Writing Assignment W2A: Summary and Analysis Essay
- In complete sentences and within organized, fluid paragraphs, your essay will both summarize and analyze the assigned article (“Cultural and Racial Stereotypes on the Midway,” by Josh Cole). Your essay will include a title, a brief introduction, and a conclusion. The article is available on Blackboard.
Summary: Your first paragraph should contain both a brief introduction to the article as well as your summary of the article. Your summary should immediately follow your introduction; in other words, your first paragraph, if standing alone, would essentially be an annotation of the article.
Analysis: The next 2-3 paragraphs of your essay should be an analysis of that article. Analysis happens when you break a text, object, or system down into its constituent parts and examine how those parts work together. Your task, then, is not to describe how well the article conveys its main point (that would be evaluation), nor to come up with a new way of looking at the issue the article addresses (that would be synthesis). Your task is to carefully explore how the article addresses its particular issue and illuminate various aspects of that article for your reader. What decisions does the author make? How is the article organized? Does it use examples? Subheadings? To what effect? Think of our exploration of “The Red Wheelbarrow”: when we were describing the poem, we were merely identifying its key features. But when we decide to analyze the poem, we began looking at how those features of the poem work together to create its general effect. When you closely analyze the article, you should be reading it so closely that you’re able to point out things that a casual reader of the article might have missed.
- Perform all the necessary steps.During your “prewriting” or “invention” stage of drafting, be sure you step back and allow yourself to describe the article to yourself before you attempt to analyze it. Composing a reverse outline will help you to get a mental “snapshot” of the article and digest both its content and its organization before you begin writing your formal essay.
- Don’t hold yourself responsible for every minute aspect of the article.You are summarizing and analyzing this article; your analysis is not expected to account for every single word or sentence. Your analysis should support a general interpretation of the article that attempts to be objective and fair; only analysis of material that illustrates your general “take” on the article should appear in your final analysis.
- Be both general and specific. When summarizing, one naturally must be general. But when analyzing, one must summarize, paraphrase, and quote specific moments from the article.