Guidelines for Evaluating the Second Essay

This assignment has asked you to develop a profile of a person or a place in contemporary Japan.  If a person, you were to place him/her in a nexus of relationships and in terms of family background, educational experience, work (or work aspirations if still in school), and any other significant dimensions of personal identity.  If a place, I asked you to depict both its structural features and the characteristics and relationships of the people who customarily inhabit it.  The point of this assignment is to use the device of a character profile to develop a realistic and revealing (although not necessarily representative) perspective on the institutions and lifeways of contemporary Japan.

My overall evaluation, of course, is a judgment of how successful the essay offers just such a perspective, in particular through three dimensions:

1) general conception and aims of the profile:  What are the broad issues of contemporary Japan that the author is trying to convey by means of this particular profile?  How effectively and plausibly does the framework selected allow the author to do this?

2) the substance of the profile itself:  Is it a rich depiction of persons and situations? Is there a persuasive use of details, illustrations, and examples in support of the profile and the issues behind it?  Are we given a sense that the author is speaking from a broad knowledge of contemporary Japan (i.e., in the specific sense of the materials of this course)?  How coherently are issues of protagonist, narrator, and voice resolved?  Does the essay have consistency and coherence?

3) the organization of the essay and the quality of its written expression:  This is an evaluation of how effectively the profile is structured and how well it is written, including the following:  an opening that orients the reader and an  organization that guides him/her throughout;  the use of paragraphing as strategy for developing the profile; appropriate transitions in the text; and careful syntax, word choice, and mechanics of punctuation and spelling so the reader's attention is not diverted from the substance of the essay.