Description:

A rhetorical analysis examines how parts of a composition – written, spoken, or digital – work together to create certain effects. In classical rhetoric, all composition gets divided into three purposes: to persuade, educate (or miseducate), or entertain. We understand now that any composition can do a combination of the three, and in fact, a well-crafted combo is often the most effective rhetorical strategy. This project asks you to conduct two rhetorical analyses, one on written work and one on spoken work. In the discussion for this week, you are practicing  the basics in your analysis of Paul Krugmans editorial, Apocalypse is the New Normal. For this assignment, you will conduct analysis on rhetorical compositions specifically related to your : a news article or editorialon your research topic, and a video of a political speech or media coverage on your research topic. (See links for example of a rhetorical analysis of a and a .) You will search on Google and YouTube and choose your own article and video.

Write a 250-400 word analysis of each.

Approach:

Identify:

  1. Ethos – the sources of credibility: What authority does this writer/speaker attempt to convey?

  2. Pathos – audience reaction: What emotional response doe this writer/speaker attempt to elicit?

  3. Logos – conclusion and call to action: What does this writer/speaker propose that you do?

To answer the questions above, evaluate each composition in terms of the following four aspects:

  1. Stance: What is the authors purpose? This involves more than just the immediate audience reaction they are going for. It involves trying to understand the values they hold toward the topic. Word choice and tone are good clues, not to mention that in many written works the author will directly state their purpose(s). Furthermore, what audience does the author seem to be trying to reach, and what is your pre-existing stance toward the topic? Are you a climate change skeptic, for example? How do tone and word choice clue you in to the stance of the author?

  2. Timing: When was the piece published or presented? How might the timing be relevant? How do tone and word choice acknowledge the timing of the piece?

  3. Context: What social and political factors are relevant? How might those factors affect the rhetorical strategies of the writer/speaker? How do tone, word choice, and social and political references cultivate an audience and intended reactions? 

  4. Culture: What cultural markers or values does the writer/speaker invoke? Such rhetorical moves tend to invite a sense of shared identity by the target audience, and often include a divide, e.g. an us against them feeling. Who is us, and who is them? How do tone, word choice, and cultural references cultivate an audience and intended reactions? 

A successful analysis will think about these four aspects in terms of how they enact the ethos, pathos, and logos of a composition. 

Format:

These essays should be typed, double-spaced, in 12-point Times New Roman font. The design of your writing can vary, however. Some of you may choose a conventional essay of paragraphs that transition to one another. Others may prefer to organize their essay by subheads. You are free to design the essay in ways that work best for you. A key consideration, however, will be to design the essay in ways that work for your reader(s) as well. Your length requirement is fairly short, so you must be specific and precise in your writing.

Rhetorical Analysis Rubric
Rhetorical Analysis Rubric
Criteria Ratings Pts
Rhetorical Analysis

Effectively employs concepts and methods of rhetorical analysis to examine the text. Focuses on rhetorical aspects of the text (audience, purpose, rhetorical strategies, etc.) and supports claims with textual and contextual references. The analysis is detailed, specific, and well supported by examples.
4 pts
Organization and Unity

Has consistent structure, functional transitions, coherence.
3 pts
Grammar, Mechanics, Spelling, Citation, etc

Exceptional command of relevant conventions of professional dialect and other surface features of text. Accurate citation format.
3 pts
Total Points: 10


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