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1.1: To demonstrate your ability to rhetorically analyze texts. Description: After selecting your text and critically reading it, you will determine the writer’s purpose and intended audience for the text.

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1 1 to demonstrate your ability to rhetorically analyze texts
1.1: To demonstrate your ability to rhetorically analyze texts.

Description: After selecting your text and critically reading it, you will determine the writer’s purpose and intended audience for the text.

Once you have determined these elements, you will begin to analyze the text so as to determine the specific strategies (rhetorical choices) the writer uses to achieve his or her purpose and to meet the needs of the audience. For example, you might choose to look at such elements as the types of evidence a writer puts forward and how he or she does so. Ask yourself if the writer uses evidence from sources, or if he tells stories from personal experience. Examine the sentence structures and word choice. How do these contribute to the author’s purpose? Evaluate the overall tone of the text, and determine how it does or does not contribute to the way in which it communicates to its audience. After you determine what these strategies or rhetorical choices are, consider how well these strategies (rhetorical choices) actually work. 

Although this is an initial draft, it should be carefully edited and written in a professional tone. Please use MLA format for both your in-text citations and your works cited in this draft. Your draft should be between 1100 – 1400 words in length.

Check yourself
Check Yourself texts.

Read the introduction and the thesis. Determine whether the first paragraph(s) demonstrate the student’s understanding that they are doing a rhetorical analysis, and then examine the thesis. Is it specifically tailored to the text being analyzed? Is it generic (i.e. Author A uses ethos, pathos, and logos…)? Is it accurate (audience & purpose), based on your reading of the text being analyzed?

Examine the body paragraphs. Determine whether they do actually perform a rhetorical analysis or whether the writer lapses into arguing something content-based about the topic. Examine the depth and specificity of the analysis. Many times, students select 1) good passages, but fail to do more than paraphrase and restate the meaning, 2) select passages that don’t support the analysis that the student tries to make, 3) leave the passages to stand on their own as self-evident.  Also note the organization in terms of both paragraph and sentence-level. Does the analysis have a specific order of progression, or does it appear a random collection of observations?

Examine the conclusion. What does the author have to say about the text, the writer, the rhetorical strategies? Does it add to or extend the author’s analysis? Does the work seem to be professional overall?

Examine the grammar and mechanics of the draft for errors.

Scoring guide
Scoring Guide texts.

Issue Identification and Focus: The degree to which you exhibit an understanding of the necessities of a rhetorical analysis will determine what score is assigned.

Context and Assumptions: You should demonstrate an understanding of the context in which the artifact being analyzed was written. That is, if you don’t understand the purpose of the text in the first place, it will be difficult to write an analysis of it.

Sources and Evidence: Critical criterion here—consider the choice of quotations, balance of quotations used to identify v. quotations to analyze original author’s choices. Most of the time, this and communication will determine whether the analysis is an A, B, or C piece.

Own Perspective: The thesis will be the primary point of focus for determining this score. Specificity, accuracy, and overall understanding will be primary. Also, does the remainder of the draft indicate that the writer understood what you said in the thesis?

Conclusion: What conclusions do you draw about the effectiveness of the writer’s choices and of the resulting text overall? How specific and accurate are these?

Communication:Organization is the first thing I’d look at here—if the organization is poor, even if sentence level matters are adequate to good, the score will reflect that.

What you should be doing in your draft
What you should be doing in your draft: texts.

Organization & Structure - Are there topic sentences, transitions, do the choices appear in the essay in the order they appear in in the thesis?

Claims & Evidence - Is the claim consistent throughout, does the evidence given support the claims?

Analysis v. Summary - Is the essay focusing on analysis in a way that "shows" the reader the connections to audience and purpose, or is the essay just "telling" that there is a connection?

Word Choice - Does the essay have appropriate word choice, are the choices correctly named?

Logical Flow - Does the argument follow a logical path, is the essay disjointed, do the paragraphs work together or do they standalone? 

Traditional 5 paragraph model
Traditional 5 Paragraph Model texts.

  • Introduction

    • Introduce the text, publication, and Writer. Give you audience any background information needed.

    • When writing your thesis sentence, make sure to clearly define the points your rhetorical analysis is going to focus on and build off of. Doing this should help you stay on topic.

  • Body 1

    • Topic sentence to introduce what your paragraph will focus on specifically.

    • Evidence: (quotes or paraphrasing) from the text to support/ base your commentary with.

