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When you begin to think about the essays you will write in this course, it will not be enough to summarize the work. You will need to think critically about the writing and this reading strategy will help you move beyond a summary. Each response should be a minimum of 250 words.
Each response writing should provide the following—
1) An Honest Response to the Writing—Write a few sentences about how the work made you feel (ex. “Angry because… “Or “joyful because…” or “confused because…” There is no right or wrong answer here. These few sentences should be honest and capture your initial response to the piece of writing.
2) A Summary of What You Read—Summarize what happened in the writing. Who were the characters? What happens in the story or poem? What is the story about?
3) An Analysis or Close Reading—This is the part of the response writing that really begins our critical thinking. Does something appear symbolic? Are there any metaphors and similes that expand meaning? Does there appear to be a common theme? What details seem relevant? You will not find every literary device in every reading. In this section of the response writing, you should begin to decide what seems to have meaning or purpose? Be sure to pay attention to the form, the title, the content and the rhythm.
4) An Interpretation—This is the part of the response writing that will allow you to pull the “clues” together and offer a statement on what you think the story is really about? You will combine your summary and analysis to provide an argument about the text.
5) Drawing Conclusions—This part of the response writing will require that you incorporating the above process and integrating some direct quotes from the actual work of study to support your findings and interpretations.
Junot Diaz, “How to Date a Brown Girl, White Girl, or Halfie”