Essay #3: Critical Analysis

Assignment Description

For this assignment, you will choose a text (print, video, audio, image, etc.) that addresses a social, political, economic, or cultural issue that interests you, and write a 6-8 page (1500-2000 words) critical analysis paper on it. Imagine you are writing this essay for a scholarly journal or critical anthology on the author’s work.

The purpose of the critical analysis is not merely to inform, but also to evaluate an author’s argument and increase the reader’s understanding of it. Accordingly, you should plan to keep summary and description to a bare minimum. Instead, focus your essay on (1) identifying and explaining the author’s argument and (2) offering your own argument about said argument.

Your essay must include a clear thesis statement that establishes the meaning of the text, forms an opinion about that meaning, and demonstrates how the ideas in the work connect to the world at large. You should provide a detailed textual analysis supported with a minimum of 3 scholarly sources and 2 popular media sources.

Throughout the research process, you will write short assignments that will help you produce a thoughtful thesis statement and evaluate your sources before you begin your composition.

PAPER PROPOSAL (250-500 words)

  • The proposal should identify your chosen text and propose a specific, arguable thesis statement about its meaning. In addition to establishing a strong position on your topic, your proposal should detail what you hope to accomplish in your paper and outline the major points you want to address.


  • Your annotated bibliography should consist of the at least 3 secondary sources that you have deemed relevant to your topic and/or proposed thesis statement. For each source you will need to:
    • Cite the text in proper MLA format.
    • Write a brief annotation (approx. 150+ words) that summarizes the source in your own words and explains the source’s relevance and importance to your topic.   

Along with your final draft, you will submit a 1-2 page Reflection in which you address several questions about your experience writing this essay, including (but not limited to):

  • How did you think about and refine your thesis statement throughout your research journey?
  • Did you have trouble finding some information and if so, how did you overcome this challenge?
  • Were there any sources you found while conducting your research that you discarded? If so, why?
  • What problems did you encounter in analyzing your text and how did you solve them?
  • How did the sources you used to support your thesis statement contribute to your argurment?


6-8 pages (1,500-2,000 words); Size 12 font, Times New Roman, standard margins, double-spaced.

Cite all sources in proper MLA format. You must include a Works Cited page with your essay. *Note: Works Cited page does not count toward the word count.


Upload a digital copy of your Final Draft and 1-2 page Reflection via Blackboard before 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Apr. 30th.


Mar 15Review Essay #3: Critical Analysis
Mar 26Post Paper Proposal to Bb
Apr 2Post Annotated Bibliography to Bb
Apr 5Post First Draft to Bb
Apr 5 – 9Peer Review
Apr 12 – 16Group Conferences
Apr 30Post Final Draft + Reflection to Bb

Evaluation Rubric

Organization – 20%

  • Does your essay have a coherent structure?
  • Are your paragraphs focused on distinct units of thought controlled by specific and detailed topic sentences?
  • Do you implement appropriate, clear, and smooth transitions?

Content – 30%

  • Does your essay provide a compelling and original analysis of the text?
  • Are your ideas united and logically organized in a way that leads to a thought-provoking conclusion?

Development –  25%

  • Are your main points well supported with sufficient (but not excessive) use of evidence?
  • Does your essay use well-chosen examples and persuasive reasoning to develop and support your thesis consistently?

Thesis – 10%

  • Is your essay controlled by clear, precise, well-defined thesis statement?
  • Does your thesis sentence attempt to answer (or at least to explore) a challenging intellectual question?

Style – 10%

  • Are the sentences well-worded and well-constructed? Should some sentences be combined for clarity? Should others be broken into two or more sentences, so ideas receive proper emphasis?
  • Do you use quotations and MLA citations effectively?

Grammar & Mechanics – 5%

  • Have you proofread and edited your piece for grammatical and punctuation errors?

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