Great Critical Analysis Essay Topics

When you need really good critical essay topics, why not take a look at our comprehensive list? Students around the world have found our ideas very useful.

If you have to write a critical essay, you need to choose your topic carefully and it is important for you to be objective. Do as much research as you can and be critical in the way you analyze the subject matter. If you have a particular interest in certain topics, use them. Your essay will benefit from your knowledge and opinions. Furthermore, your interest in the subject will motivate you into producing a better essay. Your interest will be evident and will attract the admiration of your tutor.

Have a look at the following list for ideas for your critical analysis essay:

Topics About Culture

  1. Sports and drug taking – how compatible are the two? Select any sport that interests you. Now put yourself in the place of the players and try to understand why drug taking is becoming more popular in this field. Are the negative effects of drug taking apparent to you? If so, describe what they are.   

  2. Turning your back on drugs. This is a popular topic, so make sure you explore it in detail. Check out the most prominent campaigns advising against drug taking. Look at the various advertisements and consider how effective they are at achieving their objectives. 

  3. The problem of poverty. Consider the country you live in and analyze how poor people live and/or are treated. Are there any useful resources available to them? Are these resources adequate at helping to relieve poverty? Now look closely at poverty in your own community and provide an analysis of the situation at local level.

  4. Graffiti versus street art. Look at the similarities and differences between graffiti and the artistic endeavor known as street art. It may help if you begin by analyzing the most well known street artists and whether their activities could be considered as graffiti. You could examine some good graffiti examples and discuss whether these meet the cultural expectations of modern society. 

  5. The different ways that men and women communicate. Still wondering, “what is a critical essay?” This is a great topic for new essay writers. A lot of researchers have analyzed this question. Explore the question in detail and read the latest research on the matter in an effort to understand current thinking. Provide a summary of any currently available literature and offer your own conclusions. You may even want to recommend some related factors that can be researched in the future.    

  6. Diversity in America and multiculturalism. Nowadays, a lot of people come from backgrounds that are made up of more than one race. Culture and geographical fluidity has led to a whole new world of opportunities for people to mix. Yet, sadly, there are a lot of people who aren’t comfortable in the company of people from other racial groups. There are others who keep quiet about their racial background. Use this essay opportunity to examine the various issues closely. Look at how different groups classify themselves in terms of their racial identities. Draw your own conclusions on how society views diversity and multiculturalism.

  7. Self-image and the mass media. You can use this topic to discuss whether and/or how the popular media has influenced people’s image of themselves and their bodies. Look at the arguments and how the mass media deals with overweight people and obesity. Where is the dividing line between being slim and being anorexic?

  8. Sponsored television sports and the financial aspects. Televised sporting events have become very popular, not least because watching television is a popular activity with the American public. Explore how sports make money for those who sponsor them and how advertisers use sporting events to reach a wider audience. Look also at whether viewers prefer attending live games or watching them on television.

  9. Ethnicity, race and music. This topic asks you to look at how ethnicity, race and music interact with each other rather than just looking at ethnic music and musicians. Essentially, it is a question about what role race and ethnicity play in making popular, long-lasting music.

  10. Football as a college sport. Find out if football continues to be a popular sport with college students. Look at the role of football and how students can benefit from it. This is a great topic for anyone just starting to learn how to write a critical essay.

  11. The changing roles of the genders from a societal perspective. Feminism rose rapidly in the twentieth century. The intention and aim of the movement was the empowerment of women in order to gain a more prominent societal role. Look at how this issue has altered over the past decade. Consider what is in store for women as time marches on.

  12. Same-sex parenting and family life. As family structures and how these are viewed by society changes, gay couples are increasingly establishing families. Try to understand the not-so-apparent aspects of life in a family where the parents are both men or women. Look at how and whether children are affected by gay parenting.

  13. Family, society and multiculturalism. People are brought closer together by globalization. An increasing number of families are created by parents from different racial backgrounds. Nowadays, in US society, mixed race parents and families are quite commonplace. Look at the popularity of multi-race marriage/partnerships in America and consider how they alter society and America’s view of multiculturalism. Discuss how the participants in a multi-race marriage feel and what their position in society is.

