Writing is a Technology That Restructures Thought

Length: 3 pages, not counting Works Cited

Assignment: Summarize Walter Ong’s essay “Writing is a Technology That Restructures Thought”

To summarize Ong’s essay, you will need to take his points in order, and relate them to an imaginary audience who has not read the essay but needs to know what Ong is saying and how he puts her points across. One way to do this is by summarizing the essay one paragraph at a time. But keep in mind that in some cases a point may be extended over several paragraphs. In these cases, you could summarize a whole section in one paragraph.

1. Begin your paper with a statement about what Ong’s thesis is (the main point you believe he is using his examples and stories to make). The best way to identify or infer the essay’s thesis is by looking for sentences or paragraphs where all the key concepts converge. In Ong’s essay, he actually states it in his title. You’ll need to put it in your own terms.

2. Generally the amount of space a writer gives to a particular point in his/her writing should determine how much space you give it in your summary. So plan ahead. Divide your time so that you don’t end up giving too much time and space to the beginning parts of the essay and run out of time and space to cover the rest of it adequately. Preview the essay first to see how it is divided.

3. Quote directly (and briefly!) from Ongon occasion: particularly when you want to show the reader that your assessment of his points is accurate. Use the Quotation Sandwich principle of framing a quote with your own words. Quote him directly, and put the page number in parentheses at the end of the sentence in which the quotation appears. Avoid quotes within quotes (what you are describing is what Ong argues, not what others whom he cites argue). And do not place quotes back to back. Your paper should be Ong’s ideas in your own words.

4. Use transitions, like “Ong’snext point is” and “Afterdemonstrating X, Ongdiscusses Y.” These will let the reader see the moves Ong makes as he takes the reader through his argument.

Your summary needs to be at least three double-spaced pages, double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12-point font, and as developed as it can be without your reader losing sight of the key points. Do not go over four pages.

At the end of your paper, cite the essay as an article in a scholarly journal, usingAPA or MLA format. The info you need is on the essay itself. Look for it.

Your grade will be divided equally across the following three categories:

Accuracy (how well you understood the points Ong makes)
Clarity (how well you describe the way he makes his points)
Correctness (how well you edit your writing and document your sources)

Last Updated on March 16, 2020