How did you learn, and how much were your views and opinions challenged or changed by this text/material, if at all? Did the text/material communicate with you? Why or why not? Give examples of how your views might have changed or been strengthened (or perhaps, of why the text/material failed to convince you, the way it is).

Assignment Question

What is a Response/Reaction Paper? A response/reaction essay asks the reader (you) to examine, explain, and defend his/her reaction to a reading/theme/film/lecture, etc. You will be asked to explore what and why you like or dislike about a variety of material including , reading(s)/theme(s)/film(s)/lecture(s), etc., explain whether you agree or disagree with the author/material, identify the materials purpose, and critique it/them. There is no right or wrong answer/format to a response/reaction essay. Nonetheless, it is important that you demonstrate an engagement and understanding of the materials and clearly explain and support your reactions. Don’t be dismissive though; these are rarely intended to be free flowing, last minute scrawls on the back of a napkin. Be prepared to address a question and support why you think that way about it.

Guidelines: Essays should be 3-4 pages (not including heading and title). Generally speaking, the higher the page count, the stronger the paper is which should translate to a higher score. Attempt to discuss as much material (readings, documentaries, videos, etc.) as possible; at least 4-5. No, this doesn’t mean you have to address them all but keep in mind the more you discuss the higher grade should be. Bibliographies are not required. Instead just state the source name/title, italicized or in quotation marks, that you are discussing in the essay. DO NOT use the standard high school-level approach of just writing: “I liked this book (or article or document or movie) because it is so cool and the ending made me feel happy,” or “I hated it because it was stupid, and had nothing at all to do with my life, and was too negative and boring.” In writing these responses assume the reader has not read the readings or seen the lectures or films, so provide a brief summary (a few sentences) for each that you decide to utilize to provide context. This does not mean your response should solely be a summarization of the contents. Instead, take a systematic, analytical approach to the materials. In the process of writing, try to answer the questions below: What does the text/material have to do with you, personally, and with your life (past, present or future)? It is not acceptable to write that the text/material has NOTHING to do with you, since just about everything humans can write has to do in some way with every other human. How much does the text/material agree or clash with your view of the world, and what you consider right and wrong? Use quotes as examples of how it agrees with and supports what you think about the world, about right and wrong, and about what you think it is to be human. Use quotes and examples to discuss how the text disagrees with what you think about the world and about right and wrong.

How did you learn, and how much were your views and opinions challenged or changed by this text/material, if at all? Did the text/material communicate with you? Why or why not? Give examples of how your views might have changed or been strengthened (or perhaps, of why the text/material failed to convince you, the way it is). Please do not write “I agree with everything the author wrote,” since everybody disagrees about something, even if it is a tiny point. Use quotes to illustrate your points of challenge, or where you were persuaded, or where it left you cold. How well does it address things that you, personally, care about and consider important to the world? How does it address things that are important to your family, your community, your ethnic group, to people of your economic or social class or background, or your faith tradition? If not, who does or did the text serve? Did it pass the “Who cares?” test? Use quotes to illustrate. Reading and writing “critically” does not mean the same thing as “criticizing,” in everyday language (complaining or griping, fault-finding, nit-picking). Your “critique” can and should be positive and praise the text/material if possible, as well as pointing out problems, disagreements and shortcomings. How well did you enjoy the material (or not) as entertainment or as a work of art? Use quotes or examples to illustrate the quality of the text/material as art or entertainment. Of course, be aware that some texts are not meant to be entertainment or art – a news report or textbook, for instance, may be neither entertaining or artistic, but may still be important and successful. To sum up, what is your overall reaction to the text? Would you read something else like this, or by this author, in the future or not? Why or why not? To whom would you recommend this text? Important: When reading, analyze the material as an individual reader.

This process is as much about YOU as it is about the text that you are responding to. As a scholar you stand in judgement over the material. When writing a reader response/reaction essay, write as an educated adult, addressing other adults or fellow scholars. As a beginning scholar, if you write that something has nothing to do with you or does not pass your “Who cares?” test, though many other people think that it is important and great, readers will probably not agree with you that the text is dull or boring, but they may conclude instead that you are dull and boring, and that you are too immature or uneducated to understand the importance of what the author wrote. If you did not like a text or media, that is fine, but criticize it either from principle (it is racist, or it unreasonably puts down religion or women or working people or young people or gays or Texans or plumbers, it includes factual errors or outright lies, it is too dark and despairing, or it is falsely positive) or from form (it is poorly written, it contains too much verbal “fat,” it is too emotional or too childish, has too many facts and figures or has many typo’s in the text, or wanders around without making a point). In each of these cases, do not simply criticize, but give examples. But, always beware, as a beginning scholar, of criticizing any text as “confusing” or “crazy,” since readers might simply conclude that you are too ignorant or slow to understand and appreciate it! Before submitting consider the following: Essay discusses several of the provided sources Essays are 3-4 pages in length, double spaced Essay conforms to the Course Writing & Style (Formatting) Guide Essays consist of multiple paragraphs Essays are original and have not been plagiarized or composed using AI software Essays have been proofread for clarity and to eliminate errors

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