How to write a Critical Composition?

A critical composition involves skills of analysis and evaluation. This type of writing considers the merit and demerits of something (e.g. a book, a film, etc) and gives a balanced judgments, Sometimes, you may be asked to express your opinion about a play, a book, a film, or a television show.

To be or not to be critical? | Scientologists back in comm

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You need not be an expert critic to write on such topics. However, unless you know something about a book, a film, a play or a television programme and can refer to it confidently, you should not write on such a topic.


Give a general introduction, which serves as a background to your main comments :


It may describe the general type to which the topic belongs: e.g. a film, a novel, a play, etc. It may be an account of the general atmosphere or background against which the work is set.

Write briefly on the plot and the theme :

Your response should not be just a retelling of the story but should be an indication of the theme. You should consider question like : Why did the author write it? What the points was he trying to make? What individual point of view comes across? Be careful not to spend too much time on relating the plot. One paragraph is quite enough.

Comment on the characters :


Some section of your composition could deal with important characters. Are they realistic and convincing? Are they sentimental, sympathetic, or cynical? You might comment particularly on the main character – the one from whose point of view you are mean to see the events of the story. If you can quote incidents or phrases from the work to support your opinion, so much the better.

Comment on the style of the work :

The style of the work gives it a special atmosphere. is it fast moving and exciting? Is it contemplative and philosophical? Is it bitter and ironic? What makes it recognizably the work of the person who made it?

Audience aimed at and intention behind the work:


Specify the kind of people who would particularly enjoy the work. Is it meant as entertainment? Is it meant to move or to excite? A serious philosophical novel is quite different from an escapist novel. Only when you have worked out why the writer wrote the book can you determine whether it is of a good quality.

Make a personal comments :

The composition must have your personal opinion. State clearly how the work affected you. As long as you justify your opinion with good reasons, there is no need to be ashamed of your views.

A book can be impressive because of its content, theme, characterization, philosophy, etc. All the elements that contribute to make the book impressive or unimpressive must be highlighted in your composition. Here is a critical composition on John Steinbeck’s novel: Of Mice and Men.

Of Mice and Men

John Steinbeck’s short novel: Of Mice and Men impressed me very much when I read it. It is a short novel of about a hundred pages. Its very ‘shortness’, the simplicity of its style, characterization and the atmosphere increase its impressiveness.

The novel describes the relationship between tow men. Lennie is a giant of man with the mind of a child; George, on the other hand, is thin, shrewd and competent. What holds them together is love. They make a living as helpers in a ranch. They are forced to move from place to place because Lennie get them into trouble by causing accidents. It is only George’s quick tongue and hurried departure that keep them out of danger.

The climax of the novel takes place when Lennie, because of his silly ways, misbehaves with Curley’s wife and, out of panic, kills her. A man-hunt is set up. George finds Lennie and shoots him- not our of disgust, but our of compassion for his friend, who doesn’t know what he has done. George did not want Lennie to suffer a worse fate at the hands of estranged ranch men. It is like killing a pet who is pain.

The relationship between the two men is very impressive in the novel. They dream of a day of having their own farm where they would be their own masters. While they dream we know that it will never come true. George could have lived a better life for himself; but his sense of duty and devotion to Lennie prevented him from being a worldly success. Lennie is like a child and George looks after him with the devotion of a mother.

Steinbeck is know for his sympathy for the poor and oppressed. George is a poor worker, but he has human sympathy. He is aware of the responsibility of man for man. George does no boast about his human qualities. This fact makes him more admirable. Hi final sacrifice of shooting Lennie is the most painful action he has ever undertake. It is this awareness of the essential decency and nobility inherent in even the simplest and lowliest of men that means of Mice and Men impressive and hear warming experience.

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