Rhetorical analysis essay

Rhetorical analysis essay
In this 1250 word rhetorical analysis essay you will closely examine and make interpretative claims about one or more of the texts by the following writers/speakers: Zinn, Baldwin, Morrison, Vongkiatkajorn, or Nussbaum. You will discuss not only the main ideas of the text(s) but also the techniques/tools (words, paragraphs, structure, evidence, etc) by which the writer has produced the text(s) to impact readers. The idea is to make this essay interesting to you AND your readers.
You’ll demonstrate that you understand content through summary and paraphrase. What does the text say? But beyond summary, you will read between the lines for clues and offer an interpretation of the text, and explain how the writer has constructed her/his text to impact readers (in other words, what does the text do?). Some questions you’ll ask and answer in this essay: What are the most important ideas of this essay? How are these ideas presented to readers? What textual and persuasive tools does the writer use in this essay? How does the writer inform, persuade, entertain, etc. the reader? Once you identify the techniques and strategies the writer has used to communicate the main ideas, you will explain to your reader why the writer uses these particular strategies to persuade readers.
To successfully do this analysis, you will need to re-read the text carefully, over and over. Look for evidence in particular words, phrases, tone, examples, and structure, and cite these sections as evidence to support your claims. Think about the rhetorical situation as you read, and have a clear understanding of it as you draft. Ask yourself: • Who is the writer (background and attitude; for background info you will need to find credible sources)? How does the writer’s identity/experience affect how she/he has constructed this text? • What is the writer’s purpose (to educate, to persuade? to call to action, to explain)? How does the writer’s purpose shape the text? • Who is the audience (intended and unintended)? What is their background and attitude? How do you know? How does the audience have an effect on the way the text is created? • What is the cultural and social context to which this text is responding? In other words, what/who is the text “talking” to?
Some textual strategies that you might consider include: Content: What are the main claims of the essay? What kind of evidence is used? How is the evidence used? Form: How is the information organized? Language/Style: Is it informal or slang? Complex or clear? Formal or technical? Idiomatic? Does the writer use personal pronouns? Repetition? What about sentence structure? Why does the writer choose to use this particular kind of language/style? The writer’s use of appeals. ethos (How does the writer earn readers’ trust and respect?) logos (How does the writer address readers’ rationality and sense of reason?) pathos (How does the writer stir readers’ emotions?) Kairos, or the particular setting, time, and place that occasions the text








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