Assignment #2: A Review
Length: The revised, completed essay should be approximately 750-1300 words, or approximately 3 Â½ - 5 pages.
Format: 12-point font, double-spaced, in doc, docx, or rtf format. Use the Modern Language Association (MLA) format, same as for Essay #1.
Submission: Online, through Canvas.
Audience: A general audience of smart and curious people, including this class and the instructor. This audience might not be familiar with your specific topic
Topic: Write a review--a review of something not normally reviewed, something only you, with your particular perspective, could review. That is, do not review a movie, music, a play, a show, a restaurant, a videogame â€“any of the things you normally see reviews of in magazines or newspapers. Instead, think of something that's interesting to you, that you have an opinion about, and that perhaps no one has ever reviewed before. For example, you could review:
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The autumn leaves this last fall
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Your wardrobe
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â A relative (your mother, father, sister, brother, grandmother, grandfatherâ€¦)
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â A particular party (a 21st birthday party, a particular New Yearâ€™s party, etc.)
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â A custom or tradition
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â A household task
You must review a specific thing, not a whole category of things. For example:
â€¢Â Â My 21st birthday party (not birthday parties in general)
â€¢Â Â The pick-up basketball game I played last Saturday with my friends (not basketball in general).
â€¢Â Â The bedtime story I made up and told to my son last night.
DO NOT WRITE ABOUT A PET OR A CAR OR ABOUT METRO BUS SERVICE
I have seen too many essays about these things and I do not want to read about them any more, even if your pet or car or bus ride is the best or worst in the world.
Overall Rhetorical Strategy: This assignment uses the rhetorical strategy of Comparison and Contrast. To review something, you have to compare the specific thing you're reviewing to the ideal version of that thing. For example, if I'm reviewing yesterday's Mariner's game, first I have to think of what makes for an ideal baseball game (from the point of view of a spectator). So I make a list of criteria. The ideal baseball game to watch will have all these features. Note that everyone's list of criteria will be different, making your review different from anyone else's review. Other people might choose different criteria for their ideal baseball game to watch.
â€¢Â Â The teams are well-matched.
â€¢Â Â The pitchers are especially talented.
â€¢Â Â There are some exciting plays, moments of extreme suspense.
â€¢Â Â The score ends up close, rather than one team winning by a lot.
â€¢Â Â At least one of the players is extremely good-looking.
â€¢Â Â Ideally, my favorite team wins.
As I write my review, paragraph by paragraph I compare the specific game I watched with the criteria I've developed. So one paragraph would be about whether the teams were well-matched. The next would be about the talent of the pitchers, and so on.
Structure of the Finished Review
Please structure your essay as follows. This structure contains the necessary points and leads through them in a reader-friendly order. Youâ€™ll notice that the structure follows the points above.
1.Paragraph 1, the opening: Begin with a vivid illustration of your point, or of some aspect of your point; offer a description, tell a brief story, or show a scene that immediately introduces the reader to the subject of your review. End this opening with a preliminary statement of your thesis, which will state your opinion of the subject according to the criteria you are about to introduce.
2.Paragraph 2: Introduces the category of the thing youâ€™re reviewing and the criteria by which youâ€™re evaluating it. Find a graceful way to list all the criteria that youâ€™ll be applying to your subject as you review it.
3.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Paragraphs 3 and following: Relate the subject of your review to each of the criteria, paragraph by paragraph. For example, if your subject is the cafeteria and one criterion is â€œIn a school cafeteria, the food should be cheap,â€ youâ€™d write a paragraph in which you examined the price of the food and decided whether it met the criterion of low cost. These paragraphsâ€”one for each criterionâ€”will make up the bulk of your essay. The topic sentence of each paragraph will make it clear what criteria youâ€™re talking about and how your item measures up to it. An example topic sentence: Unfortunately, my purse is so big that small things get buried in the bottom and lost forever.
4.After youâ€™ve examined the subject in in relation to each of the criteria, introduce counterarguments. Perhaps some people will disagree with you about how youâ€™ve evaluated your topic so far. If you have decided the food in the cafeteria is too expensive, there may be others who would say, â€œNo it isnâ€™t, youâ€™re just choosing the most expensive selections; if one chooses more carefully, one can eat quite cheaply.â€ Or perhaps some would say that yours are inappropriate criteria for evaluating the thing: â€œActually price isnâ€™t very important when evaluating cafeteria food; nutritional value and convenience are much more important.â€ Bring in these voices that will argue with you, and refute or accommodate their arguments.
