How can I include critics in my essays?

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It's important to remember that an examiner is much more interested in what you think rather than what a critic has already said.  So don't just write down a critical opinion or quote without expanding on it further.  You need to show how a critic's argument has helped you to form your own. A good way to do this is to use a critic's opinion as a starting point for your paragraph and then develop it.  So, if a critic has argued that romantic love is the central motivation of 'Romeo and Juliet', but you believe it is a combination of familial and romantic love, you can structure a paragraph around this.  Start by saying 'critic x has argued that romantic love is the central motivation of R and J.  Back this up with a short piece of evidence e.g. 'this can be seen in the scene where ... '. Now comes your main argument: 'however, it is romantic and familial love combined that form the main motivation of the characters in R and J.' Follow this with more detailed evidence e.g. 'this is seen when... .’ You should give a couple of examples here; you need to support the key idea in your paragraph well. The main thing to remember with using critics is not to just memorise and quote criticism but to analyse and develop critical ideas to form your own arguments.  

Isabelle A. GCSE English Literature tutor, A Level English Literature...

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