To explain what a critical lens essay is, it is necessary to take a look at the prompt’s example. Here is what one of the college teachers offered:
“Prepare an essay, in which the author talks about a couple of literary pieces he/she has read from the certain aspect of the claim given in the Critical Lens. In this paper, include a valid interpretation of the claim. Take a position for/against the main statement, and support a personal point of view with the help of chosen retrieved during the process of literature research.”
That is when a student may wonder how to write a critical lens essay.
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By reading this article, the student will find the answers on most of the questions related to the critical lens essay, but if it seems insufficient, make an order at the academic service’s website to get the fastest and most quality help online!
What Is a Critical Lens Essay?
The initial question, which comes to mind of any student who faces such type of academic assignment sounds like, “What is a critical lens essay?”
As literary elements are an integral part of any critical lens essay, it is important to define it as well to understand how to write a critical lens essay. Literary elements refer to the means a writer applies to describe/evolve characters.
There are several things left to identify before moving to the sections that contain the detailed description of the critical lens essay structure.
- Conflict – A struggle between the rivals (Person versus Person or another object/phenomenon).
- Figurative language – Special literary devices aimed to compare & contrast or relate distinct stuff (metaphor, allegory, hyperbole, etc.)
- Flashback – An episode created to explain an event happening in the present by recalling the past event(s).
- Foreshadowing – A writer’s usage of tips to give the cue on the events that might take place later in the story.
- Imagery – A special language an author implements to express a visual image/[rovide a sensory experience by playing with 5 senses of human being.
- Irony – A conflict between the expected things and what takes place in reality (often used to describe funny moments or show someone’s stupidity).
- Plot – The range of events occurring in the particular work of literature.
- Setting – The specific period of time & location described in the plot.
The final 3 elements include symbolism (anything that reflects something), theme (the main message of the story), and tone (the way an author perceives his own story).
It is time to go under the hood of this academic assignment by taking a look at how to write a critical lens essay step-by-step.
How to Write a Critical Lens Essay: Basic Principles
If you do not know the structure of the given type of academic assignment, you don’t know how to write a critical lens essay. Some of the United States high schools have it as the regular homework task. In most cases, those schools that are affiliated with the New York State Regents Exam offer a critical lens essay to their students. The whole essay is based on a single quote from a specific literary work. A student has no right to copy-paste the quotation, so it is recommended to rewrite this sentence or few.
Try to memorize more rule associated with a critical lens essay writing:
- Never use a 1st person (“I,” “we”) – switch to the third-person voice while writing
- Specify the quote’s author, title of literary work, and year of publishing
- No hook sentence is needed – a literary quote would be enough
- Provide personal interpretation of the chosen quote – it will be the thesis statement!
How to Write a Critical Lens Essay Step by Step
The goal of this type of academic assignment is to research the chosen literary quote. A student must talk about the original sources from which the quote was retrieved. Come up with personal critical analysis and explanation. This way, high school & college teachers assess the student's ability to read & analyze things plus writing, research, formatting, and analytical skills. The final grade is based on all of these factors.
Critical Lens Essay Outline
The main purpose is to get ready with an outline. A student should follow this roadmap not to get lost during the process of writing:
A student can make it 5 paragraphs by adding one more paragraph to the body if he wants. A couple of body paragraphs is okay.
Introduction: Impress the Reader
An introduction of such essay has an unusual structure because it has to begin with a literary quote while in case of other academic assignments a student may choose which type of hook to include and whether he needs it. Example:
“We can never give up longing and wishing while we are thoroughly alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger after them.”
The Mill on the Floss, 1860
A student can start by writing, “George Eliot once said…” (paraphrase).
The next thing a student should do is to interpret the chosen quote. The offered quotation means people should never stop trying to achieve something greater even if they think they have everything in this life. It calls for further self-development. Then, the author of the essay should take some time to decide whether he/she supports the offered saying or no, and provide a transition to the following part. It might be enough to write, “I agree with the given statement as humans are meant to develop all the time.” Should this type of essay contain a thesis statement? Of course!
Keep in mind that both (title of the analyzed piece 1) by (writer’s name) and ( the title of the analyzed piece 2) by (writer’s name) stick to the opinion that a human being must develop and learn something new throughout the life.
Start with the topic sentence number 1. It should look like, “The story written by (author’s name) titled (name of a literary work) states that (example: it is better to erase some moments from person’s memory.”
Transition statement is what comes after. The author may implement another literary element. Example: “One of the methods the author involves to prove his/her particular opinion is by (specific literary element discussed above).
