How to Write an Evaluation Essay in Classic English Literature

Writing guide
Posted on October 2, 2020

The evaluation essay in classic English literature is usually concentrated on a particular criterion of the paper thesis. What the author is required to do is to carefully choose the criteria that one can discuss and then build a strong evaluation essay on.

In case with the classic English literature, your task is to analyze correctly each side of the chosen criteria. What is more, it is also important to research and investigate your thesis, as well as give as many examples as possible to illustrate it. Many authors believe that evaluation essays do not differ from reviews. But that’s not like that. In order to clarify what an evaluation essay is and how to write one in classic English literature, make sure to read below the article.

What Is Classic English Literature?

When the term ‘classic literature’ is used, usually it is related to the works of Roman, Greek and other civilizations that have worldwide fame. The great masterpieces of Erich Maria Remarque, Julio Cortázar and Homer are just a few examples of works of classical literature. When it comes to classic English literature, the names of Jonathan Swift, William Shakespeare, Jane Austin and Edgar Allan Poe should be mentioned.

Evaluation Essay Topics in Classic English Literature

Have you received your topic from your English literature professor? If you have, you can skip this part and go to the next. However, if you weren’t assigned the evaluation essay topic, you will have to select one. How to pick the topic that will not only be an interesting one, but also easy to research and debate. After all, in the world of classic English literature, there is a huge number of topics that you can evaluate in any manner. It is totally up to you to decide what you would like to evaluate: characters, plots, settings, events, genres, and so on.

There is one thing the author of the evaluation essay has to keep in mind: you have to be interested or even passionate about the chosen topic. In a perfect world, you should put down the last five classic English literature books, stories, characters or plots right now that come first to your mind. But usually college students have no time to ponder over the potential issues to evaluate in the field of literature and choose something that they know not that bad.

Check out some of the topics that you can base your English literature evaluation essay on:

  • Analyze “Harry Potter” film based on a book;
  • Analyze Neoclassicism movement and how it influenced the literature;
  • How much does modern writing differ from a classical one?
  • Analyze the ending of “Romeo & Juliet”: Do you think the ending should have been different?
  • Evaluate a poem (play, book, story) that you read and didn’t like;
  • Evaluation of co-dependency in “Curious Case of Benjamin Button”.

Just a simple note to you: It is better to stay away from the literature topics that you don’t have sufficient knowledge in. For instance, to evaluate the love story of Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff in ‘Wuthering Heights’, you need to read the book written by Emily Brontë and, if possible, check some comments and works by literary critics. What is more, it is recommended to be aware of some biographical facts of the book’s author and the moral principles of the society of the time discussed in the book.

Consider Your Criteria

Before you proceed to the actual process of writing, you have to think about criteria that would fit your evaluation essay in classic English literature. To help you define all the criteria, we provided some that may be ideas for an evaluation essay on a book:

  • Characters of the book. Do you think the characters are authentic and detailed? Do you believe the author made them look natural? Would they behave the same way in real life, in the same situation? Do readers like this kind of characters and sympathize them? Do they make readers feel any disgust or empathy?
  • The plot. Does the book have logical plot? Do you think that some parts of the book just don’t seem to connect logically? Do you think that the narrative is dynamic? Does it fit the genre of the book?
  • The main idea of the book. Is the idea original or highly debated in many books not only in English but the world literature as well? Is it ethical and intelligent? Does the work of literature teach readers something? What is the message that the author of the book tries to convey?
  • Characters’ relationship. Are the characters of the book easily predictable? Do the characters have some important motivations to act this or that way?

When you’re writing an evaluating essay in classic English literature, you can choose to evaluate anything else, such as ideas, style of writing, and so on. Or, perhaps, you have always wanted to compare ‘Romeo and Juliet’ to the tragic love story of Tristan and Isolde? Regardless of the topic that you decide to evaluate, keep in mind the readers, and how they may react to the topic of yours.

Search for Information

At this point, you have to take an important step that is to read the book that you’re going to evaluate. You might have already read it some time ago, but in case with an essay writing task, you need fresh impressions and thoughts. Thus, you will have more details to take into account and evaluate in the process of writing.
We recommend you to take notes as you read the book. Thus, at the end of the reading process, you will have an idea of what details you have and whether they are enough to provide the future evaluation essay.

