Dr. McMahand


English Composition

Fiction Analysis Peer Review


Heading and Title/Formatting

1.      Check to see that the writer includes his or her name, Dr. McMahand, course title and section, and date.

2.      Is there too much space between items, not enough?

3.      Does the title contain all the needed parts—author, source title, and focus idea?

Example:  Familial Demise in John Updike’s “Separating” 

Example:  The Beloved as Body and Earth in Neruda’s Cien Sonetos de amor   

4.      Is the title too wordy? Strike out wordy phrases and unneeded words.  Does it clearly indicate the essay’s focus?

5.      Check the spacing of the title (and of the entire essay).   The entire paper should have one-inch margins and have double spacing between lines.

6.      Has the writer mistakenly emboldened the title or underlined it?  Are the proper parts of the title in quotes?  Offer suggestions.



7.      Does the writer construct a clearly developed framework, relating the story’s themes to a social issue or reality?  Where and how should the writer expand his framing remarks?

8.      Does the writer smoothly introduce the author and title in the opening paragraph?  For example:  In Franz Kafka’s novella The Metamorphosis    OR:  Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” captures….

9.      Examine the thesis carefully.  Has the writer assembled a forceful, argumentative statement(s) that lends clarity and dimension to the story’s theme, structure, imagery, voice, etc.?  How might the writer improve the content and the phrasing?


Argument and Analysis

10.  Does the writer begin each paragraph with an argumentative claim that refers to the thesis?  Do any of the claims seem divergent or digressive?

11.  How can the writer improve the content and wording of the claim?  

12.  Does the claim smoothly transition from the previous paragraph?

13.  Does the writer quote too often from the text?  Should the writer quote the story more?

14.  Where could the writer better improve her analysis?  Does it read like plot summary?  Does she ignore dialogue or narration that would reinforce, complicate, or controvert her claims?

15.  How repetitive is the analysis?  Are there noticeable gaps in the logic? 

16.  Does the writer explain all of his ideas clearly?  Does he misread or misrepresent what happens in the story? 



17.  Suggest ways to improve any restatements of thesis and focus.

18.  Offer points of improvement to the writer’s transition from the body to the conclusion.


General Concerns

19. Does the writer remember to write consistently in present tense, in active voice?

20. Does the writer introduce (or interpolate) and cite all quotations?

21. Suggest changes for awkward phrasing, grammar, and mechanics (putting all punctuation inside quotation marks, for example).

22. Point out places for improving transitions within and between paragraphs.

23. Check the writer’s use of MLA in citing, including a properly formatted Works Cited page.