John F. Kennedy Moon Speech – Rice Stadium, rhetorical analysis
1. Present a strong, clear thesis statement. The thesis statement should make a strong claim that calls for argument and evidence to support it. Your thesis should present an explicit argument as to why your chosen speech or rhetorical situation would \’effect persuasion\’, that is, why it would be persuasive to the audience, to the speaker, et. al. Weak thesis: \”U.S. President Obama uses pathos in his speech.\”
Better: \”U.S. President Obama attempts to persuade the people by strategically linking his political platform to a series of pathetic appeals that incite the audience\’s indignation over social injustice.\” 2. Declare an analytical framework. What rhetorical theory or approach will best support your thesis? What rhetorical theory or approach best reflects your understanding of persuasion?
3. Make a larger claim about the nature of rhetoric.
Although you are focusing on one particular speech or rhetorical situation, the rhetorical artifact that you have chosen should serve also as an example within your larger argument about the nature and effects of rhetoric. What does your rhetorical artifact reveal about the nature of endoxa?
4. Situate your rhetorical artifact or situation geographically, historically & culturally Historicize! How do your claims about the nature of rhetoric fit in to history? Are your claims universally valid? Or are the techniques, topics and appeals only effective within a certain historical time and place? Think Khairos! Relativize! Do the techniques, topics and appeals that you identify work on all people, or do they appeal only to certain audiences? Does the rhetorical artifact appeal more to women than men? Does the rhetorical artifact appeal more to a particular culture or people than to another? Does the rhetorical artifact serve to bind and distinguish a particular group or community? If so, what communities might be alienated by this particular discursive instance? Before you begin writing you paper, there are four distinct dimensions that you should undertake:
Four Dimensions of Rhetorical Analysis I. Description II. Analysis III. Interpretation IV. Evaluation I. Description – text/context Conduct a content analysis. Word counts. Word frequencies. Timing. Number of Topics & Themes. \’Back-outline\’ the speech – find the thematic \’skeleton\’ of the rhetorical speech. II. Analysis – Identifying parts of the message. Using a “search model”
Identifying Rhetorical patterns
Patterns of repetition Patterns of Sequencing Patterns of Omission Breaks in patterns – caesura Patterns of relationships III. Interpretation Making inferences Creative thinking process Subjective thinking process
IV. Evaluation & Judgement Assessing the quality of the argument Assessing the fundamental claim(s) Assessing the reasons, evidence, examples Assessing effectiveness Assessing the truth versus the truth-effect
Assessing the Social Impact Ethics and Values Ethos – Logos – Pathos (Credibility – Logic – Emotions) The Three Genres of Speech 1. Deliberative (Legislative) – future-oriented 2. Forensic (Legal) – concerned with the past 3. Epideictic (Ceremonial) – laying praise or blame in the present Analyzing the œInvention
1. How does the rhetoric establish credibility ?
2. How does the rhetor appeal to emotion?
3. How does the rhetoric appeal to reason by constructing a reasoned logical argument essay?
General Topics (or Rhetorical frames and patterns) Comparison & Contrast Problem – Solution Chronology Topical Sequencing Identifying Rhetorical patterns
Patterns of repetition Patterns of Sequencing Patterns of Omission Breaks in patterns – caesura Patterns of relationships Figures of Style (Remember: Rhetoric is, first and foremost, a creative, inventive act.) Parallelism Antithesis Alliteration Simile Metaphor Personification