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Critical Analysis on "Sports in America" by James Michener

 

James Michener. “Sports in America,” pp. 1028-33

You are allowed to use dictionaries and thesaurus, but no palm or any other gadget. Make sure to read the essay more than once, noting its thesis, audience, purpose, structure, and style. Remember to make comments not just repeat what the author states. A few hints about critical analysis:

Main Idea: If there is a thesis sentence, quote it; if not, write a sentence which expresses, as clearly as possible, the central idea. Often you can come up with this statement by thinking about what the writer’s topic is, and then what he or she is saying about the topic. The main idea is always expressed in a complete sentence.
Purpose: Tell why the author is writing the essay: explain what he or she is trying to accomplish. (Remember that purpose is closely tied to audience.)

Organization and development: An author’s work may have been organized mainly according to one of the common methods: chronological, spatial, and least to most important details. Also, you need to include clear comments on the exposition patterns (narration and description, classification, comparison /contrast, definition, process, argumentation) used either as the dominant mode or in combination. Make sure to give examples for the patterns you recognize. Statements such as “The author has done a beautiful job of organizing his ideas” mean very little if not backed up with specifics.

Audience: Identify the specific groups the author is addressing. Use clues such as tone and language levels to support your statements about the targeted audience. Remember that authors usually give an indication in the first paragraph. (You may of course have to make inferences.) Whatever audience you choose, explain the reasons for your choice.

Style and tone: Discuss sentence structure (long, short, simple, complex, compound-complex, etc.), word choice (you may have discussed this briefly in audience), presence or absence, language level (formal, informal, slang, abstract, concrete, etc.).
Evaluation: Express your reaction to this work- what you like about it, what you don’t like about it –with a reasonable amount of justification and reasoning.

The guidelines above are optional. You can select as many categories as you wish and elaborate on each, or, if you feel you have plenty to say about any single element, such as purpose, you can just focus on that feature. In any case, you do not need to give heading or subheadings and bold or underline each element, but make sure appropriate transitions link your paragraphs, so that there wouldn’t be any abruptness

 

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