How To Write A Response Essay – Written & Unwritten Rules

An essay is supposed to be an impersonal and professional piece of writing. It represents one of the main rules to adapt to before you even choose the topic. However, things are a bit different when it comes to learning how to write a response essay.

The main difference between a response essay and any other type of essay is the tone. You will write it in the first person. You are encouraged to mention what you believe and what you think, so your personal opinions kick in.

Other than that, there are also some similarities. For instance, you still need to do some research. You still have to find facts and provide evidence for your ideas, but at the end of the day, it is still a personal reaction.

Observe and respond

Whether you have to write about a book, a movie, a speech, or a personality, you will need to write a formal piece of writing and add your own personal impressions as you go through it. The first part involves observing the aspect you will write about. Take notes of relevant things that you can use later.

Reflect on those things and write down your ideas and thoughts regarding them. You will soon end up with a decent plan for your thesis. Come up with an outline, ideas, titles, and subtitles, then build the essay. It sounds simple, but it requires deep analysis.

The beginning

Assuming that you already have the outline, you will need to get to work – the first draft. Before getting to the body and going into small details, you need a powerful introduction. The first paragraph must draw attention and hook your readers in.

This paragraph must include whatever you respond to. It could be criticism, a book, or a movie. Include the author’s name, as well as the title of the work. Make sure you end the introduction the right way. This is where you make the statement – your crystal clear opinion.

Thoughts and opinions

Learning how to write a response essay is easy if you are objective. Indeed, it feels a little unusual to write an essay in the first person, not to mention expressing your own opinions and ideas, but at the end of the day, this is what you need to write about.

The body is supposed to have a bit of balance. Practically, you can analyze one part of a chapter at a time, but also express personal reactions as you go through it. You need to discuss, critique, discuss some more, and critique again. Mention the successful parts, as well as the failures.

Expressions to include

You will feel like repeating all the time. You will believe, think, and feel. A successful response essay is supposed to bring light in a few different ways. Here are a few ideas on how to introduce your ideas to the essay:

  • I felt
  • I did not like
  • In my opinion
  • This chapter seemed
  • I was touched by
  • I cannot understand the connection between
  • Readers can conclude that
  • The writer seems
  • It was clear that

Unwritten rules

There are a few unwritten rules that must be religiously followed when writing a response essay. Lots of newbies tend to include insults or comments without actually explaining their ideas and opinions. Practically, you need an analysis that explains your point of view. Otherwise, it is nothing but a childish insult.

You can, indeed, critique what you analyze, but everything must be backed up. Thoughts, ideas, and reactions require evidence that you are right. What exactly triggered a reaction? How did it happen? Why did you feel that way? What failed to impress you and why? Practically, each critiquing aspect must be explained to the reader.

As a short final conclusion, you do not have to be a genius to understand how to write a response essay, but you do need to pay attention to how you follow it. Do not make it sound like an attack. Instead, make it sound like an analysis. You will have to analyze and critique, then back your negative aspects up with ideas and explanations. This way, you will help the reader understand your point of view.