Literary criticism essays are compulsory for different grades. They test your understanding of a play, novel, poem, etc. Some papers are outstanding and usually used as examples or even samples for mass reference. However, others fade into oblivion because they offer no literary value to education. Here is a guide that will ensure that your paper stands out and earns you the best grades.
It is impossible to critique a book or literary piece you have not read. Your work will be devoid of details and facts, making it the weakest paper to read. You are also likely to confuse characters and scenes considering that your learning is based on rumors or heresy. This weakens your paper.
It is not enough to read the book, play, poem, etc once. The first time is meant to introduce you to the content. The second reading gives you a chance to focus on specific areas like themes, language, style, etc. Where possible, you may watch the play or enactment of the novel to get a demonstration of scenes. When reading a second, third or fourth time, pay close attention to the aspects under examination.
Literary criticism does not exist in isolation. It is part of a pool of opinion and ideas about a piece of art. It therefore elicits divergent opinion and is subject to controversy. Read papers and books that agree with your idea of argument as well as those that do not agree. This opens up your understanding of the topics covered. When forming an own opinion, you will find points to support it. You will also grasp what other writers say about the book and thus develop own criticism.
Literary criticism is an opportunity to make your voice heard. Copying or regurgitating what other people have said adds no value. Be bold enough to take a different path even if it contradicts what your teacher thinks. You only have to ensure that you support your stand. Failure to support your ideas will attract hefty penalties.
Instructions given by your teacher vary from one assignment to the other. Do not copy content or even the format of another paper. In case instructions are not clear, consult your teacher such that by the time you begin writing, you fully understand what you are up to. Consulting ensures that you do not waste time writing the paper and later have to repeat because it was the wrong approach.
Having gathered all the information, draft your paper. Make your criticism coherent and logical. Support all assertions using facts. Quote other authors who hold a similar opinion. You may use samples to guide you in drafting.
Find out more about literary criticism on this page. The ideas are shared by experts and are applied generally in criticism of all literary pieces including poems, plays, novels, musical pieces etc. There are guides on specific particular authors, books, works of a particular era, etc. There are also samples of literary criticism essays.