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Requirements and Expectations for the Summary Essay The purpose of this assignme
Requirements and Expectations for the Summary Essay The purpose of this assignment is to give you practice in the expository mode of sum- marization. You will be required to summarize texts in various personal and professional con- texts throughout your life, ranging from novels and film descriptions discussed by friends, to legislation proposed by political representatives, to professional literature recommended by co- workers and supervisors. In each case, you will be asked to condense a considerable amount of information, sometimes written to persuade, into a relatively short exposition. Although this may not sound like an intellectually challenging task, it can be more difficult than it seems. Be- cause you are expected to explain certain parts of the text you are summarizing and leave out others, you must choose which are important and which are not. You must also decide how to express the parts with which you have decided to work. Readers of exposition are usually not looking for argumentation, and in many cases, they consider it unwelcome. So you must be careful to avoid even the appearance of partiality. This essay will be due on Tuesday, February 1st. For this assignment, you will summarize William Lutz’s “The World of Doublespeak.” In order to effectively summarize Lutz’s essay, you should explain its major arguments. We will discuss argumentation in class. Although we will also discuss good and bad kinds of argumen- tation, and you should be able to identify both, you should be careful not to evaluate argu- ments in your essay. You should only report the kinds of arguments it uses, their subjects, and how they work, without judgment. You should write approximately four double-spaced pages and observe the conven- tions of the academic essay genre. We will review MLA formatting in class, and you will be re- quired to submit a works cited page with Lutz’s essay listed correctly. This handout will briefly discuss the criteria I will use in grading . 1. Rhetorical awareness. Summarization is a kind of exposition. Therefore, you should not write an argumentative essay. Do not take a side on the issues. I should not be able to tell whether you agree with Lutz. Remember the qualities of exposition-- impartiality, clarity, and comprehensiveness. Roughly sixty percent of your essay grade will be determined by whether your writing clearly possesses those three qualities. And also remember, comprehensiveness means that you include all possible explanations. If you do not have enough space to do so, make sure to be selective but representative. 2. Word choice and sentence structure. Word choice sometimes reveals bias. Be careful to choose words that have neutral connotations and precise meanings. You should also write in an appropriate tone. Many students use words that create a tone too informal for academic writing. In addition to choosing words carefully, you should also vary your sentence patterns. A range of sentence constructions will keep your reader interested. 3. Paragraph development. Every paragraph in your essay should clearly support your thesis. Begin each paragraph with a topic sentence, then support that topic sentence with sev- eral sentences of explanation. Do not begin or end a paragraph with a quotation, paraphrase, or summary. Avoid long quotations. The concluding paragraph should begin by restating your thesis. Do not use the conclusion to make a new argument. You may summarize Lutz’s essay by treating each of its major points separately: for ex- ample, you write all about its arguments first, then you write about how it responds to its op- ponents for rest of the essay. Or you may identify the issues it discusses, then treat its position on each issue, along with opposing positions, together. We will discuss both options in class. 4. Grammar, punctuation, and mechanics. Please proofread your essay carefully.

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