critical response essay or discussion is a common assignment in humanities courses. On the surface, it s easy, perhaps, to think of the critical response as an extended book/chapter/essay review. However, where a review might stop at summary and an examination of the original context of a text, a critical response will push on to the exploration of a particular question provoked by the reading, or to the examination of a particular perspective the readers sees as being supported or thwarted by the work/author under examination. Some of the questions you should ask yourself when you read:What is the writer s main argument? How is that argument organized? Is there biased reflected in any of the claims made by this author or even in the overall approach to the argument? What is the author assuming about his/her audience? What would be the logical outcome of this author s argument? How might this argument be applied to practical issues of ethical behavior? Does the author provide sufficient support and/or illustrations or evidence for this argument?Does the author have an agenda that, while not spelled out in this essay, is evident or is influencing the text (for example, do you know, already that the author is a Marxist, a Deconstructionist, or from some other theoretical school which itself, makes particular assumptions, or relies on particular views of the universe or the purposes of the individual? The questions above are just a sampling of the kinds of questions a careful, critical reader asks. A careful reader, in a way, carries on a conversation with an author, even as that reader work through a piece. This is often done by annotating a text, or taking notes on it. Do you notice a particular instance of bias in the discussion? Label it in the margin. Do you see a key word repeated throughout the essay, circle it. Underline essential quotations central to an argument, or that stand out to you as important. In this way, you are mentally and physically interacting with the text. Another way you, as a critical reader, learning from and analyzing a text, can make great headway in understanding a new text and new ideas is to keep a dialectical journal (see the article below). These journals can become wonderful sources of material for forum posts, for reflective essays, and for essays written for exams. For this assignment, you must engage Mahfouz’ novel “Arabian Nights & Days.” Here is a link to the ebook: EXPECTATIONSAll written submissions should be submitted in a font and page set-up that is readable and neat. It is recommended that students try to adhere to a consistent format, which is described below. Typewritten in double-spaced format with a readable style and font and submitted inside the electronic classroom (unless classroom access is not possible and other arrangements have been approved by the professor). Arial 11 or 12-point font or Times New Roman styles. Page margins Top, Bottom, Left Side and Right Side = 1 inch, with reasonable accommodation being made for special situations and online submission variances. Indent paragraphsDouble space (it is not necessary to skip an extra line between paragraphs)Number your pages in the upper right cornerUse MLA documentation*
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