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  1. #1
    asad hussain is offline Member
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    Default Summary/Paraphrase?

    Dear teachers,
    Could you please edit the text below, and also tell me how you see it (i.e., as a paraphrase or as a summary of the poem followed by it)? It's always been a very difficult task for me to distinguish between paraphrase and summary. I've written it. But I'm not sure whether I have paraphrased the poem or just summarized it.

    Thanks in anticipation.


    With great regards,

    Asad Hussain

    Paraphrase/Summary?

    In the beautiful poem, the poet records his feelings about children. He says when he sees the children at play; he forgets the questions that perplex him. He believes that children enable us to see the world clearly, and enjoy our lives. They reflect the rays of life, and their thoughts are like singing birds. The poet then contrasts his feelings and thoughts with the children’s, and says that children always seem to be excited and carefree; they symbolize youth, growth, and liveliness, while he is in the Autumn of his life, and his thoughts are full of worries. He then asks a question that what life would be like without the children and their innocence, and answers it himself that our past would be a desert, and the future looming death. He says that children are as important to the world as leaves to a forest. He also takes into account that grown-ups are weighed down with learning, business, finances, rules, politics etc. while children are playful, happy, and don't judge others. He finally likens the children to ballads and poems, and concludes that they are better.

    Children

    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)

    COME to me, O ye children!
    For I hear you at your play,
    And the questions that perplexed me
    Have vanished quite away.

    Ye open the eastern windows,
    That look towards the sun,
    Where thoughts are singing swallows
    And the brooks of morning run.

    In your hearts are the birds and the sunshine,
    In your thoughts the brooklet’s flow,
    But in mine is the wind of Autumn
    And the first fall of the snow.

    Ah! what would the world be to us
    If the children were no more?
    We should dread the desert behind us
    Worse than the dark before.

    What the leaves are to the forest,
    With light and air for food,
    Ere their sweet and tender juices
    Have been hardened into wood,

    That to the world are children;
    Through them it feels the glow
    Of a brighter and sunnier climate
    Than reaches the trunks below.

    Come to me, O ye children!
    And whisper in my ear
    What the birds and the winds are singing
    In your sunny atmosphere.

    For what are all our contrivings,
    And the wisdom of our books,
    When compared with your caresses,
    And the gladness of your looks?

    Ye are better than all the ballads
    That ever were sung or said;
    For ye are living poems,
    And all the rest are dead.
    Last edited by asad hussain; 16-Mar-2007 at 02:15.

  2. #2
    asad hussain is offline Member
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    Default Re: Summary/Paraphrase?

    Could someone please help me with this?

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Summary/Paraphrase?

    When dealing with a very short text like a poem, it's hard to describe it as a summary, isn't it? Summaries are meant to condense things, so I think it's more of a paraphrase as you are rewriting it in your own words. However, it's not a pure paraphrase as you are adding your own opinion, which is departing from the nature of paraphrasing. However, your comments about the beauty aside, the rest is more paraphrasing to me.

  4. #4
    asad hussain is offline Member
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    Default Re: Summary/Paraphrase?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    When dealing with a very short text like a poem, it's hard to describe it as a summary, isn't it? Summaries are meant to condense things, so I think it's more of a paraphrase as you are rewriting it in your own words. However, it's not a pure paraphrase as you are adding your own opinion, which is departing from the nature of paraphrasing. However, your comments about the beauty aside, the rest is more paraphrasing to me.
    Dear Richard,
    Many thanks for dropping in, and giving me a hand with this. Yes, you are absolutely right - it's quite hard to summarize a very short text like a poem. You know I also see the text as a paraphrase rather than a summary. Actually when I was writing it I was confused. I didn't know if I was summarizing or paraphrasing the poem. I looked up their meanings in my dictionary, and found them as synonyms of each other. That raised the level of my confusion higher. I then moved to the book shelf and grabbed two old books in order to get the concept clear in my mind. But this course was also no to avail. The concept is still unclear. I don't know which points are to be omitted, and which to be borne in mind while summaring a poem.

    If you don't mind, can you help me with converting the text into a good summary?

    With best wishes,

    Asad Hussain

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Summary/Paraphrase?

    Summary: extracts the essence of the document so that you quickly know the important points, while removing all the background information which you can always find by reading the original. Descriptions and opinions are not welcome!

    Children, come and tell me how you see the world. I value your opinions because they aren't biased by my own lifetime of experience.


    Paraphrase: say in your own words as concisely as you can what the whole document is trying to convey. Include the pathos to set the scene, but don't include explanations or your opinions.

    Children, please come here. I heard you playing and it reminded me of what was important in life.

    You think happy thoughts, while I just ponder my past.

    Come and share your joy with me - you bring the freshness of life and beauty into our dull adult world.

  6. #6
    asad hussain is offline Member
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    Default Re: Summary/Paraphrase?

    Dear Pedant,
    Thanks a lot for taking some of your very precious time out for me, and helping me.

    I have some more problems though.

    1. Children, come and tell me how you see the world. I value your opinions because they aren't biased by my own lifetime of experience. Is it a summary of the whole poem, or just of a few stanzas?

    2. Is is correct to call the children in the summary? I mean you have summarized the poem in an impressive style, and you're addressing to the children as if you are the poet.

    I will be very pleased, if you solve these problems as well.

    I appreciate your help from the bottom of my heart.

    With best wishes,

    Asad Hussain

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Summary/Paraphrase?

    Hello.

    1. Yes, my summary was intended to cover the whole poem! Any summary normally has to miss out descriptive details and explanations and just get to the main points.

    2. There is no correct answer to this.

    A summary can either be written from the viewpoint of the original writer (as if they had written their own summary), or from the viewpoint of someone looking in from the outside and who is commenting on the document. It depends on where you wish to place yourself. If you wanted to, you could write

    The author asked some children (who he heard playing) to approach him and explain to him how they saw the world. He valued their opinions because he felt that they would not be biased by his own lifetime of experience.

    Nothing here is right or wrong - it is a matter of personal style which is up to you to choose.

  8. #8
    asad hussain is offline Member
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    Default Re: Summary/Paraphrase?

    OMG! What a great explanation! Thanks a lot, Pedant. I really appreciate your help from the bottom of my heart. Even you can't imagine how thankful I am to you.

    Was you paraphrase also intended to cover the whole poem?

    By the way, if you were to choose one of the two styles, which one would you choose?

    Many many many thanks once again!

    With best wishes,

    Asad Hussain

  9. #9
    asad hussain is offline Member
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    Default Re: Summary/Paraphrase?

    Hello Pedant?

  10. #10
    asad hussain is offline Member
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    Default Re: Summary/Paraphrase?


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