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Once the discussion begins, you should be prepared to tell your classmates something they do not already know.Personal opinion writing is something that you’ve been doing since you started writing in elementary school. You may think writing a personal response essay will be pretty easy, but in reality, writing a personal response paper requires a great deal of critical thinking and introspection.A personal response essay is a type of essay that asks students to think critically about a piece of writing (or sometimes another form of media like a movie, television show or article) and respond based on a critical analysis of the writing’s content in comparison to their own beliefs and personal experiences.
In addition to supporting your thesis, you are letting your instructor know how carefully you read. If you write in your essay that you are unconvinced by an author’s assertions about the civility of American politics, you should be ready to raise your hand in class to point to the relevant passage and to ask if your classmates had the same reaction.
While evidence from the assigned book is essential, it is often helpful to include evidence from outside the book as well.
In the example, Sherry wants to prove that Gaddis should have paid more attention to race and gender.
Using one book from a course to understand a later book in the course makes the course into something more than a collection of discrete texts.
And applying what you have learned in one course to another course makes your education more than a collection of unrelated topics. A reading response is not like the commentary track on a DVD, in which a director watches the film and says whatever pops into his mind.
If anything, it is more like a trailer for the film, in which short clips are presented in a new order, for another result.
September 2005 Professors who wish to force students to not only read assigned texts but to think about them as well may assign reading responses.
A reading response is an essay about a book, and like any essay, it must argue a thesis.
In Sherry’s case, a simple check of page references shows how he has reordered Gaddis’s facts and words to suit his purpose. Unless a book’s format is important to your argument, you need not comment on its typography, the choice of footnotes vs. Comments on writing style and the use of illustrations may be important, but only if they support your thesis.
And even arguments and facts that are very important to the book’s author may not be important to your essay.