Critical Synthesis Great Books Essay
Critical Synthesis Great Books Essay
At its most basic level a synthesis involves combining two or more things or summaries.
Synthesis writing must be done in a meaningful way and the final essay must be thesis-driven.
In composition, “synthesis” refers to writing about printed texts, drawing together particular themes or traits that you observe in those texts and organizing the material from each text according to those themes or traits.
Synthesis means being able to synthesize (draw together, put into conversation) your own ideas, theory, or research with those of the texts you have been assigned.
Dialogue includes more than one voice (opinion) that is responsive to other voices: discussion, listening, interaction, and understanding.
Dialogue means (in writing and in person) listening and responding to those who hold viewpoints that are different from your own, with an objective or goal of finding common ground and understanding. Dialogue reduces rather than promotes conflict.
Students will write a five (1200 words) to seven page paper (5-7) that creates a Synthesis argument through the use of logical arrangement structures, evidence, textual citation, analysis, DIALOGUE and synthesis. Your essay should have clear logical context, while offering your claim to the following subject prompt below.
Students will ground their research in their readings. This means adequate textual citation (I often recommend at least two cites analyzed and explicated per paragraph) and will be responsible for finding two scholarly articles using the electronic resources from the library (JSTOR, MUSE, or another equally acceptable scholarly journal resource), in conjunction with use of TEXTUAL references. This means you should have a minimum of SIX sources. This research will support your thesis claim
Choose FOUR texts we have read from class this semester. In what way do these texts speak to an overarching theme, concept, historical moment, or societal construct?
Criteria and Organization:
Student papers must each have the following components:
Student essays should be written in THIRD PERSON
Students MUST research and cite a minimum of TWO outside sources to help support their thesis position AND include citations from the FOUR texts themselves
Essays should offer your position or claim based on textual citations from essays on your topic and must engage with the texts from class.
Student essays should a CLEAR THESIS (i.e. position or claim)
Essays should be mindful and exhibit clear use of Rhetorical argument structures.
Your paper should have an introduction paragraph as well as a conclusion paragraph.
Your body paragraphs should include contextual dialogue and support (i.e. references and citations from the text) that logically relate to and help support your thesis claim.
You should strive to maintain organizational flow through topic sentences and transition sentences.
You should follow protocol for properly setting up and unpacking citations to incorporate them successfully into your paper.
You should endeavor to map out a clear direction for your paper within your introduction to help give your reader an idea of you’re the breadth and scope of you topic and its support, as well as help keep your organization.
Your paper should clearly dialogue (converse) the four texts.
Your paper should clearly explore the shared theme, historical moment, societal construct etc.
Your paper should offer some point of synthesis.
Your paper must be MLA formatted (this includes proper citation and punctuation). Remember to use times new roman 12 point font, double space, with one inch margins. Your paper must include a properly constructed Works Cited page, attached to your document NOT as a separate document.
GUIDELINES FOR EDITING YOUR ESSAYS (BASED ON REPEATED ERRORS BY MULTIPLE STUDENTS) **:
1. Omit “you” from formal writing.. Avoid the casual use of the second person point of view—i.e., do not use “you,” when you mean “one” or “they.” “We” can often be used if your point includes you as well as the general reader.
2. Use third person voice
Use pronouns VERY carefully:
1) Be certain that there is a clear antecedent (which is usually a noun but may be a phrase) for every pronoun. Be especially careful with “it” and “this.”
2) Be sure that your pronouns agree with their antecedents in NUMBER—a plural noun requires a plural pronoun and a singular noun requires a singular pronoun.
3) Words such as everyone, everybody, anybody, somebody, someone (and others, such as each, either, neither, one, no one) are all singular, and therefore cannot be used with a plural pronoun—i.e., you cannot write “everyone . . . they.” Fix such problems by replacing “they” with “he or she” (which gets awkward very quickly) or “one” (or, perhaps, “we”). However, it is probably easier to change the “everyone” to a plural noun—i.e., “people” or “many people”).
Watch your spelling, especially of homonyms. Be certain you choose the right word to fit your meaning when using their, there, or they’re, your or you’re, know or no (and watch out for now), and right or write. One way to help with some of them is to avoid using contractions.
When in doubt of the flow or phrasing of your sentences–_READ YOUR WORK ALOUD.
“Everyday” is an adjective and will usually precede a noun—e.g., “everyday activities”; “every day” is a noun and an adjective (two words) and means “each day.”
Avoid overusing adverbs—they really, truly aren’t overly necessary—honestly (i.e., don’t “gush”)! Overuse of adverbs makes you sound wordy and insincere. Make your points as straightforwardly as possible.
Use “as though” or “as if” in place of “like,” unless you are comparing: “He looks like his brother,” but “I feel as though I have had too many changes in my life.” Remember, like is a preposition and introduces a prepositional phrase. It should not be used for as if or as though, which are conjunctions used to introduce clauses.
Avoid slang, including “laid back,” “hang out,” “awesome,” “cool,” and “sucks,” in formal writing.
AVOID trite over used sayings and clichés. If you’ve heard the phrase repeated as a description before– IT might be a cliché and a good phrase to stay away from.
Read your work aloud. You don’t need extra words. Keep it clean and concise.
Also, however, a lot: These are not words that should not appear more than once or twice in a formal paper.
Write out numbers (i.e., don’t use numerals) that can be expressed in one or two words; always spell out a number that begins a sentence. However, days of the month and page numbers are written as numerals. Dates are written April 3 or the third of April but not April 3rd. (Note, when you are writing dates, use a comma after the date and after the year: “The twins were born on Saturday, March 6, 1982, in Detroit, Michigan.”)
Avoid wordy trite expressions such as “due to the fact that” (use “because”), “the reason is because” (use “because” or “the reason is that”), and “at the present time” (use “now”), or “at this point in time” (use “now”). In general, avoid sentences beginning with “it is . . . that” or “it was . . . that,” which add little more than extra words (no meaning) to your sentences. Be as direct and concise as possible.
Watch out for redundant and wordy expressions such as “Each and every” or “first and foremost”—choose one of the words in each pair. Also, avoid rather stale, nearly clichéd, expressions such as “live life to the fullest” and “last but not least.”
Study the correct uses of semicolons. Review comma splices and run-on sentences (avoid both).
Remember, periods and commas always go inside quotation marks, colons and semicolons always go outside of quotation marks, and the placement of question marks and exclamation points is determined by whether or not they are part of the quoted material or part of the sentence as a whole.
Avoid frequently starting sentences with coordinating conjunctions (“and, nor, for, so, but, yet”); use a connector (“however,” “nevertheless,” “nonetheless,” “moreover”) or a subordinate conjunction (“although,” “because,” “since”) instead.
Use effective transitions to get smoothly from one point to the next. Avoid using “another,” which makes you sound as though you are listing points, and they are all of equal importance. Instead, let your reader know when there is a causal relationship or try to build your points from least important to more important and make those connections clear.