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ENGL106 - Writing a Rhetorical Analysis

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Sara Keel

on 4 April 2013

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Transcript of ENGL106 - Writing a Rhetorical Analysis

How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Organization Finding a Topic When choosing a primary text, or an article to write about, look for one of the following:
an argument that challenges you

an argument with a lot to analyze

a text that raises current or enduring questions

a text that you believe should be taken more seriously Researching Your Topic Basically, find out all you can about it!

Try to find the answers to these questions:

Who is the author? What are his or her credentials? What else has the author written?

Who published or sponsored the piece? What do they typically publish? Who is their typical audience? Formulating a Claim What argument do you want to make about the text's rhetoric? This will more or less be your thesis statement.

Your claim should reflect the complexity of the piece. It should not just say "it has a good pathos and ethos, but lousy logos." Content Here are some things you should include in your rhetorical analysis:

Introduction paragraph: introduce your article, your argument, and include a thesis statement.
- Facts: author's name, title of the article, place of publication, and date published.

A summary of the text: Write enough detail so that a reader can understand what you're talking about even if they haven't read the article. (1 or 2 paragraphs - don't let the summary take up most of your paper!)

Rhetorical Context: What is the text responding to? Is it part of a controversy? Who is the target audience? Are there any constraints? Your rhetorical analysis should follow basic essay structure, with only a few minor changes.

Introduction: Introduce readers to the article (title and author), describe the text's main argument, and state your claim.

Brief summary: describe the piece's context, and give readers a short overview of the article. Include only what they need to know to understand your analysis.

Rhetorical context: who is the audience, what is the exigence, and are there any constraints?


What leanings or biases might the author have?

What is the context of the argument? What preceded or provoked it? How have others responded?
How can I describe what this argument achieves?

What is the purpose of this text, and is it accomplished?

Which of its rhetorical features will likely influence readers most?

What aspects of the argument work better than others?

How do the rhetorical elements interact? Here are some questions that will help you come up with an effective claim:
Main argument: Some claim about the rhetorical effectiveness of the text

Rhetorical Analysis: A detailed analysis of how the argument works, including:
- Ethos
-Pathos
-Logos

Evidence for every part of the analysis
Don't forget about the basic components of an essay like topic sentences and a thesis statement! Rhetorical Elements: Pathos: look for pathos in the words, claims, and emotions evoked.
Does the emotion raised advance the claims offered?
Is it convincing? distracting? or does it undermine the argument?

Logos: not only identify but also analyze the logos in the text.
How does the writer present and assess the information?
Is the information from a reliable source?

Ethos: the words, voice, and style of a text help create its ethos.
Does the writer establish credibility through respect, "straight talking," creating equality with the reader, or some other way? Organization of the text A rhetorical analysis deals not only with words, but also with the way a text is formatted and organized. (What are the constraints?)

Some questions to ask:
How is the argument set up?
What is left out?
What is the writing style?
How is the text situated on the page?
Are there any drawings, photos, or other visual media printed along with the text? 1 - Ethos

2 - Pathos

3- Logos Group Work: 4 - Audience

5 - Exigence and Constraints As a group, look over "My Carbon Footprint" and identify examples of your assigned rhetorical element. Write one or two sentences about how the author uses this element. Detailed analysis of HOW the argument works and supporting evidence: This is the main body of your paper. Come up with two to four points of analysis that support your claim and provide textual evidence to back up your argument.

Conclusion: Bring all your information together and show how it supports your claim.
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