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How to Write a Critical Lens Essay

December 06, 2017 Types of essays
How to Write a Critical Lens Essay

In every dialogue written by an author, each term and phrase serve a specific purpose. Since the writer is trying to create a theme or explain a point that will eventually be discovered, they must do their best to create statements that are meaningful as well as interesting. A Critical Lens Essay is one in which a reader meticulously analyzes a quotation from an author’s work. As well as explaining their particular opinion about the significance of the quote, the writer must also use literary references to support their claim.

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To analyze a critical lens quote, it is important to understand what exactly goes into an analysis. Depending on the quote that the essay writer has chosen, he will automatically have to create an argument that must have literary support. Since the writer’s job is to prove his assumption as fact, he must use the best literary references he can find that fit his assumption. For example, if the writer has chosen a quote that deals with bravery, they must find two or three literary texts that support the opinion created by the writer. These references must evidently show how one's chosen quote receives validation.


The critical lens essay is written in a high school setting over the course of an hour. These essays fit into the analytical essay family but are unique in the sense that one is analyzing a quote rather than an opinion or crafted idea. Therefore, the outline of this particular essay follows the classic Intro - Body Paragraph(s) – Conclusion format. The introduction reveals the quotation, explain in their own words its meaning, and whether they agree or disagree with the interpretation; they also must discuss the methods they will use to support their opinion. The body paragraphs are used to implement the chosen literary references and explain how they defend the writer’s thesis. Lastly, the conclusion restates the thesis and summarizes all of the supporting arguments crafted from the literary references. Let us closely examine each part.


First things first, one must find a notable quote that they are willing to analyze. This should not be just any quote from the text, but one that holds significant value for the work itself as well as one that has created a universal impact. After finding one of these golden quotes, the writer must interpret the quote in such a way that makes sense to them. The writer's unique interpretation of the quote is called the thesis statement of the paper.

Read more about how to write an excellent INTRODUCTION

After providing a valid interpretation, the next step is to decide whether or not they agree or disagree with this quote. Finally, the intro should be concluded with a brief explanation of how the thesis will be supported; one must present the literary references that will be used to support the argument.

In regards to choosing a side to defend, one must be very meticulous in choosing between the two sides. Though one may tend to agree with the quote personally, the literary references they find might prove to be more effective for the opposition. In other words, the decision that is made should be based on the best possible sources that can be found. Yes, the writer’s opinion matters, but literary support makes up the other 50%. If one can choose a side to defend while also having great support, then that would be the ideal path to take.

Body Paragraph(s)

The main purpose of the body paragraphs is to prove your crafted assumption (thesis) as fact fully. This is obviously done with the help of literary references as the writer's words need some outside support. In the topic sentence, the writer must restate the thesis and make it relevant to the external literary reference.


The conclusion serves two primary purposes; the first is to restate the thesis and the second is to summarize the supporting arguments created in the body paragraphs. There is more to be done to restate the thesis than just paraphrasing an idea. The goal here is to make an overall conclusion: a point that can be used to build upon the thesis. There are a few things that could be talked about.

What conditions should be changed to switch the writer’s opinion of the quote? Why or why not should these conditions be switched? How would changing these conditions impact the rest of society?

The goal here is to create an overall concluding statement that leaves the reader satisfied, but still intrigued by your final point and curious enough to investigate and learn more. That is what makes a stellar outro!

Learn more about How To Create A Winning Outline

Topic Sentence Guideline:

For example, if the writer’s thesis talks about the evil behind greed, they should mention how Animal Farm (example source) satires societies theoretical ideas from the actions that they take. In Animal Farm, the whole concept was to create an entirely equal society of farm animals but, in reality, a group of animals decided to get more for themselves and less for everyone else greedily. Since this decision was made based on a psychological flaw known as greed, the writer can use this piece of context as evidential support.

After creating the topic sentence, one must explain its significance as shown in the paragraph above. By bringing back this reference to the original thesis, the writer has completed 1 of 3 steps in his body paragraph journey. A critical lens essay is required to have 3 body paragraphs, so each one must include their original proofs and literary support.

The structure of a body paragraph

As a general breakdown, here is what the structure of a body paragraph looks like:

  • A relevant topic sentence is connecting your thesis and literary source.
  • Define the connection between the two, and explain how this connection supports your thesis.
  • Provide specific examples that match your connection. Show how the literary reference you provided is relevant towards proving your thesis. (THIS IS NOT A PLOT SUMMARY, rather an analysis of a specific piece of writing)
  • End the paragraph with a concluding sentence by stating how the literary reference helps strengthen your hook.

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Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Team

A critical lens essay is an analytical piece that analyzes a short quote. These essays appear on SAT exams and college applications. To be able to put a quote into a grander context and understand its meaning is an excellent skill to have for all types of writing. If you are given a quote from a famous person to analyze, my tip for you is to deconstruct it as best you can and try to understand its meaning by the keywords used in the quote. If the quote comes from a book or a novel that you have read, then try to put it into context. If the quote is credited with a specific author, then list some common knowledge that you have about the author of the quote. For example, a quote from Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech could be taken out of context if you don’t know the context under which the quote was said. Another tip that I have is already mentioned in the article, but I want to reinforce it: do rephrase the quote. It will help you understand its meaning more thoroughly.

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Need Help with Writing a Custom Critical Lens Essay?

Okay, so you have read the tutorial on writing a critical lens essay but there are still some questions or concerns on your mind. How do I develop the best critical lens quote? Where do I find proper literary sources? Do not feel ashamed as most students struggle with this essay topic. Luckily, EssayPro, the high-quality essay writing service, has professional writers that are ready and waiting to help you with your needs! Choose from one of our essay writers to craft your paper for you so that you can relax, while our pros handle your critical lens assignment!

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