Chapter 7: Summary-Response Essay
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The Summary-Response Essay has two parts: the Summary and the Response. The two parts should not be mixed as they have very different goals. They are based on summarizing, and then responding to, an essay, a story, an article, or a book you have read. We’ll cover both the Summary and the Response in this chapter – first, the Summary.
Section 1. The Summary
In a Summary, you briefly retell or summarize the essay or story you have read in your own words. A Summary focuses more on the main events of the story or the main ideas of the essay than on every detail. The main events or ideas provide support for the Thesis Statement of the essay or story, as is true of all types of essays we cover in this text. Here’s the key point: without understanding the Thesis and Main Support Points of the essay or story, you cannot write an effective Summary. Here’s another important point: a Summary must not include your own opinions; your job is to objectively summarize the author’s essay or story and nothing else.
It helps when you’re writing a Summary to pretend you are telling what happened in the story or the ideas in an essay to a friend who has not read the essay. Your friend does not need to know every detail; she just needs a broad understanding of the important events of the story, or the important ideas of the essay.
Here are the steps you can follow to write an effective Summary:
1. Read the essay or chapter in the college text once through carefully. Your goal is to get a general idea of what the reading is about.
2. Use a marker! Read the essay or chapter a second time while completing the following:
a Underline or highlight key passages in the reading.
b Circle the key terms and put the definitions in the margin.
c Put an exclamation point (!) in the margin next to especially important sentences or terms. Briefly explain your reason for the exclamation point in the margin.