RHETORICAL ANALYSIS: 4-5 double-spaced pages, with a title In this assignment, y

RHETORICAL ANALYSIS: 4-5 double-spaced pages, with a title
In this assignment, you are asked to apply what you have learned about rhetoric to a piece of discourse written by someone else. This exercise will sharpen your critical reading skills and enhance your knowledge of the ways in which rhetoric is put to use by others.
How to Write
Using one of the texts in They Say, I Say or a source you identify through research into the course theme, analyze how the author uses rhetorical strategies and interpret why the author uses those particular strategies to persuade the audience of the claim and fulfill the author’s purpose by using rhetoric.
Imagine an academic audience (and voice) for this paper. While that audience may not be intimately familiar with the text (i.e. you need to include quotes of specific passages and details) you are analyzing, you should not assume they need or want a detailed plot summary or book report. You should include a sentence or two to sum up the claim you believe the text is making and to give some general textual evidence to show how that interpretation is reasonable. Your PURPOSE, however, is to analyze, not to save the reader from looking at the original. Your modes of evidence will be to provide passages from the text, do close readings and analysis of these passages, and incorporate any additional information (explaining allusions, context, etc.) that will help your reader to better assess the quality of your analysis.
You will need to provide the claim. Analysis is the process of understanding and explaining HOW something WORKS, and your claim should address this purpose. When we talk about a text “working,” we could mean the way the writer uses language, style and other rhetorical appeals to maneuver through a difficult issue or to take an original position. We could talk about the “work” the text does in persuading its particular audience and how it uses appeals to do so. We could even mean the “work” a text does in attempting to manipulate its readers or its issue by concealing key points or implications. You may want to identify which of these kinds of work on which you want to focus your analysis, then answer questions about argument, ethos, pathos and style to see HOW the text does that work.
Consider: What does the approach the author has taken to this issue tell us about the assumptions and values the audience holds about this issue? How does the approach the author has taken to this issue attempt to disrupt, critique, or change the assumptions and values of the audience?
How to Start
1. What claim will you emphasize? All of the texts we are reading in this unit are complex and contain a number of different claims that are argued simultaneously and often synergistically. You will only have time to focus on one (or two if they are intimately related). Understanding that a focus on one does not rule out the possibilities of others, select what you believe is the most important or interesting claim of the text.
2. Characterize the approach or approaches the author uses. Consider the following:
Who is the writer’s audience and what relationship does the author establish with them? What assumptions and values does that audience share? What is at stake in discussing the issue? How does the historical context and audience affect the writer’s use of ethos, pathos and logos? In what ways does the writer’s argument respond to or show awareness of other positions on the issue?
Who is the author or narrator? Does the author/narratorhave situated ethos in the community for which she wrote? What evidence in the text establishes the author as someone who has done his homework? What evidence establishes her good character, fairness and good will? How successful and appropriate is this character for the rhetorical situation and audience of the piece? Keep in mind that this evidence may include overt statements as well as attitudes implied through style and tone.
How does the writer use emotional appeals in the piece? What values do these appeal to? What emotions does the author attempt to trigger? Given the rhetorical situation, are these appeals valuable? How does the author use emotional appeals to buttress more logical or character-based reasons? Remember to look in the style and tone for many of these appeals. How do specific rhetorical tactics and stylistic innovations support the claim? How is language used to move the reader to a particular frame of mind? Cite passages.
3. Focus on analysis, not personal response. What is your prior knowledge and experience with the issue discussed? What is your personal response to this piece? What do you agree/disagree with? Why? If you are conscious of your own attitudes to the issue and the article, you will be better able to view the argument in its own light and not colored by your own bias. Keep in mind that you are doing analysis–how does the article work? why does it work that way? what does it do to the reader and the society in which it is published? NOT, how well do you like it

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