5.Explore the thesis again. Now youâ€™re ready for the next iteration of your thesis. This version of it will not simply restate the earlier version, because the topic has become complex since the beginning of the paper. Thus, this version of the thesis will be more complex also. It might introduce some qualifications, using words like â€œbut,â€ â€œhowever,â€ â€œalthough,â€ and â€œin some cases.â€ That is, your preliminary thesis might say â€œThe NSCC cafeteria is a dull, boring place, with dull, boring food,â€ while your later, more developed thesis might say, â€œYes, the cafeteria is a dull, boring place, with dull, boring food, but by carefully selecting their food and occupying themselves with their work or friends instead of the atmosphere, customers can make the cafeteria an inoffensive place to spend time.â€
6.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Ending: As always, can you take this idea a little further? What does this exploration teach you about other objects of this kind? For example, now that youâ€™ve explored this cafeteria, do you have an opinion about what all school cafeterias should be like? What would you recommend to future cafeteria-designers or cafeteria-goers? What have you learned from this exploration?
Developing the Review
We will do this development in the worksheet, but it is described in detail here. The following steps will help you develop the material for your review, and will help you work toward the structure of your final review. In the worksheet, youâ€™ll be writing out all these steps.
1.First, think of the category that the thing youâ€™re reviewing belongs in. For example, my 21st birthday party would go in the category of all 21st birthday parties, or perhaps the category of all birthday parties that mark a significant age. Last Saturdayâ€™s pick-up basketball game would go in the category of all pick-up basketball games. The bedtime story I told last night would go in the category of all bedtime stories, or perhaps in the category of all bedtime stories made up and told by parents to their children.
2.Now list the ideal qualities of anything in this category. For example, letâ€™s say Iâ€™m reviewing my purse. What are the ideal qualities of a purse? What would I look for in a purse?
â€¢Â Â Big enough to carry what one needs to carry.
â€¢Â Â Has pockets that are convenient for the specific things one carries around.
â€¢Â Â Not so big that the items inside sink to the bottom and are hard to reach.
â€¢Â Â Goes with oneâ€™s clothing.
â€¢Â Â Sturdy, takes a lot of wear and tear.
â€¢Â Â Waterproof
3.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Now, make a lot of notes in which you relate the subject of your review to the criteria youâ€™ve listed. For example, if youâ€™re reviewing your mother, and one of the criteria for being a good mother is that she sings you to sleep at night when youâ€™re a baby, youâ€™d consider the question of whether your mother fulfilled that requirement, and if so, how well. Maybe she did sing you to sleep, but she chose annoying songs. Maybe she didnâ€™t sing you to sleep, but she did put on soothing music for you to listen to. Maybe she did sing you to sleep, but her voice was so out of tune that you couldnâ€™t sleep. Write as much detail as you possibly can!
4.Write your thesis: Now that youâ€™ve looked at whether your subject of review meets your review criteria, youâ€™re ready to write your thesis. Your thesis will be a statement about whether the subject of your review meets, does not meet, or partially meets the criteria by which you are evaluating it. A thesis would be something like â€œExcept that sheâ€™s not a great cook, my mother is the very best mother a person could have because she is kind, loving, supportive, and tough when necessary.
5.Think of counterarguments: who might disagree with you and why?
6.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Think of ways to accommodate or refute those arguments. Consider whether, in the light of these arguments, your thesis needs revising.
7.Extend your idea by considering the following questions:
â€¢Â Â What is this thing good for?
â€¢Â Â Why is it important?
â€¢Â Â Does it benefit individuals?
â€¢Â Â Does it benefit society?
â€¢Â Â What do you learn in the process of evaluating this thing?
â€¢Â Â What do you want to tell others about this subject?
Grade of the Finished Essay: 100 points
1.Basic MLA format (5 points): The essay follows the required MLA format for header, title, spacing, paragraphing, etc.
2.Opening and ending (10 points): The opening (including the title) is vivid and engaging, and helps a reader focus on the topic and idea. The ending helps a reader know what to make of the idea and provides a satisfying sense of closure, a feeling that the significance of the idea has been explored.
3.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Main idea (15 points): The essay has a clear, meaningful, and explicitly stated thesis at the end of your first paragraph. This thesis is developed as the essay proceeds, and is clearly connected to all parts of the essay.
4.Example and evidence (25 points): Your thesis is supported with vivid and plentiful details about the item under review, showing how it differs from or meets the standards for an item of this kind. These supporting details include elements of ethos, pathos, and logos: shows why you are a credible reviewer, provides reasoning and evidence, and engages reader emotion with description, short anecdotes, memories, and sensory imagery.
