reflective analysis


In this first four-to-five-page essay (double-spaced), we will approach a reflective analysis that covers two of the major course goals to:

  1. Know enough of the history and phenomenology of love to reflect critically upon the presence of love in [your] own lives
  2. Improve [your] writing skills


We will also emphasize the “Lifelong Learning and Self-Development: GE Category E” objective to “facilitate understanding of the human being as an integrated physiological, social, and psychological organism,” especially in light of Buddhist mindfulness that is psychologically oriented. Specifically, this assignment reflects the national AACU Lifelong Learning skills that include “Reflection – Reviews prior learning (past experiences inside and outside of the classroom) in depth to reveal significantly changed perspectives about educational and life experiences, which provide foundation for expanded knowledge, growth, and maturity over time” as well as “Transfer – Makes explicit references to previous learning and applies in an innovative (new and creative) way that knowledge and those skills to demonstrate comprehension and performance in novel situations.”


In this first essay, you will use personal experience and Thich Nhat Hanh’s Buddhist Teachings on Love to analyze the lyrics of one popular song of your choice. Compare and contrast how your experiences motivate you to relate to a song’s love message with how Thich Nhat Hanh’s philosophy would lead him to evaluate the same love song.


Please keep the following in mind as you construct your essay:

  1. Organization: A clear thesis and topic sentences need to organize your essay. The thesis names your song, your “I/my” position on the love message, and a comparative Buddhist perspective on the song. Topic sentences explain the content of a paragraph, usually in the first sentence. Ideally these topic sentence will allow a transition from your reading of the song to that of Nhat Hanh. Do not begin paragraphs with a quote.
  2. Content: At least half of the essay needs to focus on your personal feelings and experiences that inform your view of the song’s message of love. The other half of the essay needs to consider a Buddhist analysis of the song based upon Nhat Hanh’s Teachings on Love. Here is a breakdown on the page content: On page one, briefly summarize the love song and Nhat Hanhs’ Buddhism. Then include a developed thesis. On page two, analyze the quoted love song lyrics based upon your personal experience. On page three, analyze a different lyric quoted from the same love song based upon Nhat Hanh’s Teachings on Lovewith a quote from his book included as well. On page four, both compare and contrast your personal and Buddhist readings of the song in separate paragraphs and explain why those religious differences and similarities occur. Use separate paragraphs for the comparison and the contrast. Put the bibliography right after your conclusion.
  3. Citations: You must use at least four “short quotes” with page references (p.1, 2, etc.). Two must come from Nhat Hanh and two “short quotes” must come from the song within your essay. The first lyric quote will likely occur on page 2. The second  lyric  quote and first Nhat Hanh quote will likely occur on page three. The first  Nhat Hanh quote will occur on page three and the last Nhat Hanh quote will likely go in the conclusion likely on page four. For full credit, always quote several exact words from both Nhat Hanh and the song. Do not merely paraphrase. Explain the meaning of your short quotes in 2-3 sentences. List the alphabetized works cited in a bibliography right after the conclusion and on the same page if possible.
  4. Grammar and Style: Correct grammar, an evolved personal “I” voice, and variety in sentence structure will improve your writing style
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