Paper One- A Rhetorical Analysis Custom Essay
Comparing and Contrasting Rhetorical Strategies
Introduction: As we discussed on the first day of class, rhetoric is broadly defined as the study of effective communication or, more specifically, as a study in the art of persuasion. Therefore, when you are asked to conduct a rhetorical analysis of a text (song, article, essay, speech, advertisement, etc.), you are being asked to apply your critical reading and analytical skills to break down the “whole” of the text into the sum of its “parts.” And then, through close textual reading and explanation reveal how those “parts” work together to create a certain effect and to make the “whole” function. The goal of the rhetorical analysis essay, however, goes beyond simply breaking the text down to reveal how it works. The primary goal of the rhetorical analysis essay is to deepen your reader’s (audience’s) understanding of how the texts works and to evaluate whether the choices made by the speaker or author contribute to the effectiveness or persuasiveness of the text.
The first step in analyzing the rhetorical effectiveness of text is to examine whether the rhetorical and argumentative choices made an author or speaker or artist are effective and appropriate for the Rhetorical Situation. You must first determine what the writer/speaker/rhetor is trying to achieve (purpose), who he or she is trying to reach (his or her audience), what issue or debate or problem he/she is addressing or responding to (exigency), and what rhetorical and argumentative strategies he/she is employing to try to reach this audience and persuade them to accept his or her overall argument or position (Central claim/thesis statement). This means that you must be prepared to analyze more than just “what” a text says. Rhetorical analysis asks you to also examine “how” an author presents his or her argument, how the separate elements (language/word choice, rhetorical appeals, evidence, structure, tone, relationship with audience, ideology, diction, etc.) come together to create a desired effect or to persuade an audience. In short, think of yourself as a critic or analyst that is being asked to report on the overall persuasiveness of a writer’s approach as well as the overall quality of his or her argument. In order to support your overall analysis of a text’s merit, you must closely examine each argument and provide your reader with textual evidence and examples to support your overall assessment.
Purpose/Goal(s): One of the main goals of this course is the ability to read texts critically and rhetorically. As we discussed in class, reading rhetorically is the first step towards academic writing, and as such, is one of the most important skills you can learn as a first-year writer. Reading critically and rhetorically can be viewed as joining a conversation where writers/speakers are talking to readers and readers through the process of analysis are talking back. Pulling from the discussions we have had in class, this assignment asks you to begin talking back!
Specifically, this assignment asks you to compare and contrast two of the texts we have explored thus far in the class in order to examine the meaningful similarities and differences in their rhetorical approaches or strategies. By “meaningful similarities and differences,” I mean that your paper should go beyond a mere listing of differences and similarities to explain, for example, why specific rhetorical choices made by one author establish their persuasive attempt as superior or more effective than another author’s rhetorical approach. Does one author clearly do a better job of using evidence to support his or her claim? Does one author better utilize rhetorical appeals that are appropriate for the rhetorical situation? Does one author have a more logical structure or organization? These are the kinds of questions your paper should help answer. In fact, your thesis should clearly establish why one author’s approach is more effective in reaching his or her intended audience and achieving his or her overall purpose or goal than the other author you are examining.
To begin, go back to your notes and examine the rhetorical situation surrounding each attempt at persuasion. Then, consider which attempt at persuasion best responds to this situation and/or which author best utilizes rhetorical and argumentative strategies to appeal to their audience and achieve their overall goal/purpose. In other words, how do the different parts of the essay work together to produce a certain effect on the audience? And how successful is the author at making his or her argument?
After you have selected which text you find the most effective or successful, identify the specific strengths you will use to support your claim. Make a list of the rhetorical elements or argumentative strategies you found most successful or that you feel help distinguish one author/text from the other. . Ultimately, you are being asked to compose a compare and contrast essay that distinguishes effective rhetorical choices from ineffective rhetorical choices in order to make an argument/claim about which article is most successful in responding to their rhetorical situation. While there may be many rhetorical elements to compare and contrast, you will be asked to choose 3-4 specific rhetorical elements or choices to use as standards of comparison. These selections should be made by considering which elements you think will best establish your selection’s effectiveness when compared to the other. For example, you could argue that while Alexander more effectively relates to his audience by building a personal, engaging ethos, McWhorter’s essay is ultimately more convincing because of his organized structure and strong use of logical support and evidence.
$ Read texts critically and analyze the varied situations that motivate writers, the choices that writers make, and the effects of those choices have on readers.
