How to Write a Reaction Paper That Impresses Everyone

How to Write a Reaction Paper
Reaction paper is one of the easiest tasks you can have in college. All you need to do is to share your impressions from a book/ movie/ artwork etc. you have read/ seen or experienced. However, that’s where some difficulties can arise. It can be hard to choose the right words. It can be hard to put your feelings into words when you are overwhelmed with emotions.

You may need a strong strategy. Here’s how to write a reaction paper without racking your brains.

Questions to Bear in Mind while Reading/ Watching

You can make your life easier if you start preparing early. While reading the assigned text (watching a movie), ask yourself:

  1. Do I like it? (Do I agree with the author?) Why?
  2. Are there any symbols in the artwork?
  3. Is the plot line (argumentation) clear and logical?
  4. Would you change something about the artwork?
  5. Do you see any inconsistencies?
  6. Does the artwork look like something you’ve seen before?
  7. Would you like to read/ watch it again?
  8. Would you recommend it?

You may want to make notes as you read, choosing quotes and page numbers. It can save you plenty of time.

Main Parts of a Good Reaction Paper

Along with your personal reaction to the artwork, your response paper should include the following sections:

  • Introduction – introduce the artwork, give the most important details, your overall impression and thesis statement.
  • Summary – briefly summarize what you read/ see/ hear.
  • Analyze – discuss the structure, techniques used by the author and the effects on the audience.
  • React – finally, discuss what’s your personal impression.
  • Conclusion – briefly restate the main points and repeat your main judgment.

Express Your Opinion like a Diplomat

Expressing your personal opinion is the easiest answer to the question how to write a reaction paper. Try to avoid extremes, such as ‘hate it’ and ‘love it’ and give some arguments to explain your judgments. Here are some introductory words that might help you:

  • I feel that…
  • I see that…
  • It seems that…
  • I think…
  • However…
  • In contrast…
  • For example…
  • In conclusion…
  • Finally…

How NOT to Write a Reaction Paper

The typical mistakes you should avoid include the following:

  • Too much summary.
  • Too much criticism without proper argumentation.
  • Biased judgments (E.g. I didn’t like this book because I’m not fond of this genre).
  • Excuses showing your uncertainty. (E.g. I’m not an expert in this field, but I’d like to admit that…)

Reaction/Response Paper Example

Here’s how to write a reaction paper if you are assigned to respond to the famous painting Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci:

The Mona Lisa (or Gioconda in Italian) is a well-known portrait of a smiling woman by the Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci. This painting is recognized as one of the most visited, most discussed and most parodied artwork in the world. The mysterious smile and the numerous symbols used by da Vinci hold the interest of various audiences, making the portrait attractive for experts and amateurs alike.

The famous painting depicts a woman sitting with her arms folded. Her face if brightly lit and her gaze is focused on the observer. An interesting fact is that the gaze focuses on the audience, regardless of the chosen angle of view. Behind her is am imaginary landscape with mountains, valleys and rivers. The corners of eyes and lips make the woman look alive more than an observer would expect from a painting. The blurred lines of her hair and clothes, just like the contrast of light and dark depict Mona Lisa as ideal rather than real woman.

The techniques used by da Vinci in this painting were unusual for not only his time, but even his own heritage. The enigmatic smile of the woman has been giving rise to heated disputes over several centuries. Some critics claim that the smile represents the connection between the two worlds – the down to earth world of humans and the ideal world of nature. Others explain the mystery of the smile as woman’s feelings towards the artist.

The painting has given me some conflicting feelings. On one hand, the gaze and the realistic smile produce a long-lasting impression. It seems that the portrait is looking deep into my soul and Mona Lisa can read my thoughts. On the other hand, all the parodies and jokes I’ve heard of this painting before made me smile when I was looking at the painting. I think that becoming a part of the popular culture is a significant achievement which clearly demonstrates the quality of the painting which marks an epoch in History of Art, staying out of time.

The special techniques and da Vinci’s genius have contributed to the popularity of the Mona Lisa. The mysterious smile and the enigmatic gaze of the woman in the painting produce a long-lasting impression on anyone who observes it.

So, that was the answer to the question how to write a reaction paper. Just in case you have any more concerns, please feel free to leave a comment below. We’d be happy to hear your feedback.

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