Everything left to do is:
- Identify literary element
- Relate the lens & literary element
- Provide a conclusion!
Here we go with a critical essay example of the body paragraph!
“The discussed piece of literature shows that to get something people truly want, they should give up everything they have by the specific moment of life. One of the methods to prove it is via the theme. It is a primary message the author wants to deliver in his work.”
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Critical Lens Essay Conclusion
Once the student explained the chosen literary quote in the shape of a couple of sentences in each body paragraph, he should move to the conclusion. Make a summary of the body paragraphs to emphasize you stand. An interpretation must be clear & concise.
Start writing an essay’s conclusion by rewriting the selected quote; begin summarizing the examples you used to cite throughout the essay. Repeat the full name of the writer and other contributors. Point out some evidence collected from the primary sources to motivate the target readers to start thinking about your topic by going on with the independent research.
“Talk about the specific conditions that can change the author’s point of view. The mission is to come up with the general enclosing sentence, which will leave a strong, positive impact on the reader along with the intrigue and desire to learn more on the discussed topic. That is what teachers call a stellar outro!”
Professor Stephen Growl, high school teacher and expert academic writer at NerdyMates
Critical Lens Essay Format: How Does It Look?
Is critical lens essay format somehow different from the typical essay’s format? The structure is different from, let’s say, argumentative/persuasive paper, but the format is everywhere the same if we speak about the established writings styles. They include MLA, APA, Chicago, and rarer formats.
The formatting elements include:
- Title page
- Margins, fonts, page numbers, etc.
- Direct/Indirect text citations
Excellent Critical Lens Essay Example
We are smoothly moving to the closing section of the article. It contains a critical lens essay example & topic ideas. Anne Frank is a great author – let her work be our example!
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Presentation on theme: "The Critical Lens Essay ( One of the writing tasks on the Comprehensive English Regents Exam) What is it? An essay that interprets a quotation (critical."— Presentation transcript:
1 The Critical Lens Essay ( One of the writing tasks on the Comprehensive English Regents Exam) What is it? An essay that interprets a quotation (critical lens) and applies it to two works of literature, making reference to specific details and literary elements from those works of literature
2 Planning the Critical Lens Essay Interpret the Critical Lens (the quotation) - break it down into key words and phrases, then put it IN YOUR OWN WORDS, not using the words of the quotation Choose two works of literature to which the Critical Lens applies Outline the body paragraphs: 1) List at least two details from each work (textual evidence) that support your interpretation of the Critical Lens 2) Connect those details to the literary elements they reflect
3 Format of the Critical Lens Essay One effective format for critical lens essay is four paragraphs: Introduction – Use REACT Body Paragraph #1 – First work of literature to be discussed Body Paragraph #2 – Second work of literature to be discussed Conclusion
4 The Introduction of the Critical Lens Essay Follow the basic idea of general to specific you use for all literature essay introductions, and remember the acronym REACT: R estate the critical lens (Abraham Lincoln once said, “….”) - your grabber E xplain the critical lens (interpret it in your own words) A gree OR disagree with the lens as interpreted (this statement is true/not true) C onnect to literature in general; then TAG and overviews T hesis statement
5 The thesis statement of the Critical Lens Essay The thesis statement needs to include the authors’ names, the literary elements to be discussed, and an application of your interpretation of the Critical Lens. Following is one way to structure the Critical Lens Essay thesis statement: Through __________________, _______and_______ show/illustrate/demonstrate (literary elements) (author names) _________________________________________________________. (application of your interpretation of the Critical Lens)
6 Body paragraphs of the Critical Lens Essay An effective way to structure the essay is to use one body paragraph for each work of literature. Review the guidelines for the formatted paragraph; for this essay, you will use specific details but NOT direct quotations. TS: The part of the thesis statement that applies to this work of literature, but worded a bit differently CDs: Relevant and specific details that support your interpretation of the Critical Lens CMs: Connect of detail to literary element; explanation of how the detail supports your interpretation of the Critical Lens CS: Commentary that sums up the paragraph but does not repeat TS
7 The Conclusion of the Critical Lens Essay Follow the basic idea of specific to general you use for all literature essay conclusions, with the guidelines below: TS: Thesis statement stated IN DIFFERENT WORDS - Sum up the main points of the essay, comparing and contrasting how the interpretation of the Critical Lens applies to each of the works - Work from specific to general, moving from a discussion of literature to world connections CS: End with a general, thought-provoking CLINCHER that DOES NOT mention the works of literature or literature in general
8 Happy writing!