This writing assignment will be a summary of one of the essays you have been prompted to read from Acting Out Culture (course textbook). I will list the three readings that you can choose from for your Summary essay at the end of the assignment instructions. The summary should be brief, concise, accurate, objective, and complete. It should avoid all direct quotations. Please refer to the Seagull Handbook as needed on summarizing. Summary writing requires that you critically think about what you have read. You will analyze the author’s information and then restate it in your own carefully selected words.
Five Traits of a Good Summary
Brief- Summary is always proportionately much shorter than the work being summarized. Minor details are omitted. Key points are stated in your own words. Quoting should be avoided or eliminated entirely because quoting is not a way of condensing. Only, and I mean only, quote phrases that are essential to the meaning of the work. Quoting is usually not essential.
Concise- Do everything you can to avoid repetition, wordiness, and unnecessary voice tags. You do not have to repeat openers like “Brown says…” or “Smith’s third point is…” Use series (lists) and parallel structures to aid in conciseness.
Accurate- You should stay true to the author’s points and structure. Present his or her major ideas in the order that he or she presents them. Do not rearrange information. Do not disagree or argue or editorialize. You are simply representing what the author has said.
Objective- Personal impressions or opinions are not a part of a summary. You should stay neutral and represent only what the author has said. However, if his or her tone is emotional or expressive in some way, stay true to his or her views.
Complete- Do not skip main ideas or sections. However, you will omit minor supporting details.
MLA heading is required (refer to pg. 161 in the Seagull)
No contractions, No 1st or 2nd person…3rd person only
Paragraph format (indent, the opening sentence, use only what is needed to summarize the piece, exit sentence)
Your opening sentence should identify the author and the title of the piece you are summarizing: In John Baron’s Looking for Truth,…. Or According to Stephen James’ in, Or What America Problem Really Is,…
After the opening, summarize each major point and then summarize the author’s conclusion. DO NOT add your personal thoughts on the piece.
Rough Rule: Approximately one third the length of the original piece
I can’t emphasize enough……No personal comments, views, personal opinions whatsoever in the summary essay.
Reading Options for this Assignment (under the How We Believe unit in Acting Out Culture):
Understanding Black Patriotism: Michael Eric Dyson