Purposeful Summaries – mrmab1

Elderly Animals – A Meditation on Elderly Animals

Staying or keeping someone alive only to suffer seems rather counterintuitive. There’s a conflict when it comes to the elderly- whether they’re human relatives or animal companions- and that is at what point is life too burdensome to continue? At what point does caring and showing compassion towards a dying creature become counterintuitive and shift from care and compassion to selfishness and cruelty? When photographing elderly animals after caring for her own aging parents, photographer Isa Leshko acknowledges the importance of accepting that they are mortal. After making the conscious decision to not photograph her own aging and dying family, Leshko expresses and emphasizes the importance of remaining respectful to the memory of the elderly by displaying who they truly are as beings through pictures rather than ignoring their mortality, and it is clear that she regrets making her decision about her parents.

  “These photographs are a testament to… finding meaning and joy in life in the face of physical limitations and challenges.” (Not officially part of the summary, but I liked the quote and thought it summed up Leshko’s work rather well.)

Unemployment Rate – Unemployment falls, but economy only adds 36k new jobs

 It seems counterintuitive that unemployment is considered to decrease when those who are unemployed stop searching for employment. A drop in unemployment when followed by the addition of only a fraction of expected new jobs- in the case of the article, 36k jobs opposed to the expected 145k- may make it seem like less jobs are required when in reality it’s the complete opposite. There are so few jobs that a portion of that unemployment decrease was caused by a decrease in job interest and people giving up on finding work, and that is nothing to celebrate. 

Extreme Parenting – Is Extreme Parenting Effective?

It seems counterintuitive that in an attempt to give children a “good life” and have them be “successful,” extreme parents completely ignore anything that their child truly wants from life and instead force what they as parents want out of their child. By being extremely strict to “guide” your child to greatness, it’s possible that more negatives, such as a lack of individuality and creativity, could come and overpower the anticipated good. 

  On the other hand, having a “pragmatic philosophy” where everyone is rewarded for simply participating- easily viewed as the opposite of strict education- can also have negative effects. It can cause a sense of laziness or help children develop a belief that life is easier than it really is and get overwhelmed when faced with the real world, so a healthy medium is important. Sometimes it’s important to also acknowledge that happiness is just as if not more important than a parent’s perceived notion of excellence through academics or performance.

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2 Responses to Purposeful Summaries – mrmab1

  1. davidbdale says:

    These are strong overall, MBA. They quickly and specifically identify the counterintuitivity uncovered in the original material. They guide the reader well to an understanding of the inherent conflict. They don’t always make the best use of the space you’ve devoted to them.

    Rhetorical questions are a red flag. Like assault weapons, they should be handled with extreme care and require a license. They’re prone to backfiring. Readers see them as an opportunity to make up their own minds. You want to make up their minds for them.

    You start with a straightforward claim.

    Staying or keeping someone alive only to suffer seems rather counterintuitive.

    Then immediately lose control of your own argument.

    There’s a conflict when it comes to the elderly—whether they’re human relatives or animal companions—and that is at what point is life too burdensome to continue?

    Half of your readers will silently respond: Never. Now you’re playing defense.

    At what point does caring and showing compassion towards a dying creature become counterintuitive and shift from care and compassion to selfishness and cruelty?

    At which point that same half, perhaps joined by others, respond: How dare you!

    If your Summary has a Purpose, be clear from the start what it is. Here you appear merely to want to inform readers of the conflict Isa Leshko experienced. That’s a pretty narrow purpose, and it’s hard to imagine the paper to which this paragraph would make a strong contribution.

    Your opening claim is twofold where one fold would suffice. The “staying” alive part disappears immediately. You develop only the “keeping someone alive” part. Now imagine the thesis to which it would make the biggest contribution. Revise without rhetorical questions:

    Keeping someone alive only for them to suffer is savagely counterintuitive. Human relatives—or our animal companions—deserve the right to decide when their lives have become too burdensome to continue. Beyond that point, our caring and compassion towards a dear dying creature, however well-intentioned, become selfishness and cruelty.

    Same material, same claims, ambiguity removed. Your readers may still resist, but the pressure is on them to refute your clearly-stated position. You’re playing offense.


  2. davidbdale says:

    I’ve graded your assignment at Canvas, MBA. If you’re satisfied with the grade, do nothing. If you’d like to revise for a better grade, make significant improvements to all three examples and place this post into the Regrade Please category.

    Whichever you choose, responding to your professor’s feedback is not only polite, it’s the best way to assure that he continues to take an interest in your development as a writer. Any response is good. “Thanks, professor,” and “I have further questions,” and “What the hell was that!” are popular choices.

    If you’d prefer to be ignored, leave no response at all. 🙂


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