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What is a response essay? As it can be inferred from the name, a response essay deals with providing some feedback or reaction to a certain topic or issue. To make the essay interesting and appealing to the reader, you need to choose some thought-provoking or controversial topic. It is essential to know how to write a response essay since it is not the same as an opinion essay where you just state your viewpoint. In a response essay, you need to evaluate the topic and then share your personal perspective on it. Your opinion should be complemented with analysis that leads to the exploration of some deeper meaning at the end. Besides, all arguments should be credible and supported by expert evidence.

Type of assignment

Academic level





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The Major Aims and Objectives of Writing

The main purpose that professors persevere when they assign students a response essay is that they want to evaluate how well students can combine theoretical and practical skills acquired during the course with the personal discussion of the given issue.

Further, a student should express his/ her feelings concerning the topic or issue. When one is working on a response to a movie or a text, it is essential to interpret the meaning of the literary work or a film. On the whole, you need to address the following areas:

  • How do you feel about the topic/ issue discussed?
  • Do you share the author’s opinion?
  • What is the best way to add meaning to the story?

How to Write a Response Essay: A Step-by-Step Guide

Just like any other type of academic writing, namely essays, a response essay has its own peculiarities. Despite the fact that the structure is more or less classic: with an introduction, the main body, and conclusion, the content of the paper differs a lot. Check out some of the main details:

  1. Introduction. You need to start the introductory paragraph with a brief summary of what you are responding to. It may be a book, a novel, a story, a video, a movie or something else. Before starting to write, carry out some preliminary investigation of the topic and take notes when it comes to the most important aspects. End the opening paragraph with a thesis statement, where you put forward the main idea of the paper or argument supported with ample evidence.
  2. The main body. Decide on the number of body paragraphs you will have, and make sure that each of them should be devoted to a separate idea. In the body paragraphs, express your main reactions to the topic. Organize the reactions according to the number of paragraphs so that the ideas do not look messy.
  3. Conclusion. Summarize the main ideas that you have discussed by emphasizing the most important findings and revelations. Reiterate the thesis statement with its main argument. You may also specify whether it was proven or not.

Guidelines on How to Write a Successful Response Paper

  • Refer to your first impressions of the topic/ issue.
  • Identify the main subject and justify your opinion.
  • Focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the project.
  • Provide an outline for your paper.

If you need to provide a response paper to some book or story, make sure that you read the literary text carefully and attentively. While reading, focus on your impressions and emotions that you have. What resonates with you? Further, delve deeper into details and pay attention to the style of writing, symbolism, the way of presenting the main ideas, and other aspects. In the end, you may refer to your personal experiences that somehow relates to your topic.

Formulate a Strong Thesis Statement

Since you need to convey your personal viewpoint but at the same time be critical in your discussion, be sure to formulate a strong and clear thesis statement. It should be argumentative and comprehensible. It should be based on your opinion, and it should be brief for effectively communicating the main idea across.

You may also be interested in our article: "How to Create a Winning Synopsis?"
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Why Is It Important to Create an Outline?

In its essence, an outline is created with an aim of leading a writer through the writing process. The outline helps one avoid writer’s block or get lost in the ideas. Specifically, you need to focus on such areas in your outline:

  1. Whether you agree or disagree with the given idea(s).
  2. Investigation of the author’s background and his/ her impact on the audience.
  3. Reaction to how the concepts learned may be related to the ideas from the book/ discussion.
  4. Relation of the main issues or problems to your personal life experience.
  5. Evaluation of what impact the text has on the reader.

How to Write a Response Essay: Dos and Don’ts      


  • Critically analyze the theme and the underlying meaning of the story.
  • Provide a description of the main characters and relate to whether you consider them to be positive/negative, pleasant/unpleasant.
  • Support your opinions with strong examples and quotes from the book.
  • Be attentive to details.
  • Provide your original perspective on the issue.


  • Review or sum up the main events/ plot.
  • Say that you either like or dislike the characters.
  • Provide weak or vague reasons that go along with your analysis.
  • Make superficial conclusions.
  • Repeat ideas that were previously mentioned by other students.
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Common Mistakes in Response Essay Writing

Before submitting your draft, make sure to edit and proofread the paper and go through the content and structure in order to eliminate mistakes and errors. One of the widespread mistakes is procrastination. You may postpone the writing process and think there is enough time for it. However, try to start working on the assignment from the very beginning: devote enough time for reading and investigating the topic.

Do not be tempted to include your personal story into your paper. It is not some kind of a biographic essay, where you share your life experience. You need to focus on the analysis and make sure that each idea is mentioned only once.

How to Order Response Essay?

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Expert Response Essay Example for Free

Response Essay: Nature and Culture

Collectively, the readings examine coexistent of human with the world nature. For instance, the article “The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature” by William Cronon” is generally about the environment in the wilderness. Cronon believes that the environmentalist objectives of preserving the wilderness are politically and conceptually wrongheaded. Additionally, based on the readings, among the entanglement and ironies resulting from these objectives as well as the goals are normally the sale of nature to almost every individual and the dispute that emanates between the environmentalist and the working individuals. Cronon believes that the problem of protecting the nature arises from the fact that human beings have not learnt the art of living responsibly in nature. Therefore, the environmentalist idea of legislating people out of the wilderness cannot be a solution. According to Cronon, people are inextricably attached and tied to nature irrespective of whether they stay in the countryside or the cities. Thus, rather than exclude people, the environmental advocates is supposed to assist the people learn how to coexist with nature. Gilbert on the other hand, in his book “People and places of nature and culture” believes that people should be separate entities from the environment.

Cronon tries to challenge the ideas and concepts of wilderness, as many Americans have believed it. The Americans have been having the notion that the natural world is something different from the society and humanity. Their believe is that the natural world is untouched by the influence of human being and is just but pristine. According to Cronon, such comprehension and perception of the natural world is only a cultural construct comprised of blend of thought, whichis romanticized. Crononbelieves that such ideologies and believes in the world nature was brought to the fore of the environmental discourse of America after industrial revolution...

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