What is a synthesis essay?
A synthesis essay is an essay in which you use a variety of sources to support your thesis statement. In a normal expository literary analysis essay, you would generally use only one source.
You’ll be writing a synthesis essay using the texts we’ve read so far this trimester as support. These can be novels, short stories, essays, or poems. You’ll need to find information from at least THREE different sources to support the statement you make in your thesis statement.
People learn about the world through their interactions with it. In a well-developed four paragraph essay, examine the two most important types of cultural experiences people can have which cause them to alter their perspectives about the world around them. Use at least three sources as support.
Review the sources you have available.
Decide on which two types of cultural experiences you are going to write about (it would probably be easiest to focus on one type of cultural experience in each body paragraph, such as family, religion, ect.).
Choose the three (or more) sources that will best support your thesis – which texts show characters’ perspectives changing due to their cultural experiences?
Find at least two direct quotes or specific details (with page numbers, if possible) from each source you will use to support your thesis, in addition to other specific details from these sources to be used as minors – so, these are specific quotes/examples which show how and why individuals’ perspectives change as a result of their cultural experiences
Do some prewriting/mapping/outlining.
Citing Sources: Each time you use a quote from a source, you’ll need to include the author’s last name and the page number/line number in parentheses after the quote. (And don’t forget the lead-in!)
- When Wang Lung is hurt by his son's failure to appreciate the land, he thinks to himself "The land is one's flesh and blood - without it a man and his family are nothing" (Buck 39).
- Sedaris humorously remarks on his misunderstanding of the Tomkey family by calling them "puny" ( Sedaris 74). ---when citing from the stories in the Springboard book, just use the Springboard page #
- Jules calls her friend Jess a "traitor" and a "liar" for kissing Joe, and they continue fighting about their relationship with this boy they both like for some time (Shrek 2). --- this is how to cite Bend it Like Beckham
- One key message included in the song is the idea that people should "Imagine there's no war," to get listeners to consider a world with peace and love (Lennon 13) --- remember when citing poems, you cite the LINE # and not the page #
The Good Earth
Life of Pi
Shrek 2 clip
"My Mother Pieced Quilts" poem pp. 7-8
"Where I'm From" poem pp. 22-23
“Thanksgiving” essay song p. 66-71
"Us and Them" essay pp. 73-78
"An Indian Father's Plea" letter pp. 109-113
Attention grabber: general statement about culture and how cultural experiences can impact the way people see the world
Background information: Explain what "culture" is, what "cultural experiences" are, and explain the basic idea behind how and why people have their own opinions and world view as a result of their own culture and their own cultural experiences
Central idea and thesis: "Cultural experiences shape the way people see and understand the world around them, and the two cultural experiences which most powerfully shape people's perspectives on life are _(cultural experience #1)_ and _(cultural experience #2)_."
Body Paragraph One:
Topic sentence: Assert cultural experience #1, and give the general reason for how/why this cultural experience has a significant impact on people's world view/perspectives
Major A: One main way cultural experience #1 can change people's world view/perspectives
Minor A-1: One quote/specific example from one of your three sources that shows how people's world view/perspectives are impacted in a significant way by
cultural experience #1
Minor A-2: Another quote/specific example from one of your three sources that shows how people's world view/perspectives are impacted in a significant way by
cultural experience #1
Commentary A: Explain how/why Minors A-1 and A-2 prove/show how/why cultural experience #1 significantly impacts people's worldview/perspective in the way you assert it does in Major A
Major B: Another main way cultural experience #1 can change people's world view/perspectives
Minor B-1: One quote/specific example from one of your three sources that shows how people's world view/perspectives are impacted in a significant way by
cultural experience #1, according to major B
Minor B-2: Another quote/specific example from one of your three sources that shows how people's world view/perspectives are impacted in a significant way by
cultural experience #1, according to major B
Commentary B: Explain how/why Minors B-1 and B-2 prove/show how/why cultural experience #1 significantly impacts people's worldview/perspective in the way you assert it does in Major B
Body Paragraph Two: (same format as body paragraph #1, except here you're focused on cultural experience #2 from the thesis, and two main ways this affects people's world view/perspective)
Restate the thesis: Restate the thesis and central idea in a way that says that same thing, but not word-for-word
