Anasa Alamgir
ENGW 104 ­ 28
Dr. Bickerstaff
Essay #3: Critical Writing vs. Non­Critical Writing
Critical writing is analyzing and examining different parts of a writing. It is about critiquing,
but then it is not about negating someone else’s ideas. It just means not to automatically accept
someone else’s opinion. It is about weighing out all aspects of a topic rationally and objectively in
order to reach a conclusion. To read critically is not just to grab information, but to look for ways
to think about the main theme of what you are reading. It requires us to get out of the text and
think about it from the third person’s point of view, even when most of the time I would delve
really deep into the text to think from outside of it. I would always have a bias towards one side.
But critical reading is also about taking a stance about what matters most to me in the text. The
way of thinking should be that we are not looking for information, but about how the author
comes to his/her conclusions, or how is the text argued, what stance does the writer take. The
point of critical writing is to analyse what we have read and how we can reflect it in our writing. It
is what it is because we must reflect on what read, and the idea behind writing is to convey our
own thoughts, ideas and beliefs, to showcase to the world what we think and why it matters. So
critical writing comes in from the fact that we must communicate to each other and give
feedback on each other’s opinions.
When it comes to responsibility, what matters the most about writing is to persuade
readers of the writer’s own beliefs. The writer does not have to have a specific audience in mind
to convey what they want to say, because it is the writer’s job to write, right? What the writer
should keep in mind is to be able to write coherently. A well­written article tends to get more
attention than a hastily put together one. I write better when I am writing with a calm head, and
definitely much before deadlines. Critical writing allows room for a writer to consider all
possibilities and venture through all details about a topic, or even beyond, while descriptive
writing does not pose an argument, it just presents the facts as they are. Critical writing allows
for a debate, it makes us think out of our heads, it helps us think about the things we like and
things we do not like. An example of a recent critical writing I have read is an online article called
A Critic’s Manifesto, by Daniel Mendelsohn, where the writer speaks of his love for critical
writing. How he could tell the difference between a good lyric and sloppy lyric and that everything
he did would be subject to his criticism.
To critique a writing is not only to judge, as the word actually derives from the Greek word
for judge, but also to be able to relate to the writing. For example, in the Audre Lorde piece
Transformation of Silence the author regrets not being taciturn about her opinions, and not
sharing her truths with others, which is something I tend to do. We are all here for a finite period,
and that makes it very easy for us to be misunderstood if we do not speak up. Everyone has a
different mindset, and we all have great ideas in our head, but not all of us speak up, probably not
out of being less confident, but from the fear of being misunderstood. So we are being
misunderstood to avoid being misunderstood. I think that is the beauty of critical thinking. It
makes us delve deep into a loop­hole of thoughts. Also, the more we read and relate to our
reading, the better critiques we become, as has been the case for me, because I have never
read so much. Even if I have read, I have not read for a purpose. Now everytime I read
something, it will compel me to read further and read about all the things that are related to it. I
can talk about what I read for hours and it is a wonderful feeling to be able to simply relate to
things written before.
Writing is a process that requires constant polishing. It can never be perfect. We write
what we think most about, or things