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World Literature 2 (Addison): Critical Thinking Help

Reading list for Janet Addison's class.

Tips for Critical Analysis

Consider these ideas while writing a critical analysis:

  • The idea of writing a critical analysis is to examine a piece.It does not mean you attack the work or the author, it simply means you are thinking critically about it, exploring it and discussing your findings.
  • You are evaluating the aspects of your chosen literary piece for how it is written over the content of the writing.
  • It is informative; it emphasizes the literary work being studied rather than the feelings and opinions of the person writing about the literay work.
  • In this kind of writing, all claims made about the work need to be backed up with evidence.
  • The difference between feelings and facts is simple--it does not matter what you believe about a book or play or poem; what matters is what you can prove about it, drawing upon evidence found in the text itself, in biographies of the author, in critical discussions of the literary work, etc.
  • In many cases, you are teaching your audience something new about the text.
  • Remember that in most cases you want to keep your tone serious and objectivee.
  • When you quote or summarize be sure you follow an appropriate format (MLA format is the most common one when examining literature) and be sure you provide a properly formatted list of works cited at the end of your essay.

Learning to Think Critically

Monty Python's Argument Clinic

Critical Thinking Exercise

Evaluating What You See on the Web

Guide to Thinking Critically About What You See on the Web:

Created by Ithaca College, this training tutorial is designed to explore questions relating to using the World Wide Web as a research tool and to challenge you to use the Web wisely and efficiently.


A fallacy is an argument that uses poor reasoning. Check out some of these websites devoted to the study of fallacies and that discuss some of the most common fallacies:

The Fallacy Files by Gary Curtis

Logical Fallacies by Purdue OWL

Fallacies - Internet Encylopedia of Philosophy

Fallacies - Writing Center by Univ. of North Carolina