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The Introduction Directed Summary + Thesis Your Assignment • In the kind of essay you are writing, you are responding to a series of questions—not writing an essay on a general topic (like you would be if you were writing a research paper or general essay). • Therefore, you should NOT have a general introduction on the topic. You may, however, have a short attention getter (or hook), but this is optional. What is a Directed Summary? • The first question of the essay topic asks you to produce a focused or directed summary; that should be the main part of the introduction for your paper. • A directed summary is a kind of summary that responds to only a particular aspect of a piece of writing. How to start: • The directed summary should begin with an identification of the author, title, and main point of the essay you are working with. (FYI: the author’s full name is given at first mention; after that, use only his/her last name. Also, the titles of essays are put into quotation marks.) • Sample: • In “Some Close Encounters of a Mental Kind,” Stephen Jay Gould discusses the ways in which our eyes and memories are flawed. • NOTICE: I am punctuating and capitalizing the title appropriately. What’s next? • Following your opening sentence, you should provide a complete response to the first question of you Essay Topic, which is this: “ does Gould attempt to in the credibility of what or ? • NOTICE: I have marked some key words in this question. What you need to do is think about how Gould tries to convince readers to accept his points. • NOTE: “How” is a more complicated question word than “what.” • Directed summaries are often longer than general summaries—because you are being asked to discuss a focused point, and you need to locate all aspects of that point. You’re not just talking about the main ideas of the overall essay; you are exploring the specifics of a particular aspect of it. And, ironically, this often takes longer to do. A good rule of thumb for a developed directed summary is two-thirds of a page (for the directed summary only—an attention getter (if you use one to open the essay) wouldn’t count as part of this length, nor would your thesis). A developed directed summary that is rarely less than 2/3 of a page. Often, they are longer. Verb Tense • Write the “summary aspects” of a directed summary in the simple present tense; however, you might need to switch to the simple past tense when you report an author’s examples. For instance, you might have a sentence like this: • Gould discusses how two memories can get tangled together to form a third, false memory when he reports his faulty recollection of Devils Tower, where he went first as a fifteen-year-old and then later as a forty-fiveyear-old. • Notice the switch of tense. The “summary” verbs are in the simple present tense, while the verb reporting about Gould’s past is in the simple past tense. More information • Remember to write the directed summary in your own words. In fact, AVOID QUOTES so that you demonstrate your reading comprehension better. • A directed summary should NOT include your opinion, your examples, etc. It is simply a response to the first essay topic question and reports what an author (in this case Gould) thinks about a focused issue. • Your thesis (an answer to the 2nd Essay Topic question) is most often found after your directed summary—at the end of the introduction, but it’s not considered part of the directed summary itself. In fact, the thesis works as the transition between the author’s ideas and yours. Directed Summary Strategies • When I have to write a directed summary, what I like to do is to read each paragraph of an essay carefully, looking for what it can tell me about the question I’ve been asked to respond to. Then I think about that question and write notes in my own words, really trying to break things down. This is actually my freewriting for my directed summary. Following are my notes on the first two paragraphs of Gould’s essay. Notice that I am thinking about what he says and what he implies. Compare them to your notes! • We’ll read each paragraph aloud first. Paragraph 1 • Well—Gould’s already shaking my belief in what is seen by reminding me of the problems associated with eye witness testimony, and he’s raised the stakes of this topic too. It’s accurate to say that people have gone to prison for committing crimes they didn’t commit. It’s accurate to say that wars have been waged because of faulty interpretation of what is seen. These are both undeniable facts, so my belief in what I see is already being shaken. Paragraph 2 • Here, Gould makes us doubt by bringing up the point that we have to register sights correctly and then store them. He implies that the brain is a great thing, but it has so much to do that it CANNOT possibly store everything without making errors. Also, he reminds readers that we—as primates—put so much stock (maybe too much) into what we see that we might discount other senses. So, basically, he’s reminding us just how flawed we are. Let’s continue • I’ll read each paragraph one at a time, and now it’s your turn to tell me what you wrote. Comprehension Check • The three ways we can be fooled: 1. Perception Errors: problems with how we see something 2. Retrieval Error: we can get two memories mixed up 3. Retention Error: we can “lose” part of a memory over time • How do Loftus’s experiment and Gould’s personal experience relate to these concepts?