Critical Response Essay: Letter to an Author/Speaker

This first essay is designed as an opportunity to deepen and challenge your critical thinking about a topic of your choosing.  You will write a letter to an author/speaker as a critical response to that author/speaker’s nonfiction argument. When you critically respond to an argument, you are giving your evaluation of it. What did you think of this argument? How would you question or challenge it? How would the claim impact various groups? Are you convinced by the author’s argument? Why or why not? Remember that the author/speaker knows the article/video’s content; be careful not to summarize the article or video. Since this is a critical response, it goes beyond personal opinion. This is an analytical view of the reasoning and evidence presented in the article. You must use at least two concepts from the Critical Response PPT in your letter, but you may not write about ethos/pathos/logos. I am looking for deep thoughts in response to specific parts of the article/video. 

Requirements for the Article/Video You Select:

You can use one of the articles I recommend (links posted in D2L under Content) or select one yourself. The article, video, or chapter of a book you select must be:

  1. Nonfiction Argument (not primarily informative)
  2. At least 800 words in length or at least 8 minutes long for a video
  3. From a credible source (Avoid websites like or blog posts, etc.)
  4. Thought provoking and relevant

Requirements for the Essay (Letter) You Write:

  • Use 2-4 credible secondary sources to support your response to this author. 
  • MLA format
  • Do not write about ethos, pathos, or logos. These play into an argument, but I want us to focus on critical evaluation of the ideas.
  • Use at least two pieces of the Critical Response PPT to guide your discussion
  • Times New Roman, 12-point font, double-spaced, one-inch margins 
  • Use formal vocabulary throughout, but you may use limited first and second person pronouns
  • Your letter must be 1000-1500 words in length, not including your works cited page.

Outline Due –  under Collaboration / Discussions

Rough Draft Due. Submit the draft through its dropbox on D2L under Course Activities / Assignments AND under Collaboration / Discussions (both required for credit). You do not need to use sources within the draft yet, but you do need to include a Works Cited that gives the MLA citation of your article or video plus your 2-4 secondary sources. The rough draft must be at least 700 words in length to count for credit.

Final Draft due –: Must be submitted through the dropbox in D2L under Course Activities / Assignments. Remember that the final draft must reach a minimum of 1000 words. No late papers will be accepted after and all late papers incur a penalty of ten points. Five extra credit points are available for a tutoring session at The Write Place or BrainFuse (virtual or in-person).

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