ENC 1101 Critical Analysis Essay

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The purpose of this essay is to identify and analyze a significant, career-related stereotype. This essay will combine many of the skills you have learned throughout the semester.

  1. Identify a stereotype (associated with your meta-major or a career that interests you) represented in popular media (advertisement, t.v., film, etc.).
  2. Decide on a specific focus/thesis for your paper. In order to do so, you will need to study media and do thorough research to ensure that you understand the issue in its entirety.
  3. Break down the issue into various components and analyze them in your essay.


Characteristics of the Critical Analysis Essay

A successful essay-

  • Provides an engaging introduction that offers the reader some background information on the historical/cultural significance of the issue.
  • Presents a thesis that offers a sophisticated and nuanced analysis of the identified stereotype.
  • Supports the thesis through well-developed paragraphs that are organized strategically.
  • Develops the analysis through consideration of the causes (historical, social, and/or cultural) of the career-related stereotype and the effect(s) of the stereotype upon the individuals pursuing a career in that field.
  • Presents an objective stance by the use of third-person voice.
  • Includes specific details and evidence from primary material (the media in which you find evidence for your stereotype’s existence).
  • Integrates secondary material accessed from TCC Library.
  • Integrates information obtained via a personal interview.
  • Correctly integrates quotations and conforms to MLA documentation and format guidelines.


Essay Requirements

  • 1100-1500 words (4-5 pages) excluding works cited
  • Minimum of three secondary sources, including at least one source accessed from TCC library catalog or databases.
  • MLA format for presentation (typed, double-spaced, 12-pt. Times New Roman font, 1” margins) and source documentation (in-text citations and Works Cited page)






Project 3 Components

These must be completed (aside from the optional check-in draft) on time for full credit on the project.


  1. Prewriting due November 1

For this assignment, you will begin planning and researching your project based on the assignment published to Canvas. This will help you begin the project and will give us something to reference and discuss during our conference during week 11 of class.


  1. Conference 2 one day on either November 2, 4, or 6

Regular classes will once again be replaced by conferences. You will be meeting with me once this week for 10 minutes to talk one-on-one with me over Zoom about this project. You will join the conference with the normal link you use to join class.


  1. Draft 1 due November 9

This draft will be at least 750 words and incorporate your research into thoughtful body paragraphs. Focus on adding content at this point, as you can always rearrange and revise after you have something written.


  1. Workshop Pair in class on November 13

You and a classmate will be paired up to share and discuss your project. At the beginning of this time in class, each of you should set a goal regarding what you would like feedback on. Suggestions including thesis revision, clear writing, brainstorming, organization.


  1. Optional Check-in Draft due November 20

For this draft, you may submit no more than one double-spaced page to receive further feedback and suggestions from me. This is not required and will not count against you if you do not turn it in. If you would like additional feedback, you can talk to me during office hours, meet with a tutor/send your draft to Smarthinking, or talk with a classmate outside of class.


  1. Final Draft with Works Cited and Reflection due December 7

Your final draft must meet the minimum requirements (see above) and should be submitted in the same document with the Works Cited and 250-300 words reflection on project 3. The project 3 reflection is different from your semester reflection! Please note that unlike your previous projects, late work will not be accepted. This assignment is due at the end of the semester and you will not receive a grade for this if turned in past the deadline.













Planning & Research Guidance


Project 3 Focus:


Stereotypes: Identify in media a salient and specific social/cultural stereotype related to your meta-major or desired career. Stereotypes most often relate to representations of people (therapists) but at times we also have stereotypical representations of place (the therapist’s office).


You will do a cause and effect analysis of a media (mis)representation.


Choosing your topic:


While at TCC, you are studying within a “meta-major” or pathway. This link has a reminder of what these are. You can also learn more about them:


Options to approach project 3-


  1. Example career topics include nurse, doctor, fireman, engineer, teacher, writer, police officer, etc. Analyze a stereotype of someone who has this career as represented in media.


  1. You may also choose to focus on a stereotype related to the populations your career serves; for example, if I am interested in a career in social work, I might look at representations of foster children, welfare recipients, the mentally ill, etc.


  1. You might also consider professional settings and their depiction in media: e.g. law firms, prisons, advertising firms, etc.


  1. You may also choose to compare and contrast the representation in different time periods focusing on how the representation has evolved or changed over time: for example, the evolving representation of male nurses or female cops.


Here are some guiding questions and suggestions to help you while researching, reading, and writing:


What are the socio-cultural causes of the stereotype?  What are the historical causes of it? How is the stereotype created and perpetuated by media?


Identify specific films and television shows that feature the chosen career.


Is this a positive or negative stereotype?  What are the effects of this stereotype on individuals, on the profession, and on American society/culture more generally?


How does pop-culture (e.g. advertisement, television, or movies) contribute to the stereotype (creating, promulgating, resisting, subverting, etc.)?





Suggested Structure


The following outline offers a suggested guideline for organizing your critical analysis essay:


Introduction (one or two paragraphs)

  • Use a lead-in hook to engage your readers’ interest. You might use a striking quotation, an interesting statistic or fact, or a related current event. Whatever your choice, the lead-in must be clearly related to the stereotype you have selected to analyze.
  • Provide some background that will help your readers understand the stereotype you are about to discuss.
  • Present your thesis statement (causes and effects of the stereotype)

Body (minimum of six paragraphs)

  • Provide specific reasons that support your thesis. Ideally each reason should be developed separately.
  • Offer concrete examples that illustrate your reasons.
  • Ideally, your critical analysis should progress throughout the essay. You should organize your essay, consequently, that the most important and interesting support for your thesis comes towards the end.
  • Consider responding to other perspectives that might be different from yours and make an attempt at refuting or weakening such perspectives to further strengthen your thesis.
  • Pay attention to proper paragraph development by moving from a general idea (often in a topic sentence) to specific details via explanations and evidence/examples. Finish paragraphs with a clincher or closing sentence.
  • Transition properly from paragraph to paragraph to achieve overall coherence.


Conclusion (one or two paragraphs)

  • Restate your thesis in a fresh manner.
  • Try to leave with a lasting impression for the reader by calling for action or reminding the reader of the cultural significance of your approach/thesis.
  • Consider commenting on other media forms if they relate to your discussion.

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