  14. Latino culture and its influences on America. A lot of Latino people live in America and this number continues to grow. In tandem, their presence has a growing influence on US culture. Use your essay to analyze this influence - is it a positive one?    

  15. Obesity and being overweight. This topic is health-related and it remains top of the agenda for the health authorities and the professionals who work in the health industry. Provide a detailed description of the problem and include statistics from official sources in your essay. Analyze how different groups are affected by obesity and talk about whether it is a problem in your community.

Literature Topics

  1. Look at playwriting and the importance of scene setting. Choose a play you like. Help your readers understand how the scenery in that play contributes to the creation of themes, characters and any questions that arise in the play. Provide details e.g. use the works and/or words of a particular writer to add gravitas to your essay.

  2. Discuss whether a particular author’s writing style is influenced by his or her background. Choose an author you like and use his or her work as an example. Examine their personality or biography. Select various circumstances in their lives that may have contributed to them becoming a talented writer. Before you start make sure you understand the critical essay definition – know what critical essay writing involves. 

  3. Describe how plots or storylines are developed. Choose a modern literary work and use it to demonstrate your various points. 

  4. Analyze a fictional work in terms of allegory and how this affects readability. Examine the concept closely and use various fictional works as examples to support your assertions. 

  5. The importance of setting. Examine how important setting is in a play and how it aids the reader’s understanding. Use the works of, for example, William Shakespeare to demonstrate how setting adds meaning and helps the reader to understand the philosophical thinking behind a writer’s words. Select one or two writers and focus on their works.

  6. Look at how historical or cultural meaning can be changed in fictional writing. Examine how a reader’s perception of the original work can be influenced when they fully understand the context of the fictional work. Illustrate your individual points with examples.

  7. Select a particular genre of writing for analysis in terms of its conventions and principles. For instance, select novel as your genre of choice and then use various literature examples to support your assertions. Explain to your readers whether or not your chosen story or book in that genre of writing meets the purpose you intended.   

  8. Select a piece of poetry written from the perspective of the first person for analysis. This is a great critical essay topic. Try to find a different perspective and meaning by looking beyond it from the first person’s viewpoint. 

  9. Consider how a work of literature can be made more memorable and vivid by critical dialogue. Take any example of critical dialogue from a fictional work and explore how the writer has developed and presented this.   

  10. Look at what climax means. Choose a work of literature for analysis. Examine how the plot in the story is strengthened and made more enthralling by climax.  

  11. Explore how valuable imagery is in a poem. Select any one or a number of different poets and compare their works in terms of how they use imagery. Remember, as well, to look at how the tone and mood of the work is impacted by the use of imagery and/or how it is used. 

  12. Explore static character development. Take any example you like from fiction and recommend ways of developing the characters, dialogue and imagery into vivid and memorable entities.  

  13. Examine the role and meaning of irony in fictional writing. Look closely at how the use of irony can help the reader understand the meaning in a work of fiction. Feel free to be critical in your analysis. Do you think irony is a powerful technique in short story writing?  

  14. Analyze narrative writing techniques and see how these apply in fictional works. Examine how the narrative voice affects the plot, storyline, flow and themes in fictional writing. Try to select a fictional work that uses more than one narrative voice. Examine the intersections and encounters of the different voices.

  15. Take a fictional work and analyze why mood and tone are important. Look at the ways that different writers use various techniques such as imagery to create the scene they want their readers to envisage. 

Television and Movie Topics

  1. Select a children’s television show for analysis. In order to maintain its popularity over time, what has its creators done? Can you remember the shows you enjoyed watching when you were young? What were the main factors that attracted you to television?

  2. Look at television series in terms of their nature and how society in America is impacted by them. Select one particular series. Would you say that particular series matches the expectations of the audience it is targeting? Analyze the deficiencies in that series from a critical perspective (another good topic for critical essays!)

