Writing a response essay may be rather interesting. The most important is to know how to produce it in the right way. A characteristic feature of such type of paper is expressing your opinion about the debated matter. For this reason, students do not experience great difficulties with preparing this work. However, it may just seem to them. You should realize that there are some rules which you should follow to write an essay of top quality. In this way, you will indeed avoid problems with preparing it.

Sometimes, students do not pay meticulous attention to writing a summary and response essay. The point is that they consider it very easy. As a result, they face some problems which they cannot solve quickly. Do you want to know how to succeed in doing this assignment? All you need to do is to understand how to construct your paper properly.


How to Write a Response Essay

Do you know how to write a response essay? It is common for students to ask questions like, “What is a response essay?” This article should clear things up for you. In a nutshell, a response essay – also known as a reaction essay – involves watching a movie/video clip or reading text such as a book, poem or article and then discussing how it makes you feel. Of course, as you express your opinion you will need to provide evidence to support your arguments.

As you examine the medium, you should consider the following questions:

  1. In general, what is your reaction to the medium?
  2. Does the author or creator of the content succeed in carrying out their objectives?
  3. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the video/literature?
  4. As you reflect, what are the takeaways of carrying out this response essay?

Now that you have a general idea about how to write a response essay, let us discuss the process in more detail.

Tips for Starting a Response Essay

You have been assigned to watch a movie or read an article/book and then discuss the emotions that it evokes using sound logic and critical thinking skills. If you do not know how to write a response essay, you could easily confuse it for a book review or comprehension exercise. But a response essay is an entirely different type of task, as will be explained.

There is no universal approach to writing a response essay, although your instructor might ask you to focus on specific aspects of the text or answer a list of questions as part of your response. As you go about this task, you are encouraged to express your opinions and even incorporate personal knowledge, especially if events in the narrative remind you of experiences in your own life that are applicable. However, you must ensure that the essay is coherent and logically structured, not merely a stream of consciousness. This means it needs to include an introduction, thesis statement, body paragraphs containing your arguments, and a conclusion that wraps everything up nicely.

Since the main point of the response essay is to discuss how the text or video is applicable to your own life, you must ensure that the topics addressed in the piece are, in fact, intertwined with your personal experiences. One of the challenging things about writing a response paper is that you must find inspiration in the given text or video, whether or not you enjoyed it. You must also be sincere in your response, as superficial or forced observations will be abundantly apparent.

Useful Tips on Writing a Response Essay

What is your opinion about the read work? Did you like it? Are you ready to take the author’s position? If you disagree with the ideas discussed by the author, you need to explain why. What do you feel after reading the chosen story? If you answer these questions, you will know how to move one and write an exclusive paper.

It should be admitted that this type of paper differs from other works. Nevertheless, you still need to make a coherent structure and right response essay format. Therefore, your piece of writing should include at least three parts. They are an introductory section, summary of the read literature sources, and your point of view about it. By the way, your opinion about the analyzed work is a thesis statement of your paper.

When producing a personal response essay, you will mainly discuss the author’s ideas and present your viewpoint on it. The most efficient approach is to illustrate the difference between your opinion and that of the author. Thus, you should analyze the author’s position. Then, explain why your point of view differs from that of the author’s.

You should provide powerful arguments to support your opinion. Does the author cover all points of the story? Are the descriptions vivid? Note that you should present illustrative examples to develop each idea of your critical response essay.

This is the last, but very important step you should take to complete your response essay. It is necessary to edit your work. You may ask your friend to look through the paper and tell if it is easy to read.

Different Types of Response Essays

As noted, while virtually all response essays include the same objectives – namely discussing how you feel about a text and using personal examples to support your arguments – your approach will depend on the guidelines that your instructor provides. Here are some ways in which you might be asked to express your opinion:

As you write a response essay, you will want to identify and draw strong parallels between the work being analyzed and your own personal experiences. However, you should be highly specific in your writing. For instance, it is not enough to discuss the narrative’s broad theme of redemption or perseverance. Instead, you should use actual quotes or summarize scenes/paragraphs that support your arguments. For this reason, you should first read the text or view the video all the way through, taking notes in the process and generating ideas about how you can apply the situations and concepts to your life.

