links to articles essays will be about: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/10/29/atonement http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/one-towns-war-on-gay-teens-20120202

Purpose: The thematic synthesis essay will be based on two of the pieces students have read thus far in the course or on two pieces the instructor chooses. The essay should identify and discuss how the authors convey the themes presented in the two pieces through use of nonfiction elements.

Instructions: First, identify the theme of both pieces. Next, create a comparison chart to explore how both authors use nonfiction elements to convey the theme. Decide whether that use is effective or ineffective. As previously mentioned, students can use the chart as a tool to collect information about both pieces—information that can then be used in the essay.

Introduction: In the first paragraph, identify the titles and authors of the selected essays. The opening paragraph must provide a broad, but accurate, synopsis of the two essays as well as a clearly defined thesis statement. The thematic synthesis essay thesis statement should state the theme and nonfiction elements to discuss in the body paragraphs. Also, the thesis statement should clarify how the nonfiction elements effectively or ineffectively convey the theme.

Body Paragraphs: When comparing and/or contrasting two pieces, students should strive for an organization that helps the reader establish relationships among the information. Two common methods for comparing and/or contrasting items in an essay are block format and point by point. Block format allows students to discuss one piece completely before discussing the other piece. The following sample outline provides a general overview of the way in which one could organize the essay with the block method.
I.Introduction
II.Body paragraphsA.Nonfiction piece A (block 1)i.Nonfiction element 1
ii.Nonfiction element 2
iii.Nonfiction element 3

B.Nonfiction piece B (block 2)i.Nonfiction element 1
ii.Nonfiction element 2
iii.Nonfiction element 3

III.Conclusion

The point-by-point method allows the student to move back and forth between two or three nonfiction elements being compared and/or contrasted, as in the following sample outline.
I.Introduction
II.Body paragraphsA.Nonfiction element 1 (point 1)i.Nonfiction piece A
ii.Nonfiction piece B

B.Nonfiction element 2 (point 2)i.Nonfiction piece A
ii.Nonfiction piece B

C.Nonfiction element 3 (point 3)i.Nonfiction piece A
ii.Nonfiction piece B

III.Conclusion

The key to using these organizational methods is to be consistent in the ideas presented. For example, with the block format, make sure to discuss nonfiction elements 1, 2, and 3 for nonfiction piece A and then nonfiction elements 1, 2, and 3 for nonfiction piece B. In point-by-point format, discuss nonfiction element 1 for both nonfiction pieces A and B before moving on to nonfiction element 2. Another important consideration with both organizational methods is to use transitional words and phrases to help the reader understand connections among the ideas.

Choose the organizational method that supports the essay’s purpose. To give a reader a complete, overall picture of each nonfiction piece, use the block format. However, to present a number of distinct points from both pieces for the reader to consider individually, use point by point. Regardless of the paper’s organization, present a balanced, objective analysis of both nonfiction pieces.

Conclusion: The closing paragraph should restate the main ideas discussed in the essay but should not repeat the language in the introduction or body paragraphs verbatim. For the writer, the conclusion is the final opportunity to make a lasting impression in the reader’s mind. Keep in mind that a strong conclusion resonates with the reader. Writing about themes, which tend to address broader issues, presents students with a unique opportunity to make a statement or observation about the larger world.

Format Requirements
•Write 500-600 words, five paragraph minimum
•Follow standard MLA style format requirements

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