Skim over the following student essays, select one, analyze it carefully, and comment on the following eight questions in at least a page of response. Be sure to number your responses, and give the kind of feedback you’d like to receive as a writer to help you most effectively and successfully write your own paper.

Please note that each question should be discussed and explained; simple “yes” or “no” answers are insufficient.

  1. Which specific ideas, words, phrases, or images struck you as particularly memorable and effective?
  2. Which specific things struck you as confusing or needing elaboration?
  3. Where does the writer use descriptions to show rather than tell? Where would more sensory description, dialogue, or detail help readers engage more with the narrative?
  4. As a reader, what do you want to hear more about?
  5. In your own words, what would you say is the meaning of your peer’s essay?
  6. Is the meaning significant and clear, and does it have a strong connection to the narrative? Is the reflection on the idea discussed at least 25% of the essay?
  7. What does this draft do especially well?
  8. What two or three things would most improve the draft in revision?


Select one of the following essays for your student response (see attachments below for student essays):



Tips on the “Peer Response” Assignments

This is the first of several “Peer Response” assignments, so here are a few pointers to keep in mind.

  • Remember that you can (and should) include specific details — including quotations! — from the readings.
  • Vague writing is bad writing. Specifics help make your points clear. And, clarity is the primary goal of all writing.
  • Please note that if I cannot tell from the answers which student paper you are responding to, it will be sent back to be redone.
  • So, please use quotations from the readings, and other specific details, to illustrate your points — and prove that you’re right, at the same time!
  • It’s not enough to make unproven claims, alone. Offer proof for your claims by quoting specific details.
  • Again, I think the easiest way to write rhetorical analyses is, first, logos, then ethos, and then pathos. List the facts. Then, discuss if they’re credible. Finally, see if both of those lead to emotional impact (i.e., how likely are readers to have an emotional response to writing that is factually wrong and hard to believe?).
  • Finally, remember there is often overlap between two or three rhetorical appeals at the same time.