122 Essay: Rhetorical Analysis
We’ve been examining how writers use certain techniques to make their writing more persuasive. We have discussed the craft and the content of various authors. Writers sometimes emphasize their own authority or credibility (ethos); they might appeal to an audience’s values, emotions, or experiences (pathos); or they might base their argument on careful reasoning (logos).
These techniques are all part of what is known as rhetoric” the effective use of language or the art of persuasion. Analyzing the rhetorical choices writers make allows us to evaluate their arguments more effectively and respond appropriately.
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This assignment asks you to conduct such a rhetorical analysis of a text: Choose any assigned reading from IAW (Postman, hooks, Loewen, Rodriguez, Graff, Hade, Teare). Read the text SEVERAL times, each time making notes about what the author is doing to make his or her argument more persuasive.
Then compose an essay of approximately 3 to 4 pages in which you analyze the rhetorical techniques the author uses in the text.
Develop a claim of value to evaluate your article’s success or failure, effectiveness or ineffectiveness, and support your claim(s) by quoting the author.
Here are some points to keep in mind as you write your essay:
Ethos: What perspective and biases does the author bring to this text? What authority does he or she have to produce this text?
What does the author do within the text to establish credibility with the audience?
Pathos: Intended Audience? Whom is the author of this text writing to? What is the audience’s attitude towards the subject matter? How does this attitude affect the way the author presents his or her message?
What does the author do to appeal to the audience’s emotions, values, or experiences? What is the purpose or the message of the article? How successful is the author at his/her idea? What reasons and evidence does he/she provide to prove the claim(s)?
Logos: What basic claim(s) is the author making? How appropriate and convincing is the author’s reasoning and evidence? Make sure your essay has a clear, focused thesis. You canâ€™t simply hand in a list of rhetorical appeals you found in the text;
instead, you should look at the notes you’ve made and determine whether there is an overall pattern of rhetorical appeals that makes the text effective or ineffective.
You should, of course, support your analysis with examples from the text, but remember that your essay should be an analysis, not a summary. Do not waste time telling your reader what the text says; focus on how the text says it. Look at word choice, tone, and structure as conscious decisions by the author.
Your analysis should be just that ”in that you’re presenting and defending your own understanding of what the author is doing in the text. There’s no need, however, to mention yourself at any point in the essay.
Phrases like “I think” or “in my opinion” tend to weaken this type of essay, so avoid them. (Write in 3rd person.) Likewise, your own opinion of the subject matter of the text is irrelevant in a Rhetorical Analysis. This assignment does not ask you to agree or disagree with the author, only to analyze how he or she is making a point. This is what I have for my original thesis/
Rhetorical Analysis THESIS EXAMPLE—-:
In her essay “Seeing and Making Culture: Representing the Poor” noted African American scholar bell hooks attempts to challenge the stereotypes specific to poverty that have haunted and oppressed African Americans, and that have resulted in a legacy of shame and worthlessness among all poor people, regardless of race.
Hooks believes that popular culture is primarily to blame for depictions of the poor that reinforce negative stereotypes, and she argues that “Television shows and films bring the message home that no one can truly feel good about themselves if they are poor” (par 8).
All the while, Hooks cleverly ties in her distaste to capitalism with remarks such as “To change the devastating impact of poverty on the lives of masses of folks in our society we must change the way resources and wealth are distributed.” (par 12) I will upload the whole essay to be used as the main source.
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