Please submit your draft before class on Monday.
Critical Analysis Essay * (Writing Assignment #3. 125 pts)
A critical analysis paper asks the writer to make an argument about a particular book, essay, movie, etc. The goal is twofold: one, identify and explain the argument that the author is making, and two, provide your own argument about that argument. One of the key directions of these assignments is often to avoid/minimize summary – you are not writing a book report, but evaluating the author’s argument.
Sometimes it can seem intimidating to “criticize” a book or article; after all, they may be written by, professors, policymakers, keaders, or experts. However, part of this exercise is to expose the fact that even though these authors are highly qualified, they are still advancing an argument and providing evidence–their aim is to persuade you that their argument is true, not to just present facts. Once you recognize that these authors are making arguments, you can analyze whether or not you find their argument compelling.
The following are some possible questions you could ask to develop your analytical discussion.
Reminder that you will need to support your claim. If you think the author has failed to be persuasive, you must provide evidence. If your focus is to discuss why the analysis is important, you must provide compelling reasons to support that claim.
*Adopted from J.L. Beyer, “Critically Analyzing an Academic Article or Book”
Most critical analysis papers begin with a short summary of the work and then dive in to the argument/discussion. Since most of these paper assignments are short, it is important to be concise in all parts of your analysis. Writing an outline (and following it) is crucial to remain focused and avoid summary or irrelevant description. Following is a sample outline for a critical analysis paper:
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