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'American dream' Writing a Synthesized Essay, tips, help, guidance or advice?

NiuWang 2 / 3 1  
Oct 8, 2016   #1
I'm looking for tips to write a concise synthesized essay. The articles are "Chasing the American Dream" by Robert Rank et al and "What is the American Dream?" by Gus Speth. I need to summarize both articles as well as compare and contrast each others definition of the American Dream, then provide a stance (even if I disagree with both) and explain which I would prefer to be inherited upon future generations.


- Summarize two texts.
- Provide examples from texts in three forms: quote, paraphrase, and summary.
- Cite your examples.
- Explain differences between the two texts.
- Argue for the best definition of the American Dream, and how to achieve it. This argument should
come from one of the two texts, though you may change or adapt it depending on whether or not you
totally agree with it.
- Format in MLA.
- Write for an "uninformed reader"

Introduction, I'm really not sure how I should go about introducing this because I've never synthesized two articles before. What i put was this:

The American Dream, an idealogy that people use to conjure a vivid image of life in the United Staes of America could be like. Where equal opportunities for success, economic prosperity, and freedom are often emphasized and promised to anyone, regardless of their heritage, background, or circumstance, [Thesis Statement Here] sadly we're not allowed to use a delayed thesis statement.

from here I lead onto the first Article

In What is the American Dream?, Speth emphasizes on the the three dueling dualities, the meaning of happiness, the path to prosperity, and the centrality of consumerism, to illustrate the American Dream. "A good place...perceived well-being". (3) Here he and discovered that economic growth and satisfaction no longer become linked once at a certain point in time, where he then moves on to find the importance of personal relationships to happiness. "The quality of people's social relationships is crucial to their well-being. People need supporting, positive relationships and social belonging to sustain well bing ... The need to belong, to have close and long-term relationships, is a fundamental human need...People need social bonds in commited relationships, not simply interactions with strangers, to experience well-being."

I need to incorporate quotes from the articles and cite them. This is where I'm stuck because truthfully I've had a hard time understanding the articles we've read everything so far has an implied thesis. Was that a good spot to insert a quote then voice my opinion? Is it alright to use an ellipsis in a College essay?

Another issue I have is understanding how to "unpack" a quote to support my statements / stance. The part that's killing me the most is "writing for an uninformed reader"... I've never done this before. Is there any live chat available or something? Other online resources that I can read to help me. This is just a rough draft and it's due in 3 days and I haven't even met the word count requirement because I've been struggling understanding this assingments requires and how to apply it.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Oct 8, 2016   #2
sadly we're not allowed to use a delayed thesis statement

That's okay, it's better to use a thesis statement the way readers typically expect.

This will be easy for you to craft; you communicate very well. You mention that you had trouble understanding the articles, so I suggest this:

Read one of them, and look for their thesis statement. Pause on that statement near the end of the introduction, and listen for your mind to 'say' something about it.

I'll do that now, and I'll type a sentence whenever I get an idea from my own mind in response to the article:

Speth challenges his reader to think about what the American Dream really is.

Speth makes an argument that materialism prevents happiness. For example, "[paste a quote]..."

What does 'synthesis' mean in this assignment? It means you 'get the point' of one article, and you 'get the point' of the other article, and then you.... explain what implications the second article has for the message of the first article.

You say it is killing you, and it is difficult, but I think you actually just hold yourself to a high standard and you think this is more complex than it really is. If a young kid needed to know the meaning of the Speth article, you could find it easily and explain it. But because this is for your class, you might think it's more complex than it really is. And "unpack" just means to identify the main idea. "Uninformed reader" just means you explain the articles as if you were talking to someone younger than you.

You might not know what to do yet, but that's because it's not time yet to know what to do. First, read something and write something:

You do have the ability to catch Speth's message. So use one sentence to say what it is. Then, use another sentence to explain your first sentence a little more.

After that, move on to the next article. Write a sentence to express what the article's message/meaning is, and then listen for what your mind comes up with when you think of the two articles together.

: )
justivy03 - / 2,366 607  
Oct 9, 2016   #3
Hi Danny, first of all, I believe you have understood what is asked of the prompt and the hindrance in you making or creating a good essay is the fact that you are being too cautious in writing or coming up with an essay. You are also using words that are somehow, not so conversational, try to use words that are easy to understand, not only for your readers but more importantly to you as a writer.

For your introduction, say something like what you understand and what you know about the "American Dream", I believe you had done a lot of research and all you have to do is to put them together as you understand it.

Towards the end, when you say "unpack" a quote, what you can do is to analyze and understand your quote, then tell a story about it and what lesson we can draw from it, this should be a lot simpler for you and yo should be able to come up with a well managed and well rounded essay. Remember the simple ones and easily comprehensible essays are the ones that matters most.

I hope to review the full essay soon.

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