Essay 2: Rhetorical Analysis
In this paper we will look at another way writers build arguments—specifically, how they appeal to their audience. The rhetorical analysis requires that we examine not only what an author says, but how and why.
Identify the argument the writer is making, and analyze the way the author makes his/her argument using appeals to logos, ethos, and pathos and how effective this is.
Open your essay by clearly explaining the argument the author is making. Then spend the rest of your text analyzing how the argument works. Identify elements of logos, ethos, and pathos, and be explicit about how the argument gets made. Details will be the key here. Consider the target audience for the reading.
Your audience for the paper is one that already knows what the reading is about—so you should not summarize, except briefly in the first paragraph. Your audience, therefore, is not interested in the “what” but the “how” and the “why.” Also remember that you must appeal to the three sides of the rhetorical triangle.
Getting Started (Prewriting):
Here are some questions that should help you think about your essay. These are brainstorming questions, not necessarily a means to organize your essay. (See also the two handouts regarding the rhetorical appeals on D2L for further guidance.)
General Rhetorical Context Questions:
Where was the essay originally published?
Who do you think is the target audience? This is a very important consideration.
What argument do you think the essay makes? Why do you think this?
Questions about Ethos
How does the author establish credibility and authority?
· Language appropriate to audience and subject
· Restrained, sincere, fair minded presentation
· Appropriate level of vocabulary
Can you find any other ethical appeals in the essay?
Does the author do anything that detracts from his/her authority or credibility? Explain.
Questions about Logos
How does the author appeal to the audience’s intellect?
· Theoretical, abstract language
· Denotative meanings/reasons
· Literal and historical analogies
· Factual data and statistics
· Personal experience
· Citations from experts and authorities
· Informed opinions
Does the argument make sense?
Are there any logical fallacies?
Questions about Pathos
How does the author appeal to the audience’s emotions and imagination?
· Vivid, concrete language
· Figurative language
· Emotionally loaded language
· Connotative meanings
· Emotional examples
· Vivid descriptions
· Narratives of emotional events
· Emotional tone
To what specific emotions does the author appeal?
How does the author make his/her audience feel involved or affected by the issue?
Guidelines for Drafting Your Rhetorical Analysis:
Provide a title that is appropriate and interesting.
Your introduction should
· State the author’s full name and the title of the article
· Briefly summarize the article by stating
o the central idea (thesis)
o the author’s purpose for writing the essay
· Tell where the article was originally published and briefly analyze who the intended audience is and what such an audience is like
· End with your thesis stating how the author appeals to this audience (what elements of the argument establishes the author’s credibility and appeals to the audience’s intellect and emotions) and whether or not the argument is effective overall
Structure and Organization
· Paragraphing is up to your discretion. Just keep in mind that this is an academic essay, so well-structured and well-developed paragraphs are the norm.
· However, one way that you may not structure you paper is having merely three body paragraphs: one about logos, one about pathos, one about ethos. Find an alternative way to organize your ideas.
· You should have four to six body paragraphs (more if you like).
Your body paragraphs should
· Have a clear topic sentence that states what point you are making in the paragraph (e.g., one way the author appeals to the audience)
· Present evidence from the text in the form of a quote or paraphrase
· Provide proper in-text citations for each quote or paraphrase
· Analyze the evidence, clearly explaining how the author appeals to the audience in this instance as well as how effective this appeal is
· Note: Details from the text are important, but so is your analysis of those details. Do not excessively quote from the text; doing so will not show that you understand the material or how to analyze it properly.
Your conclusion should
· Review your analysis of the argument the author makes without repeating the language or phrasing used in your thesis or supporting paragraphs too closely
· Provide a sense of closure
Provide a works cited page using the proper format for an essay from an edited collection (see LDK p. 152)
· Essays should be printed/word processed in MLA format (see “Paper Format” handout on D2L)
· Essays should be 3-5 pages long, not counting the works cited page (essays shorter than 3 pages generally do not receive passing grades)
· Do not use second person pronouns (you, your, etc.); these are informal and indefinite
· Do not use first person pronouns (I, me, my, we, our); especially avoid “I think,” “I believe,” “my opinion is,” etc.
· Do not use contractions in formal essays (e.g., “they’re” for they are, or “shouldn’t” for should not)
· Tone and language should be appropriate for the subject and show respect for your audience
· Carefully edit and proofread your essay for standard punctuation, grammar, mechanics, and usage, as well as awkward or confusing sentence structure
· Turn in your rough draft with the final draft of your essay
· Staple or paper clip all pages together before coming to class and turning in your essay
Note: all work is to be your own—you are not to consult any outside source that summarizes, analyzes, or evaluates the works you are writing on (whether books, magazines, journals, web articles, etc.). If you do so, your essay will receive no credit. If you use any source and do not cite it, your essay will be subject to departmental plagiarism and academic dishonesty policies.