For this essay we will use Daniel Gilbert’s “What You Don’t Know Makes You Nervous,” Lars Eighner’s “On Dumpster Diving,” and Dorothy Allison’s “A Question of Class.”


Essay 2 (Formal Synthesis Essay): Money

Course: English         Professor:

Text Titles and Authors: For this essay we will use Daniel Gilbert’s “What You Don’t Know Makes You Nervous,” Lars Eighner’s “On Dumpster Diving,” and Dorothy Allison’s “A Question of Class.”

Length: The target length is 1200 words, though you may fall short or go over (but no fewer than 900 words or more than 1500).

Due Date: The final, copy-edited, revised draft is due 11/05/20.

Revision Policy: We will work on this essay in stages and revise as we go along.

Pertinent Terms:

  1. To analyze an essay is to pick it apart, look deeper into the meaning of what the author has written, ask questions, and form educated opinions.
  2. To synthesize is to take information from two or more essays to create a third essay.
  3. A thesis is a sentence that states the claim or point your essay is trying to prove. In academic writing, the thesis is usually located at the end of your introductory paragraph.

Summary of Assignment: For this assignment, you will use a thesis or guiding question that you have formed in response to at least 2 of the 3 poverty-related essays we have read.Your process will involve analyzing the information in the readings. (If you have annotated your readings carefully and participated in class discussions, you have already engaged in some of this analytical thinking.) Then, as you write, you will synthesize the information in the readings to make an informative statement or a persuasive claim about socio-economic class. Be careful not to generalize as any generalization may potentially offend your readers. Daniel Gilbert’s essay is a good example of a persuasive/informative essay that combines evidence from two outside readings. Rather than being directly persuasive, his essay presents a guiding question, which he then attempts to answer by turning to outside sources. When writing this essay, do not use the first person (I, me, my, our, us, we) or the second person (you).

Audience: Your intended audience will consist of generally educated individuals from various socio-economic classes.

Organization of Assignment: The paper should include three sections: the introduction, body (consisting of more than one paragraph), and conclusion, as follows:

Introduction: Here you should introduce your topic in a way that grabs the attention of your audience, provide some brief background information on the topic, and end your introductory paragraph with your thesis or guiding question.

Body of the essay: Your thesis or guiding question should have at least two supporting claims. Spend a paragraph introducing and explaining the first supporting point and follow it with evidence for that claim from one of the essays you read. Repeat this procedure with your second supporting claim. Remember to introduce, cite, and explain each quote, paraphrase, or summary you use.

Conclusion: Your conclusion should be more than a restatement of your thesis or main point and your evidence. It should synthesize your main points to show how your thesis was answered and leave your reader with something to think about. You might end with lingering question or by focusing on the main take-away you want readers to have. If you began with a unique descriptive episode, end with a new one. Your hope with the end is to leave your audience thinking about either your claim or your question after they’ve finished reading your essay.

Grading: 30% for correctly integrated and cited paraphrases, summary and quotation from at least 2 of the 3 readings. 30% for logical structure with supporting points that lead to evidence that supports an overall claim/thesis/guiding question. 15% for how you synthesize. 10% for format and copy-editing. 15 % for MLA format and citation. You will lose points if you do not follow the structure I set out for you above.

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