Critical essay is a coherent and logically developed presentation of a thesis, a position taken on a topic. This point of view must be supported with textual evidence and careful argument which aim to convince the reader of the importance and validity of that thesis. A critical essay analyzes the strengths, weaknesses and methods of someone else's work. Generally these essays begin with a brief overview of the main points of the text, movie, or piece of art, followed by an analysis of the work's meaning. It should then discuss how well the author/creator accomplishes his/her goals and makes his/her points. A critical essay can be written about another essay, story, book, poem, movie, or work of art. Writing a critical essay implies that one has read a literary work and have something original to say about it.
When writing a critical essay, one should choose something in the reading that really grabs their interests (the best writing comes when the writer is most engaged with the topic). Essay writer may highlight an issue of interest, ponder an anthropological problem, develop a polemical argument, wonder about an enigma in the text/world, dispute the conclusions an author draws from her/his data, relate course materials to your own lives, current events, etc. Critical essay need not mean the author is criticizing the reading as "bad" or flawed, there can be a positive critical appreciation as well.
There are some questions that might be applied in literature critics: genre, the speaker, the subject, the structure, setting, imagery, key statements, language use, intertextuality, the way the reader is formed by the literature, the historical placement, and ideology or "world-view".