How to Write a Reaction Essay

A reaction essay is meant to describe your personal first response or reaction to a piece of writing, a video or another piece of media or event. Reaction essays are meant not to convince others but rather to give your reaction and why you feel that way. Reaction essays are useful when dealing with current events, to describe how you feel about them and why.

Instructions

    • 1

      Prepare for your reaction essay by completing the reading, watching the documentary or participating in the seminar for the reaction essay topic.

    • 2

      Bring a notepad and paper to the presentation or while you are reading and jot down notes and thoughts that you have while participating. This makes sure that you get a true reaction essay, using gut responses to what you are experiencing.

    • 3

      Outline your response essay by answering a few questions and writing them down before you organize them in essay form. How did you feel? What did you see? What is your opinion? What is a good example? What can you conclude is your reaction? Create a form where you can quickly jot down your ideas and outline your essay.

    • 4

      Organize your findings and notes into an essay. Begin with your theme by stating what your reaction was. Then, in the body of the essay, you can explain why that was your reaction. Most reaction essays are set up so that you are pitting the author's findings against your own thoughts and feelings. They may be the same, but they may be different. For instance, your reaction paper could be based on the thought that while the filmmaker is in favor of universal health care, you believe that health care should remain privatized.

    • 5

      Start each paragraph by stating what the author believes and his general thoughts on the subject. Then follow with your thoughts on the subject and your own beliefs. Remember to use supporting evidence such as quotes, events and studies that explain why you feel that way. For example, one of your supporting paragraphs could be the sentiment that the filmmaker believes that universal health care would improve the quality of care everyone receives, while your reaction is that universal health care would reduce competition and result in worse care for the general public.

    • 6

      Conclude the essay with what your reaction was and how the particular piece of media affected your reaction. Explain if it was changed and why, or if it remained the same and why. Use footnotes to cite references used throughout.

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