These are informal essays. No need for MLA formatting or formal essay constructions. Don’t bother with an introduction or conclusion, instead just focus on the body of the essay.
There are three very different texts for you to examine through a critical thinking lens here. One is a political cartoon, another a personal essay, and the last an editorial commentary.
For each write a brief no more than 500 words or about 1 page response that demonstrates the topics and concepts we have discussed in this course.
This should demonstrate your ability to read and write critically, preview texts, identify obstacles to critical thinking, examine assumptions (yours and others), analyze a text’s meaning, understand personal connections and biases, and understand meaning.
NOTE: You may talk about arguments as they apply, but you are not *making* arguments. You are reading critically and responding the text, NOT making an argument. Your task is not to agree or disagree with the main points but instead to show off your critical thinking skills we have been learning about all semester.
HINT: When analyzing the political cartoon, you may want to do a little bit of research to familiarize yourself with what was going on in 1941 and what editorial cartoons do.
Each essay is worth 100 points each. No works cited page is required.
Read each of the following texts. Write a short essay response in which you discuss them from a critical thinking perspective.
Political Cartoon
Cartoonist: Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel)
Published October 1, 1941 PM Newspaper
(Links to an external site.)
Personal Essay “Undecided”
Writer: David Sedaris
Published: October 27, 2008 New Yorker Magazine
(Links to an external site.)
Editorial “God is Using Coronavirus to Accomplish his Purposes”
Writer: Jim Daly
Published: April 12, 2020
(Ignore the video…focus on the written text.)
(Links to an external site.)
Some questions to guide you…. here are some questions critical thinkers use that you may want to consider in responding. You do not need to answer all of these, but you can use them to guide your response.
Briefly summarize the text. What does it say (don’t argue with it, just restate the main points and the argument if one is being made).
What perspectives are presented in the text? Are they presented fairly?
Are any assumptions being made in this text? Are they explicit or implicit?
Do these assumptions seem reasonable in this context? Why or why not?
What are the obstacles to critical thinking that come into play in this discussion?
What are the strengths/advantages and weaknesses/disadvantages of the text as it is presented? This can be an evaluation of the writing, argument, or critical thinking.
What evidence supports or contradicts their claims or perspective?
What are arguments for and counterarguments against the main points of the text?
Are there any logical fallacies?
What questions would critical thinkers ask about the text?
Hint: Be aware of your own biases, the discussion we read about motivated reasoning, and obstacles to critical thinking. If you don’t know the context of the text a few minutes research can go a long way.
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