Book Review- Critical Analysis of the Road to Wigan Pier
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Guidelines for Critical Analysis of The Road to Wigan Pier
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(100 Points) Due December 4th
The purpose of a critical analysis is to evaluate a book of
historical relevance. Your review should analyze several aspects of the
text under consideration, including the argument, content, organization,
main themes, and relevance for understanding the historical time period
and location in which it was written (Interwar Europe, particularly
Britain), though you should focus largely on the book’s historical
Though Orwell is most famous for his work on the dystopian future of 1984, his commentary in Wigan Pier is a telling account of the social situation in Britain during the Great Depression and the buildup to World War II.
In contrast to a book review, a critical analysis does not retell the
story or simply repeat the argument. In addition to providing a summary
of the main plots and content of the book, a critical analysis also
evaluates an author’s thesis or main theme. You should ask yourself:
what is the author trying to say and has he made a convincing argument?
How is this book relevant to understanding the historical context of the
time? This can include evaluating how the book is an example of the
increase in Welfare in European society, the concerns for Socialism and
other social ideologies during the interwar period, or even how it
addresses the Great Depression and economic downturn following the Great
Again, this is not a book review. You are not simply summarizing the
book and what it is about, but instead looking at how the novel presents
the historic time period in which it takes place.
Try to create an understanding of how the novel fits into our
historical understanding of the time period. To do this, it is expected
that you will use primary and secondary sources to support your argument
from both the course assignments and outside material (specifically
from the FIT Library and Databases). You should have minimum of three
sources (not including the text itself). The use of these sources and
the paper overall should show your ability to understand historical
context, meaning how the setting of the novel fits within our
established understanding of history.
You should have a title page, citations, and a bibliography, as well
as page numbers on every page. A well-written paper is obviously more
effective in presenting an argument than a poorly written one; thus the
quality of the writing will affect your grade.
You should make a concerted effort to present a cogent and focused
argument in your paper. Your first or second paragraph should state your
position clearly and concisely and include some kind of thesis
statement. Consider your audience to be an educated layperson who wants
to understand the author’s thesis/argument, the key commentary it makes
to the historic time period, and your evaluation of it.