A Critique is…
- Specialized short paper usually written about a book, article, film, or work of art.
- Paper that shows your reaction to the work and involves critical analysis, evaluation, value judgment, interpretation, and response
- An opportunity to expand and demonstrate your ability to read thoughtfully and critically
A Critique is not…
- A report or summary
- Examine and experience the work thoroughly
- Take notes summarizing contents
- Describe author’s intent and how it is accomplished
- List your reactions and responses to author’s arguments and methods
- Note any particular passages you may want to quote exactly, keeping careful records of the page numbers.
- First, write down in a sentence or two your general impression of the work- good or bad, useful or of little value, stimulating or boring, whatever.
- Next, write down the details of that general judgment- specifically, what is good, bad, etc.
- Then, write down specific things in the work that lead to your response- supporting evidence. You may want to refer to your notes for key arguments, specific quotes, or portions that illustrate the author’s point of view or support your judgment of the work.
Writing the Final Critique
- Structure your writing based on the nature of the work, the kinds of things you want to say about it and, the requirements of any specific assignment you have been given
- Include information about the work such as author, title, publisher, and edition. You may include this information within the first paragraph or list it as a heading.
- Briefly state your overall opinion of the work.
- It may be useful to “set the stage” by providing a brief summary or including a brief description of the book’s contents.
- The “meat” of the paper should be your evaluation and response. You may want to discuss specific strengths and weakness of the work, or you may want to deal with the significance or implications of its argument. In addition, you may want to present some idea or theory of your own that the book has generated. You may also find it effective to do all these things.
- Be as specific as possible. Refer to specific passages and quote relevant and illustrative selections exactly.
- Include a conclusion. This may consist of your final statement of evaluation: value of the work, what value or argument implies, conclusions you reached in response to it.
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