assignment sheet — essay 2 — critiquelength H u m a n i t i e s
Assignment Sheet — Essay 2 — Critique
2 ½ to 3 pages (same as last time, but there is NO summary paragraph this time)
Your second formal essay for this class will be a critique essay. As you should recall, critique essays
move another step beyond the personal reactions of a response essay (“How do I react to the reading and why?”) to an
of a text (“Is the reading any good and why?”) based on certain
established criteria and standards
. For a
more in-depth review of critique essays, please refer to Wilhoit’s “Critique” chapter, your class notes, and your
*Assignment Option A:
Write a critique of
of the articles that I assigned or one that you found on your own.
You can choose as many or as few of the 8 criteria (Claims, Grounds, Warrants, Organization, Style, Ethos, Logos, &
Pathos) as you need to get to 3 pages. If your whole essay has enough to say that Ethos is your only topic and each
paragraph focuses on an aspect of the articles’ Ethos, then great. If you want to break it down and choose 3-4 different
criteria, focusing on one for each paragraph, that’s fine, too. Either approach can be used for Option A, but, in Option
A, you will write on
*Assignment Option B:
Write a critique that compares
articles—two of mine, two you found, or one of mine to
one you found on your own. This can be a paper about two persuasive articles, a paper about two unpersuasive
articles, or a paper that compares one persuasive article to one unpersuasive one—but you should use
articles to avoid having a paper that is too busy. For Option B, you need to choose
two different criteria to
look at in your two articles, and you should give equal time in your essay to each of the two that you have chosen.
No matter which option you choose, your critique should seek to be
accurate, thorough, organized, and
(again, refer to Wilhoit), and will be graded on how well it accomplishes each of these aims. In addition, as
always, your essay will be graded on content, organization, and presentation.
Your grade for this essay will be based heavily on the following three major content issues: (1) your
— whether you have clearly stated an
of the source text, based on established and also clearly-stated
; (2) your
— whether you have cited
of these criteria from the source text; and (3)
— whether you have clearly and convincingly
your evaluation (your thesis)
using these examples. It will also be important here, as always, that you demonstrate a clear understanding of the
As we’ve discussed, you cannot critique a reading you don’t understand.
The only difference between E1’s organization and E2’s is that you will
have a Summary
Paragraph for this Critique Essay. You will go straight from your Intro to your Critique body paragraphs. However,
you can include a 2-3 sentence summary of each article in your intro when you introduce them, before your thesis.
Your essays should conform to MLA style guidelines. For a reminder of what MLA formatting entails, see
The Owl at Purdue’s MLA Style Guide
In addition, your essay must be typed in Times New Roman font, size 12.
Remember that any and all paraphrase or quotations must be documented, as well as summary,
using MLA format. Refer to Wilhoit,
, and your quotations handouts for any questions about this. For this essay
you will need a Works Cited page containing all materials used.
Your Final Draft must be submitted to the appropriate Assignment Folder on Course Den on the day the
essay is due. If it isn’t in before the beginning of our class meeting, your grade for the essay will be subject to a
penalty. You must also submit both your Pre-Draft and Rough Draft to the appropriate folder on Course Den as well
For further reminders, please review the
section of the Course Policies.
Clarifications of this Assignment:
1. Your job is to critique
, but his
— in other words,
his point is, but the
he makes it.
2. The use of first-person perspective (“I”) will give your writing more the feel of a response than a critique — like
you’re reporting on
personal experience with the piece, rather than evaluating it based on
standards. The focus of a critique should be
to it (e.g., “This point of this passage is
“I was confused by this passage”).
3. Some words — for example, “convincing” — are essentially and necessarily somewhat subjective, and can also
lean more toward response than critique. These words
be used in a critique (Wilhoit himself uses “convincing,”
for example); but again, you must be very careful to focus your efforts toward the proper end: This essay must make
an evaluation of the text based on
criteria and standards (e.g., strength of supporting evidence,
effectiveness of emotional appeals, etc.), and
simply report on what “convinced”
. (Again, this is response.)
You can go a long way toward avoiding the problems outlined above by simply
clarifying your criteria
. For this
reason, I am requiring a
. I also recommend settling on only 1-3 criteria. Focusing your essay more will
allow (and even force) you to really develop your critique of each criterion. (Just
an evaluation is not a
critique.) Finally, remember that that your evaluation of these criteria (like your evaluation of the essay as a whole)
can be mixed; it need not be wholly positive or negative.
Reminder About the Essay in General:
A good question to ask yourself as you’re writing the essay is this: “Am I
arguing that this text is (or is not) doing what we expect it to do in terms of organization, or pathos appeals, etc.?”
This will help you keep your essay on track.