Michael Moss, “The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food”

Diana Hacker explains, “An analysis of a text allows you to examine the parts of a text to understand what it
means and how it makes its meaning. Your goal is to offer your judgment of the text and to persuade readers to
see it through your analytical perspective” (A Writer’s Reference 82). Simply put, in analytic writing you do
two things: you offer your interpretation of a text (what it argues) and you offer your judgment of that text (how
well it achieves its purpose). To do so, you look very closely at the details.
As a text to analyze, you can choose among six articles I have provided; they are on Blackboard, and I might
provide more options at a later date (you cannot choose Mike Rose’s article):
• Michelle Alexander, “Introduction” to The New Jim Crow
• Michael Moss, “The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food”
• Carole Cadwalladr, “Google, Democracy, and the Truth about Internet Search”
• Anne-Marie Slaughter, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All”
• Joseph Stiglitz, “A Tax System Stacked against the 99 Percent”
• Malcolm Harris, “The Costs of Being a Millennial”
You should read the article you chose several times and know it backwards and forwards. Then you will break
the argument into parts and evaluate how it works. Your thesis statement should not simply repeat the thesis of
the article you chose but explain why that article is or is not persuasive according to your analysis. Your thesis
should not be a knee-jerk reaction to the article based on your opinions on the topic, but a careful and objective
judgement based on your analysis of the author’s argument.
I will grade you on how well you do the following:
• Formulate a clear thesis that explains whether the argument is persuasive and why.
• Briefly but accurately summarize the central claim and the main points of the argument in no more than
one page.
• Analyze these aspects of the argument:
o The central claim and supporting evidence
o The use of the three appeals: ethos (ethical), pathos (emotional), logos (logical)
o The use of counterarguments to identify and respond to opposing views
o The implications of the argument: Why should the reader care? Why does this argument matter?
• Explain your judgement of the argument: Did the article achieve it’s intended purpose? Why is it or is it
not persuasive? Did the author engage the reader by clearly explaining the argument’s implications?
Did they convince you to care about the issue? Did they convince you to see things their way? Why or why not?

Sample Solution