5.Organization (15 points): The essay follows the required structure: The thesis is stated at the end of the first paragraph. The second paragraph introduces, in meaningful order, the criteria for evaluation, and the following paragraphs explore, in order, whether the reviewed item meets that criterion. The paragraphs begin with topic sentences that contain key words connecting to the thesis and include transitions if needed; the sentences within the paragraphs are organized to support the paragraphâ€™s main point; the paragraphs within the essay all relate to the whole, and follow logically from one to another; and all the parts as a whole fit together and are easy for an attentive reader to follow.
6.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Style and voice (10 points): The writing is efficient, so that every word counts. Verbs are vivid and active, clichÃ©s are avoided, the thinking is original, and the writing conveys the sense that thereâ€™s a writer behind the work, an actual person with unique and worthwhile perspectives.
Grammar and proofreading (20 points): The essay is free of distracting errors in grammar, and it has been carefully proofread.
PIE: Paragraph Structure
In your Review essays, starting with the third paragraph, most of your paragraphs should use the following structure, which offers a very useful pattern for developing a point and illustrating a thesis.
Transition: The first sentence of a body paragraph will contain some sort of transition or connection from the previous paragraph to the current paragraph. Usually, the first phrase or so of the first sentence of the paragraph can be thought of as a â€œbridgeâ€ from the previous sentence, and then the rest of the sentence contains the P, or point of the sentence. Sometimes the transition is the first sentence of the paragraph and the point, or topic sentence is the second sentence, but usually transition and topic are blended in the first sentence of the paragraph.
The topic sentence, or P (Point Sentence): After the transition, every paragraph starting with the third paragraph of your review will begin with a topic sentence, or â€œpointâ€ sentence. The topic sentence:
â€¢Â Â Proposes the main idea of that paragraph. Like a thesis, it contains a topic (the thing the paragraph is about) and an idea about that topic (what the paragraph wants to say about the topic).
â€¢Â Â Is not a fact or a quotation or a statement of plot.
â€¢Â Â Chooses an aspect or sub-point of the thesis to develop.
â€¢Â Â Is a complete sentence.
â€¢Â Â Uses key words from the thesis, or words related to these, to keep readers alert to how this point connects to the overall thesis.
â€¢Â Â The topic sentence might also contain transitional words or phrases to connect to the previous paragraph.
â€¢Â Â If your transition takes the entire first sentence of the paragraph, your topic sentence might be the second sentence of the paragraph.
Illustration (I), or supporting evidence: After the topic sentence, the paragraph introduces supporting material to illustrate the point sentence. In your review, this supporting material will be examples, description, short anecdotes, or facts about the item youâ€™re reviewing. In an essay analyzing a text, the supporting material will include quotation, paraphrase, and summary to illustrate the P, the point, of the topic sentence.
Explanation (E) or analysis: In an essay analyzing a text, every bit of Illustration in the paragraph should be accompanied by your own explanation and analysis. In this review, however, often the illustrations provide their own explanation. However, the paragraph might still need further explanation to do the following:
â€¢Â Â Show how the illustration is connected to the point sentence of the paragraph.
â€¢Â Â Show your analysis of the illustration.
â€¢Â Â Point out how the illustration and point are connected to the overall thesis.
â€¢Â Â The explanation, if needed, should not simply repeat what is obvious to anyone, but should show your thinking, show how you are connecting the illustration not only to the topic sentence, but beyond that, to your thesis as a whole. The explanation often must show the step-by-step way that your mind connects the illustration to the topic sentence and the overall thesis.
Concluding sentence: Occasionally a particularly lengthy or in-depth paragraph will need a concluding sentence that sums up what has been shown in the paragraph and makes a transition to the next paragraph. Not all paragraphs need concluding sentences.
Order of the above elements: A strong paragraph of analysis will usually look something like this: PIEIIEEEIEE.Â Each paragraph will offer more than one illustration of your point, and since each of these illustrations will need to be analyzed, explained, and tied back to the point of the paragraph. A simple three-element paragraph, PIE, is very basic and probably not sufficient for the in-depth analysis we want to do.
Sometimes the discussion of one topic takes longer than a single paragraph: When a single topic sentence is developed with many illustrations and a lot of explanation, then it is often a good idea to break the discussion of that topic into several paragraphs. In that case, the second and third paragraphs discussing the same topic wouldnâ€™t contain topic sentences, but transition sentences indicating that more is being added to the topic of the previous paragraph.
|Due By (Pacific Time)||02/05/2015 11:59 pm|
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