1. The introduction includes the name of the movie and the director’s name. 2. The introduction identifies the thesis, or focus, of the analysis. 3. The Ideas presented are supported with details from the movie. 4. Supporting materials are smoothly incorporated into the sentences. 5. In writing this critical analysis, the writer has considered purpose and audience. 6. The conclusion brings the essay to a definite close.
7. The paragraph is relatively free of errors in spelling, grammar, usage, mechanics, and manuscript form.
Sample Outline for a Critical Essay
The following is a basic outline of a critical essay, the kind that might be written in a composition, literature, or film class. in this case, the writer is analyzing the meaning of particular symbols in a short story and film. Keep in mind that this is only one kind of possible organization; there are several ways to structure an essay effectively. Outlines can also vary in the amount of detail. Always check with your instructor if you are unsure about the organization of your essay.
Title: Symbols of Freedom in Stephen King’s story “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” and Frank Darabont’s film The Shawshank Redemption. Thesis Statement: In their different version of Shawshank Redemption, author Stephen King and director Frank Darabont make distinctions between freedom and captivity using a bird, a library, and a poster as symbols of freedom and justice.
•The theme of freedom
•Contrast freedom with the idea of unfair imprisonment
•A bird, a library, and a poster as symbols of the human spirit, longing for community, and rebirth
II. The bird as the struggle of Andy Dufesne’s human spirit
•Bird as a universal symbol of freedom
•”Caging” the bird is a metaphor for Andy’s false imprisonment
•Jake’s different fates in the book and the film: warning and hope
III. The library as a symbol for community
•The library as a place of freedom within the prison
•Represents Andy’s connection with his own intellectual society
•The library as a connection between Andy and the other prisoners
IV. The poster as a symbol of rebirth
•The women on the posters represent the “outside”
•The posters guard and protect Andy’s struggle for freedom
•Andy must go through the poster to escape
•The sewage pipe Andy crawls through is like a birth canal
•Rita Hayworth is like a “mother” to Andy’s new life
•Andy’s freedom was stolen
•Andy “steals” his freedom back
•Andy’s escape is the ultimate triumph of the human spirit over injustice and inhumanity
- Identify the author's thesis and purpose
- Analyze the structure of the passage by identifying all main ideas
- Consult a dictionary or encyclopedia to understand material that is unfamiliar to you
- Make an outline of the work or write a description of it
- Write a summary of the work
- Determine the purpose which could be
- To inform with factual material
- To persuade with appeal to reason or emotions
- To entertain (to affect people's emotions)
- If the purpose is to inform, has the material been presented clearly, accurately, with order and coherence?
- If the purpose is to persuade, look for evidence, logical reasoning, contrary evidence
- If the purpose was to entertain, determine how emotions are affected: does it make you laugh, cry, angry? Why did it affect you?
SAMPLE OUTLINE FOR CRITICAL ESSAY
After the passage under analysis has been carefully studied, the critique can be drafted using this sample outline.
- I. Background information to help your readers understand the nature of the work
- A. Information about the work
- 1. Title
- 2. Author
- 3. Publication information
- 4. Statement of topic and purpose
- B. Thesis statement indicating writer's main reaction to the work
- II. Summary or description of the work
- III. Interpretation and/or evaluation
- A. Discussion of the work's organization
- B. Discussion of the work's style
- C. Effectiveness
- D. Discussion of the topic's treatment
- E. Discussion of appeal to a particular audience
Avoid introducing your ideas by stating "I think" or "in my opinion." Keep the focus on the subject of your analysis, not on yourself. Identifying your opinions weakens them.
Always introduce the work. Do not assume that because your reader knows what you are writing about, you do not need to mention the work's title.
Other questions to consider: Is there a controversy surrounding either the passage or the subject which it concerns?
What about the subject matter is of current interest?
What is the overall value of the passage?
What are its strengths and weaknesses?
Support your thesis with detailed evidence from the text examined. Do not forget to document quotes and paraphrases.
Remember that the purpose of a critical analysis is not merely to inform, but also to evaluate the worth, utility, excellence, distinction, truth, validity, beauty, or goodness of something.
Even though as a writer you set the standards, you should be open-minded, well informed, and fair. You can express your opinions, but you should also back them up with evidence.
Your review should provide information, interpretation, and evaluation. The information will help your reader understand the nature of the work under analysis. The interpretation will explain the meaning of the work, therefore requiring your correct understanding of it. The evaluation will discuss your opinions of the work and present valid justification for them.