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Dr. Karin Spirn developed the following assignment and it remains one of my favorites: Quote Analysis Assignment (Documenting sources in an academically responsible way.)
Dr. Karin Spirn developed the following assignment and it remains one of my favorites: Quote Analysis Assignment
(Documenting sources in an academically responsible way.)
For many papers in this class and in other college classes, you will need to analyze quotes. Paragraphs centering on discussion of quotes need to give very good explanations of the quote and what you will say about it. You should never allow a quote to “speak” for itself; you must clearly make a point about each quote you use. The following is a basic formula for a paragraph that analyzes a quote. While you may vary the formula, it is a good idea to try to have the following elements in your paragraph:
1. a topic sentence that tells the main point you’ll make in the paragraph (You might think of the main point as a mini thesis);
2. some background information about the quote so that the reader is not at all confused about what the quote means;
3. an explanation of the argument you are making about the quote (if you don’t include this first, your readers will need to re-read the quote later once you make your point);
4. the quote, preceded by a signal phrase, with quotation marks and a parenthetical page citation. You should provide enough of the quote that it makes sense, but don’t put in more than you can discuss. One or two sentences is generally a good quote length;
5. a restatement of the quote in your own words (paraphrase) right after you present it to make sure readers understood the quote in the same way you did;
6. The final few sentences of your paragraph should explain, being sure to include your own experience not as evidence but to help explain your argument, your point about the quote in more detail, and why you draw that conclusion about the quote;
7. Your final sentence should remind readers of your paragraph’s main point.
For this assignment, you will integrate a quotation from “7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Go To College and 4 Things To Do Instead” by Michael Price ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michaelprice/7-reasons-why-you-shouldn_1_b_5501111.html ) as you use the seven step model to compose a paragraph in which you make an argument about whether or not most people will benefit from a college education. You may read the comments to his post, but be careful. You do not want your paragraph to be a summary of his post and someone else’s response. It is your idea I’m are after, which is why I’m also asking you to use your own experience as part of your explanation in step six. You are not using your own experience as an example because one person’s experience cannot serve as evidence. You can, however, use your own experience to explain an aspect of your argument. Please remember that you can use a quotation from Price’s to make an argument that agrees or disagrees with his premise. In short, you need not agree with him in order to use a quotation from his blog post. You only want one quotation in this assignment: the quotation you make in step four. Be sure to explain and document the quotation appropriately and ensure that your readers will understand how the quotation supports your own idea. Please number your sentences so that the numbers correspond with the elements numbered 1-7. Please remember that you are not simply offering a summary of a point made by the Price; you are using the text to support an argument that you are making–your main point.
Example: The following example, from a research paper on Satan worship, follows the above model, Note that, although the main point is repeated several times, the paragraph does not sound repetitive. This repetition is necessary to make sure the reader understands the quote and your point about it.
1. Satanism often provides an outlet for the negative emotions experienced by abused or neglected young people. 2. Timothy Zeddies argues in “Adolescent Satanism” that abused teens are particularly prone to adopting Satanic philosophies. In his article, Zeddies discusses several examples of teenage psychiatric patients who choose Satanism as a means to express their negative feelings. 3. It is important that we place a teen’s choosing Satanism within the context of the teen’s life because often time such choices reflect a teen’s angst more that a teen’s belief in Satanism. 4. Zeddies writes, “Satanism is both liberating and familiar. It allows them to express and receive validation for their rage and hatred toward authority figures who have abused, neglected, betrayed, or abandoned them” (24). 5. Zeddies claims that angry teenagers feel comforted by the angry and dark spirit of Satanic cults. 6. Understanding that some choices teens make, which at first might seem to suggest teens are stereotypically evil, are usually choices that reflect deep feelings of powerlessness and betrayal experienced after years of abuse could give us have a more sympathetic view of teens who choose Satanism. In my working with disenfranchised teens at the YMCA, I have found that many or their choices that might mark them as “evil,” are usually their attempts to have some sort of control in their lives. 7. Rather than viewing Satan-worshiping teens as dangerous others, we could sympathize with the pain that led them to Satanism.