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Your second essay will be an evaluation, a type of essay that seeks to influence or change a reader’s opinion about a subject by analyzing it on established criteria and asserting an overall judgement. For example: A product review seeks to influence a consumer’s decision to purchase a product.
Your task:
1) Choose a subject for your evaluation. Here are some ideas that you may choose from: a local restaurant, a food truck, a bar or cocktail lounge, a public figure, a professional athlete, a community/state/national leader (not necessarily a politician), a film, a video, a painting, a photograph, an advertisement, a travel destination, a park, a university, a zoo, a vehicle, or an airline. You may choose to review The Laramie Project, a play running at Delgado’s Timothy K. Baker Theater Sept. 20 – Oct. 7. Ultimately, you are free to evaluate any subject, but every student must discuss his/her topic with me before writing. Keep in mind: your reader may be unfamiliar with your subject; they may already have an opinion on it; their opinion might vastly differ from yours. Consider these possibilities early on in the process.
2) Next, break down your subject into its most important criteria. For example: Criteria for evaluating a music video might include visuals, music, lyrics, choreography, special effects, editing, themes, or narrative.
3) Analyze the subject’s value in each criterion. Use examples to support your analysis. Sample scenario: I am evaluating a science fiction novel. I decide to evaluate the novel based on the criteria of language, character, plot, and genre. First, I assess the author’s use of language: the author’s description of the world is vivid but meandering. I then use two or three examples from the novel to support this statement. Next, I examine character: the novel’s heroine is complex and realistic, but her speech rings false. I proceed to support this estimation with more examples. Third, I appraise the plot: full of surprising twists and turns but disconnected at certain important junctures. Again, I use examples from the novel to back up my analysis. Finally, I consider the novel’s genre: Although it is marketed as hard science fiction, I identify several archetypal devices of the classic mystery novel to be skillfully integrated. At last, I support my final observation with more examples taken directly from the subject.
4) Synthesize your analysis into an overall judgment. You will assert this judgement (or main idea) in your thesis statement. Is your subject effective/ineffective? Successful/unsuccessful? Overrated/underrated? Worthwhile/not worthwhile? To continue my sample scenario from above: Adding up all my thoughts about the novel under various criteria, I assert that overall, the novel is deftly written with an artful hand, save for the few rookie mistakes of a young writer. Remember your audience; your judgement may depend on what your reader values most. If your audience most likely agrees with your judgment already, then you should choose a different topic.
5) Step into your readers’ shoes and respond to some objections they may raise about your judgement or analysis. For example: Another reader of this novel might find its cyborg crimelord antagonist to be flat or one-dimensional. I acknowledge this objection and counterargue that the author intended this effect for the antagonist in order to contrast the protagonist’s complexity, thematically reflecting that she is the only organic being in a society of machines.
6) You must organize your evaluation into a clear, logical structure with smooth transitions and a progressive arrangement of ideas.

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