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Evaluating Literature, evaluating your world (Essay Sample)

For this essay you will be attending a literary event and writing an evaluative essay about the experience. Literary events include author readings/book signings at bookstores or performances of plays at theatres. FILMS DON'T COUNT. CONCERTS DON'T COUNT. Below should be sufficient guidelines for you to write your 5 page essay. Be sure to set up a good set of criteria for your evaluation... Evaluating Things You Encounter in the World We can offer a lot of opinions about what is “good or bad” or “right or wrong,” but what makes these things good or bad? If I say President Bush is a “great president,” what criteria am I using to justify my opinion? Likewise, if I say he's a “terrible president,” do I have data and information to back my opinion up? Terms like "good" or "bad" are in and of themselves meaningless terms—meaningless, primarily because these terms need to be propped up by criteria by which things deemed to be "good" or "bad" are judged. What makes a judgment of "good" or "bad" worthwhile is whether we state the criteria by which they are arrived at. Too often these terms are thrown around so easily and with no more support than our own unquestioned preferences—without specifying them. But even when we say that this CD is good or that movie is bad, we have criteria, we have reasons for making the statements. We just don't state them, or we're not aware of the need to state them. Perhaps we may not even be aware of what they are. The single most important thing to know about reviewing things, about evaluating them, is that you must make clear what your criteria are. Criteria are the standards by which we arrive at our judgments. If you're used to recommending movies or CDs or cars as good or bad without stating why—you may indeed be in for some insight into yourself as you search for the reasons behind your recommendations. Qualification to the above remarks: Whether we realize it or not, we hang out in "communities," groups brought together over some unifying interest. We are all members of lots of these groups, some we intentionally form, but others are conceptual. Often though, we're in groups we actively participate in. These groups often have shared values, and sometimes we can predict what people know and like etc. Here, we can sometimes get by with not stating the criteria for why something is "good" or "bad," because everyone in the group "sorta knows." The problem is that we sometimes forget that we're not just communicating with people who share tastes that are very much like our own. So, I want you to consciously and with an effort, think about why you believe something (whatever it is you're evaluating) is "good" or "bad." The "why" is the criteria or yardstick you use to measure this. This whole activity can make you aware that you may not be communicating as effectively as you think -- because your assumptions about what other people think about your evaluations can be wrong. Reviewing: Making the Criteria Clear Whenever you are tempted to make a judgment about whether something is good or bad, simply ask yourself why you are saying that. With the answer (as long as it's more than "because I like it" or "because I don't like it"), you are beginning the statement of criteria. In fact, in terms of critical thinking, there is nothing different in making claims about value from making any other kinds of claims: you should always be able to support you point. Being able to do so is what makes you judgment, your opinion, worthwhile. While learning to articulate the reasons behind your judgments is good (because it makes your judgments more substantial), that alone does not eliminate all the problems, particularly the disagreements between people on the questions of good or bad. The reason is that people place different values on different things. For me what makes a movie or a book good is not just the action, but the ideas and the artistic qualities books and movies have. This, however, clearly puts me in a different category from many folks around the country, who routinely shell out big bucks for movies I can't stand. You also run into opportunities to evaluate things in the workplace: employees, your boss, some new equipment. Again the important thing is to specify the yardstick by which you measure whatever it is you are measuring. Let me give another example to show how we can mis-communicate by failing to recognize the assumptions involved in our evaluations. Let's say a student offers a friend an evaluation of a teacher, telling the friend that the teacher is "good." The friend later takes a course from the teacher, only to have a terrible experience. The teacher didn't care about the course, wasted lots of class time talking and telling jokes, didn't share interesting or exciting ideas with the class, and generally did a poor job of teaching. The friend later runs into the student who recommended the instructor and asks about the recommendation. "I thought you said the instructor was 'good,'" the friend says. The first student responds, "Oh, year, he was good. The course was easy. We got a B for doing almost nothing." In this example, a lot of grief could have been avoided if either of the students had broached the idea of criteria. "What makes him 'good'?" would have done the trick. The example, of course, could have gone the other way, too. The friend could have recommended a teacher who was just the opposite of the one in the example above, only to find out the first student didn't really want to work and to learn something. After getting into the course, he might have decided the course was "hard" and the teacher was "bad" or "lousy" -- simply because the teacher