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Sample Critical Lens Essay With the person sitting next to you, read the essay below. (2-3 min) What are the parts of the critical lens essay? (5-10 min) o Label the parts of the introduction (REAL) o Make a list of the parts of the body paragraphs Be ready to share out your findings. (2-3 min) “In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart.” -Anne Frank Anne Frank said, “In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart.” This means that even if people do bad things, deep down they are still good people that care for other human beings and have feelings. I agree with this statement. In the novella The Pearl by John Steinbeck and the novel A Separate Peace by John Knowles, the characters Kino and Gene are still good at heart despite the bad things they may have done. In the novella The Pearl by John Steinbeck, Kino is a young Mexican man who finds a valuable pearl. Before finding the pearl, Kino has a peaceful life with his wife, Juana and his son, Coyotito. Kino finds a pearl and people try to take advantage of him to get their hands on the pearl. Because of this, Kino is driven to do things he normally would not and the mood of the story turns dark. He beats a man who tries to attack him, he beats his wife for trying to get rid of the pearl and the bad luck it is causing Kino’s family and finally, he kills a man who tries to take the pearl away from him. This story is told from a third person point of view that allows the reader to get to know Kino before and after he finds this pearl. The reader sees that Kino is a good person who, because of the bad fortune this pearl is bringing him, is forced to do things that he normally would not. Despite all of his mistakes and the bad things that happen in the story, Kino is still a good person at heart who is just trying to look out for his family. In the novel A Separate Peace by John Knowles, Gene is a teenager who is at the Devon School in the 1940’s. The novel is a flashback told by Gene as an adult. Gene has a best friend named Finny and there is often conflict between the two. Gene feels that Finny is always trying to compete and show off, especially in sports and academics. On one occasion, Finny convinces Gene to skip school and hang out at the beach for the day. Gene returns back to school just in time to take a test that he does awful on. Gene blames this on Finny and feels that it was on purpose because Gene is a better student than Finny. Gene also feels that Finny shows off in sports and pushes Gene to take part in them to somehow embarrass him and distract him from his studies. This pushes Gene to a breaking point and he “accidentally” pushes Finny off a tree. Finny breaks his leg and eventually dies from Gene’s betrayal and jealousy. Because of the point of view of the story, we only see Gene’s side of the story but are still able to realize that he is feeling guilt years later for the best friend that he lost. Despite Gene’s jealous actions, he is still a good person at heart that wishes things would have gone differently all those years ago. The Anne Frank quote, “In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart,” means that people are good on the inside in spite of some of some of the choices they make in life. Kino in The Pearl by John Steinbeck and Gene in A Separate Peace by John Knowles, because of the circumstances they are in, are found doing things they normally would not do. Regardless of this, they are good people inside. This is similar to real life in that often times good people do things they normally would not because of what is going on around them. WHAT IS A CRITICAL LENS ESSAY?
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