One of the more common writing assignments you will have to complete in literature courses is the response essay. It requires students to take a text and present a clear and concise argument demonstrating a reaction to the text while using supporting evidence. They’re usually pretty simple exercises that don’t require much research outside of the original text, but they can still be troublesome for students who don’t have much experience writing these kinds of papers. One of the most effective ways of learning how to write a response to literature essay is to acquire and use an example copy as a guide. Here is how you can do this effectively:
These kinds of written assignments tend to be a lot shorter than other literature papers, so it’s important you don’t waste space with fluff sentences or words. Pay attention to how the example gets to the point right from the first sentence of the introduction. Introduce your topic and identify the subject. There should only be one or two background statements before a thesis statement clearly points out what the paper is about.
Another thing to look for is the amount of paragraphs being used to present supporting evidence. Most academic papers will have about five paragraphs, of which three body paragraphs are used to express three separate ideas in support of a thesis statement. You’ll notice that with this response to literature essay you may find one discussion point with at least two or three pieces of evidence in a single paragraph.
One of the biggest problems students have in writing quality assignments is mastering the transitional sentence. These are linking sentence that take the reader from one point to the next. They are extremely important in structuring particularly confusing concepts and can make a big difference in comprehension and thus affect letter grades.
Lastly, examine how the concluding paragraph is structured in the example. It should restate your thesis statement and summarize the main points you made in the paper. It should, however, additionally synthesize that information so that your reader understands how the evidence presented relates to your argument. Don’t use the conclusion to introduce new ideas; this will only confuse the reader and make your paper less enjoyable to read.
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