Reviewing Principles for Writing a Critique Paper

A critique paper is a review, analysis, and evaluation of a piece of art, fiction, scientific or popular science work; a genre of criticism of a literary, newspaper, and journal publication. A small volume and brevity characterize it. A critique paper involves analyzing the work for the completeness of the disclosure of the stated topic, the validity of the author’s position, the appropriateness of the ways of expressing one’s thoughts, and other criteria. When writing such a paper, it is vital to keep in mind the main principle of literary creativity – “a text generates another text.” Your critique paper should become an independent work that is interesting to read and discuss. 

In this material, we will not dig too much into the definition or criteria for writing critique papers (this article describes this information in detail) and focus on the guidelines on how to write one. First, let us define the critique paper types:

  • a small literary-critical or journal article (often of a contentious nature), in which the work under review is an occasion for discussing contemporary social or literary problems;
  • an essay that is more a lyrical reflection of the author of the critique paper, inspired by the reading of the work, rather than its interpretation;
  • a detailed annotation, which reveals the content of the work, features of the composition and at the same time contains its assessment.

Suggested Outline of a Critique Paper on a Literary Work

Start with a bibliographic description of the work (author, title, publisher, year of issue) and a short retelling of its content (in one or two sentences). After that, proceed to a direct response to a literary work (feedback-impression).

Provide a critical analysis or complex analysis of the text:

  • the meaning of the title;
  • an analysis of its form and content;
  • the composition features;
  • the author’s skill in portraying the characters;
  • individual style of the writer.

Provide a reasoned assessment of the work and your reflections:

  • the main idea of the review;
  • relevance of the subject of the work.

A critique paper does not have to contain all of the above components; the main thing is that the review is impressive and competent.

Reviewing Principles for Writing a Critique Paper

The impulse for writing a critique paper is always the need to express your attitude to what you read; it attempts to understand your impressions about the work based on elementary knowledge in the theory of literature and a detailed analysis of the work.

A reader can say whether he/she liked or didn’t like a book (or a movie they have watched) without proof. In contrast, a critique paper author (a reviewer) must carefully substantiate his/her opinion with an in-depth and well-reasoned analysis. The relationship between the reviewer and the author is a creative dialog with the parties’ equal position. The author’s “I” manifests itself openly to rationally, logically, and emotionally influence the reader. Therefore, the critique paper author uses language tools that combine naming and evaluation, book and colloquial words and constructions. A detailed retelling reduces the critique paper’s value: firstly, it will not be interesting to read the work itself; secondly, the substitution of analysis and interpretation of the text by its retelling is considered a criterion of a weak review.

Every book begins with a title, which in the process of reading, you somehow interpret and unravel. The title of a good work is always ambiguous, and it is a kind of symbol, a metaphor. Composition analysis can provide a lot of information for understanding and interpreting the text. Reflections on what compositional techniques (antithesis, circular construction, etc.) are used in work will help the reviewer penetrate the author’s intention. 

When writing a critique paper, it is essential to evaluate the author’s style and originality, disassemble the images, artistic techniques that he/she uses in work, and think about his/her individual, unique style, how this author differs from others. The critique paper author should examine how the text was done. A school or college critique paper should be written as if the teacher or professor is unfamiliar with the work under review. It would be best to assume what questions the reader might ask and try to prepare the answers to them in the text in advance.

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