If you think that summaries and reviews are enough to write about books and movies, we’re gonna surprise you! A response paper is another genre in this category. For those who have never heard of it, we have provided this awesome guide. In addition, one of our writers has created an exclusive response paper example for our readers. Our instructions are simple and concise, so don’t hesitate and start learning!
What Is a Response Paper?
A response paper is a piece of writing in which the author expresses his or her opinion on a certain idea or theme developed in a chosen piece of art (story, novel, movie, picture, song, etc.). It is also frequently called a “reaction essay.” The main purpose of the response paper is to express a personal point of view and defend it using arguments. Response paper format requires an essay-like structure. We want to highlight that this genre is not a summary or a review! Learn more about the writing process from the guide below.
How to Write and How Not to Write a Response Paper
Before writing the first draft of your response paper, you should learn the theoretical material. We promise that you won’t be bored by our lists as they are short, useful, and understandable. Firstly, we’ll give you a few tips on how to make your paper better. Then, we’ll provide you with a list of mistakes that you should avoid while writing your response paper example.
5 Dos to Write an Excellent Response Paper
- Use first-person narration
This is a unique trait of response papers. As you express your personal opinion and emotions, don’t hesitate to use first-person pronouns (I, me, mine, my) and expressions. There are a few useful phrases that you can use in your piece of writing:
- In my opinion
- I suggest
- I strongly believe
- I think
- This book/movie makes me feel
- I agree/disagree with the author
- It is obvious to me that
- I was shocked/surprised/amazed by the moment when
- This idea is baseless/persuasive
- It seems to me that
In addition to expressing your opinion, you also have to prove your point of view. Thus, you need a good argumentation strategy. You can use real-life examples, comparisons, statistics, and quotations to enforce your thesis statement.
We never know what exactly a particular film editor or writer went through while creating their masterpiece. But we can, at least, try to imagine the circumstances. Analyze the historical and social contexts and biographical facts. Maybe this knowledge will help you to achieve a better understanding of the author’s idea.
- Include personal connections
A response paper is a great opportunity to use your imagination. Imagine that you have a conversation with the author or with the characters. What would you like to ask? What answers would you expect to hear? This technique will help you to look at the book or movie from different perspectives.
Don’t be afraid to share your emotions with readers. Of course, you shouldn’t overuse exclamation marks. Yet, don’t neglect the opportunity to tell how the analyzed piece of art has influenced your mood.
5 Don’ts to Avoid in Your Excellent Response Paper
Skimming won’t help you to deeply understand the thoughts of the author. Take your time and be attentive. The devil is in the details. What if you miss the most compelling argument because of the rush?
Remember that a response paper is not a summary! Your readers want to know how you feel about the book or movie, and they don’t want to read another summary. Of course, you can provide brief information about the film or book in the first paragraph. Anyway, you need only three or four short sentences for this section.
You shouldn’t evaluate the writing language, acting, or editing. These factors are important for movie or book reviews, but not a response paper. You express your opinion about the ideas of a particular book or movie and the author’s viewpoint.
- Don’t use additional sources
In contrast to research papers, response papers don’t require using scientific or other sources. However, we recommend you to ask for recommendations from your instructor if you are not sure about this point.
Phrases like “I like” or “I don’t like” are not enough to express your personal opinion. Of course, it’s enough for a friendly conversation, but in your paper, you have to enforce your thought with strong arguments.
10 Steps to Compose Your Response Paper
We hope that our instructions will make the whole writing process easy and understandable. Get to work, our favorite readers!
1. Read or watch thoroughly
It doesn’t matter what piece of art you analyze. Try to not miss anything, because every detail can influence your perception and opinion. We also recommend you to watch movies twice if you have enough time. The first watch is to get an overall impression, and the second one is to pay more attention to detail.
2. Take notes
Don’t rely on your memory only. We are sure that your brain is in good form, but you are not a computer, right? Short notes will help you to memorize all the necessary details. Moreover, they will be a good template for your outline.
3. Find critical articles or reviews
If you can’t use additional sources in your response paper, it doesn’t mean that you can’t take a quick look. We don’t recommend you to copy someone else’s ideas. Yet, professional articles and reviews can inspire you or offer a different perspective.
4. Choose the idea
As a rule, long novels are not focused on one certain idea. Authors develop a wide range of various themes. Consequently, you have to pick one of them to provide your response paper. It is easier to choose a central idea, but you can always pay attention to less developed topics if you want to create an original paper.
5. Formulate your thesis statement
Response paper format requires a thesis statement. This sentence reflects your opinion on the topic. In the main body, you provide arguments to defend your point of view presented in the thesis statement.
6. Look for evidence
As we mentioned above, expressing your personal opinion is not enough. Explain to your readers what reasons made you think so and why you consider your viewpoint to be valid. Look for persuasive quotes, real-life examples, and, finally, use your own logical thinking!
7. Compose an outline
In order to structure your thoughts, we suggest you to create a detailed plan. You can write a list, draw a diagram, or make a table. Don’t forget to include keywords and good phrases that have already come to your mind.
8. Write the first draft
Now, you have notes, the topic, the thesis statement, and a plan. Congratulations! You can start writing! Don’t be too demanding, as you have a chance to correct the mistakes later. On the other hand, the better you write it, the less work you’ll have to do later.
9. Make a break
Our brains can’t always remain tensed and concentrated. Get distracted! Go for a walk or take a nap. After a small pause, your brain will certainly work better, and the next step will be easier.
10. Edit and proofread
We know that you are not a big fan of editing. This process is boring but necessary. Even the best ideas provided in your response paper can be ruined by a great number of grammar and spelling mistakes. So, don’t neglect the opportunity to polish your writing.
