Writing a Critique of a Novel

Course tutors and instructors everywhere always advise that the best way to acquire knowledge and information is by reading. Ordinary, everyday things are given a fresh perspective through reading. When students read, they are encouraged to look past what is conventional. It helps them learn new things. Reading, however, is insufficient. It is also important that students demonstrate their ability to think critically. This is why tutors often give students assignments that involve writing a critique of a novel or book. 

Undoubtedly, writing a critique of a novel is a highly popular academic assignment that expects the student to look at the novel’s every element and aspect. As well as summarizing the book’s contents, the student also needs to prove it is worthy (or unworthy) of reading. View it as a response to or critical evaluation of a particular book. If you are tasked with writing a critique of a novel, you should include these components:

Issue 1 The novel’s central theme

Issue 2 Its tone and style

Issue 3 Any assumptions and comments the author makes

 

Reading is Easier than Following

It is not possible to just sit down and immediately produce a perfectly-written essay. That is unless you are an excellent writer and there is nothing you do not know about essay writing. If you are not, here are some tips on producing a good novel critique.

Before Beginning

Very likely, you will have the freedom to select a novel to critique. In that case, you probably have a novel you like. Perhaps, however, you will be given a novel to evaluate by your teacher or professor. Either way, the critique process starts by creating a rough outline.

Steps for producing a well-organized and useful outline:

  • Thoroughly read your chosen novel. Take notes.
  • Summarize the entire novel and each of its sections.
  • Identify the novel’s main theme and the message the author is attempting to communicate.
  • Read any other reviews that have been written about your chosen novel for tips on how best to structure and organize your critique.
  • Extract any interesting and/or useful information from other reviews.
  • Develop a central thesis statement.
  • Do not resort to copying and pasting content from other reviews.
  • Choose 3 to 5 items of evidence as a means of supporting your central thesis (assuming you have 3 to 5 main body paragraphs).
  • Select evidence from the book you are reviewing. Make sure all your statements have a point or purpose.
  • Take a look at the checklists on our website to ensure every necessary element is included in your review. Once the first-stage research is done and your outline created, it is time to start working on your critique’s first draft. 
Find more useful information in article "How to Write a Book Critique for College"

Introductory Section

A critique’s introduction, as is the case in all essays, is generally seen as the paper’s main but easiest part. Nevertheless, it is essential to adhere to the basic rules for writing an academic paper. State the reason or purpose for writing the paper. Also, include a little background information and your central thesis statement. Use the following structure for your introduction:

  • First sentence: Author’s name, the novel’s title, and its main message.
  • Subsequent sentence: Summary of the chosen novel.
  • Subsequent sentence: Evaluation of the novel’s consistency and principal idea. Use transitional words or a sentence to take readers to your thesis statement.

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Critique’s Main Body

The number of main body paragraphs should adhere to the guidelines provided by your teacher or professor, if you are to get the best possible grade. Usually, body paragraphs in support of the main thesis range from 3 to 5 for a standard novel critique. Don’t forget these elements:

  • Good organization. A critique needs to be logically organized, with the strong points presented before the weaker ones. You need not be critical of your chosen novel or dwell on its weak points. Keep your analysis well balanced and objective.
  • The style and tone. It is important to evaluate how the author uses literary devices and style. 
  • Draw on evidence. Think about the evidence and arguments used by the author. Likewise, use the evidence you find in the novel to support any points you make in your evaluation.
  • Usefulness. Say whether your chosen novel has improved your understanding of the issues addressed in it. How substantive and/or logical is the author’s argument?
  • Evidence and examples. Each argument presented in your critique should be supported by examples and evidence taken from the book’s text. If permitted by your course instructor, draw on outside sources to give your points and claims added credibility.
  • Colloquialisms should be avoided. The language in a critique should be strictly formal. Your job is to create an academically sound paper following the instructions provided by your professor.

Concluding Section

The conclusion is the last section of the critique and it is where you wrap everything up and make recommendations for readers. The following are some questions you need to address in the conclusion:

  1. Are you in agreement or disagreement with the novel’s key message?
  2. What perception do you have of the book’s plot and characters? 

Make sure your statements are not vague. Be very specific if possible. Do not forget that readers will heed any recommendations you make. The book critique example provided on our website has been crafted to assist you. Here is one last point to assist you in writing an excellent A+ grade paper. 

Our Free Critique of a Novel Example to Read

Style and Formatting

Adhere to the style and formatting requirements provided by your instructor. Usually, these are:

  • Arial or Times New Roman 12pt in double-spacing;
  • Justified to the left-hand margin;
  • Page numbering throughout;
  • Chicago or APA style of citation;
  • Use third-person voice only;
  • Use active voice only;
  • New paragraph for each point;
  • Every item is important in a critique. Readers should be able to easily understand your criticism and message. Leave time for multiple rounds of proofreading and editing before submitting your critique.
Find more useful information in article "Poem Analysis Essays"
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