Critique #2 The critique is a rigorous critical reading of a passage. The guiding question behind a critique – “How well does the author make his or her argument?” – should remain at the forefront of your mind as you proceed through the process. In this way, a critique differs from other forms of essay. Please follow the steps outlined below to compose your critique of any single reading assignment we have had this semester from Rereading America. Before You Draft: Pre-Writing, Directed Annotating, and Other Preparation ? Read the passage thoroughly – and more than once. Identify the SOAPS as well as the speaker’s tone. Make plenty of notes, ask lots of questions, and highlight or underline anything you may wish to quote in your paper. While this may feel like a tedious process, take your time with this step, as it will provide the necessary platform for a successful critique. ? Next, write a summary. Identify the author’s main point (thesis) and list the types of proofs he or she employs to persuade the reader to believe or accept the thesis. o For example, does the author use historical anecdotes, quote noted authorities, provide statistical evidence, or appeal to a reader’s sense of patriotism or generosity? These are all common types of proofs used in persuasive writing. o Consider why the author is writing and to whom. Remember that the purpose of a text and its intended audience can affect the way the paper is written. ? Now, without concerning yourself with whether or not you agree with the author’s opinion (sometimes a difficult task), evaluate the validity of his or her argument. o Does the author provide complete and accurate information? Some authors may leave important facts out of their presentations in order to avoid dealing with them, or they may include inaccurate data either through ignorance or in a deliberate attempt to mislead readers. o Does the author provide information that is relevant to the issue? o Does the author define key terms adequately and clearly? Just because someone uses the words “freedom,” “rights,” or “harm” in an essay, does not necessarily make those terms universal. Some people might interpret “harm,” for example, as “injury,” while others might interpret it as “offense.” ? Once you have examined carefully the passage you intend to critique, use the information you have collected to draft a response to the passage. o Do you agree or disagree with the author’s views and proofs? Be sure to discuss specific reasons why you agree or disagree with something. The critique’s value as an academic document rests on your ability to say precisely why you agree or disagree. Drafting the Critique: An Outline I. Introduction (1 paragraph): Include the TAG (title, author, genre) of the text in your information. Clearly state the author’s thesis and introduce the arguments you intend to make about it, as well as some background information to inform your reader about the topic at hand and the author. II. Brief Summary (1 paragraph): Using the summary you drafted in pre-writing, create a paragraph that summarizes the author’s main points. Be sure to include adequate transitions so that the writing flows smoothly. III. Analysis (2-to-3 paragraphs): Present your reader with an in-depth analysis of the validity of the author’s logic and use of evidence, as discussed above. Be sure to present your information in a form that is easy to follow, using transitional elements whenever necessary to preserve the smooth flow of your writing. Avoid evaluating the text in chronological order, as this will make you more likely to fall into simply summarizing it; instead, organize your paragraphs by topic (for example, rhetorical appeals or types of proof). IV. Response (1 paragraph): You may agree or disagree with the author’s views, and this is the part of the critique where you make your own views on the issue clear. Remember that your own arguments must be well-supported, offering compelling reasons for your agreement or disagreement with the author. V. Conclusion (1 paragraph): Evaluate the author’s overall success or failure in achieving his or her purpose. Also, remind your reader of the strengths and weaknesses of the passage. After You Draft: Revision and Editing Once the critique is drafted, revise it, making sure you have emphasized the most salient points in your discussion. Check your sentence variety, your organization, and your word choice. Is the critique all it can be? Then, edit the critique to eliminate errors in spelling, sentence structure, and agreement. If you have followed these steps with care, your critique should be concise, correct, and effective. Reminders • Please review your syllabus for due dates. Both the rough draft and the final draft should include accurate works cited pages and should be uploaded as a file (not copied-and-pasted) on Turnitin.com. • You must also submit your essay on Études, where you will copy-and-paste it. • Turnitin.com includes an excellent resource for checking grammar, punctuation, and usage issues. I urge you to review this information on your rough draft and to make the appropriate corrections prior to submitting your final draft. Read the explanations provided for your errors in order to understand the concept more thoroughly.
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