Writing The Critical Lens Essay Powerpoint

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What Is a Critical Lens Essay

A critical lens essay is a type of essay where student's ability to think critically and express their ideas in the written form is estimated. Generally, it requires three major skills: reading, critical thinking, and writing. Careful preparation for essay writing is no less important than writing itself. 


This type of essay (see all types of essay) is often used during written examinations when the assignment is given in the form of a statement or a phrase, and students are asked to relate it to one or two pieces of literature.  

Critical Lens Essay Structure

Critical Lens essay generally follows a fixed essay format. In the essay, a student has to discuss two literature pieces and 3 literary terms. In addition, a student needs to know capitalization rules and write them correctly. All titles are capitalized. Book titles are underlined and short stories are put in quotes. Generally, an essay consists of the following elements:


The first sentence introduces the quote itself. Next sentence one should give the student's interpretation of the quote to show how the student understands its meaning. Next, outline whether you agree or disagree with this quote, mention the books you are going to talk about in your essay and explain how your quote relates to them. Remember to spell, capitalize and punctuate all titles correctly.

It is advisable not to use personal pronouns like: “I, you, we, me, my”; in contrast, it is better to substitute them with third person pronouns or alternative words like ‘they’, ‘readers’, ‘people’ etc. 

Three Body Paragraphs

Paragraph 1. In the first body paragraph, restate the quote in your interpretation.

Paragraph 2. In the second body paragraph, mention the titles of the first literature piece you are going to analyze and briefly mention how it relates to the selected quote.

Paragraph 3. In the third body paragraph, speak about the second literary piece and explain how you think it relates to the quote you have selected.

In order to back up your quote, you will need to use specific examples from each novel. Another thing: don't forget to connect the book back to the interpretation of your quote.


Your conclusion sums up the main thoughts of the essay. It is strongly recommended not to repeat your introduction verbatim. Don’t forget to end your essay with the quote that opened it.


Steps on How to Write a Critical Lens Essay

STEP 1. Read the quote attentively.

STEP 2. Try to rewrite the quote in your own words.

STEP 3. Analyze the quote.

STEP 4. Decide whether you agree or disagree.

STEP 5. Name the two literary pieces that support your position.

STEP 6. Think of a short summary of the two texts and express how they support/don’t support the quote.

STEP 7. Try to use literary elements into your argument, but don't overdo it. Use it in the introduction and the first body paragraph.

STEP 8. In the first paragraph, focus on the book you have read and explain how the text supports your understanding of the quote. 

STEP 9. If one paragraph appears to be too long, you may break it up into two smaller ones.

STEP 10. In the second paragraph, you should use the same order but now write about the other text.

STEP 11. Make a short summary of what you've written – that’s your conclusion.

STEP 12. Restate your thesis and explain how the texts you selected to support it. 


Necessary Literary Elements

Keeping the structure in mind, you should not forget to use the following literary elements:

  • Figurative Language: use the simile, metaphor, alliteration, personification and hyperbole correctly.
  • Flashback: be able to describe the past event at present.
  • Foreshadowing: use name hints or clues that suggest some events that may happen next. 
  • Plot: follow the correct sequence of events which took place in the literary piece.
  • The point of view: give your own point of view.
  • Setting: show your knowledge of the time and place of the action in literary work. 
  • Theme: show your understanding of the central idea of the literary work.
  • Tone: use your specific attitude towards the audience or subject.

Be able to add to your interpretation of the quote the details from the books you read. If you follow all the tips you will create an intelligent critical lens essay and will easily convince the reader that you are aware of your topic to the smallest detail. The main thing you need to keep in mind while creating your critical lens essay is to persuade readers to accept your viewpoint. Place an order and our professional academic writers will help you find the right reasoning to do that!


Presentation on theme: "Writing the Critical Lens Essay"— Presentation transcript:

1 Writing the Critical Lens Essay
New York State English Regents Exam:Session II, Part B (Task 4)

2 Your Critical Lens:“If the literature we are reading doesn't wake us, why then do we read it? A literary work must be an ice-axe to break the sea frozen inside us.”- Franz Kafka (adapted)

3 Critical Lens—Your Guidelines
Provide a valid interpretation of the quoteClearly establish criteria for analysisIndicate whether you agree or disagreeChoose one work to support your opinionAVOID PLOT SUMMARYUse Direct and Indirect Characterization for analysisOrganize your ideas clearlySpecify the title, authors and detailsFollow the conventions of English

4 Introduction Introduce and state the quote
Interpret the quote fully and in your own words—what does this quote mean?Show agreement or disagreement (no need to use the word I…avoid all personal pronouns)State thesis or stance (you will use all support to prove this statement)

5 Introduction (actual)
Franz Kafka once stated “If the literature we are reading doesn't wake us, why then do we read it? A literary work must be an ice-axe to break the sea frozen inside us.” Kafka’s quote suggests that what we read should lead to some insight or new ideas about the world around us. Kafka is right. The purpose of literature is to lead the reader to some new understanding of the world. One piece of literature that awakens the reader is the myth Athene by Bernard Evslin. In the story, Evslin uses direct and indirect characterization to a create a character so interesting that she breaks the frozen sea inside of us.

6 Body ParagraphsInclude a topic sentence to introduce the text and authorTransition and include your literary element (may be multiple sentences)Connect back to the lens (may be multiple sentences)Concluding sentence.

7 Body Paragraph Part 1 (actual)
In Athene by Bernard Evslin, the reader is introduced to Athena, the Greek Goddess of intellectual activities. Evslin directly characterizes Athena as the inventor of science, the ax, ploughs, and weaving. The reader is told this information because Evslin wants us to see just how significant Athena is in Greek Mythology. This breaks the frozen sea inside of us because we start to see that the ancient Greeks came up with mythology in order to explain how things like wisdom and intelligence began. Just like modern humans, the Greeks were interested in figuring out the world around them

8 Body Paragraph Part 2 (actual)
Later in the story Bernard Evslin uses indirect characterization to demonstrate how angry a Goddess can get when a human demonstrates hubris. After her confrontation and contest with Arachne, we see Athena turn Arachne into a spider. This is a type of warning to the reader that excessive pride can be dangerous. Using direct characterization, Evslin provides the reader with a lesson that also breaks the frozen sea inside of us.

9 Conclusion Re-state an interpretation of the quote Show agreement
Briefly review main points madeTie main ideas back to the lens and your thesis

10 Conclusion (actual)The best literature breaks up the frozen sea inside of the reader. It causes the reader to think and ask questions. It interests the reader and can draw him into a different world. Evslin’s Athena is one of those pieces of literature that can wake the reader up and open his eyes to a new way of seeing the world. Athena causes the reader to wonder the same questions that Greeks wondered and to care about finding out answers to life’s questions.

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