Skip to main content
Humanities LibreTexts

4.1: Overview

  • Page ID
  • What is a Critical Analysis?

    A “critical analysis” is a writing that seeks to more deeply understand a text, particularly a literary writing, by examining it from different perspectives. We will accomplish this by writing one paper, one step at a time, until it is perfect. Fortunately, the steps are laid out explicitly in the pages that follow, and in this order:

    1. Close Reading (Summary) followed by the critical perspectives:
    2. Reader Analysis
    3. Text Analysis
    4. Author Analysis
    5. Context Analysis
    6. Conclusion

    Here “Critical” means “from a particular perspective” and “Analysis” means “looking at parts.”

    What is a Close Reading?

    A “close reading” means essentially answering the questions in the Summary/Introduction section below. In other words, if we are able to answer the Summary/Introduction questions, then we have accomplished a close reading, as well as an introduction to our paper.

    Sections of a Critical Analysis


    These sections represent a cross-section of critical analysis and typically do not appear all together in the same analysis.


    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\) - Sections of a Critical Analysis

    • Was this article helpful?