Critical Essay #1
Please consider the following topic and then use any prewriting that you’ve done to develop a clearly stated assertion that fully expresses your opinion of the topic.
Once you’ve done this, decide on the modes of development you might use to support it.
After this step, please develop a clear outline; then, use it to write a short essay
(1000-1250 words, typed, double-spaced, proofread and MLA formatted)
that uses specific textual examples to support any of the broad assertions that your analysis makes. Avoid overuse of plot summary and submit only your best work.
As you write, remember these simple rules:
1. Writing should state or imply a thesis.
2. The primary function of writing is to prove or support that thesis.
3. The most effective way to prove or support a thesis is to use specific facts presented in specific language.
4. Writing needs to be well organized; every statement must be logically connected to the thesis.
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Assignment: In his 1972 work, Ways of Seeing, John Berger writes, “The way we see things is affected by what we know or what we believe.” Please consider Berger’s comments and offer an explanation of how Berger’s comments relate to/help to clarify the relationships among the following texts:
“The Blind Men and the Elephant”
“Allegory of the Cave”
“Think About It”
As you write, consider the following:
• What is Berger’s argument?
• What is the relationship between Berger’s argument and the texts in question?
• How do texts support one another? Contradict one another?
Whatever stance you take, please support any assertions with specific examples from the text and explain how the examples you choose support the thesis you are trying to prove.
Critical Witness: Critical Essay #1—Guidelines
This is the basic structure of your essay. If you follow these steps, you should be able to clearly and thoughtfully express your opinion.
1. Cite the primary argument directly.
2. Explain the logic of the argument: Consider the basic ideas and conflicts that help one understand the primary argument.
3. Take a position on the argument in relation to the ideas presented by the secondary sources. How do the ideas of these readings relate to the primary text in relation to the way in which they investigate critical thinking? Do the texts illustrate the logic of the argument?
Body Paragraphs—You should write at least one body paragraph per target.
1. Topic Sentence This must be a subjective statement of opinion.
2. Textual Evidence Direct Quote; Summary; Paraphrase
3. Explication (make obvious—show that you understand the text) Explanation of the literal meaning of the textual evidence you have chosen (critical thinking)
4. Connection How does the evidence relate to the topic sentence? (critical thinking)
5. Contextualization How does the evidence relate to the thesis? (critical thinking)
1. Summarize the basic ideas of your argument (2-3 sentences)
2. Connect your argument to the larger topic (3-4 sentences)
What should your reader understand about critical thinking after reading your essay?