The English Critical Essay
1.2 If you use secondary sources, remember that you must have grasped (and be able to express) the overall argument of the work before extracting any one point from it. You are expected to understand and evaluate, not merely copy. See 4, Documentation.
1.3 Find a THESIS. In order to narrow and define your particular subject, assemble your material and review it until you are familiar enough with it to form a judgement or take a position on the TOPIC selected. You should be able to formulate this THESIS in a single sentence or two. Ask yourself: what exactly is the point I want the reader to understand?
1.4 Organize your information in light of this argument or THESIS.
1.4.2 Divide this material into the separate points of the argument and arrange these in order of increasing strength, ending with your best point.
1.4.3 Deal with opposite points of view. Disposing -- in a fair and logical manner -- of counter-arguments in the body of your essay actually strengthens your own THESIS.
1.7 Your FINAL VERSION should be written or preferably typed, double-spaced, with wide margins (1.5 inches) all around. Proofread before submitting, using CHECKLIST. Try to finish the essay a few days before it is due. This will allow you time to read it a final time (with some critical distance) and make any revisions.