Essay 1: Summary and Response (20%)
2-3 pages minimum (500-1000 words)
Due Date: See the syllabus (hard copy and digital copy)
Responding to argument first requires that we possess the ability to summarize the
ideas of others fairly, as “a writer or speaker cannot build a successful case on a
misunderstanding or misinterpretation of an opponent’s position” (Rottenberg and Winchell 43).
A reputable writer puts aside her/his own bias to respond with a critical, sound disposition that
keeps in mind that disagreement with another writer does not necessarily mean her/his position is
wrong and that published voices by “experts” are not necessarily right. Mastering these skills are
an essential part of becoming good, productive citizens, regardless of our academic discipline
differences, and they will serve you well far beyond your time here at UWG. This assignment,
then, furthers your critical reading and writing toolbox by asking you 1) to digest a body of
research and 2) summarize a complex issue
one specific source text therein; 3) to consider
critically that author’s particular stance on the issue; and 4) to respond to that source text with
your own thoughtful and logically sound argument.
The first unit of the semester asked our class to consider a body of research around the
concepts of nature as having a positive impact on an individual’s health and well-being. For this
essay, you will consider one aspect of the debate by summarizing and responding to the main
argument of one of the articles in your readings. Specifically, you will introduce the
conversation you seek to enter (the relationship between well-being nature ) and summarize one
of the articles in the course packet that takes a position on it. Then, you will explain your own
educated view on the issue in direct response to the source text you selected via logically sound,
thesis driven prose.
Criteria for Success
The introductory paragraph should briefly summarize the specific
controversy/issue you selected being fair to both sides. It will also position the source text
you selected in relation to the larger controversy and briefly summarize the source text’s
main argument in a clear and accurate manner. Finally, the introduction will culminate in
an argumentative thesis statement that presents your critically informed response.
Your thesis statement should clearly articulate your position on the
thread of the dolphin debate you selected in direct response to your source text’s main
argument summarized in the introduction.
Before you begin the work of constructing your own
response, you must first give your reader a more specific understanding of the position
that you are either agreeing with, compromising with, or refuting. The first body
paragraph, then, should identify and explain one to (at most) three specific claims made
by your source text that support her/his larger position on the dolphin debate. The
summary should be concise, objective, true to the intent of the author, and provide some
key details concerning the evidence she/he offers the reader. Remember to summarize
and paraphrase in your own words and to document the source text properly via in-text
The rest (and bulk) of the body of your essay will prove and support your thesis—
your position on the issue at large via your response to your source text’s claims—using
persuasive, logically sound prose.
Each of these body paragraph should include 1) a clear
mini-claim (argumentative topic sentence) that advances your thesis; 2) evidence that
supports your mini-claim (examples from the source text you are discussing and/or
relevant counter points); and analysis that shows your reader how
the evidence offered
supports your point.
Keep in mind as you draft that you are building your position in
direct response to select, key claims and examples from your source text; thus, that
author’s points should be threaded throughout your essay. While it is not required, you
are welcome to include supporting evidence for your position from other relevant
research in our course packet, if you find them helpful in proving your thesis statement.
Open the conclusion by reminding readers of your position on the selected
thread of the dolphin debate—your thesis statement—in fresh, original language. It
should then concisely 1) reflect on how your response adds to or complicates that of your
source text; and 2) connect your individual response meaningfully to the larger issue in
question. In sum, it should
show the reader why this topic is important beyond the scope
of your own response.
The paper should follow current MLA style guidelines. Be sure to include
in-text citations for direct quotations and paraphrases from your source as well as a
Works Cited page. NOTE: The Purdue OWL website is an excellent resource for MLA
guidelines, including formatting in-text citations and your Works Cited page.
No outside research should be conducted or used for this essay. Your research should be
conducted using the precurated packet of course materials, and your response must be to a source
text found therein