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Critical Lens Essay: Writing Process Explored in Just One Article
Back on your studies again, aren't you? Well, what is it that you are looking for now? Ah, a critical lens essay. That may sound easy, alright, but you might feel that it poses a massive challenge, and rightly so. Don't you worry, though, because once you are done reading this helpful guide, you will have a very clear picture of how to write your critical lens essay. So, grab a cup of coffee and make yourself comfortable because we're about to begin.
What is a critical lens essay
Quite a lot of students these days keep asking themselves the same question: "what is a critical lens essay?" The critical lens essay is a kind of the critical analysis essay which focuses on the interpretation of a direct quote from a piece of literature. That may not seem like a good explanation, but in this case, it doesn't need to be too extensive. Writing a critical lens essay is not about throwing theory terms left and right, it's about actually putting the right words into the proper order.
The point is that many famous literary pieces are frequently quoted quite extensively, but the problem is that individuals doing that may not necessarily be familiar with any background information, nor are they aware of the context to which the quote belongs. The way people citing quotes understand them is very much different from their author's intended meaning and, as a result, such quotes end up living their own independent lives. Another extreme is that many people in their speeches and writings support their viewpoint with quotations, which are also taken out of context, thus gradually changing their original meaning in their audience's collective mind. This is why it is always a good idea to actually look at a quote through a critical lens, interpreting it with regards to its context and other circumstances which determine its meaning. But how do you go about writing an essay like that? Critical lens essays are known to have a very rigorous structure, and itis very important to follow it to the letter. So, let us have a closer look at the process of writing critical lens essays.
How to write a critical lens essay step by step
Let us look into the essential steps you're bound to take while writing a critical lens essay. Indeed, they may differ depending on the case, but we suggest coming up with and sticking to the general plan, which is the key to writings an excellent critical lens essay.
The first thing you should do before starting on your essay is find an unusual or particularly famous and widely misunderstood quotation. Also, make sure to find a source your quote is taken from to spare your readers the trouble of finding it by themselves. Once that has been taken care of, it's time to move on to observing other equally essential formalities.
Defining critical lens essay format
It is wrong to assume that critical lens essays are all written in accordance with just one format or citation style. The format of your essay will depend primarily on the citation style that your professor will require you to adhere to; MLA, APA, Chicago Turabian and Harvard being the most common ones. So, check it out with your professor and find a respective post in our blog to know what the standards of your particular citation style are. Keep in mind that your professor may require you to make certain modifications to the requested citation style. For instance, an APA style paper is supposed to have a title page, but some professors mayo specifically instruct their students to avoid those. Therefore, to be on the safe side, we recommend you always take note of all the modifications your professor may require you to do.
The typical structure of a critical lens essay
At first glance, it may seem that there is nothing extraordinary about the structure of the critical lens essay: an introduction containing a thesis, three body paragraphs designed to support said thesis, and a conclusion meant to restate the arguments and summarize the results of your study. However, in the majority of cases, the structure of each of these individual parts is clearly predetermined.
Critical lens essay introduction
Your title page (if requested by your citation style), abstract, and outline (if required by your professor) are followed by the introductory paragraph of your essay. It is supposed to start with an attention getter, which in our case should be the quote you're working on. Therefore, make sure you choose a memorable phrase, such that is an arguable yet widely recognized and impressive one. Your next sentence should explain the quotation or provide your incentives to select it and/or the context to which it belongs. Then comes the culmination of your introductory paragraph: the thesis. Claim something disputive about the quote, the simplest thing here being agreeing or disagreeing with it, and then prove whether or not it is right. You may also state something about the context of your quote or its actual meaning, which can be different from the widely recognized one. Provide one more sentence, in which you announce your arguments by explaining how you are going to prove your point. This part may sometimes be longer than just one sentence, but for the sake of complying with the classical structure of the critical lens essay, it is better to fit this information into one sentence. However, you should refrain from making it too long and taking up an entire page. If it is absolutely necessary, it is better to split it into several sentences instead of piling up a pyramid made up of multiple subordinate clauses.
Exploring critical lens essay's body paragraphs
Being the significant part of your essay, the body typically comprises three paragraphs, of which the first ones are meant to provide the reader with a structure, which somewhat replicates the introduction.
Before explaining your thoughts in detail, it's always a good idea to start with a literary element, such as a quote, citation or literary device, which is meant to support your thesis. The last paragraph is supposed to convey the author's interpretation of the quote in its relation to the evidence analyzed. In the classic critical lens essay, the body paragraphs are meant to have four sentences each. However, if the essay is too long to limit each of its body paragraphs to just this amount, it should replicate the primary structure of the classic essay by expanding each of the sentences to include several new ones, if necessary. Basically, don't limit yourself to just this plan if you feel like you have something more to say. Keep it concise, though. Every sentence should be ripe with information.
How to develop a critical lens essay conclusion
The conclusion is a very important part of your critical lens essay because it summarizes all the evidence and shows how your whole text body supports the thesis. Be sure to include all these elements in your essay's conclusion, because it's precisely the thing that leaves the final and lasting impression upon your reader. Work hard on it!
Critical lens essay topics examples
The examples of critical lens essay topics may be diverse, but we will just provide a couple of ideas for you to consider. A very widely cited quotation by the ancient Roman poet Juvenal goes like this: "Mens sana in corpore sano." Torn out of its context, it has been used to support various and even diverse viewpoints of the people who do not even know or care where the quote derives from. This quote is most frequently translated into English as follows: "A healthy mind in a healthy body." Some people interpret this by claiming that a healthy mind can only exist in a healthy body, while others, who subscribe to the notion of the mind being primary, maintain that if the mind is healthy, then it will create the conditions for the body to remain healthy. To a certain extent, one can agree with either of these points, but what did the author actually mean by it? Isn't that's an excellent topic for your critical lens essay?
Let's take another widely quoted statement "Curiosity killed the cat." Not a lot of people know that the prolonged version of this saying actually goes on to tell that "satisfaction brought it back." In this case, the second part about the cat being revived is missing, thus making it an interesting topic for your critical lens essay.
Here are a few more useful tips on how to write an excellent critical lens essay:
Do not try to start writing your essay by developing the introduction - work on your body paragraphs first. And it is not until after you are done putting them together that you can proceed with your introduction and conclusion. It is much easier that way, since in your introduction and conclusion you will have to refer to your body paragraphs, and thus it is better to write them by then.
For your convenience, we have broken down the whole process of writing the critical lens essay into 10 easy-to-follow steps:
- Choose your topic
- Work out a thesis
- Conduct the necessary research
- Write your body paragraphs
- Come up with your introduction and conclusion
- Design your cover page and reference list
- Format your paper
- Do the spell check (if necessary)
- Get some rest. At this point, it is a good idea to have the paper proofread by somebody else
- Proofread the paper by yourself for the last time.
Now, you are ready to submit a perfectly structured critical lens essay.
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