English and Literature

You are to write an essay that includes (a) a summary (approximately 150-250 words) of the reading and (b) a strong response to that reading in which you speak back to that reading from your own critical thinking, personal experience, and values. As you formulate your own response, consider both the author’s rhetorical strategies and the author’s ideas. Think of your response as your analysis of how the text has expanded and deepened your thinking about its ideas.

Readings (choose one of the following):

“Gay Marriage: Societal Suicide” by Charles Colson

“What’s Wrong with Gay Marriage” by Katha Pollitt

“The Myth of Doomed Kids” by Bella DePaulo

“Size 6: The Western Woman’s Harem by Fatema Mernissi

The skills this assignment develops are crucial for academic writers. You will learn how to summarize an article, including how to quote brief passages, how to use attributive tags to cue your reader that you are reporting someone else’s ideas rather than your own, and how to cite the article using Modern Language Association (MLA) documentation system. Because writing summaries and producing strong responses are important writing-to-learn skills, you will draw on them any time you are asked to speak back to or critique a text. These skills are also needed for writing exploratory essays, analysis and synthesis essays, researched arguments, and any other scholarly work that uses sources. In learning how to summarize a text and interact with it in writing, you are learning how to contribute your own ideas to a conversation. Weak readers passively report what others have said. Strong readers see themselves as contributors to the conversation, capable of analyzing and evaluating texts, speaking back to other authors, and thinking actively for themselves.


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