Short writing assignment
:We're going to use these first essays as an
opportunity to begin developing the skills of close reading, summary, analysis
and synthesis.This is an ungraded
assignment, but the quality of your effort will be part of the overall
participation grade for the semester.Please send an electronic copy of your writing to my e-mail address
(firstname.lastname@example.org) no later than 9PM on Monday, January 22rd.Completion of this assignment is a
prerequisite for admission to the class.
Work through the following two part rubric in response to each of
the three essays:
Identify the author and
title of the essay
Summary:Focus on the question of "what?”What is the author's message? What do you
think the author is trying to convince readers to believe?
Analysis:Build on your summary, but focus on the
questions of "How?” and "Why?”
What techniques does the author use to convey the message?How and why is particular evidence used to
support claims?How and why does the
author use citations from other authorities?
Now put Coontz and Wilson in a conversation with each other.This is called synthesis.
Some specific questions to
How does the author define the family? How does the author
understand the relationship between the family and the wider society? Does the
author perceive a crisis in the family? What are the causes of the crisis? What
are the solutions?
A few tips:Plan your time so that you can do the reading
and writing for this assignment over several work sessions.Read carefully to distinguish the author's
point of view from the ideas of other experts that are used to either support
or refute the author's argument.Don't
expect that your treatment of each essay will be exhaustive--I know you cannot
cover everything.In the synthesis
segment refer specifically to other essays in this assignment.