Rhetorical Analysis Assignment
Write a 2-3 page rhetorical analysis (analysis of the argument) of the assigned text. You will need to complete two different tasks: (1) summarize the text’s argument and (2) explain how the text’s argument is put together.
In the summary section, you will need to first introduce the text you will be analyzing. Then you will summarize what the text argues, noting the central claims and key evidence.
The explanation section of the paper should take up the majority of the 1-2 pages. Here you are trying to explain how the argument was put together (which rhetorical strategies it uses). You will need a thesis that identifies the argumentative strategies you will discuss. For example, if you were analyzing Conover’s “The Way of All Flesh” your thesis might look like this: Conover’s argument is mainly dependent on emotional appeals, and he mainly uses description and narration to support those emotional appeals. For this thesis, you would then need to go on and explain and give examples of different emotional appeals that use description and narration from Conover’s text.
Although we will have discussed the argumentative characteristics of the assigned text, you may decide which aspects of the argumentative strategy you want to focus on. It would be impossible for you to explain all of the argumentative features of a text in 1-2 pages, so focus on the things that are most interesting or obvious to you. You could explain the author’s use of any one of the following rhetorical strategies and concepts we’ve discussed so far in class:
· The types of argumentative modes being used: description, narrative, comparison and contrast, definition, evaluation, and so on
· The author’s use of emotional appeals (pathos)
· How the author establishes his or her credibility (ethos)
· The how the text’s logic (logos) works (is it inductive or deductive? is the logic dependent upon a definition or fact? is it dependent on a cause/effect relationship? a comparison and contrast?)
Rather than trying to address everything on the list above, which would be impossible, discuss what you think the text’s most important or notable rhetorical features are.
For a C or above, your essay must:
· Be 1-2 pages long and formatted according to MLA guidelines · Introduce the text properly and summarize the text’s argument · Focus on a thesis that explains the text’s argumentative strategy (how the argument is put
together). · Use quotations as evidence of your thesis and where appropriate in the summary. · Incorporate quotations properly and use in-text citations for them as needed. · Use signal phrases to attribute ideas to the original author. · Be written effectively and coherently, with few punctuation or grammatical errors.
Below is an example of a Rhetorical Analysis paper (it’s a bit shorter than the one you’re writing). Notice that in the first paragraph it formally introduces the text it analyzes, then it summarizes that text. Finally, the first paragraph ends with the thesis, which I put in bold (do not do that in your Rhetorical Analysis). The next two paragraphs each address one component of the thesis, using a topic sentence to identify which aspect of the thesis will be discussed, giving an example (either in the form of direct quotation or paraphrase), and then explaining that example and how the strategy supports the author’s main argument. There is no conclusion paragraph and I do not expect you to write one either. All I did at the end was make sure that I clearly related the argumentative strategy that I was discussion (evaluation) back to the author’s main argument. There my point was to clearly connect the strategy with the argument is was meant to support.
Throughout, I have also underlined the signal phrases I used to attribute ideas to the author, and the in-text citations that I used when I didn’t feel like using a signal phrase. Note the range of verbs I use in those signal phrases and how often I use them. This is my ways of constantly reminding my reader—these are Addison’s ideas we are talking about.
Also note, this is in MLA format, so it’s a model of that requirement of the Rhetorical Analysis as well.
Student Name Professor Nahas English 1A 17 March 2009
Rhetorical Analysis of Addison’s “Two Years are Better Than Four” In Liz Addison’s article “Two Years are Better Than Four,” Addison argues that
community colleges deserve more attention and praise because they are the only place left that students can get the true “college experience of self-discovery.” Addison explains that students accepted into “The University of Priviledge” (4-year colleges), have already proved themselves “worldly, insightful, cultured, mature” by completing the rigorous entrance requirements.
Community colleges, on the other hand will accept anyone. There are no placement tests, and for students who might not otherwise have a chance at higher-education, community colleges provide “accessible hope, and an option to dream” (Addison). Ultimately, Addison views community colleges as a great American institution that deserve more respect and recognition for the opportunities they provide to the American public. Addison relies on a rebuttal to set-up
the argument. However, most of the article is an evaluation where Addison praises community colleges for various reasons and explains their positive features.
Addison uses a rebuttal to start off her text, spending the first three paragraphs explaining the position of Perlstein, who argued that students today can no longer have a true college experience, like the one he had in the 60s. Perlstein’s argument is the perfect example of Addison’s point that community colleges are overlooked, and Addison notes that his argument is incorrect because “Mr. Perlstein has never set foot in an American community college.” Addison’s use of Perlstein as a counter-argument sets up the rest of her argument, so that she can spend the rest of the text explaining why he is wrong.
Although Addison refers to Perlstein throughout the essay, most of her time is spent evaluating community colleges. She is arguing that they are a “great American institution” using some of Perlstein’s criteria, but also some of her own. Perlstein argued that college students today are overly prepared and therefore are incapable of having true personal growth experiences in college. Addison counters that community colleges still welcome those that are un-prepared, explaining that it allows students to “just begin,” and that anyone can begin their high education “as a rookie.” However, Addison adds her own criteria to the evaluation, explaining that community colleges deserve respect and appreciation because they offer students who otherwise “would never breathe the college experience” a chance at their dreams. Addison repeats this
pattern (Community Colleges are great because…) throughout the essay, effectively supporting her overall argument.