Summary and Quotation Writing Assignment

*** Choose one of these two essays from Writing from Sources: either Mike Rose’s “Making Sparks Fly” (pp.96-103) or Stephen Marche’s “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely” (pp.103-112), (I’ll send you the sources) and write a full-length, multi-paragraph essay summarizing it. This is a very difficult task–Remember that you are not criticizing the essay, just telling what is in it. Your essay’s thesis sentence will be the original author’s thesis. You may rearrange the supporting details, but remember that a good summary is comprehensive & thorough. Thus in this assignment you won’t be exactly following the instructions in our textbook, which advises just taking sentences from the original. You will be writing a whole essay. Perhaps most important: A full-length essay has several paragraphs. This is a simple fact–but sometimes people have a hard time remembering it. The total length will depend on the original article you choose–but these essays will probably be 3-5 pages. You can write more than this if you need to.

Helpful Hints for Doing the Summary Essay

1) Be sure to read the suggestions in the Blue Box on p. 95 of Writing from Sources. Remember that this assignment is even more complicatedâyou are summarizing a complex essay by writing an essay of your own!

2) No matter which essay you choose to work on, you need to find the authorâs main argument, or Thesis. In your essay you can either quote it or put it in your own words. The authorâs Thesis may even be more than one sentence long.

3) These are difficult essays. Read and reread them with an underliner and pencil. Mark the authorâs main points and smaller points. As a warm-up, read the treatment our book gives Bertrand Russell’s essay “The Social Responsility of Scientists” on pp. 90-95.

4) There are two basic ways to structure a summary essay. The first and most impressive is to reconstruct the essay your own way. You can do this by first outlining for yourself the authorâs main points and sub-points. Then construct body paragraphs in the essay by using a main point for each one. The second method is to march through the essay, summarizing as you go. 5) Whichever approach you take, your first paragraph must contain the authorâs thesis, either quoted or paraphrased.

6) In your essay try to put some things in your own words (paraphrasing) and also quote some of the more effective phrases. Quotations can make an essay more concrete and keep you from rambling too much. 7) Remember that you are just summarizingâKeep your opinions to

yourself. That will be hard with either one of these articles, so you have to keep focused. And donât put any personal experiences into your Summary.

8) Be sure to remember the simple advice I give on the actual assignment page: Your essay need to have several paragraphs. Anyone who tries to jam all his points into one paragraph hasnât paid attention.

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