Rhetorical Analysis


We’ve talked a little bit about the rhetorical situation of a piece of writing: the interplay between author, audience, and purpose. Now we’ll explore that concept further by doing a full rhetorical analysisof a reading from the text.Rhetorical analysis asks you to look at the way an author useslanguage and/or images to fulfill theirpurpose. Rhetoric, or the “art of persuasion,” is everywhere, and when you analyze it, you determine whether or not it fulfills its purpose—whether or notit actually ispersuasive, in other words—and why. For example, ads and commercials are piecesof rhetoric designed to sell products, services, or even beliefs to viewers—but how often are they effective, and for whom?To determine whether or not rhetoric is effective, considerits rhetorical situation as well as its rhetorical appeals (ethos, logos, and pathos), language (word choice and figurative language),organization and flow, and other significant factorsthe author uses. AssignmentChoose a reading from the textthat interests you. Read it, reread it, mark it upand annotate it, looking for evidence of rhetoric at work. After you have read the essay/article in depth, write a paper of no less than 700 words (2 or morepages), rhetorically analyzing your chosen text. You should start out by establishing the rhetorical situation: the speaker’s background (you may need to conduct brief, uncited research for this), the intended audience, and the central purpose or argument of the piece. From there, analyze howthe author uses one or more of the rhetorical appealsto try and achieve her/his purpose. Finally, state whether or not you believe the talk is effective. The challenge of this assignment is to demonstrate to me how deeply you can think about your chosen piece of writing and how thoroughly you can take apart and analyzeits components. Essentially, your analysismust deal with the following questions:1)What is the author’s purposeorcentral argument?2) How does the author attemptto prove that argumentthrough rhetorical appeals?3) How successful is the author in fulfilling her/his purpose?DetailsPlease ensure that your projectcontains thefollowing components:
•An intro,including adetailed description of the rhetorical situation
•An examination of the rhetorical appealspresent in or missing fromthe piece
•Specific examplesof ethos, pathos, logos and/orother rhetorical devices either quoted or paraphrased
•An explanation of each example you use—how it demonstrates ethos, pathos, or logos, and how it influences the overall effectiveness of the piece
•A conclusion that reveals your opinion on the article’s effectiveness
•A properly formatted Work Cited citationfor the TED Talk

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