James Harold’s “A Moral Never-Never Land:
Assignment 1: Summary and Response One of the most important and basic skills academic writers in all disciplines learn is the ability to take apart, understand, and summarize complicated academic writing, and to then formulate a response that is based on a serious intellectual engagement with the issues, evidence, and arguments presented. For your first assignment, you will write a summary and response to James Harold’s “A Moral Never-Never Land: Identifying with Tony Soprano” (Signs pp. 296-304). We’ll be practicing summary and response skills over the next couple of weeks, and we’ll be discussing various methods for breaking down an article and the ways that academics go about responding to texts. Summary (300 words) This assignment requires that you write a 300-word summary that pays attention to the overall conclusions, key terms, key examples, and main points of the author. Your summary should demonstrate how these ideas fit together and the implicit point of view of the text. Your summary should also reflect application of the methods we will read about from Writing Analytically and those we’ve practiced in class. Although you will be putting the author’s argument into your own words, you will also need to avoid misrepresenting and/or judging the author’s position. Analytical Response (300 words) After you summarize, use the analytical methods we have been practicing in class to write an analytical response to the text. Write a response that addresses the author’s claims and considers the implications of his argument for your own understanding of the issues at stake. You may draw evidence that supports your position from personal experiences and observation, but you must also return to the text to provide illustrations and examples to support your claims.
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You should refrain from offering a merely personal response that fails to position itself in relation to the ideas and arguments of the article. Criteria for Evaluation Summary • Accuracy & completeness • Comprehensiveness and balance: reasonable selection of main ideas, major points, and examples represented in proper relation to each other • Indication of how the main ideas fit together and the implicit slant or point of view of the text • Attention to the underlying structure of the text • Avoidance of judgment • Coherence: logical and smooth progression with 1) appropriate transitions indicating connections between ideas, and 2) signal phrases (“Harold claims/argues/states….”) Response • Use of analytical methods we have read about and discussed • Serious intellectual engagement with the text • Use of specific supporting examples and details to support your claims • Reasonable and apparent choice of thesis/main point • Logical and coherent scheme of organization Grammar, Style, and Mechanics Appropriate use of citations, sentence structure, word choice, grammar, spelling, and punctuation that enables rather than hinders clear and effective communication Document Formatting You will format your paper in standard MLA style format (1″ margins on all sides, running header with last name and page number, double-spacing). Also, you will use Times New Roman 12pt. font. See Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL) for an example of MLA document formatting: _http:// owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/13_.