ENG 1213: Critical Thinking
Exercise – Abstract to Concrete
- Read the section on critical thinking and reading in
your handbook to guide you in this assignment.
Review the “MLA
presentation if necessary.
Lucien Stryk’s poem, “Cherries,” in The Power of Language or
my annotated version. I've also provided a page of
Summarize the poem in approximately 25 words, documenting it thoroughly in
MLA style, and using a signal in and signal out. Remember the differences in
summary and paraphrase.
Following or incorporated with the summary, answer the following:
How can you connect this poem to a current social
issue in the world today? In other words, how might we apply Lucien Stryk’s
message or theme to some of the reasons for our current problems?
- You will be graded on the following aspects:
- MLA documentation accuracy
- Following MLA style formatting
- Accuracy of your summary
- Completeness of assignment – did you finish all
- Depth of response: did you toss off a response or
address this on a serious level.
For an example of this
assignment, only using “Spring and Fall” by Gerard Manley Hopkins, go to
Note on response: Part of
learning to think critically means to take an abstract concept, such as Stryk’s
message in his poem, and apply it to a concrete situation, such as America’s
current economic crisis. In doing so, you open up your mind to all
possibilities. We only learn to do this well by actually doing it – working that
brain. If you’ve not had much practice in this, then you will find it perhaps a
bit difficult. You may make missteps or have a hard time coming to any
conclusions at all, or feel completely unconfident about what you come up with.
That is natural.
- Do your best to answer the assignment on your own and
put your thoughts on paper.
- Use your peer group to give you feedback on your
ideas. Post your interactions on the discussion board under your group name.
- Make any revisions you feel are called for.
- Critical thinking is something that takes practice in
doing well. We all make mistakes, misinterpret what we’re supposed to do, or
completely miss the boat in our analysis. That’s part of the game. But
learning means that we pick ourselves up and try again. By listening to the
ideas of others, we hone our own skills, seeing where we missed something
important, or even learning to see things from other points of view that
help strengthen our own ability to think. And sometimes, we simply have
“well, duh” moments. I pride myself on being a strong critical thinker, and
this still happens to me. Do not feel embarrassed or intimidated when it
happens. We’ve all been there, and still go there. ;-)