Minimum length: 3 pages
Format: 1 inch margins (left, right, top, bottom), 12 point font, 1.5 spacing
Choose either the article by Kasson or Buick in Reading American Art
Prompt: Write a critical analysis of a scholarly article.
Instructions (the writing process):
As a first step for yourself—1) Analyze the author’s argument. What is her argument? 2) How is it constructed? In other words, what types of evidence does she use (visual and otherwise) and what points of her do these pieces of evidence support?, and 3) Are there weaknesses or strengths in her argument?
Step 2: Once you have answered these questions, come up with a thesis that reflects your analysis of the article and the material. Be sure that your main argument is something that is not obvious, meaning that it is something that is debatable and needs to be demonstrated through visual and historical proof that you identify.
Step 3: Create an outline that is a structure for the logic for your argument. This is not simply a list of the topics you will cover, but how the points you make will be support for the claims you made in your thesis statement.
Step 4: Revise your thesis sentence as you clarify your ideas during the writing/drafting process.
Step 5: Edit and revise! Do not crank out three pages and turn that it in. That would be turning in a draft to me, and a draft is not the same as a final paper. I suggest you write something longer than three pages and then cut out the fat, leaving only the most important points. Check your grammar. Revise your sentence syntax so there is variety. Make your sentences more concise through “word-smithing.” Have another person read your paper and ask questions. Have yet another person, maybe a classmate read your paper after you’ve made revisions. Don’t assume anything is obvious and lay out your logic rather than rely on the reader to figure out your leaps of thought and reasoning.
Step 6: Proofread. All grammatical and language errors “count.” I recommend you ask another person to read your essay and get their feedback. If that person cannot understand your essay or your points, then it needs more work.