What is a Critical Analysis Essay?

So, what is a critical analysis essay?

A critical analysis paper or essay first requires you as the writer to give a comprehensive account of the message or goals of the author of the particular work being analyzed. On the other hand, you should also give your own argument based on what the author was trying to achieve with his or her work. The essay should clearly give an evaluation of the work, showing you truly understand what is presented therein.

Many students often think that when asked to write a critical analysis essay, one should simply give a summary of the piece of work. However, that is not the case. Analysis requires a thorough study of the given work, analyzing its aspects, and presenting a logical argument that readers can easily follow.

Knowing how to write a critical analysis essay paper can help you in quite a number of areas. In fact, the skills can as well be applied in crafting other essays and academic papers. Besides, knowing how to write a good analysis essay can take your writing skills to another level.

Elements of a good critical analysis essay

In order for you to deliver a good critical analysis essay, it is important that you know the basic elements of critical writing. These will help you in gaining a better understanding of what is a critical analysis essay.

One of the main features of a good critical analysis paper is that it should present a proper and factual argument of the creator of the given piece of work, supported by evidence from the piece.

The essay should also highlight a balanced presentation of reasons why the conclusions of other authors may be accepted or treated with caution.

An analysis essay can evaluate different elements of the given work, including tone, characters, and style of writing among others. Besides, you can also make a general evaluation of the entire piece of work.

The analysis should also clearly give your own claim backed with evidence, leading to your conclusion.

What is a critical analysis essay and how can I write one?

As you continue to find out more about what is a critical analysis essay, it is also important to note that there are certain things to be considered when writing in order to deliver an outstanding paper.

The following are tips for writing top-notch critical analysis essays

Take time to study the work to be analyzed

A critical analysis essay can be based on a variety of pieces of work as identified above. Despite the one that you have been given to analyze, it is only wise that you carefully study and understand its goal.

Try to ask yourself questions about the piece of work in order to determine the intentions of its creator and how they have been presented in the sample. Authors create their work with various intentions, so you have to be keen and think out right in order to perfectly understand the message therein.

Evaluate the arguments     

In order to write a good critical analysis paper, you will need to comprehensively explain the arguments of the author, and your own claims about them, based on evidence. Therefore, you have to first think through your claims properly, according to your understanding of the given piece.

To enable you make quick and logical arguments, you can ask theoretical questions, definitive questions, evidence questions, and implication or policy relevance questions among other approaches.

In evaluating the arguments, it is important that you formulate a thesis or main claim that will be proven in the paper. Besides, you have to also carefully select evidence from the piece, which will be used in making your argument.

Based on the approach that you choose to pursue, just make sure that you have outlined proper arguments that will enable you present a balanced analysis that suits the essay.

Create an outline

As you get into writing, the task should be enjoyable and flow smoothly without distractions. It is therefore, advisable that you draft a plan showing the various points of the paper and how they will be addressed in the analysis.

An outline should simple be a structural presentation of the essay, highlighting the format which will be pursued in writing.

Steps on how to write a critical analysis essay

Follow the procedures highlighted below to easily write a critical analysis essay paper.


There are three main areas that have to be covered in the introduction of your analysis. One is identification of the work being analyzed. This should come in the first statements, followed by your thesis or main argument about the piece of work.

The thesis should be precise and specific, giving your key reaction to the work.

In the final statements of the introduction paragraph, you should give a preview of the argument to be tabled in the paper. This should be a precise summary of the steps that you will take in proving the argument.

Brief summary of the work under analysis

Although you have identified the work in the first paragraph, it is advisable that you also give a short description of the main facts or aspects of the work. This is to ensure that your readers are able to properly understand where your argument is coming from. It is more like setting the stage for your analysis.

Your argument

The argument that you make in the paper should be comprehensive and highlight various sub-arguments, all linking up to the thesis. They are meant to give a compelling account of your argument, supported with evidence.

Organize your sub-arguments in different paragraphs, making sure that each is well explained and backed with evidence or examples from the work. Try to use specific evidence and examples that can effectively prove your main argument.

This section bears the bulk of the work in the entire paper, however, this does not mean that your paper should be crowded with vague and long sentences. Try to make your arguments logical, clear and precise for easy reading and understanding.


The final paragraph of a critical analysis essay should give a reflection of how the thesis has been proven in the paper and also point out the importance of that claim. If there may be options for further analysis or studies about the argument or work, it should also be highlighted on this part.

On a final note, it is advisable that you spare a little time to read through the work and make any corrections to mistakes that would have been made in the writing process.

Examples of Critical Analysis Essays

Reading sample critical analysis essay papers can also give you more insights about what is a critical analysis essay. The following are professionally written samples to refer to.

Example 1

A Critical Review of ‘’Man’s Search for Meaning’’

‘’In Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl tells the very personal story of his experience as a prisoner in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. He presents this story in the form of an essay in which he shares his arguments and analysis as a doctor and psychologist as well as a former prisoner. This paper will review Frankl’s story as well as his main arguments, and will evaluate the quality of his writing and focus on any areas of weakness within the story…’’

Example 2

Sample Critical Literary Essay about ‘’The Carpenter’s Wife’’

‘’During the telling of ‘’The Miller’s Tale’’ within The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer goes to great lengths to describe the character of Alison, the carpenter’s wife. This is done not only so readers will have a detailed physical portrayal of her in their minds, but also they can make interferences as to her character by the way she chooses to present herself…’’

Example 3

Sample Analysis Essay, ‘’Gertrude in Hamlet’’

‘’In Hamlet, Gertrude is a woman who means no harm but whose poor judgment contributes greatly to the terrible events that occur. There are only two female characters in the play, and neither one, Gertrude or Ophelia, is assertive. But the decisions Gertrude does make eventually lead to her death and the downfall of others as well.

We first realize in Act I, Scene 2 that poor judgment is her major character flaw…’’

What is a Critical Analysis Essay: References

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