English 150w: Introduction to Literary Studies
Professor Jason Tougaw
Draft Workshop: Writing Assignment #1 (Critical Essay)
For this first assignment, focus your comments primarily on argument, motive, and evidence. Of course, you should comment on other elements of the writing that you think will help the writer, but be sure you address the questions below directly and in some depth. Do this in writing, before you come to class.
- Is the writer’s argument (or thesis) strong? In other words, is it plausible without being obvious? Will some readers disagree with it? Is it introduced in clear, direct prose? Can you restate the thesis in your own words without struggling to figure out what it is?
- Does the writer establish motive? Does s/he make it clear how this argument contributes to a larger conversation, debate, or field of knowledge? Does the argument seem to matter? How might the writer establish motive more effectively?
- Does the writer introduce evidence that supports and develops the main argument? Is the evidence introduced gracefully? Is it analyzed sufficiently? Indicate specific pieces of evidence that work well. Suggest improvement on the use of others. Finally, point out specific places where more evidence would help the writer develop the argument more effectively.