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Critical Term Paper

The word "critical" has positive as well as negative meanings. You can write a critical essay that agrees entirely with the reading. The word "critical" describes your attitude when you read the article. This attitude is best described as "detached evaluation," meaning that you weigh the coherence of the reading, the completeness of its data, and so on, before you accept or reject it.


 A critical essay or review begins with an analysis or exposition of the reading, article-by-article, book by book. Each analysis should include the following points:

  • A summary of the author's point of view, including a brief statement of the author's main idea (i.e., thesis or theme) an outline of the important "facts" and lines of reasoning the author used to support the main idea a summary of the author's explicit or implied values a presentation of the author's conclusion or suggestions for action
  • An evaluation of the author's work, including an assessment of the "facts" presented on the basis of correctness, relevance, and whether or not pertinent facts were omitted an evaluation or judgment of the logical consistency of the author's argument an appraisal of the author's values in terms of how you feel or by an accepted standard.

Once the analysis is completed, check your work! Ask yourself, "Have I read all the relevant (or assigned) material?" "Do I have complete citations?" If not, complete the work! The following steps are how this is done.

Now you can start to write the first draft of your expository essay/literature review. Outline the conflicting arguments, if any; this will be part of the body of your expository essay/literature review.

Ask yourself, "Are there other possible positions on this matter?" If so, briefly outline them. Decide on your own position (it may agree with one of the competing arguments) and state explicitly the reason(s) why you hold that position by outlining the consistent facts and showing the relative insignificance of contrary facts. Coherently state your position by integrating your evaluations of the works you read. This becomes your conclusions section.

Briefly state your position, state why the problem you are working on is important, and indicate the important questions that need to be answered; this is your "Introduction." Push quickly through this draft--don't worry about spelling, don't search for exactly the right word, don't hassle yourself with grammar, don't worry overmuch about sequence--that's why this is called a "rough draft." Deal with these during your revisions. The point of a rough draft is to get your ideas on paper. Once they are there, you can deal with the superficial (though very important) problems.

Consider this while writing:

  • The critical term paper is informative; it emphasizes the literary work being studied rather than the feelings and opinions of the person writing about the literary work; in this kind of writing, all claims made about the work need to be backed up with evidence.
  • The difference between feelings and facts is simple--it does not matter what you believe about a book or play or poem; what matters is what you can prove about it, drawing upon evidence found in the text itself, in biographies of the author, in critical discussions of the literary work, etc.
  • Criticism does not mean you have to attack the work or the author; it simply means you are thinking critically about it, exploring it and discussing your findings.
  • In many cases, you are teaching your audience something new about the text.
  • The critical term paper usually employs a serious and objective tone. (Sometimes, depending on your audience, it is all right to use a lighter or even humorous tone, but this is not usually the case). Use a "claims and evidence" approach.

Be specific about the points you are making about the novel, play, poem, or essay you are discussing and back up those points with evidence that your audience will find credible and appropriate. If you want to say, "The War of the Worlds is a novel about how men and women react in the face of annihilation, and most of them do not behave in a particularly courageous or noble manner," say it, and then find evidence that supports your claim. Using evidence from the text itself is often your best option. If you want to argue, "isolation drives Frankenstein's creature to become evil," back it up with events and speeches from the novel itself.

Critical Term paper writing section 2

Critical Term paper sample essay

I was a little worried writing about my mother because I thought it would seem like I was looking for sympathy, but I figured it was a good topic to write about because it had the largest effect on me. My goal became to write an essay that didn't focus on the death or loss but on the change and growth that took place. Being active is something that has always been important to me, and I learned this from growing up with and observing an expert. My mother was more active and involved than anyone I have ever known. She had an endless energy for life, and love for my two brothers and me, and I have tried to be the kind of person that she was.

The phrase on her headstone reads: "A joyous and boundless energy." My mother was a highly respected kindergarten teacher for twenty years. In addition to working with children as a professional, she was always involved in my elementary school years, as a class mother or President of the PTO. In the summers there were more children, as we would go to sleepaway camp in Maine and she would be in charge of the youngest group of campers. She was always running, playing, consoling, planning, and caring for children. At home, she was just as active. I remember doing homework with her every night and she got so involved with it that she would practically do it for me, which I thought, at the time, was a pretty good thing. We were always going places, visiting friends, just learning, and there was never a dull moment. Though I didn't know it consciously at the time, she was setting an example which I was bound to follow. Over seven years ago, my mother died after a long battle with melanoma. I was ten at the time, in fifth grade, and I suppose I didn't really understand it all that well, or as well as my older brothers did. This essay is not about that loss or death, but on the change that took place.

 After she was gone, things were so drastically different, because there was so much dull time with nothing to fill it but thoughts. I think I learned from my mom about how to be active and I must have decided, subconsciously, to continue in her path. I saw how happy she and the rest of my family were, and I wanted to perpetuate that. Though it was a small beginning, I began the next year by becoming class president. I joined every club I could and participated in different sports. I wanted to do as many different things as I could. One of my memories of junior high was being busy every lunch period with meetings: the math team, student government, Junior National Honor Society. I was the this little tiny kid, the smallest in my grade, and I was always running around and talking. I remember being scolded many times for what I thought was having too much energy. I was always taught, by my mother, that energy was a good thing, and when it got me in trouble it was very confusing. I continued with this energy and involvement throughout my high school years. I come from a very small school, and that has had a positive effect in allowing me to explore many different activity options. I wouldn't have been able to experiment the way that I did if I had come from a larger school. I found myself involved in athletics, student government and publications, community service, academic competitions, and drama productions. This experimentation allowed me to see what activities I liked the most, and it gave me a good idea of what I want to continue doing. I loved going to my high school and felt close to the 82 other students in my grade. I think I would like to pursue education at a small school which would allow me to continue to participate the way I have. I don't think it really matters to me exactly what I am doing. I just want to be doing something. I want to be involved and be around people instead of just sitting home. I wouldn't have had nearly as much fun if I hadn't participated. I have met so many new people and had so many different experiences. I learned this from my mother and I think it's a very important lesson. I like to think that my life, and all that I do, is part of a tribute to my mother's legacy, and that I have inherited some of her "joyous and boundless energy. 

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