Reflection upon cultural experiences #1 and #2: Explain how, overall, in all your majors, minors,and commentary, your essay has conclusively shown how/why cultural experiences #1 and #2 have a major impact of people's world view and their perspectives in life
Concluding sentence: Wrap up with a closing statement about how/why people need to value and appreciate cultural experiences because of how they open up people's eyes and perspectives in new and important ways, since America and the whole world is culturally diverse
Synthesis culture essay example:
[Attention grabber]The life of every human being is the sum of their cultural experiences. [Background info.]Whether it be interactions and experiences with music, movies, video games, friends and family, religion, school, or any other aspect of culture, all human beings can claim a unique cultural identity based upon their cultural experiences. And because all people in this world claim a unique cultural identity based upon their unique life experiences, all men and women develop a unique "cultural perspective" through which they view the world around them. For instance, David Sedaris' view in "Us and Them" of a young boy in middle America in regards to his strange new neighbors is different from the way Wang Lung in The Good Earth views strangers in early 1900s China. Additionally, with regard to family, Jess Bamhra's relationship with her parents in Bend it Like Beckham changes her cultural perspective differently than does Teresa Polomo Acosta in the poem "My Mother Pieced Quilts." [Central/controlling idea and thesis] Cultural experiences shape the way people see and understand the world around them, and the two cultural experiences which most powerfully shape people's perspectives on life are
geographical location and family.
[Topic sentence] Geographic location has a significant impact in developing a person's cultural world view and perspectives because unique geographical locations affect the types of cultures a person is exposed to. [Major A] One way geography affects people's cultural world views and perspectives in life is the way in which certain countries and communities have unique customs and traditions so a person's worldview can be limited and small if that is all they ever know. [Minor A-1] In "Us and Them," David Sedaris and his family and friends all own TVs, and their lives revolved around their favorite TV shows and the shared experiences and details of those TV shows. For example, Sedaris says "It was impossible to separate [Elmer Fudd] from his celebrity" (74). [Minor A-2] In The Good Earth, Wang Lung and his family, because of where they lived, centered their lives around farming and their belief in the earth gods. But when his family move to the city, Wang Lung sees Christian missionaries and "didn't understand these pictures of a white man nailed to a cross" (Buck 179). [Commentary A] Because in America TV is a vital part of culture, and cartoos are vital parts of children's culture, David Sedaris didn't understand people who didn't know who Elmer Fudd was. Sedaris' cultural world view, as an American, was based upon American TV. However, in China in the early 1900s, Wang Lung's life centered around farming and his earth gods, and he lived an isolated and independent life only knowing very little about the outside world. Christianity wasn't an idea he was familiar with due to his geographic location. Sedaris' and Wang Lung's experiences with outside customs and traditions reveal how their specific geographic locations impacted and limited how they see and understand the outside world. [Major B] Another key way in which people's cultural world view and perspectives are changed through geography is the way in which diverse locations can open up a person's views and opinions on customs and traditions. [Minor B-1] In Bend it Like Beckham, Jess is exposed to soccer and Western culture due to the diversity and tolerance presence in London, which her family did not have exposure to back in India. [Minor B-2] In "My Mother Pieced Quilts," the speaker respects a multicultural heritage, as her family is both American and Mexican, and she connects to her national and religious heritages through family quilts. The author describes her appreciation for her varied cultural background by writing "oh mother you plunged me sobbing and laughing into our past...sewn hard and taut to withstand the thrashings of twenty-five years" (Palomo Acosta 44-45, 51). [Commentary B] Because Jess's geographic location offered her a chance to embrace both Indian culture and Western culture, she was able to come to appreciate and see the benefits and negative aspects of each culture. Because Palomo Acosta grew up in the American Southwest and had connections to America through her location in Texas, she embraced her Texan heritage. But, her family originally came from Mexico, and her family history through her quilts helps her appreciate both American and Mexican heritage together, giving her a wider world view because of her varied cultural experiences. [Concluding sentence] Geographic location can both limit and expand people's cultural world view and perspectives depending upon the cultural offerings of unique countries and communities.
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