Writing a Rhetorical Analysis Due Date: 9/14/04 Length: 3-4 pages, DS, MLA format Other Due Dates: Bring to class the day it�s due 9/2 Paragraph of Intent: (based on rhetorical analysis worksheet) 9/2 Thesis Paragraph: (due at end of class) 9/7 Rough Draft: The above should be included with your final paper, stapled separately, paper clipped together Purpose and Audience For this assignment, you will be given a choice of analyzing the rhetorical strategies in one of the three essays we read as the introduction to the course theme. These essays include Beyond Access by , Y2K as an Endtime Sign by Nancy Schaefer, and Ch. 2 The Way We Were from Meeting, Mating, and Dating by Andrea Orr. In general, you are being asked to analyze how the strategies of the writer support his/her larger purposes, and whether these strategies are successful given the audience he/she is addressing. When attempting to rhetorically analyze an essay, you must pay close attention to three things: Context (the position the writer is writing from) Purpose (the intention of the essay), and Audience (who the viewers/readers are) Thus, your rhetorical analysis should demonstrate how a text does or doesn't fulfill its purpose given the audience, context, and larger purpose. The audience for your rhetorical analysis paper will be me and your classmates. Planning and Drafting 1. Choose and read an essay: Select one of the assigned essays and read it several times, paying special attention to not only what the author is saying, but how she presents her ideas. A good way to begin this process is to jot down what you think is the text's purpose (including the thesis of the essay), the audience for the piece, and the context in which it was written (basically a summary). 2. Consider the rhetorical situation: Next, you must think about the issues of purpose, audience, and context in terms of the writing choices the author made. This is what will make up the bulk of your analysis. Focus on writing strategies (perhaps ones pertaining to content, expression, organization, rhetorical appeals � ethos, logos, pathos) that you wish to analyze in the text. I suggest you choose only the elements which seem most relevant to the essay you are analyzing. Don't try to write about all the elements and rhetorical choices, or your paper may be too broad and provide shallow analysis. The idea here is for sustained and detailed analysis. � This process should make you should how several elements of the various analysis categories work together (i.e., how audience effects expression, how context effects content, etc.). These are issues you will need to consider in Step #3 below. 3. Devise a thesis statement: For this essay, it is essential that you come up with your own thesis statement about the essay you are rhetorically analyzing. This does not mean you simply restate the original author's thesis, as you did with your summary but that you create a thesis of your own in which you attempt to analyze whether the author was successful or unsuccessful in fulfilling her larger purpose and why you have come to this conclusion. This analytical thesis statement must address the overall design of the essay you are rhetorically analyzing, with an emphasis on particular strengths or weaknesses of the author's writing technique. We will hold a workshop in the future to explain more fully the process of writing a thesis paragraph as well as provide examples. 4. Support your thesis: The rest of your paper should focus on supporting the assertion in your thesis statement, with each paragraph devoted to explaining and supporting a particular part of your argument. This is where you need to expand on all the separate elements that contribute to (or hinder) the author's overall goal. Be sure to provide textual examples from the essay. You will need to paraphrase, quote, and/or describe particular sections of the text to make your analysis sound and convincing but make sure you are also analyzing and not just summarizing the article. Be sure to make connections with your thesis statement in your supporting paragraphs by using transitions. (If you do not provide a thesis statement of your own, it will be nearly impossible to determine what your supporting paragraphs are supporting). 5. Conclude Your Essay: Conclude your analysis by reiterating (not simply repeating) your main ideas about the rhetorical analysis of the essay. During the course of your analysis, your analytical thesis statement has gathered momentum, so you should be able to make a final, insightful observation without veering off into ground not covered earlier in your paper. Some Possible Pitfalls Avoid lengthy quotations and/or paraphrases of the original essay. The majority of your paper should consist of your own analysis. Avoid a simple, chronological analysis, where you move from paragraph to paragraph in the original essay, telling us what the author says and does in each. Organize your essay around the key rhetorical strategies that you are pursuing in your analysis. Avoid inserting your own opinion about the issues in the original essay. You are giving your informed opinion about the author's rhetorical strategies. This means that statements like, "The essay sucked �(was awesome)" is not going to fly. Your analysis is not about taste or politics, but about effective writing. Approach this assignment in terms of analyzing writing strategies. Be sure you have an analytical thesis statement. Be sure your analysis focuses on the writing strategies. You will be graded on the following criteria: Analysis has clearly defined rhetorical strategies The essay contains a well-supported thesis statement The essay is organized logically There are very few sentence level errors.
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