Death and Justice

Purpose: To evaluate somebodys work (a book, an essay, a movie, a painting …) in order to increase the readers understanding of it. A critical analysis is subjective writing because it expresses the writers opinion or evaluation of a text. Analysis means to break down and study the parts. Writing a critical paper requires two steps: (1) critical reading and (2) critical writing.

Critical reading:

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1. Identify the authors thesis and purpose.
2. Analyze the structure of the passage by identifying all main ideas.
3. Consult a dictionary to understand material that is unfamiliar to you.
4. Make an outline of the work or write a description of it.
5. Write a summary of the work.
6. Determine the purpose which may be
• To inform with factual material
• To persuade with appeal to reason or emotions
• To entertain (to affect peoples emotions)
7. Evaluate the means by which the author has accomplished his purpose.
• If the purpose is to inform, has the material been presented clearly, accurately, with order and coherence?
• If the purpose is to persuade, look for evidence, logical reasoning, and contrary evidence.
• If the purpose is to entertain, determine how emotions are affected: does it make you laugh, cry, angry? Why did it affect you?

Consider the following questions:

1. How is the material organized?
2. Who is the intended audience?
3. What are the writers assumptions about the audience?
4. What kind of language and imagery (relating to the five senses) does the
author use?

I. Background information to help your readers understand the nature of the work.
A. Information about the work
1. Title
2. Author
3. Publication date and source (where was it published?)
4. From where was this taken?
5. Expertise of author
6. Statement of topic and purpose
B. Thesis statement (from the essay itself) indicating writers main
reaction to the work. Note: Be sure to use quotes and a citation
(paragraph from which it is taken).
C. Does the author have a strong argument in favor of capital
punishment? Note: This does not mean you agree with it, but
has he attacked his opponents views vigorously?

II. Summary of the work (2-3 sentence overview). This cannot be
quoted but must be in your own words. Note: You also need a
citation. Give only the paragraph number from which it was

III. Main points of argument
A. What does the author suggest but not state directly? (implication)
B. What conclusion(s) does the author make? Note: This should be
a paraphrase with a citation, using the paragraph number from
which it is taken.

IV. Evidence
A. Comment on the amount of evidence the author uses. Too much?
Too little? Enough?
B. Is the evidence a fact or measurement about something that has
actually occurred?
C. Which kind of data does the author rely on the most (logical,
ethical, or emotional? Give example of each kind of appeal
(need one example of each kind of data as applicable). An
example requires you to quote a sentence from the article and use
a parenthetical citation.

V. Persuasiveness
A. Is the evidence consistent with the argument?
B. Why or why not?
C. Is the argument convincing? (This does not mean you agree with
Kochs point of view) but that he is an effective debater.
D. Why or why not?
E. Has the author used enough counterarguments and disproved
them? (He used 7; should he have included more?)
F. If so, what additional counterargument should he have included?
G. Is there enough evidence to judge the argument?
H. If not, what additional evidence do you think is needed to judge
the validity of the authors point of view?

VI. World view
A. What general assumptions does the author have underlying
readers thinking?
B. What is he/she taking for granted or not taking into account?
C. What world view does the author have about capital punishment?
D. Is there another world view or point of view that author should
E. Find an article on capital punishment from the internet, which
agrees with your position. For example, if you agree with Koch,
find an article that says capital punishment should be a form of
punishment that each state keeps. If you disagree with
Koch, find an article that says capital punishment is wrong.
Be sure to do the following: (1) Print a copy of it and place it
behind your typed outline in a folder. (2) Quote one or two
sentences from the article, using parenthetical citations
to show it is borrowed material. (3) Underline the summary
statement from the article, using a blue or black pen or a
highlighting pen.

VII. Propaganda
A. What examples, if any, of propaganda words and techniques are
used in the arguments? Refer to Attachment 1 on Propaganda
Techniques to Recognize). If one or more is used, list it (them).

B. If propaganda is used, identify what technique is being used and
cite an example of it from the essay.
C. What fallacies, if any, does the author use? (A fallacy is reaching
a conclusion falsely or “jumping to conclusions.”
D. Cite examples from the text of each fallacy, as applicable. This
requires you to quote from the article and use a citation.

VIII. Your take
A. How effective is the topic? (Is this topic timely?)
B. To whom is this essay directed?
C. Do you agree or disagree with the article?
Note: you must totally agree or totally disagree with the article—
you cant “straddle the fencepost.”
D. State your rationale (reason[s]) for your position.
Points to Remember (checklist before you submit the final for a grade):

1. Avoid introducing your ideas by stating “I think” or “In my opinion.”
Keep the focus on the subject of your analysis, not on yourself.
Identifying your opinions weakens them. Important: Do not use “you”
or “your” unless it is quoted from the author. If you quote the author,
use parenthetical documentation. Include the paragraph number after the
authors name. Example: “It is an illusion to let ourselves believe that
doing away with capital punishment removes the murderers deed from
our conscience. The rights of society are paramount. When we protect
guilty lives, we give up innocent lives in exchange. Note: The period
after the parenthetical note, not before it.

