Summary / Response Writing Guidelines for Writing a Summary 16M 09 1. In the first sentence, include the title of the text, the name of the author, and the author’s thesis. 2. Maintain a neutral tone; be objective 3. As you present the author’s ideas, use the 3rd person point of view and the present tense. ex. Taylor argues… 4. Keep your focus on the text. Don’t state the author’s ideas as if they were your own. 5. Put all or most of the summary in your own words; if you borrow a phrase or sentence from the text, put it in quotation marks and provide the page number in parentheses. 6. Present the text’s key points. 7. Be concise. Guidelines for Writing a Response 1. Select 2 or 3 ideas to respond to from the reading. Introduce these ideas as quoted from the author. Ex. Carr points out that the “internet is turning us into scattered and superficial thinkers”. 2. Paraphrase each idea individually and then include your detailed response. Do you agree / disagree, why? What do you have to say about this particular idea? 3. Some questions to keep in mind when writing a response: a. What surprised you? b. What made you think? Or provoked a reaction? c. Are there holes in the argument? Anything that doesn’t make sense? d. Are there ideas you wish to challenge? 4. Keep in mind other texts/sources you can apply to your response 5. Your response should be longer than the summary-details, details, details!!! Sample Summary / Response In her essay “Big Box Stores Are Bad for Main Street,” Betsy Taylor focuses not on the economic effects of large chain stores but on the effects these stores have on the “soul” of America. She argues that stores like Home Depot, Target, and Wal-Mart are bad for America because they draw people out of downtown shopping districts and cause them to focus on consumption. In contrast, she believes that small businesses are good for America because they provide personal attention, encourage community interaction, and make each city and town unique. Taylor’s argument is unconvincing because it is based on sentimentality – on idealized images of a quaint Main Street – rather than on the roles that businesses play in consumers’ lives and communities. By ignoring the complex economic relationship between large chain stores and their communities, Taylor incorrectly assumes that simply getting rid of big-box stores would have a positive effect on America’s communities. One assumption of Taylor’s that I’d like to address is her claim that shopping in small businesses is always better for the customer. She argues that big box stores are “sucking the life out of cities and small towns across the country.” In other words, large stores like Walmart or Target are removing the soul or character of a city or town. This claim seems to be driven by nostalgia for an old-fashioned Main Street rather than by the facts. While she may be right that many small businesses offer personal service and are responsive to customer complaints, she does not consider that many customers appreciate the service at big-box stores. For example, customers depend on the lenient return policies and the wide variety of products at stores like Target and Home Depot. Taylor’s use of colorful language reveals that she has a sentimental view of American society and does not understand economic realities. In her first paragraph, Taylor refers to a big-box store as a “25-acre slab of concrete with a 100,000 square foot box of stuff” that “lands on a town,” evoking images of a powerful monster crushing the American way of life (1011). But she oversimplifies a complex issue. Taylor does not consider that many downtown business districts railed long before chain stores moved in, when factories and mills closed and workers lost their jobs. In cities with struggling economies, big-box stores can actually provide much-needed jobs. Similarly, while Taylor blames big-box stores for harming local economies by asking for tax breaks, free roads, and other perks, she doesn’t acknowledge that these stores also enter into economic partnerships with the surrounding communities by offering financial benefits to schools and hospitals. Taylor may be right that some big-box stores have a negative impact on communities and that small businesses offer certain advantages. But she ignores the economic conditions that support big-box stores as well as the fact that Main Street was in decline before the big-box store arrived. Getting rid of big-box stores will not bring back a simpler America with thriving, unique Main Streets. Taylor, Betsy. “Big Box Stores Are Bad for Main Street.” CQ Researcher 9, no. 44 (1999).