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Critical Essay Writing

Critical Essay Writing

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Critical Essay Writing

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  1. Critical Essay Writing What you have to do...

  2. Getting going • Starts with you question selection – it is crucial that you pick one you can answer strongly. • Underline the key words in the question – ie Compare, contrast, outline, comment. • List everything the question is asking you to do (this will usually be between three and five). • Ensure you are answering the question throughout. Begin every paragraph with a topic sentence that is answering some part of the task.

  3. Planning • A solid plan is the way you should start every piece of writing. • This can range from basic (timed essays) to thorough (folio work). • A basic paragraph plan will give a brief outline to all the focus of your paragraphs with a list of some of the critical terminology you will use. • Ensure your plan addresses the whole question. • A basic plan should take no more than 10 minutes.

  4. Intro • The intro is your opening salvo – it is where the reader gets the first glimpse of your writing and ability. • You need to mention the title, author, genre (egnovel, poem, drama/play). • You need to hook the reader by mentioning the aspects or themes your essay will address. • Finally, explain how you will address them by using key words from the task.

  5. Choose a novel in which the method of narration makes a major contribution to its impact. Describe the method of narration and explain why you feel it makes a major contribution to your appreciation of the text as a whole. • “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson is a tense and thrilling novel that looks at the depths of human personality, revealing the dual nature of the human psyche. Stevenson cleverly uses the narrative viewpoint to feed information to the reader – enhancing the appreciation of the novel – revealing bit by bit the gruesome nature of the link between the titular characters of Dr Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde. TAG Themes of novel Words of the task

  6. Plot Summary • Your second paragraph should be a brief plot outline (NO MORE THAN 5 SENTENCES). • You can prepare this before the exam as this will not change regardless of question. • This is the only point you retell the story – doing so later in your essay will lose you marks.

  7. Alternate • You could write an even briefer plot summary in your intro and use this paragraph differently. • You could outline the social and/or political context of the text in this paragraph. • Ie. J & H – Victorian Britain, empire, Darwin, unconscious mind of Freud’s work.

  8. Main Body • You main body should incorporate at least 6 points. • This is where you should use PEE to ensure you answer the question thoroughly. • You also must use a topic sentence to link to the task and previous paragraphs. • Include some form of personal response. • You must employ critical terms when commenting on the writers use of style or language.

  9. T.S. Point Indented Comment One of the ways in which Hyde’s evil personality is highlighted is through the key incident of the murder of Sir Danvers Carew.On meeting and being politely greeted by the amiable Carew, Hyde reacts extremely violently: ‘he broke out in a great flame of anger.’ Here the reader can sense the extent of the rage that seems to reside within Hyde and which now bursts forth. Stevenson’s use of metaphor is particularly notable; the reference to a ‘flame of anger’ connotes the destructive power of Hyde’s wrath. As such, it is understandable that the witness of this incident described Hyde as being ‘like a madman.’ Stevenson does not spare us any of the horrific details of the scene. Vigorous verb phrases such as ‘clubbed him to the earth’ convey the violent malice in Hyde’s character.Moreover, the description of Carew’s lifeless body is incredibly disturbing: ‘there lay his victim… incredibly mangled.’ This expression conveys the fact that Carew is not just dead; his body is broken. He sounds less than human, even, a mere object callously destroyed by the ‘ape-like’ Hyde. This stage of the narrative is central in confirming the reader’s view of Hyde’s character: he is the very personification of evil. Point/comment with embedded quote Point Ellipsis used Link to task A Grade 'A' Paragraph

  10. Conclusion • Always conclude your essays – this gives the reader a satisfied sense of completion at the end. • Sum up what you have said – never introduce anything new is a conclusion. • Refer back to the question to show that you have answered it. • Include some personal response relating to how the text has affected you through you study of the themes and issues that arise.

  11. Finally • Check your work for mistakes – these will happen when you are writing under pressure. • Inverted commas around the text title. • Ensure you use linking words to join your paragraphs and the ideas you are putting forward. • Try and be positive about the text!