POEM ANALYSIS EXAMPLE
In my continuous effort to help you with writing tips for beginners, I will walk you through the steps of doing a practical criticism. I’m going to use a specific example so that you have a feel of the practical side.
You can apply the same basic steps to write a practical criticism of prose or book extract.
Most visitors to this site have asked me to demonstrate how to do a practical criticism properly.
PRACTICAL CRITICISM DEFINITION IN LITERATURE
The term ”Practical Criticism” can be misleading. Personally, I see it not the best fit to describe how a practical criticism should be written.
Practical Criticism gives us the impression that you must channel all your energy into criticising a written piece of work. Therefore, your aim is to look out for mistakes in a critical (negative) way.
What is practical criticism?
I began to fully understand how to write a practical criticism the day my then English teacher gave demonstrated to us. She walked us through the process step by step. I also want to share this with you.
To my surprise, my teacher’s approach turned out to be so simple and easy to follow than I had anticipated.
Once you get to grips with how to apply the 4-step process, SIFT approach, you will be able to write a good analysis.
I hope by the time you finish reading this post, you will know exactly how to critically analyse any piece of written work that gets thrown to you, be it prose or a poem.
CRITICAL APPRECIATION OF A POEM EXAMPLE
Let’s say you’ve been assigned to critically analyse a poem or an extract of prose, you need to take these steps.
- Firstly, read the passage with an understanding. Even if you’ve come across the extract before in a book you’ve read, assume you have no prior knowledge to it including the author.
WRITING A PRACTICAL CRITICISM - THE PURPOSE
- To test students’ responsiveness to what they read.
- To test students’ knowledge of verse forms and the technical language for describing and the effects they create.
- To objectively test the effects of literature on readers.
STUDENTS COMMON MISTAKES - WRITING TIPS
Why students get it wrong? The root cause of the problem is when students are presented with an extract from a book they have already read. A book they’re already familiar with, (in terms of the book’s theme, plot and storyline).
Most students will have the tendency to carryover the background information and use it for the practical criticism exercise.
As a result, students will critically analyse the passage while having this information at the back of their mind as if its part of the extract.
EXAMPLE OF WRITING A PRACTICAL CRITICISM
- Avoid sourcing ideas from information outside the extract you’re presented with.
- Treat the written piece of work as if you have come across it for the first time and not aware of any other works the author might have written (outside the extract).
- Basically, treat the extract as if you are reading it for the first time.
PRACTICAL CRITICISM EXERCISE
To walk you through the steps on how to write a practical criticism, read Cheap Ticket Flights article, a writing example.
Please note, for the purpose of this exercise you need to read Cheap Ticket Flights article first.
CRITICAL APPRECIATION OF PROSE
Practical criticism is not only centred on articles. Sometimes students get assigned to critically analyse poem extracts or pieces of literature.
It all depends on what piece of written work they’re given to critically appreciate.
CRITICALLY ANALYSE ARTICLE "CHEAP TICKET FLIGHT" USING THE SIFT APPROACH
STEP 1: SENSE
SENSE – Write A Summary of the Extract.
Assuming you’ve ready the passage, you start your practical criticism process with writing the SENSE (summary).
THE PURPOSE OF WRITING A SUMMARY
The purpose of writing a summary is to convince your examiner that you have understood the passage you have read.
HOW TO WRITE A SUMMARY
The whole point of writing a summary is to test you to see if you have understood the passage.
To prove that you’ve grasped what read, write the summary in your own words as this shows the vocabulary that you have. Avoid reproducing (repeating) the same words used in the extract.
Instead, use synonyms. Usually, you are given a specific number of word count. After writing your summary, write the number of words you have used.
EXAMPLE OF WRITING "SENSE" - CHEAP TICKET FLIGHT ARTICLE
STEP 2: INTENTION - EXAMPLE FOR CHEAP TICKET FLIGHT
Intention stands for the author’s main message. What is the main message from the passage or poem?
STEP 3 - FEELING
How do you feel when you read the extract?Explain how the author makes you feel through words and the way he describes things? The (level of skill shown) and how it makes you feel as a reader (the effect it has on you).
- Are you able to feel it from the vocabulary the author uses?
- Does the author’s writing skills give you a vivid picture?
- Avoid making generalised statements.
AVOID WRITING GENERAL COMMENTS
For instance, ‘The author writes very well in this passage.” Be specific and pinpoint exactly what makes you feel the writing is good.
FEELING - "CHEAP TICKET FLIGHT" EXAMPLE
The author seems disappointed with what she did. I get this from the words the author uses ‘stupid mistake and common thinking mistakes.’ These words have an implication of regret and disappointment.
Here the author seems frustrated by what people do. They keep repeating the same mistakes instead of learning some valuable lessons and take necessary precautions to avoid similar pitfalls. Prevention is better than cure.
STEP FOUR - The TONE
What is the tone that comes across through author’s quality of voice? Is the author expressing his feelings or thoughts towards the person being spoken to?
In the end, the author seems to have hope for the future.
Here the author seems pleased with her actions. By sharing her lived experiences, the author is helping others to avoid falling in the same trap, a recurring problem. Other travellers will learn to avoid making the same mistake.
To conclude, I have received a lot of feedback on my article Four Ways Of Writing An Effective Practical Criticism. The general consensus from my site visitors is that they need more information on this subject.
Hopefully, my post ‘Practical Criticism Writing Advice’ is informative. Please feel free to leave any questions you may have and I will be more than happy to respond as soon as possible.
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