Higher English Critical Essay Writing

There are many ways to approach the writing of a Higher English critical essay. At myetutor, we have a favoured structure and it would be difficult to change anything about that general structure without diminishing the essay. BUT, other parts of the essay have a structure and this can be done in a lot of different ways.

Take our preferred way of doing the main body of an Higher English critical essay. We think that the TEA structure is the best way to approach each paragraph. Yet we know it’s not the only way. It might be the best way for us and many students, but maybe not all students. It can require having a good memory for some quotations – you can paraphrase though. We think quotations make an Higher English critical essay look good, although we know that some people prefer to refer to parts of a text rather than quote. Sizable quotations are maybe not for everyone.

So, what other alternatives are there for writing paragraphs in the main body of your essay? Well, let’s look at one:


This means Statement, Evidence, Explanation and Comment. If you want to know more about Higher English critical essay tasks and making sure statements link to the task then follow the links.)

So that this all makes sense we’ll state the task:

Consider a novel that has something important to say about the world in which we live. By examining the use of character, setting and plot show how the writer has successfully conveyed his/her message to the reader.

Ok. Pretty standard task where we have to take a feature of the text (character or setting or plot) and explain how in an example the writer is getting across a message (theme) to the reader that is also relevant to the world we live in today.

Using Malcolm Bradbury’s classic futuristic dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451here is an example of SEEC that relates to this task.


Bradbury uses the character of Mildred, Montag’s wife, to highlight the emptiness and futility of life in the novel’s futuristic setting.

Evidence (short quotation)

When we first meet Mildred, she is having her stomach pumped as she has just attempted suicide. The description of this operation conveys a cold mechanistic approach to life: ‘They had this machine…the impersonal operator. Not unlike the digging of a trench…’

Explanation (we call this analysis and evaluation)

By describing this scene with such matter-of-fact language, Bradbury successfully reveals how little life is valued in this future world. It’s as if Mildred was worth no more than a disused car that is being serviced.

Comment (we would call this analysis and evaluation)

Her world is an empty hollow with no sense of purpose. It is made clear in the rest of the novel that far from being  abnormal, Mildred in fact represents the norm of life in the future – a norm that Montag rebels against.

Four of these in an Higher English critical essay would create an impressive essay with a good grade. Personally, we prefer our own method still,  as outlined in other blogs.  However, we accept that some students will find the above method preferable, so, hey, anything that helps with something as challenging as an Higher English critical essay is good.

If you need more help or advice, you can contact our tutors or you can send a completed essay to a tutor or your choice.

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The almond tree is rife with biblical meanings. Moses’ brother, Aaron, carried a rod cut from an almond tree. When almond blossoms and leaves suddenly sprouted on the rod, this miracle was attributed as a sign that God had chosen Aaron and his tribe to be His priests. Almonds were mentioned often in the Bible, possibly because they are native to the Middle East and would have been widely available during biblical times.

Priestly Meaning

During the many years in the wilderness, the people of the Lord quarreled between themselves trying to determine who should be the priests and directly serve God. So, representatives of all 12 tribes brought their rods and placed them within the tabernacle. The next day, when Moses went into the tabernacle, he discovered that Aaron’s rod which was cut from an almond tree had miraculously burst into flowers. This meant that God had chosen Aaron and his family, from the tribe of Levites, to be His priests.

Old Age


In Ecclesiastes, the almond is indicative of old age. This is an apt description since the almond bursts into flowers in late winter—and winter is often considered anthropomorphically as an old man. The almond blooms are borne on naked stems before the leaves emerge, and the old blossoms often look like white snowflakes when they fall to the ground.

Watchful Tree

The almond tree is also referred to as a “watchful” tree by the Prophet Jeremiah when he talks to God in a vision. Yahweh asks Jeremiah what he sees and Jeremiah mentions that he sees “a branch of an almond tree.” Yahweh answers: “You have seen well: for I keep watch over my word to give effect to it” (Jer.1:11-12).

Rod of Authority

In their book “Rod of an Almond Tree in God’s Master Plan,” Peter Michas and Robert Vander Maten propose that the Rod of Authority made from the Tree of Life was passed down through the ages by the biblical patriarchs. Eventually, King David planted it and centuries later it formed the cross on which Jesus was crucified. They believe that Revelation 22:2 states that the relic of the cross will reappear and flower. This will be a sign of God’s authority just as it was in the days of Aaron.


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Barry WrightTagged Almond Tree, Higher English, Poetry

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