Writing a Critical Lens Essay

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WRITING A CRITICAL LENS ESSAY
CGHS Template
11th Grade ELA Regents Exam
YOUR TASK:
Write a critical lens essay in which you discuss two
works of literature you have read from the particular
perspective of the statement that is provided for you in
the Critical Lens.
In your essay, provide a valid interpretation of the
statement, agree or disagree with the statement as you
have interpreted it, and support your opinion using
specific references to appropriate literary elements from
the works.
LITERARY ELEMENTS
•CHARACTERIZATION : the physical and personality character traits an
author uses to make a character seem lifelike
•CONFLICT: a fight or struggle between two or more opposing forces
 Internal Conflict: a fight or struggle within the mind or body
of a character (Person vs. Self)
 External Conflict: a fight or struggle outside of the mind or
body of a character.
(Person vs. Person, Person vs. Nature, Person vs. Society)
•FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE: descriptive language that appeals to the
senses; ie simile ; metaphor ; alliteration ; personification ;
hyperbole.
•FLASHBACK: a scene that interrupts the present action to describe some
earlier event
LITERARY ELEMENTS
FORESHADOWING :an author’s use of hints or clues to suggest events that
will occur later in a story
•IMAGERY: the use of descriptive language to describe a visual picture or
represent a sensory experience/image
•IRONY : a contradiction between what is expected and what actually
happens
 Situational Irony: irony involving a situation where actions have an effect that is
opposite from what was intended.
 Verbal Irony: irony in which a person says or writes one thing and means
another.
 Dramatic Irony: irony that is inherent in speeches or a situation of a drama and is
understood by the audience but not grasped by the characters in the play.
•DENOUEMENT: a final part of a story or drama in which everything is made
clear and no questions or guesses remain.
LITERARY ELEMENTS
•SYMBOLISM
: when an inanimate object is used to represent
something else.
ie. Floating dagger in Macbeth symbolizes Macbeth’s
growing paranoia and guilt for killing King Duncan.
•THEME : the authors purpose or moral or lesson revealed within a
work of literature.
•TONE : the writer’s attitude, or feeling toward his or her audience
and characters that is revealed within a work of literature.
ie. The Tone in The Old Man and the Sea is extreme
loneliness and pain while Santiago is fishing and struggling
with the marlin.
CRITICAL LENS:
“To gain that which is worth having, it may be
necessary to lose everything else.”
—Bernadette Devlin
The Price of My Soul, 1969
CRITICAL LENS STRUCTURE
•Introduction
•Body Paragraph 1
–Literary Work 1
–Literary Element 1
•Body Paragraph 2
–Literary Work 2
–Literary Element 2
•Conclusion
INTRODUCTION
FOUR STEPS:
1.Introduce/State Quote
2.Interpret Quote
3.Agree or Disagree with the Quote
(No I, Me, My)
4.Thesis Statement
INTRODUCTION
STEP ONE:
1. State Quote
Bernadette Devlin once stated, “To gain
that which is worth having, it may be
necessary to lose everything else.”
INTRODUCTION:
STEP TWO:
2. Interpret Quote
This quotation means that it is sometimes
necessary to give up what we have in order
to attain something even greater.
INTRODUCTION:
STEP THREE:
3.Agree or Disagree with the Quote
This interpretation is valid because the
quote can be proven true in both life and
literature.
INTRODUCTION
STEP FOUR:
4. Text Based Support
In The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway,
and Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, the main
characters both face obstacles and must make
difficult decisions that will change their lives
forever.
INTRODUCTION
5.Thesis Statement
Both The Old Man and the Sea, and Macbeth,
support the idea that some things worth having
cannot be gained without sacrifice.
COMPLETED INTRODUCTION
Bernadette Devlin once said, “To gain that which is
worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything else.”
This quotation can be interpreted as it is sometimes
necessary to give up what we have in order to attain
something greater. This interpretation is valid because the
quote can be proven true in both life and literature. In The
Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway, and Macbeth,
by William Shakespeare, the main characters both face
obstacles and must make difficult decisions that will
change their lives forever. Both The Old Man and the Sea,
and Macbeth, support the idea that some things worth
having cannot be gained without sacrifice.
BODY PARAGRAPH 1
FIVE STEPS:
1. Topic Sentence
–The novel ________ shows that ________.
2. Transition Statement/Literary Element
–One way (author/work) proves this point is through
(insert literary element)
3. Define Literary Element
4. Connect Lens and Literary Element
5. Concluding Sentence
BODY PARAGRAPH 2
FIVE STEPS:
1. Topic Sentence
–The novel ________ shows that ________.
2.Transition Statement/Literary Element
–One way (author/work) proves this point is through
(insert literary element)
3.Define Literary Element
4.Connect Lens and Literary Element
5.Concluding Sentence
CONCLUSION
FIVE STEPS:
1. Introduce/Restate the Quote in your own words
2. Interpret Quote
3. Agree or Disagree with the Quote (No I, Me, My)
4. Restate your Thesis Statement
–The novel _________ by ________ supports/does not
support the idea that (reword the quote).
5. Concluding Sentence/Clincher Statement (that ties the
main ideas of the paper back to the critical lens)

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