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A Critique, by definition , is a critical response to another’s work. One may critique a piece of art, a play, a film, a radio broadcast, or a piece of writing. Don’t allow the word “critical” to deceive you just because the word, through connotation, implies bad or poor. Critiques can be positive or negative and sometimes a little of both.In layman’s terms, a critique is like a thumbs up or thumbs down reaction. If the material is high quality, whoever is writing the critique recommends it: see the movie, listen to the radio show, read the book. If the individual writing the critique thinks It’s low quality, the recommendation is to stay away, not to bother because it would be a waste of time. An analogy most everyone can relate to is a movie review. The reviewer either praises the movie or slams it.The raw material, the subject of the critique, must be scrutinized. The movie must be watched more than once, the essay read more than once, the radio broadcast listened to more than once…This particular critique will focus on non-fiction prose. You will read an essay and write about it either positively or negatively. A class discussion is often helpful but not always necessary. You know what to look for, and you go after it. Critical reading is required. Does the writer stay focused? Does the writing sound choppy, or do the transitions eliminate that? Does it have that flow, that smoothness, that makes for easy reading? What about the author’s tone? Does the writer regard the subject, ie, the object of the critique, with objectivity? Are both sides given an equal say? Or does the writer come off sounding biased? Keep in mind that a bias or a prejudice is not always for the bad. Perhaps the writer wants to be out front with it in order to let the reader know what side he or she is taking. Do the examples brought in for support bolster and strengthen the claim? Or are they weak? Do they do a lot or a little to support the main idea? Does the ending, the finish, follow what’s stated earlier? Does it make sense for the writer to end it the way he or she does?


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