For this essay, you will write a synthesis essay where you explore and explain the relationship between several sources while promoting your own view. A synthesis is a blending of voices: you discuss a topic using multiple sources, adding your viewpoint into the mixi.
But using sources does not mean that you only use the sources to back up your own points. That is certainly one way to write a synthesis and its probably the one you are most familiar with, as that is often the focus of using sources in K-12 education. Elementary through high school teachers wanted you to get used to presenting evidence to your arguments. But often times we end up cherry-picking the juicy bits from a source to support our viewpoints and thats not really engaging with sources but skimming for easy points. Using sources well requires you to understand what your sources say in relation to other sources on the same subject.
College-level synthesis essays often center on one source and then use other sources to discuss that sources ideas. Or they focus on several sources and how they connect to each other to help us understand a concept. Or they present the writers own ideas, and then use the connections between sources to discuss why those ideas are valid (note that I said valid, not true).
For this assignment, you will use the readings for this unit to argue a positioneither your own position or the position of one of the sources. And as is true with the other assignments thus far in the course, we are going to be writing about writing. The four essays we will use are:
In Defense of the Five-Paragraph Essay by Kerri Smith
Defending the Five-Paragraph Essay by Byung-In Seo
Unteaching the Five-Paragraph Essay by Marie Foley
My Anti-Five-Paragraph-Essay Five-Paragraph Essay by Kim Zarins
Drawing from these four essays, write an argument for or against an idea or issue that arises in one of the readings, repeatedly referencing and synthesizing the other three readings as part of your discussion. In order to do this, you must first find common threads between the readings and map out the relationships between them (this should be easy since they are all on the same topic). Then you will need to decide how to approach this essay: agree with an author, disagree with an author, or present your own understanding of the issue showing how you arrived that that understanding through connections between the four authors. Needless to say, this is an argument essay, so you need a strong thesis: you have to pick a side of some sort and defend that position.
Your goals in this essay are to demonstrate you can select, organize, and sequence material from multiple sources and synthesize that material in an essay using a variety of methods. You will need to summarize, quote, and paraphrase all the sources you use in your paper and use MLA-style in-text citations. You will also need to create a correctly formatted Works Cited entry. Papers without MLA-style in-text citations AND a reasonable attempt at an MLA-style Works Cited will receive an F.