background of the author, the period the work was written or what other critics have to say of the work.
Another important aspect that needs to be considered when writing a critical essay is that you need to focus on one aspect of the literary work. There is no point in looking at all aspects of the work. Moreover the critical essay must be well organized and each paragraph or section must support the core idea of the essay. When quoting, ensure appropriate format, like MLA with proper citation at the end of the essay.
In a critical essay there is no predetermined conclusion. The deduction may vary from person to person. Each individual has different outlook. How the person perceives the work and what facts he unearths from the book or article, will determine the ultimate result of the critical essay. There is also no right or wrong answers in such essays. Your task is simply to express your opinion and give arguments.