A critical analysis of fiction, usually presented as a critical thinking essay, is a comprehensive assessment of the book or play. Its aim is to provide an understanding of the story to the readers. Such papers are common college literature course assignments, but not every student knows how to write a critical thinking essay. The following guide will come in handy for those who lack information or experience writing this essay type.

How to Write a Critical Thinking Essay on Fiction

Writing a critical thinking essay is an excellent way to share and discuss the fiction you have read. A critical thinking essay can analyze one piece of literature (characters, themes, plot) or compare and contrast multiple pieces of literature of the same author. As with any other essay, this paper has a specific structure one must follow.

Step 1: Write an introduction that includes a strong thesis statement.

Your introductory paragraph should introduce the piece of literature that you will discuss for the rest of the essay. Imagine your audience hasn’t read the work. You should provide its overview, including the lead characters and presented conflict. Introduce an argument or topic to which you will be referring. Your thesis statement should state your position on the topic.

To better understand this matter, let’s take Lorraine Hansberry’s play “A Raisin in the Sun.” Its central themes are dreams, race, and selfishness. Every principal character in the play has his or her dream. Yet achieving them proves a complicated endeavor, significantly when factors like gender, class, and race interfere.

Look at the following examples and compare two thesis statements:

  1. Lorraine Hansberry’s play “A Raisin in the Sun” demonstrates how Walter’s pursuit of money endangered his family and ultimately led to his downfall.
  2. Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun” is a good play.

A strong thesis must be supported by evidence from the source text. A weak thesis is just a point of view that is not proven with examples from the original.

Step 2: Maintain your position and support your thesis statement with the arguments.

You should fill the main body of your critical thinking essay with arguments – evidence from the text – that support your thesis statement. Include text citations that support your arguments. Make sure to use a quote itself and the page number where the evidence is found. This part of your critical thinking essay should be at least three paragraphs and use at least three examples from the source text.

For “A Raisin in the Sun,” you might discuss how Walter’s decision to give Willy money to invest instead of putting it in the bank was fueled by greed and his misconception that he was sure he knew what was best for his family.

Step 3: Complete your essay with a proper conclusion.

Your final paragraph should summarize your position and re-state your thesis. Repeat essential points and connect your main ideas. Leave the reader with something to ponder.

A reasonable conclusion for an essay on “A raisin in the Sun” might be the following:

Although Walter’s actions nearly destroyed his family, he was able to find forgiveness and ransom, and he came to understand the true meaning of wealth.