THE CRITICAL PROCESS:
SIMPLE, NOT EASY
ENG111
P. Tymon
Writing Well is Simple, Not
Easy:
 Simple means to have steps to follow to
complete a task; you are not wandering with no...
The Critical Process:
 Ask a critical-thinking question (for the first
essay in Unit 1 Part 1, I provide this question)
...
1. Purpose
 As we have learned, this is what you want to say
in the essay.
A good way to arrive at this is to think about...
Example of Hegelian Dialectic:
First Thesis: I prefer the Harry Potter novels to
the films; I like to create my own pictur...
Thesis & Purpose:
 So, your final thesis gets at the critical reality;
these two artworks cannot be compared
deeply and l...
Ideas: Topic Sentences
 Now that you have a purpose, a critical-
thinking thesis, you are ready for the ideas that
make u...
Purpose & Thesis 2
Thesis: Deciding which is “better” between the Harry Potter
novels and the films causes a logical probl...
2. Support:
 Support is comprised of the major and minor details
that prove a point.
Let’s look at one of the topic sente...
3. Assumptions & Biases:
 This is where we do an ethical check.
 Your Pearson critical-thinking reading from Unit
1 Part...
4. Conclusion (House)
 Time to finish the house with a critically
thought-out conclusion.
1. Begin a conclusion by restat...
6. Point of View & 7. Analysis
 These are final checkpoints.
 They provide a space for you to look back over
your essay ...
See the essay sample:
 The essay sample is located in the Unit 1 Part
2 folder and is based on the direction begun in
thi...
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Critical Thinking and Writing

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Critical Thinking and Writing

  1. 1. THE CRITICAL PROCESS: SIMPLE, NOT EASY ENG111 P. Tymon
  2. 2. Writing Well is Simple, Not Easy:  Simple means to have steps to follow to complete a task; you are not wandering with no help. You have a plan.  Easy means that not much effort is involved in a task. Our mantra for this class is “Simple, not easy!”  Dressing an infant is simple, but not everyone finds the process easy.  Getting married—at its most basic—is simple, but being married seldom is (as rewarding as it may be).
  3. 3. The Critical Process:  Ask a critical-thinking question (for the first essay in Unit 1 Part 1, I provide this question)  Answer the question using critical thinking to arrive at a thesis. Example question: Are the Harry Potter tales better as films or as a novels? On the next few slides, lets use our seven tools to critical thinking to come up with a critical response to this question . . .
  4. 4. 1. Purpose  As we have learned, this is what you want to say in the essay. A good way to arrive at this is to think about a process called the Hegelian Dialectic. Hegel asked us to think of a purposeful critical thought like this: What I think (first thesis) & Other newly learned ideas that makes sense (antithesis) = How I can combine the two to make a good analysis, or critical statement of purpose (synthesis and final thesis)
  5. 5. Example of Hegelian Dialectic: First Thesis: I prefer the Harry Potter novels to the films; I like to create my own picture of the Potter world. Antithesis: The novels cannot compete with the films because the visual effects and characters make the films more engaging than the novels, especially since not everyone enjoys reading fiction. Synthesis & Final Thesis: Deciding which is “better” between the Harry Potter novels and the films causes a logical problem because the films and novels are two different works of art,
  6. 6. Thesis & Purpose:  So, your final thesis gets at the critical reality; these two artworks cannot be compared deeply and logically in terms of “better and worse” because they serve two different purposes and are as different as apples and oranges.  In this way, your purpose is now to communicate this idea to your audience.
  7. 7. Ideas: Topic Sentences  Now that you have a purpose, a critical- thinking thesis, you are ready for the ideas that make up your body-paragraph topic sentences.  Use these topic sentences to develop support for the thesis.  The next slide demonstrates this process . . .
  8. 8. Purpose & Thesis 2 Thesis: Deciding which is “better” between the Harry Potter novels and the films causes a logical problem because the films and novels are two different works of art, proverbial apples and oranges. Break down the thesis ideas for topic sentences: 1. “Better” is a word that implies a hierarchy; when works of art are as different as films and novels, they do not belong in the same “better” pair. 2. A novel has a distinct purpose for the reader, and one important purpose is much to create a world in the reader’s mind. 3. Likewise, films have their own purposes: to interpret and visually represent the events of a story for the audience.
  9. 9. 2. Support:  Support is comprised of the major and minor details that prove a point. Let’s look at one of the topic sentences we just generated and some support for the topic sentence: “Better” is a word that implies a hierarchy; when works of art are as different as films and novels, they do not belong in the same “better” pair. How do I know? 1. One would not ask if a tree is better than a blade of grass; both exist in nature for different, although similar, purposes. 2. Films and novels, likewise, are both works of art, but are not the same things and do not strive for the same reader or audience responses. 3. One might even argue that the book has only one reader at a time, but that the film has an audience watching a story first read and interpreted by producers, screenwriters, directors, and others involved in making the film.
  10. 10. 3. Assumptions & Biases:  This is where we do an ethical check.  Your Pearson critical-thinking reading from Unit 1 Part 1 states the following: “Assumptions (information you take for granted) and biases (personal beliefs you have about particular topics) can be a helpful tool or they can throw a wrench into your thinking if they are not valid. Always evaluate them when making an argument.”  So, now is the time to question your argument, your critical stance. For example, are you more likely to give novels artistic value greater than films because you have been taught to do so?  On the other hand, are films going to win out because you do not personally enjoy reading fiction? These are biases and must have no part of a critical argument. If you mention them, you must qualify them as your own feelings.
  11. 11. 4. Conclusion (House)  Time to finish the house with a critically thought-out conclusion. 1. Begin a conclusion by restating your thesis not verbatim, though. 2. Fill the middle of your conclusion with the three most important ideas you want your readers to carry away from the essay. 3. Close to create “echoes” of the essay’s beginning (this is demonstrated in the sample essay in Unit 1 Part 2 folder).
  12. 12. 6. Point of View & 7. Analysis  These are final checkpoints.  They provide a space for you to look back over your essay to be sure that you kept personal bias and unsupportable statements out of your writing and that your essay is a whole working to support the thesis, not just a collection of unrelated paragraphs.
  13. 13. See the essay sample:  The essay sample is located in the Unit 1 Part 2 folder and is based on the direction begun in this presentation.  Remember, “simple, not easy.”  Let me know if you have questions.

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