This handout gives an explanation and examples of the difference between summarizing, asserting, and analyzing. It was designed to use with AP English students (Literature or Language) to help them understand what was required of them when they wrote rhetorical analysis, or close reading, essays.
AP English classes and upper level English classes aligned with the Common Core ask students to write these challenging essays that even some teachers struggle to grasp. Also, the new SAT writing prompt appears to require a rhetorical analysis essay.
Students in my AP English classes often failed to even understand what a rhetorical analysis essay asked them to do and, therefore, were frequently frustrated and ended up simply summarizing rather than analyzing a text, or making assertions which they could not back up with analysis. This is a handout I gave early in the year which defines each tactic and then uses E.E. Cummings' poem "Pity This Busy Monster" to give two examples. When former students email me from college to ask for help/advice, this is a common handout that they request!
Please note that this was written for AP students and, therefore, includes fairly sophisticated vocabulary and skills. It would be appropriate for Advanced Placement, junior or senior English, and college freshmen courses.