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Writing Project #3: Synthesis Length: at least 3 pages.

Resources:

  • Yuval Harari, Sapiens, chapter 19, esp. from page 385 to end of page 390.
  • Emily Estfahani Smith, “There’s More to Life than Being Happy,” The Atlantic. 9, 2013.

Description: The goal of this assignment is to master the skills necessary to pull together two texts that address related or similar topics. You will not only submit the ideas of the two authors (i.e. summarizing their arguments—“THEY SAY”), but you will also enter into the conversation (i.e. analyzing their arguments) by presenting your own ideas (“I SAY”) which have been further thought out through the synthesis of these two pieces.

The Task: The basis of this writing project is explaining the connections between texts and articulating your own conclusions. You will write a thesis-driven essay that engages in a meaningful exchange between the arguments found in two texts: Harari, chapter 19 from page 385 to end of page 390, and an essay in The Atlantic. Both pieces explore how people can be happy, but come to different conclusions.

First, determine what the central arguments are in each of these pieces. (Focus on the part in Harari, chapter 19 that discusses biochemistry.) Think about the author’s main claims, and what evidence or data they use to support their claims? You should highlight and address differences and similarities between the essays. Include relevant quotations as long as you give attribution (who wrote it) and explain the relevance to your paper.

Then, take your own position. State and explain the thesis you developed in response to these two pieces. Use your thesis as a means of cross checking whether the quotations you include support your overall analysis.

To make a long story short: you need to explain the relationship between both essays and then put forward your own contribution to the overall discussion in these essays about happiness.

Typed, double-spaced, 12-point font. Length: at least 3 pages.

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