2. Always introduce the work. Do not assume that because your reader
knows what you are writing about, you do not need to mention the works
title. Furthermore, use the authors LAST NAME or refer to him as the
AUTHOR. Use present tense when discussing the essay (unless a quote
is in the past tense). Koch is deceased, but his work lives on! Do not
begin every sentence with Koch; vary your sentences so that some of
them use the words “the author.” Important: Do not use the word
“says” in every sentence when you are referring to Kochs work. Use
synonyms such as states, asserts, or affirms. WATCH OUT! Every
tense that you use regarding Kochs work belongs in the PRESENT
TENSE. The only exception is when you give biographical data on
Koch, and you must use the PAST TENSE, in this case, because Koch
is deceased.

3. Consider these questions as well:
a. Is there a controversy surrounding either the passage or the subject
which it concerns?
b. Is the subject matter of current interest?
c. What is the overall value of the passage?
d. What are its strengths and weaknesses?

e. Support your thesis with detailed evidence from the text examined.
Use parenthetical documentation to document quotes and paraphrases.
f. Remember, the purpose of a critical analysis is not merely to inform,
but also to evaluate the worth, utility, excellence, distinction, truth,
validity, beauty, or goodness of something.
g. Even though as a writer you set the standards, you should be open-
minded, well informed, and fair. You can express your opinions, but
you should also support them with evidence.
h. Your review should provide information, interpretation, and

4. The information will help your reader understand the nature of the work
under analysis. The interpretation will explain the meaning of the work,
thereby requiring your correct understanding of it. The evaluation will
discuss your opinions of the work and present valid justification for them.

Directions: Write a 3-4 page critical analysis on the following article listed below. Use the standard format: title, double spaced, 12 font (Times Roman). Use parenthetical documentation when you quote from the author to prove your points. Accepted resources: a dictionary, the internet (for reading the essay and an online article that agrees with your point of view), and a thesaurus, but no in-person or online tutors help is allowed! Your title will be the following: name of the essay centered on one line, the authors name, and the words CRITICAL ANALYSIS on the third line beneath it (single spaced). This final will be written outside of class in Week 15 when we are not scheduled to have class. Your final will be submitted on the day/evening that has been announced in the Class Schedule and in class.

Important: If you solicit help from a tutor, I will receive an email informing me of your attempt to get unauthorized help, which is plagiarism. Your penalty will be a 0 on the final exam. You will need a typed outline (fill in the data on the outline provided) and a Grading Profile Sheet, with all blanks filled in. To help you prepare for the final, we will discuss the questions on the outline on “Death and Justice: How Capital Punishment Affirms Life” in class, which is the essay I have chosen for the critical analysis. You can find this article on Google.

The critical analysis will be on the following essay: “Death and Justice: How Capital Punishment Affirms Life” (Google) by Edward Koch.

Documentation: While there is no WORKS CITED page required, you must use parenthetical documentation when you quote from Kochs essay or the internet article that expresses an authors position on capital punishment. This belongs in paragraph 6 (World View). When you find the article, first summarize it. For example, Martin Ellison affirms the death penalty should be available to deter heinous criminals from murdering
indiscriminately once they have served their time and are released from prison. (The following is a summary statement). Martin Ellison in his essay entitled “______________” states the following: “____________________________________________________________
__________(2).” This is a direct quotation from the article. On the other hand, if you disagree with Koch, then find an article that disagrees with capital punishment and quote one or two sentences from it, using parenthetical documentation. Referring to an article other than Kochs essay lets me know that you did some research on capital punishment to find another position that agrees with yours. Note: Be sure to underline the summary statement as well as the quote you used and attach it to your final. It will be the final page.

Important: Only two or three of the following are used in Kochs article. Your job is to identify the ones he used by quoting from the article. Example: Koch uses a weak inference when he states the following: “_________________________________________________________

Propaganda Techniques to Recognize

1. Name calling or stereotyping: Giving a person or an idea a bad label by
using an easy-to-remember pejorative name. This is used to make us
reject and condemn a person or idea without examining what the label
really means. Examples: “Republican,” “Tree-Hugger,” “Nazi,”
“Environmentalist,” “Special-Interest Group.

2. Virtue Words or Glittering Generality: These words are used to fool
us into accepting and approving of things without examining the
evidence carefully, Examples: “Natural,” “Democratic,” “Socialist,”
“Tea Party,” “Communist,” “Moderate,” “Left Wing,” and “Right

3. Deification: This is when an idea is made to appear, sacred, or very
special and therefore above all law. Any alternative or opposite points of
view are thereby given the appearance of treason or blasphemy.
Examples: “God-given right …,” “Mother Earth”

4. Transfer: Transfer is when a symbol that carries respect, authority,
sanction, and prestige is used along with an idea or argument to make it
look more acceptable. Examples: American Flag, University Seal,
Medical Association Symbol (or something that looks like it). This
method is also called Guilt or Virtue by Association.

