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English 112 D. Mahoney

Project #1: Analysis and Synthesis

Hunger in America

In "Understanding Poverty in America" Robert E. Rector and Kirk A. Johnson state, "While hunger due to a lack of financial resources does occur in the United States it is limited in scope and duration" (8). On the other hand, in the preface of Growing Up Empty: the Hunger Epidemic in America Loretta Schwartz-Nobel asserts, "...hunger is America's silent and hidden disease. More than 36 million Americans are suffering from an epidemic that still remains largely unacknowledged at the highest political levels." Obviously, the claims contradict one another. Ultimately, Schwartz-Nobel suggests that the government has turned its back on America's poor (19). Rector and Johnson, however, suggest that America's poor remain impoverished because of "low levels of parental work and high numbers of single-parent families" (16). Again, the claims contradict one another. Focusing question: Is hunger and poverty a reality in America today? What you will want to work toward in answering the question: How and how well do the authors' examples and approaches support their theses and advance their views? How do their texts help you make sense of the question so to arrive at a possible answer? Assignment: In an 1800 word essay, take apart, make sense of, assess, and recombine ­ that is, synthesize ­ the ideas of the two texts mentioned above in an effort to answer the focusing question. In the introduction to your essay, present the focusing question to your readers so that they become interested in it, see its problematic nature, and appreciate its significance. Then present your own thesis that grows out of your analysis and synthesis of the assigned readings. Early in your essay, you need to summarize the readings briefly because you should assume that your reader has not read them. In the body of your paper, you have two main goals: 1) through analysis, show how the texts provide different perspectives on the focusing question; 2) through synthesis, add your own perspective and independent thinking by making your own connections among the ideas in the readings. In other words, create a new view by combining ideas gathered from the reading with your own ideas.* Invention Work and Drafting Process: You will be required to turn in rough drafts with your final draft and the five Learning Log assignments presented in the chapter (pages 366; 368; 369; 371; 372.) These exercises represent a critically important aspect of the invention stage of this assignment. Any additional brainstorming and invention writing is welcome as well. Format: Double-space and incorporate standard margins in your document; page numbers are to be centered at the bottom of each page; use a standard-type 11- or 12-point font. Type your name, date, and assignment on the right upper corner of the first page of the assignment; center your descriptive title on the top of your first page; staple your document in the top left corner of the page; include the word count on the last page.

If you get "turned around" or overwhelmed along the way, refer to this simple overview of the assignment presented below: Simple version of the assignment: Write a synthesis essay that meets the following criteria: 1. The essay addresses a focusing question that your instructor provides or that you formulate yourself. 2. The essay summarizes and analyzes the views of at least two writers on this question. 3. The essay shows the audience how you have wrestled with different perspectives on the question and have synthesized these ideas to arrive at your own new view of the question.

*Language presented in the "Assignment" paragraph and 1-3 above is taken almost directly from The Custom Guide to Writing.


English 112

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