In our discussions of the readings from The Brief Bedford Reader, we have been applying critical analysis to the assigned essays. We have been practicing this skill by looking closely at and evaluating our authors’ various writing strategies, and by considering the essays’ meanings, structures, and arguments.
For this paper, you will write a critical analysis of between 3 and 4 pages that will focus mainly on either Brad Manning’s essay “Arm Wrestling with My Father” (145-149) or Sarah Vowell’s essay “Shooting Dad” (153-159). Your paper will also include some comparison and contrast between these essays.
1. First, choose which one of these readings you prefer, after reading them both closely.
2. Write an essay that responds to these questions.
• What do you think is the writer’s specific purpose or purposes in the essay?
• What specific writing strategies or techniques do you find the writer using? Consider such features as: hook and other methods of engaging the reader; choice of words; emotional tone; argumentative structure; humor; figurative language; or other elements you find important in the essay.
• How successfully do you think these strategies work in achieving the essay’s purpose or purposes?
3. Using your analysis of these elements of your preferred essay, describe specifically the reason or reasons why you prefer that essay over the other one.
Note: Your paper must include some direct quotation from the essay you are analyzing. Use in-text citations in MLA style with each quotation: identify the writer and the number of the page where the quotation appears. Limit the amount of quotation to about half a page of your paper. You must also include a Works Cited section at the end of your paper, where you list the publication information for the Manning and Vowell essays in MLA style.
Deadlines and format for the Analysis Paper assignment
• Friday February 28: bring a draft of your paper to class for Peer Review.
• You will have an individual office conference with me about your work on this project, during the week of March 10. We will have no class meeting on Wednesday March 12, so that we can have these conferences.
• Wednesday March 26: turn in the final draft of your paper at class time.
• Write between 3 and 4 pages, double-spaced in 12-point type, with an original title.
Grading Rubric for the Analysis Paper
The A range paper: The essay fully addresses the questions listed in the assignment. The essay sticks to its mission of specific critical analysis. The style of the essay maintains an appropriately formal tone for a college paper. The essay uses logical paragraph structure, with clear transitions and with unified paragraphs built on topic sentences that show clearly each paragraph’s purpose. The writing shows that the writer has proofread the essay carefully, so that there are few, if any, problems in wording, spelling, punctuation, and grammar. The essay has an original, focused title that directs the reader into the writer’s argument. The citations within the text and in the Works Cited section follow MLA style.
The B range paper: The essay addresses the questions listed in the assignment, though less specifically than in the A range paper. The essay mainly sticks to its mission of critical analysis, but may get distracted or wander at times. The style of the essay mainly maintains an appropriately formal tone for a college paper. The essay uses paragraph structure, though paragraphs may be less unified than in the A range paper. The writing shows that the writer has proofread the essay carefully, so that there are no more than a few errors in wording, spelling, punctuation, and grammar that interfere with meaning. The essay has an original title. There may be some errors in MLA citation, in in-text citation or Works Cited entries.
The C range paper: The essay includes more general responses to the questions listed in the assignment. The essay includes some critical analysis, but may get distracted or wander. The style of the essay may not be formal enough for a college paper. The essay makes some use of paragraph structure, although transitions may not be as smooth and paragraphs may be less unified than in the A or B paper. Paragraphs may lack clear topic sentences. There are more than a few problems in wording, spelling, punctuation, and grammar that interfere with meaning. The paper may fall short of the length requirements for the assignment. The essay may lack an original title. There are significant errors in MLA citation.
The D range paper: The essay does not address the questions listed in the assignment. The essay may lack paragraph structure. There are numerous errors in wording, spelling, punctuation, or grammar that interfere with meaning. The paper falls significantly short of the length requirements for the assignment. MLA citation may be missing from the paper.
The F range paper: The essay does not meet the requirements of the essay in any way, or shows signs of plagiarism.
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