Developing a Synthesis Essay

Honors English II
Think about what your point is.
What do you want to say and who do you
want to say it to?
Once you have this figured out, then you can
write your thesis statement.
A thesis is one or two sentences
It has to work as a STATEMENT
It clarifies the ONE main point of the paper
Remember that it’s a sentence, so keep it
clear, concise, and to the point!
At this stage in the game, the best way to
think of a thesis is statement is by stating
This is your point and providing examples that
support your point.
 Ex: America’s youth is incapable of taking1
responsibility for their actions because there
is lack of accountability in the average home
life, the overwhelming idea of entitlement,
Support 2
and the influence of modern media on the
societal norm.
Support 3
The way you develop your essay should be
reflective of the way the thesis statement is
1st: lack of accountability in the average home
◦ Give examples
◦ Use evidence to support
◦ Connect to the topic and thesis
2nd: overwhelming idea of entitlement
◦ Give examples
◦ Use evidence to support
◦ Connect to the topic
3rd: influences of modern media on the
societal norm
◦ Give examples
◦ Use evidence to support
◦ Connect to the topic
When writing you must include evidence to
support your statement.
Using evidence gives credibility to your
argument and gives you credibility as an
author because it shows that you’ve
researched your topic and fully understand
what you are saying.
Regardless of how you set it up, you must
have a citation for your quote.
A citation must include the following:
Author and source or place where it came
May include a parenthetical citation if the
quote is set-up to need it
In MLA format, a parenthetical citation
follows the quote and is written as such
(author’s last name, page number of the
Here are three possible ways to set-up a
Jane Smith, New York Times reporter, writes
that “Jeffrey Dahmer was an undeniable
“Jeffrey Dahmer was an undeniable freak,”
says Jane Smith of the New York Times.
After finding several bodies in his basement,
it can be said that “Jeffrey Dahmer was an
undeniable freak.” (Smith, 2)
When you use someone else’s ideas or
thoughts, you MUST give them credit,
otherwise it’s called plagiarism.
If you’ve read a text or reference an idea from
a source, you MUST cite it!
Look at this tutorial for a better idea:
Original: " He [Poe] makes us understand that
the voluble murderer has been tortured by
the nightmarish terrors he attributes to his
victim..." (Gargano 1672).
Paraphrase: Poe makes us comprehend that
the talkative killer has been persecuted by the
frightening horrors he assigns to his prey
(Gargano 1672).
Original source, from James W. Gargano's article "The Question of Poe's
Narrators in 'The Tell-Tale Heart' and 'The Cask of Amontillado'":
Poe intends his readers to keep their powers of analysis and judgment ever
alert; he does not require or desire complete surrender to the experience of
the sensations being felt by his characters. The point of Poe's technique,
then, is not to enable us to lose ourselves in strange or outrageous
emotions, but to see these emotions and those obsessed by them from a
rich and thoughtful perspective.
A paragraph that properly integrates a paraphrase of this source:
Many of Edgar Allan Poe's narrators are unreliable, deceptive, or downright
insane. For example, the narrators in both "The Tell-tale Heart" and "The
Cask of Amontillado" are both murderers who are trying to justify or defend
their actions. In their attempts to exonerate themselves, they likely will not
tell the truth. Another deceptive narrator is the husband in "Ligeia."
He describes taking opium on the night he claims to have seen Ligeia
rise from the dead. Surely this event was a hallucination brought on his
abuse of the drug. On the whole, Poe's narrators cannot be trusted, but he
does not seem to want the readers to trust these men. James W. Gargano
writes that Poe wants the readers of his stories to remain vigilant about
questioning and interrogating his narrators, not to accept his narrators'
version of the truth. He is not asking the reader to experience the story
from the narrator's perspective, but rather to view the narrator's feelings
from a detached point of view (Gargano 1672). Thus, reader can
experience Poe's stories from two levels. They can enjoy the tale as told by
the narrator, and they can analyze the way the narrator's outlook is shaped
Go through the articles you’ve been given and begin
to highlight specific quotes or thoughts that you may
want to incorporate into your essay.
Do this with the Lord of the Flies text as well.
Organize your thoughts and begin writing.
Make sure when you include a quote or paraphrase,
that it flows naturally into the thought you are
developing; that it supports what you are trying to
say! That is the beauty of writing this.
You should have substantial amount of your own
words before and after a quote/paraphrase to show
that this is actually beneficial to the thesis statement
that you’re trying to prove!