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ou will be prompted to comment on two of your classmates’ essays. In response to each draft, please answer the questions below. You can write your comments completely off to the side of the essay, or do some combination, such as highlighting certain sections to comment on in bubbles to the side and then write general comments completely off to the side. (Note the various ways to mark and comment on essays
Questions to address in responding to your classmates’ essays:
What is the central concept, phenomenon, or issue that this paper presents? In reading it, do you get a sense of the writer’s genuine interest in the topic? If it’s not coming across very strongly, explain this to the writer (and explain why it’s not coming across).
As a writer of this kind of paper, one way to elicit interest and spark enthusiasm for the topic is to use vivid, concrete, precise details that show you are awake to every aspect of the topic and a sense of the discoveries to be made. Does the writer do this? (As a reader, trust your own instincts as you read. Also, think about Rosenwald’s “The Mess He Made” and how it defies the conventions of the typical academic essay.) Are there any places where you find your attention and interest beginning to fade? Why do you think this is happening? Could it be a lack of concrete, lively details? Does the writer show—through vivid description—why the topic is fascinating—or does the writer get caught up in simply “telling” the writers how he/she feels about the topic? What is the strongest part of the paper? What is the weakest part?
Keep in mind that a creative nonfiction essay of this sort need not summarize the main contents of the paper at the end, unlike your typical academic essay. But please address the ending and whether it heeds the call to keep your interest and perhaps leave you with the desire to read more about the topic. If the ending is weak or reads like an afterthought, do you have any suggestions to make it livelier and more worthwhile? (Something to think about: the closing, in its own way, should offer a hook—call it a closing hook if you wish.)
What strategies used by Rosenwald does this writer use? Are there any strategies left unused or underused that you think could make the paper more vivid, more interesting, livelier?
Last, but not at all least, how would you rate the content of the paper? Is the paper content-rich? Where does it flag in this regard? Does the paper teach the intelligent reader enough about its topic?


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