Our first assignment involves summarizing and critiquing with special attention to structure and clarity. You may use any one of the following essays:
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Tuchman, “This is the End of the World” (CR 596-604)
Lepore, “It’s Spreading” (CR 605-614)
Gould, “The Terrifying Normalcy of AIDS” (CR 635-638)
Bordo, “The Globalization of Eating Disorders” (CR 639-642)
Whatever essay you choose, your first task is to read it several times and develop a thorough understanding of it.
Think of this critique assignment as going a few steps beyond a summary and offering the reader not only what the author has written, but also what you feel is the author’s main point and whether or not you feel s/he has been effective in its presentation. In the end, your critique will summarize the content of the article, offer judgments about the article’s merit, and place a relative value on the article.
Part I: Introduction
To get your critique off to a smooth start, you will need to introduce the text (and offer relevant bibliographic information). Use a hook or interesting intro sentence or two to get your reader’s attention, but don’t overdo it. The introduction is about setting the reader up and establishing your credibility as a researcher and critic. Be sure to mention the author’s name and title of the text as well as what kind of publication it came from and its currency or date of publication. You should also express your overall impression of the article by the conclusion of the introductory paragraph in the form of a detailed thesis. An effective thesis for this assignment will include an overview of your summary of the article as well as a distillation of your critique of it. In short, the reader should have an awareness of your argument after the first paragraph or two.
Part II: Summary
After the introduction, offer the reader a summary of the article in a factual or objective tone. Remember to stick to the facts and paint a vivid picture of what happens in the text so the reader has a firm understanding of the article and its main points. Assume the reader has no prior knowledge of the text or the author. Remember, your summary should not be loaded with your opinions or judgments of the author’s craft. Save this sort of critiquing for the next section. Your summary should be at least two paragraphs long and cover the content of the article in equal measure. You must quote and/or paraphrase the author at least three times in this section.
Part III: Critique
After summarizing the article, transition into critiquing the text with criteria that you establish.
You should be critical of the credibility of the author, her/his thesis or main claim, and her/his method of proving her/his points. Simply let the reader know what you agree and disagree with and why. Be sure to fully develop your main points in paragraphs that use examples from the text. Try to have between 3-4 main points to support your judgment of the text. Conclude your critique section reminding the reader about your main points and how they work together to support your own thesis or judgment of the article.
Need help being critical? Use ideas from They Say/I Say. Also, remember being “critical” does not always mean “negative”; in fact, many critical points offer praise for the author or the argument or craft.
Part IV: Conclusion
I would suggest finalizing your Critique with a short paragraph that restates the author and title of the article and your final opinion on its worth in terms of being persuasive and why it would or would not be worth one’s time to read and consider it. Be short and sweet here but don’t be redundant.
As with all essays in this course, use MLA format for this essay. This means that you will need in-text parenthetical citations any time you cite your primary source (whether you quote or just paraphrase), and you will need to include a Works Cited Page.
Also, there is no need for any outside sources here—just the essay that you choose. I want to see your original ideas here.