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Synthesis Feedback. Or, how do I fix this?. General Observations. 1. Almost everyone is pulling away from pronged thesis/claim - that’s awesome! However, claims are not holistic and refer to Tim O’Brien’s claim only. You are creating your OWN argument here.

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synthesis feedback

Synthesis Feedback

Or, how do I fix this?

general observations
General Observations

1. Almost everyone is pulling away from pronged thesis/claim - that’s awesome! However, claims are not holistic and refer to Tim O’Brien’s claim only. You are creating your OWN argument here.

2. Organization is better, but don’t forget transitions.

3. Almost everyone managed to use three sources, but sources were not blended; instead, you wrote separate body paragraphs around separate sources.

general observations1
General Observations

4. First person, second person, Oh, my!

5. Unusual citations--Work fast and only refer to the source by (Source 1, 2, 3, etc.) or (lastname page)

6. Please don’t refer to him as “Tim.” Last names only. You don’t hang out on the weekends or text one another.


Introductions --Here’s one:

“Tim O’Brien’s claim is ‘This too is true. Stories can save us.’ I believe that this claim is sometimes true. Stories can help us, but stories also can ruin us.”


introduction claim
introduction & claim

It has been argued that one of the primary functions of literature is healing. It allows the author/speaker to be able to release their emotions or painful experiences so that it may be shared with others and morals from these stories may be instilled in others. In Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, he states, “This too is true: stories can save us.” This theory is proven through the fact that people, especially soldiers, need to, or rather, should express their memories and painful experiences from their time during service and the fact that these stories build relationships and strengthen connections.

introductions thoughts

Band aids can heal exterior cuts and scrapes just as effectively as a story can heal the interior cuts and scrapes of emotional damage after a traumatic experience. Although some stories may not mend the scars of more internal suffering from the haunting destruction of war, some stories can be used as coping mechanisms, a way to vent or express deep rooted feelings, and to ease the mind and build to a brighter future for anyone who may be suffering.


1. Do begin your essay with an analogy or a hook.

2. Offer some context for how you intend to proceed. Do not include the names of the sources that you will use. Do not refer to them.

3. Answer the question that you are asked, specifically and directly. Avoid referring directly to whether you are agreeing, disagreeing, or qualifying.

4. Do NOT use first person. Not ever appropriate in synthesis writing.


Synthesis Body Paragraphs - A suggested formula


1. Topic sentence that states a reason supporting your claim

2. Set up context.

3. Use one source and tie it to your claim

4. Transition

5. Use another source and tie it to your claim

6. Wrap up this reason and paragraph

body paragraphs
Body Paragraphs

Topic sentences support your thesis. They are arguments that offer a critical focus to some aspect of your thesis.

Topic sentence: Telling a story enables a connection between the story-teller and the audience that allows for an emotional outlet.


1. Try to offer two different forms of support for each main body paragraph.

2. Integrate snippets of quotes rather than big chunks.

3. Make sure that you are offering your argument supported by the sources, not merely summarizing or paraphrasing the sources.

body paragraph thoughts
Body Paragraph - thoughts?

Stories can help save people by allowing them to express their emotions. For instance, in source 4 by Cherilyn Clough, the man is very angered on the outside about a problem he is having on the inside which allows him to actually voice and expel all those built up emotions he has had due to this problem. It’s saving him by showing him to not feel anymore pain, but rather talk about it. Also, on pg. 172 from “Good Form”, the quote “Daddy, tell the truth...did you ever kill anybody? And I say, of course not. Or I can say, honestly, yes.” This is giving the storyteller a choice whether or not they want to express their emotions. But it can save others from feeling what the storyteller is feeling.


Stories can only offer redemption if they offer truth. The amount of trust a story-teller must put into his audience needs “layers, richness that requires thought, context, and multiple viewpoints to bring the audiences into the zone of complete and utter comprehension connection” (Source 6). As depicted in The Things They Carried, “If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of the war story you feel uplifted or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie” (65).Not only does O’Brien state that war stories are never moral, but he says that they are full of lies. War is not moral, so the stories should not be. Having an audience “in the zone” of a story is unrealistic because they weren’t there, they cannot connect with the story-teller. No one can tell if the story-teller is lying straight to their face. The stories cannot save someone for there is no connection to be made between audience and story-teller.

strong synthesis
Strong Synthesis

Stories cannot fully erase the pain and suffering that has resulted from experiencing a traumatic event. When thousands of soldiers came home from Vietnam and reported to their families and loved ones about their time in Vietnam, they still suffered the mental illness of PTSD as seen in the “Veterans and Mental Illness graph.” For these thousands of individuals simply going home and telling others about their experiences wasn’t enough to erase the negative memories that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. If a stoy was able to truly erase pain,, thousands would not have suffered mental illnesses. In Tim O’Brien’s chapter titled, “The Man I KIlled,” O’Brien continuously repeats the phrase, “One eye was shut. The other was a star shaped hole” (O’Brien 124). Through this repetition, O’Brien allows readers to take a glimpse into the tortuous guilt experienced by so many war veterans. By telling this story, he is not coping with the pain, but merely stirring the pot

of negative emotions. The entire time O’Brien tells the story he never alludes to a single ounce of healing. Telling the story may allow him to release emotions, but his repetition shows that he is not able to truly save himself and heal through the powers of writing.
you try a body paragraph
You try a body paragraph:

Claim: Storytelling truly has the powerful to provide redemption to a troubled soul.

Topic Sentence: Telling a story provides a connection between the story-teller and the audience that can provide an emotional outlet.


Source 1:


Source 2:

Wrap it up:


Conclusions need to include the following:

  • a restatement of the thesis
  • a call to action or moment of epiphany
  • a reference to the attention getting device