      • Depending on how many examples you want in this paragraph, you may want to have more than one evidence sentence.

    • Commentary: explain to your readers how this quote shows a choice that is rhetorically effective.

    • Commentary: explain how it appeals to the audience.

    • Commentary: explain how it helps achieve purpose.

    • Transition sentence from the current paragraph to the following one.

      • All of the points you choose should function cohesively together so that you can have one complete paper instead of three standalone points.

  • Body 2

  • Body 3

  • Conclusion

    • Restating your introduction is not enough or encouraged. Rather, you should come to a conclusion based on what you have said throughout the course of your paper. Remember, the conclusion is the last thing your reader is left with. Make sure that you leave the reader feeling as if his/ her time was well used because your argument ultimately makes a point about the ideas your paper deals with (how point 1, point 2, and point 3 all work together). This is the space in your synthesis to make sure that all of your ideas are clear and that you are leaving your reader with no unanswered questions.

Rhetorical choices
Rhetorical Choices texts.

Get past the bite-size, single word identifiers. Take as many words as necessary to SPECIFICALLY explain the choice you are indentifying. See last choice on pg 577.

One word choice = BAD

I don’t want to see Examples, Evidence, Allusion, Facts, Statistics, even Humor.

All of the above can (and must) be specified

Don’t make me wonder and write “Of what?”

Persuasion for all
Persuasion for All texts.

In each of these articles there is a persuasive slant the author is taking (that’s why they were picked for the RHERTORIC class).

You MUST find and include that persuasive slant in your purpose.

No more “tells” “shows” “informs” “educates”

All of you must have “persuade” or one of its synonyms in your thesis.

WHY? texts.

Because Joe is an assh*le?


All of the above are too passive. This is the art of persuasion, and you need that aggressive approach of “Do this” “Understand/Believe that” to keep you on task. It will also help with the WHY of your purpose = the author’s ultimate goal

Echo audience and purpose
ECHO Audience and Purpose texts.

 Even though you specifically mention the author’s audience and purpose in your into, doesn’t mean you are finished.

Take the opportunity to repeat (echo) them again.

“…which is used to connect to his readers.”

“…which is used to connect to his readers of college students, writing instructors, and administrators.”

“…is used to convey the author’s purpose.”

“…is used to convey the author’s purpose that while they can be effective, the limitations of machine translation still require human interaction.”

Read the student example on pg. 577 – notice how many times they specifically repeat the audience.

No quote stands alone
No Quote Stands Alone texts.

ALL of your quotes must be integrated, meaning they cannot stand alone.

For example – Budiansky uses humorous examples of bad translations. “Can you direct me to the railway station’ is translated as “Please fondle my butttocks.”

This is wrong.

This is right
This is right texts.

Budiansky uses humorous examples of bad translations. For example, “Can you direct me to the railway station’ is translated as “Please fondle my butttocks” (Budiansky 238).

Use signal verbs to integrate your quotes –says, refer to, uses, offers, discusses, ect.

There are more in Ch. 13B of the E-book

Summary vs analysis
Summary vs. Analysis texts.



“Says” vs. “Used”

Do not explain or summarize the quote, instead analyze it – discuss how it was used to convey the purpose and connect to the audience.

Read ANY body paragraph in the student examples. Notice how the choices are not explained (summarized) they are analyzed

That being said
That Being Said… texts.

You need to offer context – provide the background for your evidence.

2 birds 1 stone (not the same as 2 girls 1 cup)

You can contextualize (explain) you quote and integrate it (slide #11).

For example
For Example texts.

One of expert opinions Rosenberg uses comes from Don Thorton, a software developer, who states, Language is driven from the ground up…it doesn’t matter if you have a million speakers – if your kids aren’t learning, you’re in big trouble”(269).

When in doubt
When in Doubt texts.

Go to the examples in the book – pg. 577-581

Do a sentence by sentence analysis (comparison)

What is happening in THIS sentence that I can use (steal).

Apply what is going on in the example to your work.

First draft vs first draft
First Draft vs. first draft texts.

Though this assignment is labeled as the preliminary (first) draft, what you submit should not be your first draft.

Do a little at a time. Take a break. Read it again. Revise. Read it again. Revise. (you see where this is going)

Late work
LATE WORK texts.

Do not turn this is late.

The 1.1 has a weight of 6, meaning it is worth the same as 6 BA’s.

So (quick math) turning this in late is the same as turning in 6 BA’s late = BAD.