Fast Food


Part 2: Synthesis and Response This is the second of two parts into which Project I is divided – in the first part you wrote an objective summary of “Still a Fast Food Nation” by Eric Schlosser. Summary, paraphrase and quoting will be integral components of your synthesis and response essay in which you will discuss the ideas that you found in the designated readings and your reaction to them. The Assignment: Write an essay in which you connect your own ideas about the topic of fast food and the ideas of Eric Schlosser in “Still a Fast Food Nation,” Mark Bittman in “Yes, Healthful Fast Food Is Possible,” and Steve Ells in the video “Chipotle’s Fast Food Facelift.” Links to these are in the assignment in WebCampus. The Purpose of Project 1 is to learn and to practice the skills of:

• Reading critically

• Identifying claims and reasons

• Quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing Citing sources Each of these skills is essential to all research-based writing. You will use them in all of the other writing projects and the final exam. Your skills in these areas should improve with each project. The Assignment is NOT to write an analysis of the writers’ styles in which you focus on their choice and arrangement of language and it is NOT to write a contrast essay in which you analyze the differences between the readings. The Assignment IS to write about ideas you find in the two essays and video, ways in which those ideas relate to each other, and your thoughts and reactions to those ideas. Synthesis Essay Defined: Connect what you have read to ideas in other texts or to the world around you. You may begin to synthesize early on, as you read and annotate. To synthesize, ask yourself the following questions: • What else have you read or experienced that this text may explain, illustrate, clarify,

• complicate, or contradict?

• How do the authors’ writings amplify, complicate, or contradict each other?

• What outside forces (historical events, socioeconomic forces, cultural shifts) might influence

• or underlie the text?

• What claims or points in the text do you find especially compelling? How do compelling points

• in one text connect to ideas in the other(s)?

• What claims could these texts, taken together, provide evidence for?

• How is your understanding of a topic enhanced or your thinking changed by putting these

• texts together? The Thesis in a Synthesis and Response: Academic essays are commonly expected to be “thesis-driven,” meaning that the thesis is stated early in the essay, and the material in the rest of the essay supports the thesis. The thesis in academic essays is frequently two or three sentences in length rather than a single sentence. In a synthesis essay, the thesis expresses your reaction to the sources; it may express your level of agreement or disagreement or indicate the ways in which you will extend or build on the sources. Example of Synthesis: See the long paragraph that begins at the bottom of page 301 in Read, Reason, Write. Use of Personal Pronouns: The use of personal pronouns (I, we, my, our) is appropriate in certain types of academic writing including in a response essay. Trying to write about personal experience without using the first person is difficult! Using first person also helps you to indicate views that are your own rather than those of the author. Your Readers: A university group whose members have NOT read the original essays Required Length: No less than two FULL pages and no more than three pages Format: MLA Grading Criteria: • Accuracy in identifying and stating source writer’s ideas

• Quality of paraphrase (clear statements of information in your own words and sentence structure)

• Use of attributive words (variety, appropriateness of choice, integration of attribution into sentence)

• Clarity and appropriateness of thesis

• Effectiveness of introduction and conclusion

• Effectiveness of essay title • Cohesion; use of connective devices

• Style (word choice, sentence structure)

• Mechanics (grammar, punctuation, spelling, typing)

• Ability to follow directions (using correct MLA format, etc.) Links to the articles

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