Discuss themes and ask questions about the issues authors raise and conduct some additional research to extend our understanding of a subject.

A synthesis essay requires you to (1) make connections among the ideas of others, (2) decide what the connections mean, and (3) create a context for your own argument. By looking at the perspectives from others, you will not only compare and contrast ideas, but open the door to discovering your own thoughts on a topic. What do the connections mean to you? What ideas do you agree or disagree with and why? What can you add to the conversation?

For this paper, we will focus specifically on examining texts alongside each other and explore issues that particular texts raise. We will discuss themes and ask questions about the issues authors raise and conduct some additional research to extend our understanding of a subject

For this essay, you will start with one of your questions of inquiry. Here are some samples:

How do outside influences affect how we make decisions?
What does it mean to have authority, and how is it used and/or abused?
When is it appropriate and/or necessary to defy authority?
How do our values and traditions affect our actions?

Then, using two or more of the essays listed below, along with your own research and/or any of the essays we have discussed in class, you will write an argument in which you discuss your opinion centered on a theme presented within the texts. Remember to support your central idea by using key ideas taken from two or more of the essays and by evidence gathered through library research and primary sources.

The Essays:

Tan, The Red Candle
Orwell, Shooting an Elephant
Milgram, Perils of Obedience

Helpful Tips:

Reread and annotate your sources
Identify KEY ideas
Make a connection between sources using KEY ideas that each make
Write a working thesis
Gather supporting evidence
Make an outline that includes your warrants
Look up how to properly paraphrase, summarize, and quote
Use the templates in your textbook when appropriate
Make every word and sentence count. Omit vague language

Briefly summarize your sources
Underline your claim (thesis)
Include clear warrants Explanations of why or how your evidence supports your claim
Include strong topic sentences and ample supporting evidence
Use one to three (3) quotations correctly within the body of the essay

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