Summary is a natural place to start any writing activity that involves reading other texts. Summary is often used as a prewriting step to clarify the author’s actual message and purpose. Often this involves active reading, highlighting passages, annotating in the margins, and rereading. It’s very difficult to use someone else’s words and ideas when you aren’t certain what is really going on in the text.
For this assignment, you are asked to compose an effective summary of the Frederick Douglass “Escape from Slavery” essay.
Concepts to keep in mind when writing a successful summary:
- Summary definition: a summary provides a concisely expressed explanation of the selection’s content: what the author’s main points are, what particular methods the author uses, etc. Your focus in summary writing is always on the primary and main supporting points rather than on the details of the text.
- The text is objective: this means you should not editorialize or evaluate the text by either reading between the lines or judging the article as “masterful” or “insulting,” etc.
- The text is in third person: For a brief summary like this there are no reasons for any “I” statements like “I think she’s saying…” or “I believe…,” etc.
- The author is the subject in most, if not all, sentences. Remember, it is people who write, not articles, so avoid phrases such as “The article is saying…” Instead, start most sentences with subject/verb like this: “Heywood argues…,” “The author claims…,” “She supports her assertion with…,” etc.
- The summary is a minimum of 10 sentences long (maximum length is two pages) not counting the required title and reference pages.
- You have maintained objectivity and refrained from passing judgment.
- The author is included throughout the summary.
- The first sentence includes the title of the article and the author’s name.
- The text has been proofread for coherence, readability, and grammar errors.
- Your paper, including direct quotes, must be formatted according to APA style.