Let’s start by providing a definition of what is a response essay. Response or reaction essay, as it is understood from the name, is written in response to something – to a book, a movie, a musical track, a speech, a drawing, a new trend in fashion – virtually anything. It is, therefore, highly personalized; unlike, e.g., book report, it isn’t limited with mere descriptions; it is supposed to convey your opinion and message.
As response essays are most likely based on books, we will give you some tips on how to write a response essay on a text, although the same suggestions are easily applied to any other subject matter:
- Determine your attitude to the text in all its aspects: style, an idea the author tries to convey, etc. Even the response essay format the author uses can be relevant.
- When you read the text, make notes, mark the fragments that seem interesting to you, memorize details.
- Think about and outline the structure of your future essay and decide in which part of it you would use the text fragment you’ve highlighted in the step before.
- In the process of writing, try to pay as much attention to details as it is possible; be original, even peculiar in their interpretation. Only the author knows what he or she intended to say about this or that, and your teacher is hardly this very author.
- Notice stylistic devices at all levels, from metaphors and similes to zeugmas and parallel constructions. You may either concentrate your attention on them or just make it obvious that you see them. But God forbid you from enumerating them!
When you are assigned a response essay, the teacher wants to see how you interpret things, be it a literary text or something else, what conclusions you can make out of this or that material, how you express your opinions. Try to make these opinions as interesting as possible, never write what you think the teacher wants you to write. Being sincerely responsive to what you’ve read is the main secret to crafting great piece.
Believe us – the teacher has already read similar works hundreds of times. Write something new and unusual, based on assumption even you consider to be far-fetched but original, and you will attract his attention.
Response essay will be different according to your exact assignment, but the general vision of how to write an essay response is as follows:
- Thesis statement. Here you say what you are going to write about, what aspect you will concentrate on.
- Elaborate on your thesis. Give the author’s opinion on it; prove your own idea by quotations, examples, and arguments. Base your writing on facts, rather than personal impressions.
- Return to the beginning, say why you think your point is proved or disproved, and name the most important points – that’s how you’ll craft the summary response essay is supposed to have.