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Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing

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This handout is intended to help you become more comfortable with the uses of and distinctions among quotations, paraphrases, and summaries. The first part of the handout compares and contrasts the terms, while the second part offers a short excerpt that you can use to practice these skills.

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What are the differences among quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing?
These three ways of incorporating other writers' work into your own writing differ according to the closeness of your writing to the source writing.
? Quotations must be identical to the original, using a narrow segment of the source. They must match the source document word for word and must be attributed to the original author.
? Paraphrasing involves putting a passage from source material into your own words. A paraphrase must also be attributed to the original source. Paraphrased material is usually shorter than the original passage, taking a somewhat broader segment of the source and condensing it slightly.
? Summarizing involves putting the main idea(s) into your own words, including only the main point(s). Once again, it is necessary to attribute summarized ideas to the original source. Summaries ...

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Summarizing, paraphrasing and quoting

Summarizing, Paraphrasing, Quoting
Divakaruni's "Live Free and Starve"

Acknowledge the author/title/publication date in the "lead" sentence;
Reference the author appropriately within the paragraphs and close the paragraphs with a Parenthetical Reference [PR]
(Divakaruni, 1997).

Set up three distinct paragraphs as follows and label these as such:

Para #1: Summary: Use paras 1-3 in full and summarize the content in your own words [summary is shorter than the original].

Para #2: Paraphrase: Begin w/2nd sentence [If the children...] in para 4 through end of para 5 [...prefer bread to freedom] and paraphrase the content in your own words [paraphrase is @ the same length as original].

Para #3: Block Quote: Use all of para 8, and set up a block quote; precede the quote w/a "lead-in sentence" acknowledging the author - indent the quote 0.5" from left margin i.e. example and add the full PR.

Live Free and Starve
Some days back, the House passed a bill that stated that the United States would no longer permit the import of goods from factories where forced or indentured child labor was used. My liberal friends applauded the bill. It was a triumphant advance in the field of human rights. Now children in Third World countries wouldn't have to spend their days chained to their posts in factories manufacturing goods for other people to enjoy while their childhoods slipped by them. They could be free and happy, like American children.
I am not so sure.
It is true that child labor is a terrible thing, especially for those children who are sold to employers by their parents at the age of 5 or 6 and have no way to protect themselves from abuse. In many cases it will be decades -- perhaps a lifetime, due to the fines heaped upon them whenever they make mistakes -- before they can buy back their freedom. Meanwhile these children, mostly employed by rug-makers, spend their days in dark, ill-ventilated rooms doing work that damages their eyes and lungs. They aren't even allowed to stand up and stretch. Each time they go to the bathroom, they suffer a pay cut.
But is this bill, which, if it passes the Senate and is signed by President Clinton, will lead to the unemployment of almost a million children, the answer? If the children themselves were asked whether they would rather work under such harsh conditions or enjoy a leisure that comes without the benefit of food or clothing or shelter, I wonder what their response would be.
It is easy for us in America to make the error of evaluating situations in the rest of the world as though they were happening in this country and propose solutions that make excellent sense -- in the context of our society. Even we immigrants, who should know better, have wiped from our minds the memory of what it is to live under the kind of desperate conditions that force a parent to sell his or her child. Looking down from the heights of Maslow's pyramid, it seems inconceivable to us that someone could actually prefer bread to freedom.
When I was growing up in Calcutta, there was a boy who used to work in our house. His name was Nimai, and when he came to us, he must have been about 10 or so, just a little older than my brother and I. He'd been brought to our home by his uncle, who lived in our ancestral village and was a field laborer for my grandfather. The uncle explained to my mother that Nimai's parents were too poor to feed their several children, and while his older brothers were already working in the fields and earning their keep, Nimai was too frail to do so. My mother was reluctant to take on a sickly child who might prove more of a burden than a help, but finally she agreed, and Nimai lived and worked in our home for six or seven years. My mother was a good employer -- Nimai ate the same food that we children did and was given new clothes during Indian New Year, just as we were. In the time between his chores -- dusting and sweeping and pumping water from the tube-well and running to the market -- my mother encouraged him to learn to read and write. Still, I would not disagree with anyone who says that it was hardly a desirable existence for a child.
But what would life have been like for Nimai if an anti-child-labor law had prohibited my mother from hiring him? Every year, when we went to visit our grandfather in the village, we were struck by the many children we saw by the mud roads, their ribs sticking out through the rags they wore. They trailed after us, begging for a few paise. When the hunger was too much to bear, they stole into the neighbors' fields and ate whatever they could find -- raw potatoes, cauliflower, green sugar cane and corn torn from the stalk -- even though they knew they'd be beaten for it. Whenever Nimai passed these children, he always walked a little taller. And when he handed the bulk of his earnings over to his father, there was a certain pride in his eye. Exploitation, you might be thinking. But he thought he was a responsible member of his family.
A bill like the one we've just passed is of no use unless it goes hand in hand with programs that will offer a new life to these newly released children. But where are the schools in which they are to be educated? Where is the money to buy them food and clothing and medication, so that they don't return home to become the extra weight that capsizes the already shaky raft of their family's finances? Their own governments, mired in countless other problems, seem incapable of bringing these services to them. Are we in America who, with one blithe stroke of our congressional pen, rendered these children jobless, willing to shoulder that burden? And when many of these children turn to the streets, to survival through thievery and violence and begging and prostitution -- as surely in the absence of other options they must -- are we willing to shoulder that responsibility?

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