Table of contents is a brief overview of a situation, event, booker etc. It serves to summarize an extensive material into a short text, which contains only the main motifs. It is always used when you are reporting something to someone. Especially useful is the content question in scientific papers. Most often there is the statement of contents of the literary works and scientific, popular science articles.
The starting point for the summary is the source text, which needs to be read. You should not be discouraged if you will not understand the text immediately. There are such articles that you have to read two or three times to understand the content and this is nothing unusual.
The goal of the content statement is to convey the skin theses of the original in such a way that the meaning remains unchanged. The summary concisely and accurately reflects assumptions of the author in the original text, there is no room for the subjective feelings and evaluations.
characteristics of a good summary:
- it should be short and factual
- Includes only what you want to summarize;
- contains only main, basic themes;
- should be essence of the summarized work;
- should be objective;
- should present the events in chronological order.
To write correct synopsis, one should:
- read the source text carefully;
- choose the most important events from the text to summarize;
- decide whether the selected facts reflect the meaning of the works;
- Remain objective when selecting these facts;
- to express the main theses in his own words (notes made during reading can be helpful in this);
- use simple, short sentences.
What to avoid:
- Digressions, personal comments;
- Use of quotes;
- To quote dialogues;
- Copying words/text from the original (one should not compile with the elements of the original, but summarize the source text with one’s own words).
Summary – Example
Joseph Conrad’s novel under the title "Lord Jim" is considered one of the greatest works of world literature. He tells about the life of a young sailor, whose fate has exhibited a severe test. The book is divided into two parts: The first describes Jim’s transgression and in the second the author tries to justify the hero somehow.
Jim from his early age wanted to become a sailor. His father sent him to school, where he learned the trade. When he grew up and gained experience, he joined the ship "Patna" as an officer. During the voyage, a catastrophe happens, the rusted hull of the ship does not withstand the collision, probably with the wreckage. "Patna" is threatened with sinking. The captain knows that there are not enough lifeboats for all passengers and decides to save his own life. Without informing the travelers, he tries to leave the ship together with the crew.
Everything is observed by Jim, who does not participate in the whole scuffle. He is aware that it is impossible to save the passengers, so he wants to give them a dignified death and save hell that may break out. He looks with contempt at his companion and he wants to stay on the ship. When the lifeboat is already on the water, however, he jumps in it out of fear.
It turns out that the ship did not sink, but was towed safely into the harbor. The deserters are indicted. All except Jim, who did not defend himself, are acquitted of the charges. The court forbids him to work at sea. Since then he has been working as a sea agent. He travels from port to port on the run from his notorious past. With the help of his friend, he gets a job on Patusan Island, where he will look after the interests of a company.
At this point, the second part of the story begins. In the new environment nobody knows Jim’s past. The boy gains good reputation among the local population. This influences a war he declared on the island’s ruling Tunku Allang. Jim gains respect and lives in happiness. Malays give him Spitznahe Tuan, which means lord. Jim finally feels happy because he has found a chance to redeem his debts.
However, on de island he also has enemies. One day the armed strangers come. The islanders fight with them and chase them up the hill. From this the pirates fight back for a few more days. Their situation seems hopeless, but Jim takes pity on them and decides to let the pirate go free. The bandits take advantage of this naivety, attack the village and kill many people, including the chief’s son. Jim is sentenced to death for his reckless behavior. He was able to escape again, but he is unable to leave "Patna" again, so he decides to suffer the punishment. Sentence enforced Doramin, father of the slain.