Analysis of an Essay Assignment
Analysis of an Essay Assignment: English 1301 Write an essay of 500-750 words or more in which you analyze one of the assigned essays listed below. Your responses to the questions after the list will serve as prewriting for your critical analysis essay. 1.What is the topic of the essay? 2.What do we know about the author of the essay? Where and when was the essay published? How do these facts affect our reading of the essay? 3.What is the essay’s thesis, either stated or implied? At what point in the essay do we know the author’s main idea? 4.What does the title do? What purpose does it suggest that the writer holds? What is the function of the opening paragraph (or paragraphs)? What claim on our attention or beliefs does it make? 5.What persona (the writer or speaker in a role adapted for a specific audience) does the writer create, and how does the writer create it? (Another meaning of persona is a mask put on for a performance.) 6.What is the tone? Does the tone shift as the essay progresses? If so, why? Tone can be defined as “the prevailing spirit of an utterance” (“A Writer’s Glossary,” The Little, Brown Reader, 566). Here are a few words that describe tone: angry, bitter, joyful, solemn, etc. 7.What audience is the author addressing? The general, literate public, or a more specialized group? How can you tell? (What parts of the essay tell you this? 8.What do you notice about the language the author uses? Is the style formal or informal? 9.Does the author use figurative language? 10.What is the effect of this language? (How complex are the author’s sentences? How would you describe the author’s word choices?) Include examples of word choice, sentence structure, etc. 11.How does the author develop the essay? (Comparison/contrast, definition, cause-effect, narration, description, etc.) 12.How is the argument set forth? By logic (logos)? By drawing on personal experience (ethos)? By appealing to the audience’s emotions (pathos)? 13.What evidence is there that the writer is an authority? What does the author want us to conclude? SUGGESTIONS FOR ORGANIZING THE ESSAY Using your responses to the questions for critical analysis (above), write an essay of 500-750 words in which you analyze the essay you have chosen thoroughly. Below are some suggestions for organizing your essay. USE QUOTATIONS FROM THE ESSAY YOU ARE ANALYZING TO SUPPORT STATEMENTS THAT YOU MAKE ABOUT THE ESSAY. In the first paragraph or two, discuss the title, topic, thesis, purpose, and opening paragraph of the essay. Be sure to mention the author’s name and the name of the essay. 1.Discuss the author’s persona and tone, considering the effect of these on the author’s credibility. (You may also want to include some general information about the author at this point.) 2.Discuss the audience for the essay. What evidence does the essay include to let you know who the audience is? (You will need to include quotations to illustrate this.) 3.Discuss the language/style the author uses in the essay. 4.Discuss the methods the author uses to present his or her argument. 5.Discuss the author’s conclusion and how effective it is. 6.In your own conclusion, evaluate the essay generally or give your response to the author’s argument.