How to Analyse Texts Critically – Critical Thinking

How to Analyse Texts Critically – Critical Thinking

Every idea, theme and concept in a text is open for interpretation and its meaning can change in terms of Critical Thinking.
Don’t assume common knowledge, because even facts need to be proven.
So, for that reason, you can choose to ignore more common analysis and come up with your own.

Critical Analysis of Texts

Critical Analysis of Texts
Texts can be analysed independently.
There is no set consensus on how you should do it – only that you are able to justify the how and why in your argument.
It requires breaking down a text and its key sections, a bit of note-taking, and for you to make clear distinctions.

Construction of Story

There is much to analyse in how a story is constructed.
The way language and structure are used is important. It influences the meaning of the text.
Think about how the form and style of an author affects how the text communicates.
You should be looking for things such as:

  • medium
  • genre
  • style of prose/poetry
  • use of plot devices such as flashbacks, varied narrators and climax
  • formatting/editing
  • meaning
  • representation


Visual and written language techniques are the simplest method you may use to interpret a text.
You must think and analyse how and why they are used.
You must constantly challenge the use of such techniques.
look at how they contribute to meaning:

  • imagery, emotional and sensory language
  • metaphor
  • visual layout
  • camera and film techniques
  • dialogue
  • contrast, paradox and juxtaposition

Characterisation is an important consideration for critical analysis.
By analysing how a character is portrayed, you can discuss their motives and purpose.
This is not the same as describing a character.
Characterisation can be indicated through description and dialogue, or through the ‘voice’ of the narrator.
This is indicated through:

  • use of dialogue
  • description
  • character’s role (antagonist, protagonist, foil)
  • relationships
  • change in narration
  • language techniques and their effect on appearance


Theme is purely interpretive.
Any theme you identify has to be justified and argued.
Theme can be interpreted through a key idea or effect of a text.
In other words, the theme is basically the predominant idea of what the text achieves through meaning.
They can be ideas relating to:

  • philosophy/psychology
  • feelings
  • personal issues
  • political
  • social
  • cultural
  • religious/spiritual
  • life and its stages

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