Response Essay Structure

As you read/view the medium, always keep in mind that it was created for a purpose. It could be that the author or filmmaker is trying to make a point. They might be arguing for a certain position. They might support certain values or beliefs. When you write the response paper, it is essential that you both inform the reader about the creator’s intentions in writing the book or making the movie. This demonstrates that you have not only read the book or watched the movie, but have also given the content a lot of thought. Having done this, it is now time to start writing your paper.


The response paper is exactly like almost every type of essay in that it begins with an introduction and well-defined thesis statement. Like almost every type of essay in that it begins with an introduction and well-defined thesis statement. The introduction should be brief and while it gives the reader a preview about what to expect, you do not want to reveal too much. After all, that is what the next part of the paper will achieve. Here are the three objectives of the intro:

  • To capture the reader’s attention
  • To provide some background about the topic being addressed in the story
  • To present your thesis


The body contains the meat of the paper. In a conventional essay, this consists of three paragraphs, each one devoted to a single argument that is tied back to the thesis. Your evaluation and analysis should be clear and well thought out. While your paper needs to be academic, it does not have to be dry. You are welcome to employ a few literary techniques as you make your points including through onomatopoeia, metaphors, similes, assonance, and any other methods that will make the response essay more interesting and emotional.


No essay is complete without a proper conclusion. A lot of students make the mistake of merely summarizing what they have written and leave it at that. But this part of the paper involves much more than that. You want your essay to leave a lasting impression on the reader. To achieve this, you should discuss why your response essay was important and how it make a contribution to discourse.

Give the Response Essay a Try

If you lack experience with writing response essays, it might seem like a daunting task. But the key is to practice, hone your writing and evaluating skills, and be patient. Nobody becomes a talented writer overnight. Furthermore, your professor is not going to expect you to have the abilities of a Pulitzer Prize recipient. So try your best and eventually you will get the hang of it!

Response Essay Sample (Love Is a Fallacy)

Max Shulman’s examples of fallacies presented in his short story can push the readers to various conclusions. One can decide that the story is anti-man, another that it is anti-woman. Anyway, the structure of the story together with its interesting twist in the end brings a deep message that makes the readers broaden their minds. To my mind, numerous details are used to prove that people and their deeds are often misjudged as well the story that could seem anti-woman, in reality, is not, and its perception as such is just another fallacy.

To begin with, one should pay attention to the representation of women in the story. The author depicts the character of Polly Epsy as a girl, who ‘excited the emotions’. She was ‘beautiful and gracious’, but unworthy of the smart and serious Shulman, was superior to her in many ways. With regard to the fact that the author represented a beautiful woman as very unintelligent, the representation of females in Love Is a Fallacy can be defined as biased and disrespectful. At the same time, it is essential to pay attention that, from the beginning of the essay, the readers can understand that the author is not only anti-women. He is anti-everyone for he considered himself better that others in all ways. The main character that reflects Shulman’s views is arrogant, self-absorbed, ‘perspicacious, acute, and astute’, but also ’emotional type, unstable, impressionable’. In such a way, one can see that the author is not set against some specific group defined by gender or other criteria. His prejudice root from his views of the others as inferior beings, not from gender. Moreover, the irony that Shulman was wrong and that Polly appeared to be more intelligent than he thought and outsmarted him is another evidence of the fact that considering the short story as anti-women as very superficial.

Therefore, the story can be defined as equally anti-man and anti-woman or for everyone and against the stereotypes. Emphasizing that fallacies are the ways to hide the human intelligence, but also reveal it is a way to make people think more deeply and be unbiased in their judgments.

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