When we read any argument essay, we should be aware that some information in the essay is more important than other information. In other words, some things in the essay are there in support of larger or more general arguments. We can think of the relationship between these different points as constituting a hierarchy of information. In most essays, the hierarchy breaks down in three parts.
The thesis is the main claim of an essay. The thesis is the thing that all other information is there to support. Supporting points are there to support the thesis. We can think of supporting points as offering reasons as to why the thesis is sound and logical. When supporting points are specified further, we refer to these as specific examples. Specific examples are the most specific information in an essay. For example, if you see statistics given or if you are introduced to a person in the essay who is quoted, you should think what supporting point this specific information is providing evidence of, this specific point–in turn–is there to defend the thesis.
As we read this week, take notes on the essay. Make a note every time you see a new point made, a new example given. For the Discussion this week, you will be asked to summarize the article.
Writing the summary
Summary is the first step toward argument. You have to be able to state what the terms of the argument are before you can argue whether one side or the other is right. Remember that a summary is an objective restatement of someone else’s argument. This means you should not use first person pronouns in a summary. State everything objectively. When we write about texts, the texts exist in the present tense. This means we write that the author argues, suggests, complains etc. Notice that these verbs are precise. The author is not talking, and the article does not “talk about” anything. Use present tense, precise verbs in a summary. Lastly, try to organize your summary based on the hierarchy of information. Begin with the thesis. Your first sentence should also include the author’s name and the title of the essay. From there, you should give your reader the major supporting points. Remember that you are not picking a side in a summary; you are objectively restating the author’s argument.
For Discussion 5, write a two paragraph summary of this week’s reading assignment. Remember to include the author’s name, essay title, and thesis in your first sentence. Use present tense, precise verbs throughout, and avoid the use of first person pronouns.