Pathos S/R Papers

Assignment Overview. Formal, very rigidly defined one-page, single spaced, beautifully polished, and terribly insightful papers devoted to summarizing and responding to the assigned text. The first one will be read aloud, word for word, in small groups and orally peer reviewed. I’ll accept rewrites of the first two, so long as you submitted a complete version of the original on time.

Specifics. Write a one-page (8.5×11) paper summarizing and then responding to the work you intend to address. Margins should be no less than 1 inch; spacing should be single; font should be 11-12pt. Do not exceed one page in length.

Summary Section: The first half of the page should be a concise but thorough summary of the assigned text, an attempt to convey in your own words the main thrust of the piece. Stay as close to the text as possible, quoting the author’s exact words at times to tie both you and your readers to the original text itself—cite page numbers for any quotations in parentheses after the quote (just the page numbers; no pp. or p.). In this part of the paper, your aim is to offer your understanding of WHAT the text says. Do not offer evaluative comments about the text in this section. Phrases such as “Smith says/notes/states,” “According to Smith,” and “for Smith, the solution appears to be,” etc. will help you designate what is called “intellectual property.” You’ll find that the strict space limitations will force you to take a to-the-point approach to the text. You will not have room to cover all the points the author makes, so you should avoid trying to offer a chronological description of the text’s organization, as if you’re taking us through the text from start to finish. Instead, you’ll need to synthesize the piece for us ahead of time, make sense of it as a whole, then take us into the text, show us concisely but thoroughly how the main points fit together. If you catch yourself using transitions such as “next the author says,” “then s/he says,” “after that s/he says,” etc., you’re approaching the summary too chronologically. Don’t describe the text’s chronological organization; detail your synthesis of its content.

Response Section: In the second half of the page you should offer your considered response to some aspect of the work by selecting a significant issue or insight in the text and explicitly engaging it or bringing it to life in some way. You might, for example:

  • offer compelling examples that demonstrate a theoretical point the author makes
  • apply the author’s theoretical insights in some new way
  • compare/contrast what this author is arguing to what another author argues (about pathos or emotion); that is, consider what other authors have said or implied about this idea and offer a “reading” of the one text across the other
  • or contemplate the specific (theoretical, rhetorical, philosophical, theological…whatever) implications of this essay.

You do NOT want to dismiss or even argue with the author. Your job is to engage what the author is saying, not to give it a thumbs up or thumbs down—agreeing and disagreeing are beside the point of this assignment. Also note that you will have room to deal thoughtfully only with one, maybe two ideas in the text, so don’t stretch yourself too thin. Avoid bouncing around from idea to idea, iow; stick with an issue and tease it through.

To be submitted on Canvas.