Critical Essay ODHE Learning Outcomes Addressed by the Assignment 1. Rhetorical knowledge 2. Critical thinking, reading, and writing 3. Knowledge of composing processes 5. Knowledge of conventions Assignment Focus: textual/visual analysis, source use Overview (what the assignment asks students to do: objective, audience, connection to other assignments and competencies in the course, etc.) The Critical Essay asks you to choose a primary text (book, short story, or movie) and offer an analysis that shows how the text’s features support your interpretation of the text. Your audience for this essay is readers who are somewhat familiar with the text (so you need a minimum of summary) and you should assume that your readers will be skeptical of your interpretation. You should use plenty of textual details and evidence to support your interpretation in order to persuade your skeptical readers (quotations, whether from book or movie). The Critical Essay should analyze your primary text carefully and use details and examples from the text to support your interpretation of the meaning, impact, effect, etc. of the text. Evaluation Requirements (for the final submitted document: grading criteria, assessment, rubric, etc.) Your Critical Essay essay will be assessed on whether it: • Focuses on an appropriate primary text • Advances a specific and complex interpretation of the primary text • Features an accurate and well-crafted thesis statement that encapsulates the interpretation • Analyzes and offers interpretations of several major features of the primary text • Uses plenty of relevant, specific textual evidence to support the thesis while avoiding unnecessary summary • Uses MLA citation • Contains an introduction that sets up the subject appropriately • Features a conclusion that goes beyond the primary text to make a larger point • Uses clear and correct language and mechanics Relative Weight of the Assignment and Recommended Page Range Because this is a large and complex assignment representing a substantial investment in course time, this assignment can typically range from 15-25% of the total points for the course and should be in the range of 3-5 pages. Intermediate Steps (instructional strategies, related concepts, materials, activities, chapters/excerpts in NFG, etc.) Some use concepts and issues we have covered thus far include: • Textbook chapters 6-8, 13 • Identifying and interpreting the major components of a primary text • Reading sample essays in each genre • Discussing various potential organizational schema • Crafting an appropriate thesis statement • Work on introductory and concluding strategies Final Tips A successful textual analysis depends on both a compelling analysis in which you explain your view of how a text can be read and interpreted in a specific way and the use of sufficient textual evidence to support your analysis. Focus on HOW the various elements of a text work together to create an overall impact, meaning, etc.
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