Critical Essay Analysis Directions



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Critical Essay Analysis Directions

Mrs. Buehner/AP Literature and Composition


After reading a critical essay on the class’s current literary selection (http://knarf.english.upenn.edu/Articles/index.html) , write an analysis of the essay in which you…

  1. Identify and explain the author's thesis. In other words, restate his or her thesis as written and then put it in your own words with more explanation if needed. Include this information in your opening paragraph in which you also give the name of the essay and the author. Make a smooth transition to the next paragraph.

  2. Show how the author supported this thesis. This is the longest part of your analysis. There is not just one way to organize these paragraphs, but a good suggestion is to give his/her main supporting points and how she/he supported them in some logical order, perhaps even giving each main point its own paragraph. So, you could have three to four paragraphs in this section. Be sure that you are showing how the thesis was supported. You will use tags like (say the author's name is Mary Brown) "Brown believes," "Brown explains," "Brown gives the example," etc.

  3. Finally, end with a paragraph in which you do one of two things: Say whether or not you agree with the author's thesis and give solid, text-based reasons for your opinion. Say how reading this essay gave you new insight into the work. Explain clearly how and in what ways.

*This analysis is not a typical 5 paragraph essay. Do not add superfluous paragraphs. Develop each paragraph fully according to directions. Proofread before handing in. Also, be sure that you understand what you've written. And, ask yourself if someone else will understand what you've written.


*This essay is worth 40 points so carefully review the rubric above that has been provided for you.
Setting up the assignment:

You do not need a title page; however, your analysis needs its own title (not a label like Critical Analysis of John Smith's essay on Catcher in the Rye). After the title, include the bibliographic information for your essay. Follow MLA style. Skip two spaces and begin your analysis.


Guidelines:

Typed (turned in next class), proofread, proper use of MLA guidelines, ON TIME!!


DUE: Beginning of next class in a hard copy in the wire basket.

TIPS FOR SCHOLARLY WRITING!
Never, Never List

Never begin a sentence with a pronoun.

Never begin a paragraph with a pronoun.

Never start a sentence with the word "me," which is, of course, also a pronoun.

Never use a word you don't know the meaning of or a word that is not comfortable for

you to use (especially if your purpose is to impress instead of explain).

Never ramble. Keep a tight check on your digression. If you find yourself out there in

ramble-land, rein in your brain--stay focused on the main idea.

Never use sentence fragments, even for effect, in scholarly writing.

Never "suck up" to the writer by stating how great he or she is. It is unlikely that you have read everything this author has written, so your assessment of his or her work is not going to be valid anyway. And, it sounds hollow. And, it doesn't add anything to your argument. Focus on the text as if you don't know who wrote it.


Excise These Words or Phrases from your Vocabulary

very


whole (as in "the whole story" or "the whole novel")

the reader


Questions Good Thinkers Ask

Am I saying what I mean?

Does this make sense?

Have I made good connections between ideas?

Are my ideas logical?
Always, Always List

Understand the prompt.

Use the literary present tense. In literature, a character is living in the present.

Assume your reader has read the text.

Assume your reader has a full understanding of literary elements and conventions.

Focus on the text, not on a personal feeling or reaction to the text. Personal insight is important to your understanding, but ignoring the text in favor of personal response will result in an "empty" essay.

Learn from your mistakes. Be analytical in assessing what you do well as a writer and what you need to improve on.


Grading Rubric for Critical Essay
Student: __________________________


10 Above and beyond; a truly professional job w/precise attention to detail.

9-8 Good, lacks the precision of a 10.

7 Several errors kept this from being your best work.

6-5 You misunderstood expectations or you did not communicate ideas clearly. Too many deviations.

0 You did not do this part or it is so poorly done as to not be eligible for credit.

Identify and explain the author's thesis. In other words, restate his or her thesis as

written and then put it in your own words with more explanation if needed. Include this information in your opening paragraph in which you also give the name of the essay and the author. Make a smooth

transition to the next paragraph. (x 1)

















Show how the author supported this thesis. There is not just one way to organize these paragraphs, but a good suggestion is to give his/her main supporting points and how she/he supported them in some logical order, perhaps even giving each main point its own paragraph. Be sure

that you are showing how the thesis was supported. You will use tags like (say the author's name is Mary Brown) "Brown believes," "Brown explains," "Brown gives the example," etc. (x 2)


















End with a paragraph in which you do one of two things: 1) Say whether you do or do not you agree with the author's thesis and

give solid, text-based reasons for your opinion. 2) Say how reading this essay gave you new insight into the work. Explain clearly how and in what ways. (x 1)


















Essay follows standard format and style conventions and those expected with the assignment in particular. (x 1)
















TOTALS /40

















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