Hi, I've been struggling to write my critical essays recently and I just read this on a help page:
"Answering chronologically (working from the start of the text till the end) is not
recommended, as this often results in the candidate re-telling the story and trying to
‘fit’ analysis in somehow as they go along. Similarly, answers which base each
paragraph around a different technique also do not often score well"
It's really confused me because I don't know how else you are supposed to write an essay. I normally do the 'answering chronologically' as this makes the most sense to me but I do end up just telling the story and saying how the quote relates to the theme without actually analyzing the literary techniques which I know are the most important part. I am especially bad when doing Shakespeare as the language is so difficult that I end up just explaining what it all means.
But if you can't base paragraphs around techniques then how do you do it?
When I am writing about 'Othello' I know about some literary techniques like the dramatic devices (the setting and storm to foreshadow) but I just don't know how I would be able to incorporate these into an essay about a change in a relationship or something?
Please help me, I'm so confused and I really want to get an A in English but I think I am just sitting on the boundary so it could go either way especially as my essays are getting worse and worse I think I will get a B.
Higher English Critical Essay watch
- Thread Starter
- 15-04-2013 19:55
- 15-04-2013 20:15
Before each the play questions on past papers I'm sure they give a list of techniques that you should refer to. Look at them and see how each of them could relate to your text. E.g. characterisation, is the quote you are doing characterisation? If so, what does it tell you about the character.
P.s. I'm not very good at English, I just do this as my teacher tells me not to micro-analyse and look at the wider images created by the author.
- 15-04-2013 23:11
So, what do I mean by point? Well, I was always told to do this (which I still follow at university): PEEL. Point, Evidence, Explain and Link.
Your Point should be the argument of that paragraph, the evidence should be how you back your argument up with (i.e techniques/quotations) and then you explain/analyse that technique/quote which you then link back to your main point.
This is an analysis paragraph from a literature essay I did for Spanish at university (and I got an A for):
Lastly, the characterisation of Don Latino de Hispalis gives a startling outlook on Spanish society, one that is inexorably fallacious. The character comes in drunk both in Escena Primera, “¡Ya se siente el olor de aguaradiente!“, and Escena Decimatercia, “La tos clásica del tobaco y del aguardiente.” It may be deduced that being drunk is, in fact, a literary motif - it is prevalent throughout the entire play. There are many connotations which one may infer upon; the first being a state of mind that is senseless or inconsistent. Don Latino is drunk when we first meet him and thus our impression of him from the very beginning is a negative one. This is, however, paradoxical to his name Don Latino de Hispalis, a name which commands great authority especially when adding the prefix of 'Don', a sense of nobility, as well as the title of Hispalis, a Roman empire. Consequently, this sense of irony highlights the inconsistency of Spanish society, especially those with authority - they are not what we may expect them to be. They are, like Don Latino, deceptive.
Point - My point is always quite vague and its loosely based on my argument relating to the theme of the text.
Evidence - I try to give some brief quotations and find good techniques to prove my point.
Explain - I try to explain my evidence as much as possible and this means I have better analysis.
Link - You have to relate your analysis back to your main point. The Link in this paragraph, I have to say, is a little weak.
The most important thing is to answer the question. If a question says 'Discuss the fate of the main character in relation to the concerns and themes of the text', then I would plan 4 or more points/arguments relating to the main concerns of the text. For this essay, one of my points from a paragraph was how Spanish society is fallacious (deceptive) and another was how revolutions are weak etc. You would then show that by analysing something in relation to the main character that proves your point. You then link it back.
Remember that this is a university essay and that you're not expected to write at this standard. However, sophistication of language is always welcome, so use the thesaurus to use different words.Last edited by Quick-use; 15-04-2013 at 23:25.