Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. John F. Kennedy, Former US President It is easy to have an opinion. It is easy to criticize. It is more difficult to think thoughtfully and critically to develop an interpretation, and then to support your ideas. In writing your evaluation essay, you will choose a text that you can spend some time with, get to know, and think deeply and critically about. Your evaluation will offer thought-out commentary and criticism. You will develop an evaluative thesis about your text that moves beyond liking or disliking. You will then develop claims and support for your thesis about this text. The word text has been in quotation marks because you will have some freedom about what to evaluate. The key is that your text be small enough to discuss in a four-page paper. That is, a TV show is too long to write about in a paper this size, as is a novel, a movie or an album. A song, a poem, a painting, an advertisement, even a product can be the right size for this evaluation essay. As with your narrative, this paper should have a rather narrow focus. You want to choose the most important details to evaluate. The course textbook, HTWA, has much more detailed information about what an evaluation essay is, and how to write one. Your assessment on this paper will be based on the goals of this unit: 1. Find a relevant cultural text for analysis. Then, understand and think critically about this text. 2. Read rhetorically, paying attention to strategies of persuasion, the purposes of an author or creator, and the effect of a text on an audience. Analyze texts in order to better compose your own. 3. Integrate other voices into your writingthrough summary, paraphrase and quotation. Use citations properly. 4. Revise your evaluation so that it is clear, well-organized, and polished.
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