Critical Analysis Essay

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The assignment below will ask you to consider how the following critical elements relate
to your selected reading:
author’s claim*
key points*
your goal*
Constructing Your Writing Plan Draft
To complete this assignment, first actively re-read your selected article using the
analysis techniques mentioned in Module Two. Write new notes (and revise old ones) to
help you uncover the deeper meaning of your selected article (do not assume that your
initial reading was the correct reading until you compare your notes from Module One
with your notes in this Module). After you have finished re-reading the article and writing
down new (or revised) notes, you will then build onto your Writing Notes assignment
from Module One and determine your strategy for writing your critical analysis essay.
This process will allow you to develop a potential structure for effectively communicating
and supporting your claim in the critical analysis essay. Your claim will have three
components—1) it will clearly state the author’s goal in his/her article, 2) it will identify
your reaction to this goal (e.g., do you agree or disagree); and 3) it will explain why you
had that reaction to the article (does the author meet his/her goal with the evidence that
is presented, does the author ignore counterarguments to try to make his/her article
stronger, etc.). The Writing Plan will also be helpful in keeping your thought process on
track when you begin writing and revising your essay.
Keep in mind that you do not need to answer the questions in any specific order. Each
response should be one fully developed paragraph in length (5-8 sentences).
Also has to be in APA Format.
Lessons From the Assembly Line
Sweating away my summers as a factory worker makes me more than happy to hit the books.
Last June, as I stood behind the bright orange guard door of the machine, listening to the crackling hiss of the
automatic welders, I thought about how different my life had been just a few weeks earlier. Then, I was writing an
essay about French literature to complete my last exam of the spring semester at college. Now I stood in an
automotive plant in southwest Michigan, making subassemblies for a car manufacturer.
I have worked as a temp in the factories surrounding my hometown every summer since I graduated from high
school, but making the transition between school and full-time blue-collar work during the break never gets any
easier. For a student like me who considers any class before noon to be uncivilized, getting to a factory by 6 o’clock
each morning, where rows of hulking, spark-showering machines have replaced the lush campus and cavernous
lecture halls of college life, is torture. There my time is spent stamping, cutting, welding, moving or assembling parts,
the rigid work schedules and quotas of the plant making days spent studying and watching “SportsCenter” seem like
a million years ago.
I chose to do this work, rather than bus tables or fold sweatshirts at the Gap, for the overtime pay and because living
at home is infinitely cheaper than living on campus for the summer. My friends who take easier, part-time jobs never
seem to understand why I’m so relieved to be back at school in the fall or that my summer vacation has been
anything but a vacation.
There are few things as cocksure as a college student who has never been out in the real world, and people my age
always seem to overestimate the value of their time and knowledge. After a particularly exhausting string of 12-hour
days at a plastics factory, I remember being shocked at how small my check seemed. I couldn’t believe how little I
was taking home after all the hours I spent on the sweltering production floor. And all the classes in the world could
not have prepared me for my battles with the machine I ran in the plant, which would jam whenever I absent-mindedly
put in a part backward or upside down.
As frustrating as the work can be, the most stressful thing about blue-collar life is knowing your job could disappear
overnight. Issues like downsizing and overseas relocation had always seemed distant to me until my co-workers at
one factory told me that the unit I was working in would be shut down within six months and moved to Mexico, where
people would work for 60 cents an hour.
Factory life has shown me what my future might have been like had I never gone to college in the first place. For me,
and probably many of my fellow students, higher education always seemed like a foregone conclusion: I never
questioned if I was going to college, just where. No other options ever occurred to me.
After working 12-hour shifts in a factory, the other options have become brutally clear. When I’m back at the
university, skipping classes and turning in lazy re-writes seems like a cop-out after seeing what I would be doing
without school. All the advice and public-service announcements about the value of an education that used to sound
trite now ring true.
These lessons I am learning, however valuable, are always tinged with a sense of guilt. Many people pass their lives
in the places I briefly work, spending 30 years where I spend only two months at a time. When fall comes around, I
get to go back to a sunny and beautiful campus, while work in the factories continues. At times I feel almost
voyeuristic, like a tourist dropping in where other people make their livelihoods. My lessons about education are
learned at the expense of those who weren’t fortunate enough to receive one. “This job pays well, but it’s hell on the
body,” said one co-worker. “Study hard and keep reading,” she added, nodding at the copy of Jack Kerouac’s “On the
Road” I had wedged into the space next to my machine so I could read discreetly when the line went down.
My experiences will stay with me long after I head back to school and spend my wages on books and beer. The
things that factory work has taught me–how lucky I am to get an education, how to work hard, how easy it is to lose
that work once you have it–are by no means earth-shattering. Everyone has to come to grips with them at some
point. How and when I learned these lessons, however, has inspired me to make the most of my college years before
I enter the real world for good. Until then, the summer months I spend in the factories will be long, tiring and every bit
as educational as a French-lit class.

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