- Select between 1-3 short stories, poems, presentations (TED talks, etc.), television shows, plays, films, songs, advertisements, or nonfiction reading articles.
- Choose these works to represent what you think of as good, bad, or beautiful examples of writing (or of the genre you have selected, such as films). You can choose one work to represent each category, or you can mix it up any other way you like.
- Include clear criteria for evaluation, explaining whether what you chose is good, bad, etc., and why.
- Here are some ideas I want you to think about before you write your essay: Are these works good, bad, beautiful, a combination of these evaluations, or what? The answer to this question should form most of your thesis, because basically, you are saying a text, poem, show, etc. is “good” or “bad” or even “beautiful” based on your criteria for good, bad, or beautiful works. Stronger essays will also consider how well or how poorly the author of each work you select uses the parts of the rhetorical situation and/or your other evaluative criteria to communicate ideas to you, the viewer, reader, or audience. You might consider what the author could do to make the work better, or worse, if anything.
- Your thesis will state your ultimate evaluation of your chosen texts clearly and succinctly.
- MLA format
- You will need to use and cite direct quotations from your selected works
- Structure your essay as a typical expansion of the five-paragraph theme you learned long ago (covered in your handbook textbook reading assignment for the first week).
- Your target audience is composed of your classmates (and your professor).
- Your stance can be serious, funny, skeptical, etc., but it must be written correctly in Standard American Written English. If you are not sure, please ask!
5. Medium and Design:
- You are submitting this essay electronically, which means that you are free to include audio, video, and other visuals/graphics, if relevant to your essay. I am not requiring multimedia content for this essay.
- You will need to consider the larger context of ideas (how to evaluate and judge written content) when you analyze the item or items you choose for your essay topic.
- Your essay will include in-text citations, direct quotations, and a Works Cited page These quotations/paraphrases must come from the work(s) you analyze.
- Your essay must be at least 2.5 pages (this page count does not include the Works Cited page).
- Follow MLA format as perfectly as possible, from paper formatting to in-text citations (“parenthetical documentation”) to the proper configuration of the Works Cited page.
Essay One TemplateIntroduction:
- Start with a “hook” to get the reader’s attention and interest. You could ask a question, tell a quick story, or talk generally about what an excellent poem, advertisement, story, article, song, etc., consists of, so long as you engage your reader.
- Give a brief and general summary of your subject matter and topic. List each work you’ll use by author and title, as/if appropriate.
- List your main points for the body paragraphs very briefly: include a brief explanation of the evaluative criteria you will use (so, spell out clearly what makes a work good, bad, and/or beautiful).
- End the introduction with the thesis statement. You should make it clear that you are evaluating the work(s).
Body Paragraphs:For each point, follow the same kind of pattern, unless you are using the block-by-block method for a comparison. A main point may encompass several paragraphs: as long as all of this pattern is covered by the end of the final paragraph for each point, everything is fine:
- Use a transition, and state the point in a topic sentence. (Example: First, a good article is interesting and engaging to the readers.)
- Explain further what you mean by what you said in the topic sentence.
- “Prove” your point by giving examples and explaining. Include specific examples and direct quotations from your selection(s).
- Show you are fair and balanced by acknowledging other points of view, when appropriate.
- Return your reader to the conclusion that your interpretation and evaluation is valuable, because even though you acknowledge other points of view, your point is valid and supportable by the evidence (“support”, “proof”) provided in this point.
- Summarize point/reason (restate it in other words).
- Transition and introduce the new point/reason.
- Follow the same pattern for the next point, etc.
- Summarize thesis and points/reasons
- Put the ideas in your paper in a larger perspective (think about the larger context of your ideas, this debate, this perspective, these methods for evaluation, etc.)
- Write a final sentence which actually closes the essay and signals the end, without using the phrase “in conclusion.
- Write your separate Works Cited page and cite all sources you used for the essay, including the selection or selections you evaluate.
- Include the Works Cited page at the end of the essay.
- Check to make sure quotations are integrated well, and make sure in-text citations (also known as “parenthetical documentation”) are correct.