Natural Therapies Institute

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How To Write A Critical Response Essay On A Novel Or A Story

The purpose of a critical response is to provide readers with your personal opinion on a particular piece of literature and to do this you must have a full understanding of the piece under study. These papers can take different approaches, from agreeing with the original piece to identifying all of its flaws, or even outright declaring the original piece to be untrue based on empirical evidence and analysis.

The following steps will guide you towards writing an excellent critical response essay, using just about any theme on any piece of literature:

  1. Read your selected passage thoroughly
  2. This much is obvious, one cannot discuss something they know nothing about. Take some time and read your selected passage thoroughly and make notes while you do. Try to gain an understanding of the passage from the author’s perspective and try to understand what they were trying to say as you read. Include any thoughts you may have in your notes.

  3. Identify the facts from the assumptions and implications
  4. After reviewing your original notes, carefully reconstruct them in a chronological manner to aid your analysis. At this point, you want to separate the objects in the story that were factual, clearly stated by the writer. These points will provide a type of starting point for your analysis as they should be understood without any interpretation.

  5. Formulate a hypothesis based on your personal understanding of the material
  6. This is where you begin to identify the mistakes and shortcomings of the original author, or simply, ways you think the story should have gone. This is where a hypothesis comes in, you develop one that states what you think should be changed about the story, with the intention of showing why.

  7. Present the evidence that supports your stance on the subject
  8. After presenting the reader with a general idea of what the original story was, you can now show the evidence that supports your opinion of the story. This should be done as objectively as possible, without misrepresentation of the original text.

  9. End with an engaging conclusion, that is fully supported by evidence.
  10. As always, a conclusive ending makes for a good story and you should strive to make yours an excellent one. Your final statement must be one of fact, a fact because it is undeniably supported by the evidence you have presented in the previous paragraphs.


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