made the class work for their grades. You can enhance your strengths (and your reputation) as a reviewer—of whatever it is you are called on to evaluate—if you take to heart the need to specify why it is you judge things the way you judge them. You can also learn more about yourself by asking yourself the same questions when you are tempted to render a judgment. You will certainly learn more about yourself if you try to pinpoint and articulate why it is you either like or dislike things you encounter. In fact, if you're not afraid of self-discovery, take it as a challenge to make a radical evaluation of your own system of judging things by asking why, over and over, until you get to the basis of whatever it is you have preferences for. You might be surprised at what you find. Questions to ask when evaluating a literary performance In order to write Paper #4, you need to create a set of criteria through which you will analyze the performance and, ultimately, judge it. Think about what makes a performance “good” or “bad.” What do YOU think makes a performance good or bad? How would these things apply to a literary performance? You must create your own criteria for this paper but you might consider the following questions before you go and while you're there to help you figure out what criteria you'll use to analyze the literary performance. 1) Was the selection of literature read or performed engaging? Was it “artistic” (and what does “artistic” mean)? Was it entertaining? Why or why not? 2) Did the performance make me think about something in a new way—or did it create an emotional response? Did it merely confirm things you already believe or did it challenge your assumptions about the world? 3) Did you find the performance disturbing? If so, was that a good thing and why? If not, was that a good thing and why? 4) Did the artist interact with and engage the audience? If so, how? If not, why not? Was engaging the audience or interacting with it important to the event? Why or why not? 5) What expectations did you have? Were those expectations fulfilled? If yes, is that a good thing or a bad thing? If your expectations were not fulfilled, was THAT a good thing or a bad thing? Why? 1) Clear, specific thesis that addresses the essay prompt. Essay should also contain a clear set of criteria that tells your reader how you are planning to evaluate the literary event. This set of criteria should either be in the introduction or shortly thereafter. 2) Topic sentences in each paragraph that support the thesis 3) Analysis of evidence--evidence will be gathered at the event itself--provided to support topic sentences within each paragraph 4) Paper contains proper MLA style in-text citation 5) Paper contains an MLA style works cited page source..
Criteria for Evaluation of an Event
The criteria for evaluating an event go hand in hand with making some decision. It is about deciding on whether the event is good or bad. The question that informs the judgment is ‘why?’ It is however important to analyze some of the factors the process of judgment before we can tackle criteria for evaluation, based on some example of an event. We can state for a fact that for one to make a good judgment, he must be of good wisdom too. Depending on the particular event being evaluated, good judgment can be informed by a number of factors including: a person’s emotional stability, sound memory, personal experiences, ones own attitude and bias, ability to tackle issues based on knowledge, intuition, analytical skills and the ability to relate the present to the past and perceive, forecast or estimate future possibilities (Boughton 301).
Having looked at the things that influence judgment and decision making, we are ready to describe and evaluate an event, TV reality show for the purpose of this paper. But first, we need set the criteria for evaluation. At the end of the day, I will need to make a personal evaluation as to whether the event is good or bad and why? In making my evaluation, I will be guided by a number of factors: First, I will want to know the purpose for the event and therefore seek to know whether it is good or bad, achievable or over ambitious. Secondly, I will briefly analyze the whole process of participants’ identification and selection, and the factors informing the selection. Lastly, I will look at expectations of the interest groups, i.e. the faculty, the judges and the audience.
The event that I want to evaluate is an East African TV reality show called Tusker Project Fame. This is an annual event that brings together contestants from East African countries with singing talent, for a singing contest at the end of which the overall winner takes home a cash prize equivalent to 60,000$ (US dollars) among other awards and benefits.
Before embarking on Tusker Project Fame, let’s briefly look at reality shows in general perspective. According to Reality TV casting, people who get selected to a reality TV show are usually supposed to provide for variety of talents and ability to showcase diversity in order to make appealing presentations and provide better entertainment on television. In some shows, those who get a chance only do so by luck. In such cases, if a person does not get chosen, it will not imply that he is not good necessarily. The reason would probably be that the aspects of the particular show do not suit such a person in the selected team. For talent based shows, contestants are likely to be selected on the strengths of their talents. It is therefore important to note that such factors as one’s creative ability and talents, general knowledge especially of current affairs, team attitude and sociability, strong personality and informed opinions go along way in...
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