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Expectations for the Explanatory Synthesis Essay
Amy Chua and Amy Tan
1. The MLA format will be used, and can be found at
Make sure that the student’s name and page number are in the
header of each page (upper right corner).
2. The student must compose his or her own title; this is an
opportunity to show some creativity and individuality.
3. The student needs to read and re-read both sources and come to
his or her own conclusion about them. That conclusion will be the
controlling idea for the Explanatory Synthesis essay.
4. I expect to see a student’s explanatory thesis within the first or
second paragraph of the essay. It is NOT to be an argumentative
thesis, but one which explains to the reader differences and
similarities between the two essays, with supporting ideas and
details from each essay. This may involve writing one or two
paragraphs describing generally how two families may be alike,
and then proceeding to describe one family’s approach, and then
another’s differing situation and approach.
5. Three pages (plus a Works Cited page) is a sufficient length for
6. Please consult the OWL Purdue University for more detailed
instructions on the Works Cited page, including the use of
hanging indentation in your format.
7. Whenever a writer’s words are summarized, paraphrased or
quoted, the student will use parenthetical citation.
8. As you write, try to avoid use of phrases like “I feel,” “I think,” “in
my opinion” “I will discuss…” or “in conclusion.” Get to your point
with strength and avoid these announcements and selfdeprecating qualifications.
10. The peer review for this essay will be conducted on Monday,
April 17, with submission on Wednesday April 19.
11. The Amy Tan Works Cited citation follows this instruction.
You can compose the Amy Chua citation from your text.
12. Please let me know if there are any questions about these
instructions. I have to limit my instructions to you because, at
this university-level assignment, students need to demonstrate
their own understanding, creativity and writing skill; too many
teacher instructions will limit this opportunity.
Tan, Amy. “Two Kinds.” Literature: the Human Experience. 10th ed. Eds.
Abcarian, Richard Marvin Klotz, and Samuel Cohen. New York:
Bedford/St. Martins, 2010. 352-360.