5. Testimonial: When some respected celebrity (or alternatively someone
generally hated) claims that an idea or product is good (or bad). This
technique is used to convince us without examining the facts more

6. Plain Folks: This is a way that a speaker convinces an audience that an
idea is good because they are the same ideas of the vast majority of
people like yourself. Examples: “This is the will of the People,” “Most
Americans …,” “jury of your peers.” Another example is when the
speaker tells a story about a family or people that are “just like you” to
reinforce the speakers point of view.

7. Bandwagon: This common propaganda method is used when the
speaker tries to convince us to accept their point of view or else we will
miss out on something really good. The Band-Wagon technique is often
used in advertising. Examples: “This is the wave of the future,” “Be the
first on your block,” “Act Now!” You might ask yourself, “What if I was
the only one on my block because no one else was interested (duped)?”

8. Artificial Dichotomy: This is when someone tries to claim there are
only two sides to an issue, and that both sides must have equal
presentation in order to be evaluated. This technique is used to fool us
into believing there is only one way to look at an issue, when in fact,
there may be many alternative viewp01oints or “sides.” Like most
propaganda techniques, it signifies reality and therefore distorts it, often
to the advantage of the speaker. A classic example is the “intelligent
design” versus “evolution” controversy.
9. Hot Potato: This is an inflammatory (often untrue) statement or
question used to throw opponents off guard, or to embarrass them.
Examples: “Have you stopped beating your spouse?” “When will you
pay the taxes you owe?” The fact that it may be utterly untrue is
irrelevant because it still brings controversy to the opponent. More
recently, Mitt Romney in the 2012 election was asked by a journalist
and others, “Why wont you submit more than two years income tax
returns? To this, he responded that two years was enough.

10. Stalling or Ignoring the Question: This technique is used to play for
more time or to avoid answering a pointed question. Examples: “More
research is needed …,” “A fact-finding committee is working on this
issue …” I am calling for an investigation on this failure …” When
asked about a tax increase possibility a senator replies: “I have always
met the obligations I have to those I represent.”

11. Least-of-Evils: This is used to justify an otherwise unpleasant or
unpopular point of view. Example: “War is hell, but appeasement
leads to worse disasters.”

12. Scapegoat: This often is used with built-by-association to deflect
scrutiny away from the issues. It transfers blame to one person or group
of people without investigating the complexities of the issue. Examples:
“George W. Bush got us into Iraq,” “President Reagan caused the
national debt.” In the 2008 election of Barack Obama as president, we
soon discovered how many times he was blamed for the weak economy,
dwindling jobs, and high numbers of unemployed Americans, just a few
points mentioned.

13. Cause and Effect Mismatch: This technique confuses the audience
about what is really cause and effect. In fact, the causes of most
phenomena are complex, and it is misleading to say just one of the
following: “Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria,” “Tuberculosis is caused
by un-regulated capitalism that creates poor working conditions,”
“Tuberculosis is caused by a lack of effective antibiotics.”

14. Distortion of Data or Out of Context or Card Stacking: This is
used to convince the audience by using selected information and not
presenting the complete story. Examples: “A study was done that
showed eating peanut butter causes liver cancer.” (The fact that later the
study was later shown to be flawed or funded by the peanut butter haters
and therefore suspect, is not revealed). A variation would be “Raising
the speed limit to 65 mph resulted in many fewer traffic fatalities.” Such
statements need to be checked with how many people were driving
before and after the change in speed limit. Fewer people may be driving
after the speed limit change, even thought the fatality rates (deaths per
100,000) may be higher, leading to the overall result of fewer fatalities.

15. Weak Inference: When a judgment is made with insufficient evidence,
or the conclusion does not necessarily follow from the evidence given.
Example: Ducks and geese migrate south for the winter; therefore, all
waterfowl migrate south for the winter. Or, most rich folks vote
republican; therefore, most people who vote republican are rich.

16. Faulty Analogy: This is when a comparison is carried too far.
Example: “The economy is following the same path as right before the
Great Depression; therefore, we will experience a stock market crash

17. Misuse of Statistics: Examples: “Average results are reported,
but not the amount of variation around the averages. A percent or
fraction is presented, but not the sample size as in “9 out of 10 dentists
recommend …” Absolute and proportional quantities are mixed as in
$3,400 more robberies occurred in our town last year, whereas other
cities had an increase of less than one percent.” Graphs are used that,
by chopping off part of the scale or using unusual units or no scale,
distort the appearance of the result. Results are reported with misleading
precision; for example, representing 13 out of 19 students as 68.42105
18. Fear: “Of course the people dont want war. But after all, its the
leaders of the country who determine the policy, and its always a simple
matter to drag the people along whether its a democracy, a fascist
dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no
voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.
That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and
denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to
greater danger.” –Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

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