Critical analysis is technically defined as "an appraisal based on careful analytical evaluation". The objective for writing a critical analysis of a book, story, or poetry is to assess the writer's work or piece for the readers to better understand the meaning or the intention of the written piece. A critical analysis is subjective as it conveys the writer's (of the critical analysis) viewpoint or understanding of the work. What he writes is meant to itemize or specify the parts of the written piece. In doing this, critical reading of and critical writing about the work is absolutely necessary.
There are definitions, steps and elements that constitute critical analysis and they are:
- Critical analysis identifies both the theory and objective of the writer and his writings.
- Critical analysis reveals the structure and flow of the written piece by identifying all the primary ideas and topics.
- It is written by using an outline and providing specific descriptions of the writing.
- Critical analysis also gives a summary of the piece.
- It reveals the purpose of the material. This can be either to inform the readers of a fact, to influence readers by appealing to their logic or emotions, or simply to entertain the readers and appeal to entertainment.
- Critical analysis employs the appropriate method in which the purpose of the writing can be revealed. It looks for logical reasoning, proof of viewpoints and other evidence if the writing intends to influence. It looks for clarity, accuracy and logical flow of the ideas presented if the material intends to inform. And it determines the feelings that were brought up by the piece, if it intends to entertain.
- Critical analysis generally asks how well the ideas are organized, who the targeted audience is, and the theories of the writer about the subject. The use of language is also analyzed to determine the overall impact and quality of the material.
Take poetry, for example. In the critical analysis of a poem, you must first analyze the title, then look for the major points or highlights of the poem, and examine the ending of the poem before breaking it down into parts. Once you have identified the different parts, see how the poem flows, the tone, the attitude, and the intonation, among other facets.
There are different factors and aspects that you should look at in a critical analysis of a poem, such as genre, the speaker, the subject, structure, setting, imagery, key statements, the sound of the poetry, and the language used. All these elements must be analyzed to present a complete and thorough analysis of the material.
As with other types of analysis such as literary analysis, critical path, handwriting analysis, or process analysis, it is important to note that you should always approach your subject with an open mind, free from bias or prejudice, both on the topic and the writer.
Approach the story or the book with the sole purpose of studying the text to make it more understandable for readers.