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Essay #2: Critically-Analyzing an Expository Essay (15% of Course Grade)
Peer Review Draft Due on Monday, October 30, 2017
Final Draft Due on Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Write an 800- to 850-word critical analysis on :
• David Eagleman, “The Brain on Trial,” LW
A critical analysis is the process of recognizing the different pieces (literary elements and/or rhetorical
strategies) that make a text “work.” It “often entails taking something apart and then putting it back together
by figuring out how the parts make up a cohesive whole” (McGraw-Hill Handbook).
A successful critical analysis can only be achieved with thorough, critical reading: spend time with the text
you select. Question why the author addresses his or her topic in the way he or she does: What is the overall
feel/tone of the piece? How did the author achieve this? Does the author use a specific sentence structure,
language, or vary punctuation to create an effect?
Choose the parts/elements to analyze that best highlight your perspective of the author’s thesis.
On Introductions:
Introductions typically begin broad and then work their way into introducing the reading/text and then your
thesis. Consider the values or controversies society in general may have over the topic of the piece you chose
and begin there.
On building strong body paragraphs and creating fluid transitions:
The body paragraphs will be the most challenging and the most important component to your essay. These
will focus on a mode of discourse/literary strategy/or other elements and how the author of the text you chose
uses it to achieve his or her essay.
Analytical body paragraphs should contain several parts.
• A topic sentence that includes the mode/strategy/element that will be analyzed
• At least one textual example or summary of this mode/strategy/element in use (evidence/citation)
• Discussion on how the evidence is an example of the mode/strategy/element
• Discussion on what that evidence might mean outside of the essay
• Discussion on how the mode/strategy/element is used throughout the text.
• Discussion on the purpose of the mode/strategy/element. Consider the author’s thesis when you discuss it
• Discussion on how this component relates to the next one you will analyze
On conclusions:
There should be a discovery at the end of all of your work. Conclusions typically go one of two ways:
• You can use a conclusion as a “wrap-up,” revisiting the thesis and the several steps you took in the body
paragraphs to achieve it. Make sure to vary your language, and show expansion on what has been discovered
through your analysis.
• You can also use the conclusion in a more meaningful way, discussing how these elements you’ve
investigated might apply to the real world, or that perhaps they open the door to questions interested readers
should be asking themselves every day.
The conclusion should either inspire a sense of closure in readers, or it should inspire a sense of renewed
Note: There may be occasion to use first person in the introduction or conclusion, especially if you are
relating a personal anecdote. However, avoid using second person throughout.
Lastly, remember that these two paragraphs do “bookend” your essay. Consider some stylistic devices to
reflect this; or, return to a question you raise in the beginning that can now be answered in the conclusion as a
result of your thorough and enlightening analysis.
A complete essay should contain the following parts (though it is not limited to only these).
• An informative title that lets the reader know what your essay will be about
• A clear, explicit thesis that gives readers an overview of how effectively the author develops his or her
essay through modes of discourse, literary elements, and other techniques
• An introductory paragraph that formally introduces the text and author and provides any necessary
information about publication and original audience
• Five to six in-depth body paragraphs exploring how the author put his or her piece together (i.e., an analysis
of either a mode of discourse/literary strategy and/or other element
• A conclusion
• The word count at the end of your essay, which should be at least 800 words (word count does not include
the heading)

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