Summary Essay

I don’t know how to handle this Writing question and need guidance.

Narratives are ubiquitous. Movies, anecdotes, novels, fairy tales, television shows, video games, comic books, etc. all use narrative as a way of dramatizing the human condition and revealing truths about ourselves. By reading critical reviews of narratives, we can lean on the reviewer’s summary and evaluation of the story, deciding whether we would also appreciate a given text. But reviews can also be subjective, opinionated, and entertaining in and of themselves.

Your task for the review paper assignment is to choose a work of fiction (a short story, novel, or play—not one we’re reading in class), a movie, television show (one episode), or video game and write a thoughtful, critical review of it. Other texts might be appropriate, but they must be approved by the instructor.

Your review must contain the following parts:

A summary (about 1.5 – 2 pages) of the plot in your own words, characters (and actors, if applicable), setting, and other important narrative elements of the text. Throughout the summary, use the terms for discussing fiction to prove that you understand and can apply them: identify the protagonist and antagonist. Touch upon all the major plot points (exposition, point of attack, rising action, climax, resolution) and any other literary terms that you can apply to your text.

A personal response (about 1.5 – 2 pages) to the narrative. Identify and explain what the text does well. What is positive about the text? Also include criticisms of the text. What is unsatisfying, annoying, or unconvincing about the text? Does the text prove its theme effectively, or does it fall short? Continue to use any other literary terms we studied that you feel apply to your text.

A Works Cited page (MLA style), which will include the text you’re reviewing and any other sources you refer to in the paper.

DO NOT refer specifically to other reviews or read others’ summaries. Prove that you can write a polished review worthy of a media website (i.e.,, magazine, or newspaper. Provide clear, colorful descriptions to describe the reviewed text to someone who has never seen, read, or played it. Use tone and style effectively to give your review an interesting “voice.”

The paper must be 3-4 pages, double-spaced, with 1” margins all around. Use 12-point Times New Roman font. Insert page numbers on all pages. Make certain that you’re not plagiarizing: write your own summary, and if there are any quotes from the text, they must be in quotation marks and cited properly. Turnitin on Canvas checks for matches in wording, and if you do all your own writing, it should not detect patterns of similarity that suggest plagiarism; if it does, you will receive a failing grade for this assignment.

How it will be graded:

Demonstrates critical thinking, close “reading,” and careful interpretation skills

Documents evidence from text, including a Work(s) Cited page in MLA style

Practices conventions of grammar, punctuation, spelling, mechanics

Organizes your review in a way that is clear, thoughtful, and fair