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Rhetorical analysis. What is the purpose of rhetorical analysis?. The purpose of rhetorical analysis is to determine how an author uses language to create meaning , develop his or her purpose(s) and/or produce particular effects . Step 1: Deconstruct the prompt. What is the context?

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What is the purpose of rhetorical analysis
What is the purpose of rhetorical analysis?

The purpose of rhetorical analysis is to determine how an author uses language to create meaning, develop his or her purpose(s) and/or produce particular effects.


Step 1 deconstruct the prompt
Step 1: Deconstruct the prompt

  • What is the context?

  • What is the time period?

  • What is the topic?

  • Who is the author?

  • What is my purpose for analysis?

  • What is the mode of writing?

  • Is there a universal subject present?


Writing modes and rhetorical strategies
Writing modes and Rhetorical Strategies

Narrative

  • Point of view

  • Structure

  • Figurative devices

  • Diction

Expository

  • Organization

  • Development

  • Diction

  • Figurative language

  • Syntax


Writing modes and rhetorical strategies1
Writing modes and Rhetorical Strategies

Argument

  • Appeals

  • Logic

  • Opposing View

  • Syntax

  • Diction

Satire

  • Irony

  • Purpose

  • Hyperbole

  • Understatement

  • Incongruence


Step 2 read with a pen
Step 2: read (with a pen)

  • What am I looking for as I read?

    • Author’s purpose(s) and overall meaning(s)

    • Use of rhetoric

      • Repetition/parallelism/juxtaposition

      • Shifts (tone, organization, idea, focus)

      • Noteworthy diction

      • Figurative language, symbolism

      • Allusions


Caution
CAUTION!

  • Understanding the author’s meaning/purpose is ESSENTIAL and the fundamental goal!

  • Who cares if you can find rhetorical “stuff” but do not know how it contributes to the meaning of the piece?


Step 3 articulate meaning
Step 3: articulate meaning

  • What is the purpose of the piece?

  • What is the universal subject?

    • What is this piece really about? What is the abstract noun—the bigger idea—on which this piece is touching?

  • What is the answer to what the prompt is asking me to analyze?

  • What in this passage is affecting this universal subject?


Step 4 review the rhetorical strategies you annotated
Step 4: review the rhetorical strategies you annotated

  • What is the mode of writing?

  • The mode of writing hints to the rhetorical strategies used.


Writing modes and rhetorical strategies2
Writing modes and Rhetorical Strategies

Narrative

  • Point of view

  • Structure

  • Figurative devices

  • Diction

Expository

  • Organization

  • Development

  • Diction

  • Figurative language

  • Syntax


Writing modes and rhetorical strategies3
Writing modes and Rhetorical Strategies

Argument

  • Appeals

  • Logic

  • Opposing View

  • Syntax

  • Diction

Satire

  • Irony

  • Purpose

  • Hyperbole

  • Understatement

  • Incongruence


Step 5 analyze
Step 5: analyze

  • If you are talking about what the text says, you are summarizing.

  • If you are talking about how the text makes meaning, you are analyzing.


Analysis purpose
analysis: purpose

  • When discussing purpose, consider the following questions:

    • Why does this writer choose this particular strategy to create his or her message?

    • How does the writer use this strategy to make meaning?

    • Why does the writer use this particular strategy and this particular example?


Analysis effect
analysis: effect

  • When discussing effect, consider the following:

    Because the writer used this rhetorical strategy, how/why does the use influence one or more of the following:

    • Speaker

    • Reader

    • Message

    • Tone

    • Purpose


Step 6 identify shifts contrasts
Step 6: Identify shifts/contrasts

Signals of a shift:

  • Transitions (e.g., but, yet, nevertheless, however, although, therefore.)

  • Punctuation (dashes, periods, colons)

  • Paragraph divisions

  • Changes in sentence length/structure



Parts of the thesis statement
PARTS OF THE THESIS STATEMENT

  • TOPIC

  • CLAIM (VERB)

  • DIRECTION

  • QUALIFIER

  • UNIVERSAL IDEA


Topic
TOPIC

  • The TOPIC reveals the context of the thesis—the text(s) analyzed.

  • Example

    Gary Soto’s autobiographical essay


Claim verb
CLAIM (VERB)

  • The CLAIM explains the text’s connection to the rhetorical strategies.

  • For practice, uses is a good place to start.

  • Try synonyms and substitutes for uses

  • Example

    Gary Soto’s autobiographical essay uses


Direction
DIRECTION

  • The DIRECTION tells howthe text arrives at the universal idea.

  • DIRECTION = rhetorical strategies

  • Example

    Gary Soto’s autobiographical essay uses diction, allusions, and imagery


Qualifier
QUALIFIER

  • The QUALIFIER links the directions to the purpose of analysis and universal truth.

  • “to prove that”

  • Try to choose an academic verb that best describes the what the directions are doing to the purpose of analysis and universal truth.

  • Example:

    Gary Soto’s autobiographical essay uses diction, allusions, and imagery to prove that


Universal truth
UNIVERSAL TRUTH

  • The UNIVERSAL TRUTH is the larger idea, message, or purpose at work in the text.

