Criticism Paper

Erika Honcharik

Rasmussen College

Author note:

This assignment is being submitted on July 27, 2015 for Carly Hearns intro to critical thinking course.

Criticism Paper

This evaluative essay focuses on a literature piece by John Cheever called Reunion. The narrator is a son of who are parents living separately. The author stories to show how first impression is very important and how people judge others based on the few moments they spend them. Despite his mother having divorced his father three years ago, the writer explains the deep feelings that he has for his father. As a creative way clearing any bias from the readers mind, the author presents the son as the child who shows love for his father by seeing him from a distance. The son says that as soon as he saw him he felt that he was his blood, his flesh, his father, his doom, and his future. He explains that he missed him for the three years that they had lived separately after the divorce with their mother. Moreover, he argues that his father was a good-looking man and could not hide his joy to see him again. After they met and started, walking to get something to eat the son wishes that someone could photograph them as a record of their being together. The author paints a picture of how one can judge or expect so much from someone by just seeing him. Comment by Carly Hearn: Assignment should have a strong attention catcher that really draws the reader into the topic. Comment by Carly Hearn: grammatical and structural errors are highlighted with no text. Comment by Carly Hearn: Comment by Carly Hearn: Comment by Carly Hearn: Overall there is no clear introduction with a framework for presenting the topic, a thesis and overview of the main points to come (criteria). Comment by Carly Hearn: So far this is all summary and not an evaluation of the piece of literature. Additionally there are distracting grammatical and structural errors and I can not mark them all so I would encourage you to do a close read of the paper or submit it to the paper review service.

However, the short time the father and the son spend together leaves nothing to be desired. The father takes the son through a series of encounters that taints his image. The author presents the father as someone with so much pride and who finds pleasure in harassing people. He looks down upon others and has no respect for them. He boisterously presents himself as he intimidates other people. Out of the four restaurants they visited, they were only served in one restaurant, and the bartender refused to serve them two more drinks. In all the other restaurants, the waiters and bartenders could not stand his behavior. He is a man who forgets very fast, and he is not able to run from his past mistakes. For example, he behaves perfectly well in the second restaurants but forgets after they are served thus the bartender refuses to serve them more drinks. They did not have a good discussion like father and son because most of the time was wasted as they moved from restaurant to restaurant. Comment by Carly Hearn: Make the criteria clear as the topic sentence and follow with supporting evidence.

He apologizes to his son that there was no enough time to go to his club. The author presents him as a man who is difficult to agree with because he does not interact well with anyone in the story. This story leaves the reader with questions that he can easily answer why they divorced with his wife. The son gets impatient when his father starts arguing with a newspaper clerk and leaves never to see his father again. He seems fed up, bored, and irritated because of the day’s ordeal. This story is a creative piece of literature that is not only humorous but also with some lessons for the readers.

Scoring Rubric:

Criteria Comment by Carly Hearn: Currently the assignment is not meeting the criteria for grading as it is not an evaluative essay as described in the assignment instructions. i would encourage you to review the Module 4 materials including live lecture, notes below and examples.


Paper is 1 – 2 pages in length


Paper provides a criticism of a film, television show, album, work of art, or piece of literature.


Paper provides valid arguments for why you believe the work is, or is not, worth experiencing.


Paper is free of spelling and grammar errors




Evaluative Essay

The purpose of this evaluation is to determine the quality (good or bad) of a movie and analyze how and why based on a specific set of criteria.


One of the most important parts of an evaluative essay is to develop criteria from which to evaluate the topic. Criteria means establishing what the ideal or expectation for the movie should be. The criteria may change based on the topic. For example, it is likely that an evaluation of a book would have different criteria than an evaluation of its film counterpart (Harry Potter). Additionally, topics within the same genre might also carry different criteria for evaluation. For example, one would likely not establish the same criteria for a horror film and a romantic comedy. Once you have established the criteria, the next step is to apply it to the film you have chosen and develop support claims (or judgments) with strong evidence.

Typically criteria can be developed by looking at the expectations and characteristics of the item being evaluated. For the purposes of this essay, characteristics and expectations of film are most appropriate. Movies are often rated on the strength of the acting, directing, cinematography, costumes, editing, and the list goes on. These are just a few examples of criteria with which you could use to evaluate a film. You may also consider more abstract concepts such as the themes portrayed in the film or the use of visual elements to depict themes.


Judgments about the film based on the criteria would reflect whether or not the film meets that particular criteria. For example, if the criteria for evaluation is acting, the writing would reflect a claim about whether or not the acting was good or bad. Once the claim has been developed, the next step is to support the claim with concrete evidence (the how and why) for how a film meets the criteria. For example, if you were to evaluate the acting in The Dark Knight, you may claim that the acting is reflective of the finest character portrayals in modern film. You would support this claim by possibly discussing Heath Ledger’s Role as The Joker (for which he won an academy award). To “prove” this claim, you might refer to specific scenes in the film that portray excellent acting or use outside evidence from supporting sources concerning the research Ledger did to develop the character.

Opinion and Well-Reasoned

So far in the course, you have learned different methods for creating cogent reasoning. While the evaluative essay will definitely reflect the writer’s opinion, it should be integrated in a way such that it should seem reasoned and unbiased. Avoid using I statements or first person voice in a formal evaluation as it undermines the argument making it more like an opinion. Instead stick to clear claims about the subject and support with evidence.

Summary vs. Evaluation

One of the most common errors in student evaluative essays happens when the write falls into summary of the movie plot as opposed to an evaluation of the movie. A summary repeats what happens in the movie while an evaluation seeks to tell whether the storyline is effective and then explain how/why using concrete, specific examples.


Typically, each paragraph of the essay will focus on one criterion. The claim will be made as the topic sentence and the evidence will act as the supporting sentences for each paragraph. Additionally, the essay should reflect typical format in that it demonstrates a clear introduction with thesis (the overall evaluation), and an overview transition sentence of the main points to come. The essay should reflect at least three clear body paragraphs and a conclusion. Finally, remember to format the essay correctly with ethical citations for borrowed information, a properly formatted reference page, and a cover page (APA).

What to avoid

Try to avoid using cliché lines such as “This is the best movie of all time” and similar statements. Avoid repeating the plot summary and descriptions of characters that a reader could find in any database for movies. Instead focus on your perspective of the film.

See the example of a strong review under the Rotten Apples exercise in the course materials. This will give you an example to review as you work on revision of the paper.


Cheever, J. (2009). Collected stories and other writings. New York: Library of America.

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