  3. Consider reality television and its role in people’s lives. Why are these shows so popular nowadays? What do audiences look for in reality shows? Do you think that viewers are missing something in their own lives and that this is why reality television is so hugely popular with people of all ages? Select one reality TV show for in-depth analysis.

  4. Now think about a television show that purports to portray events from real-life. Consider whether the content is sufficiently realistic to make it popular with the audience it is trying to target. In your view, does the content appear to have been manipulated in any way? Is it possible the creators are using an idea for profitable gain?

  5. Think about TV wedding programs. These shows are laden with emotion. Is emotion the main purpose of such programs? Do not be afraid to be critical. Do you believe that the joyful and powerful experience of marriage in modern society is exaggerated or exploited in these shows?

  6. Consider cake shows and their role in making TV programs popular. Look at the main drivers behind their continued popularity. Would you say shows like these are designed to entertain or advertise?  

  7. Think of a currently popular adult computer game or network game for analysis. Why is this show popular? Think of shows that have already been adapted for cartoon purposes e.g. ‘Angry Birds.’ What makes shows like these so popular? 

  8. Cast your thoughts back over television history and its creation. Find out what shows achieved popularity at different periods in time. What was popular a decade ago or twenty years ago? Why were certain shows popular or why were they unpopular? What made different shows popular with different audiences and in what context were they created?

  9. Now turn your thoughts to the movies. Consider all the high-school based movies you have ever seen. Select the one that touched you most deeply. Was the experience a positive one or was it negative? Did that movie promote academic success or failure? Now, analyze a recent high-school movie.

  10. Choose a movie that relates to high school and describe how you would add a vintage element to it? How would you define vintage? Is it reflective of the modern high-school education system? Use a movie everyone is familiar with as an example.   

  11. Think about various award and prize-winning movies. Select a movie that won more than one Oscar award. In your opinion, why was this movie so extraordinary and/or unique to merit such a high accolade? Do you think that move has retained the impressive qualities as it had when it was made? Consider, for example, Titanic for your analysis.  

  12. What was the worst ever move you watched? Why was this movie so awful? What factors do you think are responsible (or otherwise) for the quality of US movie making? Use some examples from the past decade to support your thinking. (Great option for anyone looking for interesting critical essay topics!)

  13.  Choose two movies with the same character for analysis and comparison purposes. It does not matter what type of character – comedic or tragic. As part of your analysis, identify and interpret that character’s decisions, convictions, motivations and the reason for their actions. 

  14. Examine how books compare to their corresponding movies. To do this, choose a book you are familiar with and its movie counterpart. How similar or different are the two? Support you claims with examples.

  15.  Select a well-known comedy film from the dumb genre and analyze it in detail from a literary and cinematic perspective. What makes the movie so amusing? In your opinion, why do people like movies with dumb characters? The line between being dumb and funny and being dumb and dull is quite fine. Can you see it? Can you think of any recently made movies where the characters were more dull than funny? How do dumb characters bring laughter to the audience? Use real movie examples to back your assertions.

  16. Look at romantic comedy movie making and analyze the concept’s history and legacy. What are the most appealing aspects of this genre of movie and what sustains its popularity? Support your assertions with examples.

  17. Another genre of movie is the summer movie, so think about what this entails. Are there any summer movies you are familiar with and like? What distinguishes these movies from other movie categories? In going to see a summer movie, what do you think the audience expects and do you think audience expectations are met?

  18.  Now turn your thoughts to horror movies and choose any movie of this genre you like. Describe why you think this particular movie stands out? Examine the movie’s horror elements. Why does the audience find it appealing?

  19. Even if Hitchcock movies are not your favorites, use them as a means of analyzing movies in the horror genre. Examine the ways in which audiences are affected by the Hitchcock movie or movies you have chosen? Does your choice adhere to the horror movie-making rules as prescribed by Hollywood? Use any example of a classical horror movie for critical analysis.  

Look at how movie producers and directors take original stories and remake them to regain popularity with targeted audiences. Choose a movie remake you are familiar with and say whether you think it beats the original or is it worse? What elements (e.g. characters or sound) make it an improvement or otherwise on the original?