  • The UNIVERSAL TRUTH should reveal meaning about the UNIVERSAL SUBJECT (abstract noun).

  • Example:

    Gary Soto’s autobiographical essay uses diction, allusions, and imagery to prove that guilt seems to haunt those who sin.


Going to the next level

GOING TO THE NEXT LEVEL

Adding Variety and Complexity to a Thesis Statement


Step 1 modified directions
STEP 1: MODIFIED DIRECTIONS

  • For each direction, add an adjective that best describes the text’s use of that direction.

  • Example

    Gary Soto’s autobiographical essay uses simplistic diction, Biblical allusions, and contrasting imagery to prove that guilt seems to haunt those who sin.


Step 2 add the shift contrast
STEP 2: ADD THE SHIFT/CONTRAST

  • Reveal the shift/contrast that occurs within the text (especially the shift/contrast in the universal idea.

  • Example

    Gary Soto’s autobiographical essay, in which the focus shifts from innocence to experience, uses simplistic diction, Biblical allusions, and contrasting imagery to prove that guilt seems to haunt those who sin.


Step 3 adding text words phrases for interest
STEP 3: ADDING text words/PHRASES FOR INTEREST

  • Choose a few words or phrases from the text that allude to or somehow reinforce the universal idea.

  • Add these words/phrases to the thesis statement for effect.


Step 3 adding text words phrases for interest1
STEP 3: ADDING text words/PHRASES FOR INTEREST

  • Example

    Gary Soto’s autobiographical essay, in which he shifts from innocence to experience, uses simplistic diction, Biblical allusions, and contrasting imagery to prove that “sweet, gold-colored, sticky” guilt seems to haunt those who sin with “faraway messages” of blame.


Step 4 re arrange the pieces
STEP 4: RE-ARRANGE THE PIECES!

  • Take all the thesis statement parts, and re-arrange them to create sentence variety.

  • Example:

    To prove that “sweet, gold-colored, sticky” guilt seems to haunt those who sin with “faraway messages” of blame, Gary Soto’s autobiographical essay uses simplistic diction, Biblical allusions, and contrasting imagery while shifting the focus from Soto’s innocence to experience.



The elements of the topic sentence
The Elements of the Topic Sentence

  • Topic

  • Direction

  • Claim

  • Universal Idea

    * These elements should seem similar to the thesis components (but now with a twist)!


Step 1 begin with a solid thesis
Step 1: Begin with a solid thesis.

Gary Soto’s autobiographical essay, in which he shifts from innocence to experience, uses simplistic diction, Biblical allusions, and contrasting imagery to prove that “sweet, gold-colored, sticky” guilt seems to haunt those who sin with “faraway messages” of blame.


Step 2 borrow the topics from the thesis s directions
Step 2: Borrow the “Topics” from the Thesis’s Directions

Thesis

Gary Soto’s autobiographical essay, in which he shifts from innocence to experience, uses simplistic diction, Biblical allusions, and contrasting imagery to prove that “sweet, gold-colored, sticky” guilt seems to haunt those who sin with “faraway messages” of blame.

Topic Sentence

Topic: Biblical allusions (This is the first direction.)


Step 3 add the direction s
Step 3: Add the Direction(s) Directions

The “directions” of the topic sentence are the examplesyou will use as evidence.

Soto’s Biblical allusions, such as the squirrel nailing itself to the tree and Adam and Eve and the apple,. . .

*Use two directions.


Step 4 add the claim
Step 4: Add the Claim Directions

Choose an appropriate verb that links what the directions do in relation to the universal idea.

Soto’s Biblical allusions, such as the squirrel nailing itself to the tree and Adam and Eve and the apple, underscore


Step 5 add the universal idea again
Step 5: Add the Universal Idea (Again) Directions

Add the universal idea to the topic sentence.

CAUTION: To keep the universal idea from becoming redundant throughout the essay, develop synonyms.

Soto’s Biblical allusions, such as the squirrel nailing itself to the tree and Adam and Eve sinning because of the apple, underscore the disgrace associated with sin.

.


Step 6 write the body paragraph
Step 6: Write the body paragraph Directions

  • Topic Sentence

  • Evidence (Example) #1

  • Commentary

    • Purpose

    • Effect

  • Evidence (Example) #2

  • Commentary

    • Purpose

    • Effect

  • Clincher Sentence


A note about commentary
A note about commentary Directions

  • If you are talking about what the text says, you are summarizing.

  • If you are talking about how the text makes meaning, you are analyzing.


Commentary purpose
Commentary: purpose Directions

  • When discussing purpose, consider the following questions:

    • Why does this writer choose this particular strategy to create his or her message?

    • How does the writer use this strategy to make meaning?

    • Why does the writer use this particular strategy and this particular example?


Commentary effect
Commentary: effect Directions

  • When discussing effect, consider the following:

    Because the writer used this rhetorical strategy, how/why does the use influence one or more of the following:

    • Speaker

    • Reader

    • Message

    • Tone

    • Purpose


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