The free summary is an outline of some broad topic containing only the essential points and expressed in the minimum number of words. One of its varieties is the synopsis, i. e., the summary of a book usually standing at the beginning of the book to tell the reader what it is about.
Below is a very brief outline of the plot of the film Things to Come (1936) based on H. G. Wells’ book The Shape of Things to Come: The Ultimate Revolution.
“The film depicts a ghastly world war, beginning in 1940 and lasting for a quarter of a century – by which time the Dark Ages have returned. Ultimately humanity is saved by a group of technocrats who succeed in restoring order and paving the way for progress. By the 21st century, the world is a technical paradise – but there is trouble in this paradise. The trashy, ever-romantic populace craves excitement, having found progress incompatible with happiness. In the end, the first moon shot is carried out as a means of reminding mankind that its real task is not flabby self-satisfaction, but rather the disciplined conquest of the unknown.” (107 words)
Practise writing similar summaries of the following:
1) The plot of a science-fiction novel or film (maximum number of words: 150).
2) Description of the job of a guide (not more than
3) An account of a meeting (sports club, English Club) (not more than 120 words).
4) The plot of a book for home reading (100-150 words).
Read carefully the following synopsis: H. G. Wells. The Invisible Man.
The fanatical, ghoulish and triumphant researches of a student of chemistry obsessed with the idea that it is possible for human beings to be made invisible. (26 words)
Make synopses of some of the following books. Compare your summaries with the models given at the end of this section. Try to shorten your synopses if they prove to be very much longer than those given.
1) H. Rider Haggard. King Solomon’s Mines.
2) Charles Dickens. A Tale of Two Cities.
3) Lewis Carroll. Alice in Wonderland.
4) Daniel Defoe. Robinson Crusoe.
5) Charlotte Bronte. Jane Eyre.