Writing a response paper means that you may choose to write about your own reaction to a givenreading or readings as a whole or you may choose to write about a particular point or points made by the author. Whatever you choose to focus on, the response must be critical, not simply a description of your own personal feelings about the essay. Writing a “response paper” might seem to imply that you will be writing about your emotional responses and reactions to a particular text, that you will be answering the question: “How did you feel about the text?” This is NOT what you are to do in a critical response paper. In this sort of paper, “How did you feel” is a legitimate starting point perhaps, but what is more interesting is why you felt that way.2The response paper consists of your close examination of the text and the questions in the text that most intrigue you. It does not need to be a fully structured and argued essay—it should, however, pull together your thoughts about a particular issue in the text.Guidelines to help you produce a good response paper:Ø Write about something you care about.Ø Take a look at some of the questions asked by the author, or even some of the questions I occasionally list on our handouts, for inspiration.Ø Make a statement / take a position (a thesis) about the topic. Sometimes that statement will be an argument for or against a position; at other times it will be a statement of confusion, when the writer isn\’t sure what to believe.Ø Explain your reasons for believing your thesis, so that your reader can understand why you are making this assertion. If your thesis is a statement of confusion, explain why you\’re confused! Use evidence and citations from the readings. Construct an argument.Ø Show what it was in the assigned text that made you think about this topic. If possible, compare and contrast the assertions of the assigned text with your own.Be sure to cite your sources correctly. If you are quoting directly from a reading, please cite the source and page number parenthetically.
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