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Reaction Paper

Writing A Reaction Paper

Each semester, students may be asked to read and write a paper giving their response or reacting to the material read. Such assignment is referred to as reaction or response paper – your professor expects you to do at least two things: summarize the content read and detail your reaction about it. Below is an explanation of what is expected of you when completing such an assignment.

Part 1: A Summary of the Material

The following is required to complete the first part of the Reaction Paper:

  • Identify the author of the content read, the title, publication date, and in parentheses include the publisher.
  • Write an informative summary of the content read
  • Use direct quotes to present important facts
  • Focus on the main points and keywords to support your illustration
  • Also, keep it factual and direct to the point. Do not incorporate personal reactions in the first part of the paper.

Part 2: Your Reaction to the Material

The following is required to complete the second part of a Reaction Paper.

Focus on answering any or all the questions presented. Check with your instructor to determine whether he/she wants you to emphasize specific areas.

  • How is the assignment related to concerns and ideas discussed in the course you are preparing for the paper?
  • Are there some points presented in the course textbook you can relate to the assigned work?
  • How is the information presented in the material related to the present world's challenges?
  • How is the material related to personal life, ideas, feelings, and experiences? Is there any form of emotion triggered during or after reading the material?
  • Evaluate the merit of the assigned work: its accuracy, significance of its points, organization, completeness, and so on.

Points to Consider When Writing the Reaction Paper

Here are essential elements to consider as you write a Reaction Paper:

  • Incorporate the four basic standards of effective writing (clarity, coherence, support, and unity) to create error-free sentences when writing the paper.
  • Ensure each major paragraph showcase and develop a unique main point.
  • Support your main points with general other points basing on specific details and reasons. The use of evidence-based argumentations or perspectives is important. Statements such as "I found the text very interesting” or “I agree with many ideas presented in the article/book” are meaningless. You are required to develop specific evidence.
  • Organize your paper. Structure your material as stated before: A summary of the material, a reaction, and the conclusion.
  • Edit the paper carefully to remove or correct possible mistakes in grammar, word use, punctuation, mechanics, and spelling.
  • Cite quoted or paraphrased material from the article or book you are writing about. Do not rely so much on them.

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A Sample Reaction Paper

Part 1: Summary

Dr. Viktor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning (New York: Washington Square Press, 1966) is both a presentation of his ideas and an autobiographical account of his years as a prisoner in the Nazi regime. The three years of suffering and deprivation he spent in Nazi camps at Auschwitz led to the development of his theory of Logotherapy. The theory briefly states that the primary force in humans is a fundamental principle to finding a meaningful life. Frankl feels individuals experience loneliness and emptiness that lead to despair and empathy. Frankl personally experienced this need when a prisoner together with other prisoners he served with. Frankl was able to sustain himself through the hardship in prison camps for the love he had for his wife. At the moment of lowness, Frankl realized that his wife was more important and loving hence meaningful than death. This could help push him through the struggles he came across as a prisoner. His friends also had reasons to live that gave them the strength to overcome all hurdles in the prison. For instance, one of his friends was a scientist who was working on a series of books and needed to accomplish his duty while the other had a child waiting for him. Frankl and his friends had reasons to live and accepted their fate as prisoners soldiering on with courage to complete their sentence. Frankl returned to his profession as psychiatry once his jail term was over and found that his theory of meaning held for everyone else and not only prisoners.

Part 2: Reaction

One of my reactions to the material read is the relationship built between the "Capos" and ideas about aggression, standards, and anxiety discussed in our psychology class. In the presentation, the Capos were prisoners that got the privileges of being trustee by the prison system. According to Frankl, these Capos acted more cruelly towards fellow prisoners than they did to the SS men or guards. Such behaviors can be explained by several psychological factors. The Capos must have had initial desires to "selling themselves" established from the suppressing intense anxiety in return for small favors. The Capos are extreme examples of how human beings create rejection and cruel reactions against those they presume to interfere with their standards and situations to enjoy the targeted privilege.

I perceive that Frankl's idea that the human meaning of life is the most paramount force to help explain our actions demonstrates the disconnect and disorder in the world today. Currently, many people are not happy in life because they end up in jobs where they have no space to explore their creativity or undertake authoritative roles; their work has no meaning. Others are unhappy because the societal norms tend to stress sexual techniques when involved in a relationship other than caring. An example is when people buy popular books on sexuality to help them become good in bed; however, the content provided does not make them more sensitive to their partner’s feelings and needs. In the situation human lacks real care, there is no meaning. To hide from the shame that results from the inner emptiness of sex and impersonal work, people buy themselves gifts and accumulate wealth to attract others, and forget their lives lack meaning.

I can attest that Frankl's idea on suffering can have meaning assist in the understanding of people's behavior. I have a friend named Eric who was always poor and his family had nothing as well. Leaving with the stepmother who did not care about him much as she did to her children, he developed determination. Eric worked two jobs a day to help save enough money to go to school and eventually he managed to raise fees. Despite the hard life, Eri went through, he managed to raise his school fees and worked as a part-time employee until he graduated. On the other hand, I remember this able man from a wealthy family without any struggles he could not make anything useful with his life. From Frankl’s writing about Search for Meaning, human life without determination and desire to achieve certain goals through hardship is meaningless.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I strongly recommended other persons read Frankl's book to determine their purpose in life and make greater meaning of their lives.

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