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Essay on “Analyze, Don’t Summarize” by Michael Berube Essay

Berube analogize student’s essays and watching sports commentary on ESPN, because students tend to summarize in their essays instead of analyzing it. Berube uses an example as to what he is trying to explain that the world of sports is metacommentary and no one actually summarizes on how the game is being played. Instead they analyze, they just point out the important part of the game. In the tenth paragraph he quotes “Well, Tony let me point out that last night, the Red Sox swept the Tigers and crept to within three games of the Yankees.” And then he quotes that “…I’m just pointing out that the Sox won 3-1, on a four hitter by Schilling, while the Yanks blew another late-inning lead.” Page 304 Berube uses this comparison to explain that no one summarizes the sports because no one in the sports world confuses summaries with analyses, meaning that he discuss the importance of what a thesis should look like.

He quotes that “…When I tell them that an observation is not a thesis…” he wants students to write a paper in which the thesis can be arguable and to bring to the public’s attention, just as sports commentary do; pointing out the essential parts of the game. Berube’s response to student’s writing is to “Assume a hypothetical readership composed of people who have already read the book. That means that you shouldn’t say “In class, we discussed the importance in the clam chowder in chapter five. But more important it means you don’t have to summarize the novel…” Berube most convincing analogy would be when he quoted the Red Sox won 3-1with the Yankees. He gave two specific examples of what the difference of analyzing and summarizing. What he wants his papers look like. Well he uses the comparison with sports because what he wants his students to know that what he looks for is a paper that catches the public’s attention.

He wants main points just as commentators argue about when a game is being played. Berube’s least convincing analogy was when he says that “sport talks are nothing but an entire entourage of chattering parasites.” What did he really meant if this is what he is trying to compare with his student’s writings and sports. This is why sports monocommentary is supposed to be doing –arguing about the game not just “Chattering” like he says. The author expresses the difference between analyzing and summarizing simply by contradicting himself with the rest of the essay, because he mentioned he wants his papers to be arguable just as sports talks should be. Berube says that sports talks’ analogy is useful simply as a handy way of distinguishing between summary and analysis. “When a student paper cites textual evidence so compelling and unusual that it makes me go back and read passage in a question (good!) …”he quotes and a “suggests that a novel conclusion fails to resolve the questions and tensions raised by the rest of the narrative or makes claim that are directly contradicted by the literary text its self (bad!)…” (page 304)

The significance of his point that “an observation is not a thesis means” because a thesis is usually an arguable piece of writing and in most cases factual and an observation is what is perceived by one at the moment meaning only you can base an opinion of what you just saw. In this paragraph Berube emphasizes his point on analyzing, summarizing, and sports talks. The above paragraph shows the author’s black and white thinking about his student’s papers. He believes that there are only two choices; one is the right choice and the other is not, deciding whether you sound right or not, “I simply know an A paper when I see one.” Audience of Berube’s essay could be anyone, but most likely his students. According to paragraph fifteen, he’s been using ESPN or sport talks as his source to compare it with his student’s essays. As I get to the end of the essay, I realized that Berube wasn’t able to answer his own question. But he was able to successfully compare analyzing and summarizing by giving easy and understandable reasons and resources.


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