How to Write a Review Essay
When learning how to write a review essay, your main objective is to provide an overview of the most significant points that were raised by the author of a literary work. A review essay is not the same as a novel critique, however, as a book report simply summarizes the work and provides a brief opinion on the story. The review essay, on the other hand, attempts to engage in a critical discussion of the literary work.
When asked to write a review essay, the most important step is to choose a literary piece of work that is suitable for writing a review. An edited collection, for example, can be difficult to review because the various contributors may have different viewpoints or may address different aspects of the same issue. Therefore, it is usually better to select a piece of work that was written by just one author. Similarly, older pieces are usually easier to review because you can discuss the significance of the work over time, a task that is more difficult to do with newer literary works.
When writing review essays, you will usually follow the same general pattern. First, you will write an introduction to the document. In this portion of the report, your goal is to identify what you feel is the main thesis of the work and to preview your own critical response.
After the introduction, you will then write a brief summary of the book. The length of your summary will depend upon the overall length. If writing an eight to ten page review essay, for example, your summary usually should not exceed four pages. If you are using more than half of your allotted words or pages on retelling the story, you are straying away from a review essay and entering into the novel critique realm.
When summarizing the book being reviewed, you should focus only on the central claims and arguments made in the text. You should only discuss the information that is the most significant and that will help lead into the critical discussion, which is the next portion of the review article.
In the critical discussion portion of the review essay, you will evaluate the contribution the text has made to the discipline area it is written in. In order to complete this portion, you should ask yourself how the book advances the debate that is discussed in the text. This requires you to identify the problems or controversies addressed in the text and assessing whether or not the book has made a valuable contribution to the field or simply whether or not the author has adequately supported his or her thesis. You will need to use evidence from the text in order to support your argument. This means you should refer the writing throughout the document.
Finally, your review essay will need a conclusion. In your conclusion, you should restate your thesis and summarize your critical analysis. After all writing is complete, be certain to review the report for clarity and proper use of grammar and punctuation.
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