English 1304: Summary and Response Essay
Your assignment is to write a summary of and response to one of the great American rhetorical documents that we read during Unit I: Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address,” Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream,” or Thomas Jefferson’s “The Declaration of Independence.”
The summary portion of your paper should be 1-2 paragraphs (no more than 1 page). It should include a 1-3 sentence summary of the content of the argument. Then, describe the rhetorical situation, paying attention to the text, reader, author, constraints, and exigence. Finally, conclude this portion of your paper by transitioning into your thesis statement. The thesis statement should identify the focus of the rest of your paper. It should indicate what you think of the rhetorical devices employed in the document you are writing about and what effect they have on the argument as a whole.
After the summary, structure the rest of your paper around your response. While the summary is objective, the response is subjective, in which you present your ideas on the argument. You can trace one rhetorical device through the document, such as MLK’s use of repetition, or you can focus on other factors, such as how an author establishes ethos or how word choice contributes to an appropriate tone. Keep in mind that you are evaluating the way another person makes an argument.
Your response should present evidence from text, so I expect you to quote from the text when appropriate. Please provide a thoughtful conclusion that not only summarizes the major points of your essay, but carefully considers the implications of your argument in a broader context than the scope of your paper.
Sharing your work with others is an integral part of becoming a good writer. For this reason, you must make an appointment at the Writing Center and bring a draft of your paper to a tutor. Have your tutor sign the “Writing Center Visit”...
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