Essay 2: Summary and Analysis


To engage in summary and analysis is to take on one of the most basic activities in academic writing. Such writing typically expresses ideas in a kind of conversation with other people’s ideas. In order to make clear to the reader what the conversation is, it’s important to summarize those other people’s ideas. And in order to make clear where the author stands relative to those ideas, some analysis is usually required.

Summarize: To summarize is to report what the author has to say. First, identify the author and the title of the article, chapter, or book being summarized. Next, summarize briefly the content of the selected reading, with an emphasis upon what seems most important to you. If someone else who had not read the selection were to ask you what it’s about, what would you tell them? Provide only the most relevant and important details.

Quote and paraphrase as appropriate.

Analyze: To analyze is to consider how the author says what they have to say. How does the author argue their points of this text? What do you think of that argument? Is it interesting, disturbing, amusing, or … ? What makes you think so? What issues are at stake in the text? Choose one issue and make that your focus. Consider what we’ve discussed in class and draw upon your class notes as well as your thoughts about our discussions. What do you think of the way the author addresses the issue? Why?

Quote and paraphrase as appropriate.

Your analysis should about as long as your summary. Don’t write a lengthy summary and then provide only 1 or 2 sentences of analysis.

Choice of readings

You may use any chapter in the PREFACE book.

MLA Format

Be sure to format your paper according to MLA guidelines: 1-inch margins, the font Times New Roman, 12-point type, double spaced text, indented first lines for every paragraph. In the upper lefthand corner of your first page, type your name, my name, the name of the course, and the date of the draft. In the header of each page, in the upper righthand corner, include your last name and the page number.

Evaluation Criteria

Discussion questions about example essays

Be specific, and be prepared to cite specific passages for each of the example essays.