The last thing that we can do for your is to offer this well-written response paper example. One of our writers has provided this sample to express her opinion about the documentary “Scarlet Road.” Both film and sample are rather unusual, so we hope that the reading process will be interesting for you.
Response Paper Example on “Scarlet Road” (2011)
Sexuality is one of the essential elements of a person’s life. The sexuality of a disabled person is even more significant in relation to social reluctance and stereotypes. It is hard for one to understand that disabled individuals can have a sexual life, and like any other person, they want to feel loved. Scarlet Road, filmed by Catherine Scott, is a documentary revealing the need for the provision of sexuality to people with physical disabilities and urging not to encourage discrimination against sex workers in the industry. After watching the picture, I have learned that the concept of prostitution has not changed in relation to this development, and the disabled customers have been fed with the illusion of love and friendship, and the entire organization is dishonest.
The documentary Scarlet Road was produced in an attempt to deliver a message to people around the globe that people with restricted mobility must be able to enjoy their sexuality in order to enhance their relationships in society. Rachel Wotton founded Touching Base, the organization employing so-called “sex workers” who are ready to fulfill any sexual needs of physically disabled individuals in a domestic setting (Scott, 2011). The movie is basically about this organization, its workers and customers, and the importance of Rachel in the entire system of operations on a daily basis. Mrs. Wotton shares her experiences with clients and presents video interviews with them as evidence to support her claim that she is doing a selfless good deed by providing sexual services to those abandoned by society (2011). She also complains about the discrimination and the reluctance of the local authorities and the government to recognize her activism and support it with legislation. In my opinion, there is no difference between her service and ordinary prostitution.
In the film, Mrs. Wotton defines herself and many others working for Touching Base as “sex workers,” and, consequently, she is trying to change the concept of prostitution so the community can adjust their perception of sexual services. The leader of the organization is not satisfied with the fact that people do not understand her mission in the provision of sex for disabled individuals. She believes that she can contribute to the improvement of the sexuality of thousands of physically disabled people and thus change their way of life. Rachel intends to replace the term “whore” with the more official and more sophisticated term “sex worker,” but she does not realize that even by modifying the wording the concept will never change. No matter the efforts the organization would make in developing an advertising company, in active participation in international forums, or in the production of a movie, this profession still remains questionable and immoral. It is also not possible to amend the concept, legalize it, and pretend that the world has become much better.
The legalization of brothels and services they provide would benefit many people of different populations and minorities through the satisfaction of their sexual needs. It would make sex workers legal participants of the social, economic, and political life of their countries, as they would be obliged to pay taxes. Rachel Wotton is not scared of such a course of events and would be more than happy if the community would think the same way. However, the society is not ready to consider a prostitute as a typical citizen who has rights and liberties on a national scale. When medical researchers discovered that the smoking of marijuana could contribute to the reduction of cancer tumors and eradication of cancer cells in the human body, medical professionals urged governments to legalize the drug and use it for treatment purposes. Since then, humanity evolved and should continue doing so. But when Mrs. Wotton, who is neither a medical researcher nor a specialist, says that prostitution should be legalized for the treatment purposes of disabled individuals, it is difficult to consider it without scientific proofs.
The leading star of the movie claims to enjoy her job and urges everyone to support her in her actions. During the conference in Copenhagen, Rachel said the following: “I really like my clients” (Scott, 2011). If a person really likes someone, he or she would never need to persuade others by saying “really.” It might be just an assumption, but I believe that by saying so, Mrs. Wotton strives to control the sympathy and comprehension among those sitting in the auditorium. Everyone at the conference already knows that the community has bullied her. Therefore, the expression of the affiliation to the sexuality of disabled populations helps Rachel to have a massive impact on the perception of listeners who have no other choice but to obey. The rational evaluation of Touching Base could not be performed, and thus people could not see that it is just a brothel that seeks money from unhealthy individuals. Moreover, the institution creates an illusion of love and friendship.
The delusion was developed when the organization of Mrs. Wotton promised to deliver love and care to those in need. In the film, one of the clients stated: “Rachel makes me feel like I have a girlfriend” (Scott, 2011). The person with terminal disabilities is convinced that a sex worker is something more than just a participant of their sexual life and that she can also fulfill psychological needs. In another scene, a driver picks up a client who after some time is saying that the driver is his friend. The driver, on the other hand, is being filmed and cannot deny anything reported by the disabled customer and laughs with coercion (2011). The organization created artificial relationships with impaired people who are already physically damaged and could be damaged mentally due to the obligation of using sexual services. Some individuals may struggle to draw the line between what is real and what is fake while sex workers continue to make a profit.
One may argue about the right and wrong of the provision of sex services to people with reduced mobility. The term “sex worker” cannot change the concept of prostitution and make everyone believe in the goodness of brothels. The sexuality of disabled people is an important aspect in their lives and “the family and community are crucial in offering a route map for the lifeworld including the sexual terrain” (Addlakha, Price & Heidari, 2017). It must be family or community members to assist impaired individuals in enhancing their psychological health and sexuality through the application of legally authorized practices, instead of paying for a one-night stand.
1. Addlakha, R., Price, J., & Heidari, S. (2017). Disability and sexuality: Claiming sexual and reproductive rights. Reproductive Health Matters, 25(50), 4-9. doi: 10.1080/09688080.2017.1336375
2. Scott, C. (2011). Scarlet Road [DVD]. Australia: Paradigm Pictures.
Your training is over, young padawan. Now, you know all the secrets of writing response papers, and nothing can stop you from creating a masterpiece! However, we are always ready to help in case you need more information or an expert’s support. Feel free to contact the EssayShark team anytime!