“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
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
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:
- Find a relevant cultural text for analysis. Then, understand and think
critically about this text.
- 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.
- Integrate other voices into your writing—through summary, paraphrase
and quotation. Use citations properly.
- Revise your evaluation so that it is clear, well-organized, and polished.
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