Writing a response to a literary critique
First write a sentence mentioning the novel you read for class and include an overview of the entire book.
Benito Cereno by Herman Melville (1855), Animal Farm by George Orwell (1945), or Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897).
This will help your audience to understand what your paper is about.
Next: Write a sentence explaining to what critical literary essay are you responding?
1) Grandin, Greg. “Who Ain’t a Slave? Historical fact and fiction of ‘Benito Cereno’. The Chronicle of Higher Education. 16 Dec. 2013. www.chronicle.com.
2) Rodden, John and John Rossi. “Animal Farm at 70.” Modern Age. Vol. 58, no. 4, pp. 19- 27. EBSCO host.
Or 3) Senf, Carol A. “‘Dracula’: The Unseen Face in the Mirror.” The Journal of Narrative Technique. Vol. 9, no. 3, Fall 1979.Pp. 160-170. EBSCO Host.
This sentence should include the name of the critical essay, the author, and an overview of the entire essay. Yes, this sentence has to do a lot of work.
By starting with these two sentences, your readers have some idea of what they are getting ready to read in your response essay.
Next: So now let's create some background sentences in this introduction to help prepare your readers.
1) Write a sentence or two explaining what exactly you agreed with in the critical literary essay?
2) Next write a sentence or two explaining what exactly you disagreed with in the critical literary essay?
3) Next write a sentence or two explaining where you have mixed feelings with the critical literary essay?
Remember, the critical literary essay was not written for you. It was written for a college-educated audience with some interest in the original novel being discussed. Just because you don't know anything about communism or socialism, or hadn't thought about Dracula as a sexual work does not mean that the critical essay was written poorly - it simply means you have not done as much reading as you will have done by the time you finish college (hopefully). In other words, you may have to do some Wikipedia searches while reading the critical essay to understand all the historical references (which I encourage).
Finally: Write a one-sentence thesis statement that presents your response to the critical essay, and, yes this will be a long sentence because you are asking it to also do a lot of work.
YAY! You should have a pretty-solid introduction.
Once you finish these sentences, look at adding transitional sentences if needed and rewrite some them in order to avoid using the same construction over and over again.
Once you begin writing the paper, think about how the critical essay writer uses fact, opinion, judgment, evaluation, and interpretation to sway his or her audience (and especially you) and include this in your body paragraphs.