Does the author
articulate a specific argument about the text(s) that at least one
reader somewhere in the world could disagree with? If not, explain
Is the argument
mostly concerned with interpreting and explaining the text(s) in
question? In other words, is the essay a literary analysis? If you have
concerns about this question, please make a note of them.
Is the author's
argument convincing to you? Is it a persuasive critical interpretation?
Why or why not? (Please be tactful, but remember, your peer is relying
on you for an honest critical assessment.)
Does the essay
demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the texts at hand? If not, indicate
where and how the writer may have misunderstood, misinterpreted, or
failed to address details of the text(s).
Does the essay
offer a close reading of the text(s) in question? In other words, does
the author include quotations from the text that are carefully
explained? If not, identify any quotations that seem to "stand
alone"--that is, quotations that are not introduced and then explained.
Is the writer's
own voice overpowered by secondary resources? Does the writer use too
many quotations (from either primary or secondary sources or both) or
quotations that are unnecessarily long?
If the essay
aims to analyze only texts that we HAVE covered in the class, are they
unnecessarily summarized? If the essay aims to analyze texts that we
HAVE NOT covered in this class, are they summarized perfunctorily
Does the essay's
conclusion do more than merely reword the thesis statement and
summarize the argument? If not, what kinds of points would you like to
see the author make in the conclusion?
introduction exceed one page? Is the introduction unnecessarily long or
so short that it does not adequately introduce the topic and argument?
introductory paragraph contain an easily identifiable thesis statement?
If so, underline it. If not, indicate where your confusion arises as to
where the thesis statement is.
Does the thesis
statement answer a how question? If not, what kind of question does it
argument suggested by the thesis statement correspond to the actual
argument being made in the paper as a whole? If not, how do the two
paragraph of the essay work to support the argument suggested by the
thesis statement? If not, how might the paragraph(s) (or the thesis
statement) be revised?
paragraph contain a topic sentence that the rest of the paragraph
paragraphs in a logical order? If not, how might they be rearranged in
a more effective sequence?
Does the essay
contain grammatical errors? If so, point them out on the essay.
Frequent errors are:
essay follow MLA style formatting guidelines?
word choice (diction)
of style / sentence construction (syntax)
the essay contain correctly formatted MLA citations, both within
paragraphs and in the works cited page?
works cited entries formatted with a hanging indent?
the essay double-spaced on every line?
the essay have one-inch margins on all sides?
the typeface 12-point Times or similar font?
the header correctly placed, one-half inch from the top of the page?
the header contain the writer's last name and correct page number?
the essay contain a cover page? If so, it should be omitted.