What is more, in the process of reading, you will have to look for supporting information from many other sources. If you think that it will be enough to simply mention the book when you write an evaluation essay, you’re mistaken. If, for example, you’re writing an evaluation essay about ‘Hamlet’ by William Shakespeare, in addition to the play, it is recommended to read the materials like articles from the trusted sources, analyses and researches on this topic. What is more, it is important to read some of the previous evaluations done by college and university students. Thus, you will do your best in order to stay away from the topics discussed millions of times by someone else.

In order to find more information to include into your evaluation essay in classic English literature, make sure to use the following questions. So, ask yourself:

  • Have you found any additional source that describes the subject in the best manner?
  • Is the topic good or bad?
  • What kind of readers will be interested in your evaluation the most? What do they already know about it?
  • Have you picked the evaluation criteria to use in your paper? Are they logical enough to support your either positive or negative position?
  • What are your expectations before approach the topic?
  • What aspects of the topic are bad (good)?
  • Is there anything in the classic English literature that you can also compare to your topic?

Once you give the answers to each question, you will be provided with the materials that an A+ evaluation essays need. However, do not forget that the main part of the project is when you focus on the evaluation based on your point of view.

Outline Your Evaluation Essay

The best evaluation essay in classic English literature is easy to read and comprehend, systematically structured, critical and relevant. As a rule, this kind of essays doesn’t have a unified structure. Instead, you will have to select the best logic for your story that will depend on your topic. Besides, a single format for this type of writing assignment does not exist. On the whole, the author of the evaluation essay should be divided into a range of logically arranged sections, together with an introduction and conclusion.

Now think about how you would like to organize all the chosen criteria. As an example, you can use the following outline for your evaluation essay in classic English literature:

  1. Introduction
    • The hook (funny joke, quote and so on.)
    • Thesis statement (the heart of the evaluation paper)
    • The criteria list (will be discussed later within the body paragraph)
  2. Body paragraph 1
    • Topic sentence
    • Criterion #1
  3. Body paragraph 2
    • Topic sentence
    • Criterion #2
  4. Body paragraph 3
    • Topic sentence
    • Criterion #3
  5. Conclusion
    • Concluding part
    • Restatement of the thesis statement

The author of the evaluation essay has the right to change the outline the way he or she likes, according to the chosen topic. It is possible to mix evaluation and summary, or use them both separately. Just keep in mind that you have to create an outline before you begin to write. Thus, you will be able to smoothly proceed from one criterion to the other and save your time.

Introduction of an Evaluation Essay

The main goal of the introduction of the evaluation essay is to provide your thesis statement and the criteria that your readers will be interested in. The word count will mainly depend on the demands of your college professor. At the same time, you have to make sure that your language is both – easy to comprehend and clear. Ensure to produce a strong thesis statement and choose the criteria that your readers won’t question. We strongly recommend you to write a hooking introduction to make your readers interested in your evaluation work. It is a well-known fact that classic English literature is not the most interesting thing on earth, so your job here is to make it in such a way that people want to read more and more.

Body of Evaluation Essay

Many experts claim that the body of the evaluation essay is the essence of the paper. But you have to remember that the essay is like a human body that cannot work well without any of its parts. The body of this type of a college essay must be descriptive. In the body of your evaluation essay, the author examines and describes in detail the evidence found at the research stage that supports the thesis statement and all the criteria.

In classic English literature, the evaluation essay also gives you an opportunity to include the counter argument in order to discuss all aspects of the topic. Do your best to provide a trustworthy body for your essay, ensure it doesn’t lack any important facts and elements.

Conclusion of Evaluation Essay

The final part of the evaluation essay in classic English literature should be not only strong, but logical and straightforward. Restate the thesis statement from the introduction and repeat the criteria. Don’t copy and paste these parts – you have to use the other set of words. Remind your readers what your key arguments and evaluation points were. In other words – just use the final part of your project to make the final evaluation of the book or its parts.

To write a logical and quality evaluation essay in classic English literature, make sure to take your time to research, think, comprehend and write clearly. With thoughtful preparation and brainstorming, evaluation essays can be not only inspiring, but even interesting to work on. College professors assign evaluation essays in order to assess students’ ability to quickly respond, to evaluate literature aspects, characters, plots, and settings, as well as see how good they are at thoughtful writing. For that reason, evaluation essays are an important part of academic program, especially when you study Humanities.

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