Reaction paper is a formal type of academic writing in which the writer shows his reaction to a certain piece of literature (text) or artwork. To write a good reaction paper it is necessary to understand its structure, dynamics and the professor expectations, things that make it rather complex for a novice writer. In a nutshell, a reaction essay is about reading, understanding and expressing one’s opinion about a particular text. Reaction papers require synthesis and analysis, i.e. the writer has to understand the intellectual work of others and use synthesis to bring the pieces of material together to make a smooth-flowing, integrated whole. It is for this reason, to write a good reaction paper it is advisable to refer to more than one text. As for student reaction paper assignments, one should note that a student needs to understand each particular text discussed or read in class and use these texts in the reaction paper. The texts may or may not relate to each other directly, yet the student should find the common grounds and similarities between them to relate several texts to each other. In this way, a student demonstrates knowledge of the material as well as fluency of expression.
How to write reaction papers
The first step to write a reaction paper is to read the text and to fully understand it. One cannot overemphasize the importance of understanding the text, its plot, the climax, the main themes, the characters and the context of the text. The next step is to pose and to discuss interesting, and non-trite questions relevant to the text. Discussion of the text and themes alone does not suffice. A student should relate his ideas to the ideas of the author of the text as well as to the texts previously discussed in class. He should utilize personal knowledge and experience in such a way so that to analyze the author’s ideas in a novel, non-standard manner pertinent to the problems and challenge of the contemporary (or modern) society.
Overall, reaction papers have a structure similar to other types of paper, including the introduction, body (at least 3 body paragraphs), referred transition and a conclusion. In the introduction section, the writer presents the topic of discussion, using the “hook” (a catchy statement that incites the interest of readers to make them actually read past the introduction). In the body he fully explores the topic, while in conclusion, he iterates what has been said in the body part.
Reaction paper style
Reaction papers are always about expressive writing style, and an eloquent combination of personal arguments corroborated by the information from the text. The writer, therefore, should use his imagination, analytical thinking and reasoning. He should take risks and experiment with the language. That is why reaction papers may resemble analytical reviews, formal and informal papers, illustration, personal judgments, a conceptual and theoretical reasoning. Throughout the writing process it is necessary to keep in mind the target audience, the purpose of the essay and the given specifics and limitations of your assignment. It is for this reason, one may use either the specific-to-general (induction) or general-to-specific (deduction) approaches to properly organize reaction papers.
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