$ Analyze how writers employ content, structure, tone, style, rhetorical appeals and conventions appropriate to the demands of a particular audience, purpose, context, or culture.
$ Make connections between arguments in order to gain a deeper understanding of how the choices writers make shape the audience’s reception and understanding of a text.
Thesis: You should craft your thesis statement around your 3-4 standards of comparison ( rhetorical elements), and then, carefully analyze each argument with these elements in mind, making sure to use textual evidence and examples to support your analysis and support your overall argument about rhetorical effectiveness. Remember, your thesis should have an argument, not just a statement that two things are similar or different. (See example rhetorical analysis essays and thesis statements on Blackboard)
Audience: Academic. An informed classmate, teacher, or peer who is familiar with the articles you are analyzing. This means that you don’t have to summarize “what” the authors are saying because you can assume your reader is already familiar with the subject matter and each authors’ overall argument. Instead, focus on revealing rhetorical elements your reader may have not noticed when first reading or viewing the text. Focus on showing them “how” the text works rather than summarizing “what” the texts says or what your opinion is on the subject matter the author (s) is discussing.
Assignment Expectations/Formatting Requirements:
Paper Length: 4-6 pgs double-spaced, Margins: 1-inch margins on all sides, Font: Times New Roman or Calibri 11 pt font, page numbers at the top or bottom right of each page.
Formal Drafts: You will be turning in two formal drafts of this assignment-The Preliminary draft and the final, Polished draft. Preliminary drafts are those that you will meet to discuss with me in your individual conference. I will provide feedback on this draft and you will have the opportunity to revise. Polished drafts are revised drafts that are ready for submission in your final revision portfolio. Both formal drafts must meet the requirements listed above.
Cover sheet: No cover sheet is required for your papers. However, I would like the following at the top of the first page of your draft:
Monds,_________(Your section Number)
Process Grade: For each of the formal assignments in this class, you will also receive a process grade–points allotted completing the steps that lead to your formal draft. For this assignment, your process grade will include, the rhetorical analysis worksheet, detailed outline, and peer review. These materials must be submitted in a pocketed folder on the date specified below. Or, they must be submitted online through the Process Grade Link.
The following are guidelines for grading your preliminary drafts:
E = An “E” means that your draft seems to be an early one – one that could benefit from some rethinking and revising.
M = An “M” means that your draft appears to be in the middle stages of the writing process. This draft has some solid and interesting ideas, but it could benefit from some revision and editing in order to prepare it for presentation.
L = An “L” means that your draft is close to being a “presentation draft” – a draft that is ready to be presented to me for the final draft. This draft probably needs some polishing and editing (read: mechanics).
** Note that “E,” “M,” and “L” do not represent traditional grades; they are not comments on the quality of the writing. They are designed to let you know how much more revising each paper needs.
Your polished drafts will be evaluated utilizing the following grading system:
A: The “A” essay has a clear central idea related directly to the assigned topic. It has a clear organizational plan. The major points are developed logically and are supported with concrete, specific evidence or details. The essay reveals the writer’s ability to select effective, appropriate words and phrases, to write varied, sophisticated sentences, to make careful use of effective transitions and to maintain a consistent, appropriate tone. The essay is essentially free from errors in grammar and mechanics. In addition the ideas in the “A” essay are expressed freshly and vividly. Texts fully meet assignment objectives and offer appropriate responses to the original assignment. Writing is clear, engaging, grammatically correct, and easy to read. Texts show originality in details, word choice, and approach to the assignment
B: The “B” essay has a clear central idea related directly to the assigned topic. It contains many of the qualities of good writing listed above. The examples and details supporting the thesis are pertinent and logical, but may not be particularly vivid or fresh. Word choice is accurate (though seldom poignant), and the tone appropriate and consistent. The essay may contain a few errors in grammar and mechanics, but none that interfere with the meaning of the text. Texts fully meet assignment objectives and offer appropriate responses to the original assignment. Writing is clear, engaging, grammatically correct, and easy to read. There may be a few awkward spots or minor grammatical problems, but texts are basically well-written and well-developed
C: The “C” essay meets basic criteria in a minimal way. The paper has a central idea related directly to the assigned topic and presented with sufficient clarity that the reader is aware of the writer’s purpose. The organization is clear enough to reveal the writer’s plan. The paragraphs coherently present adequate evidence and details in support of the thesis. Word choice is unexceptional, though accurate. Sentence length is varied enough to avoid the monotony of choppy, simple sentences and the incoherence of long, tangled sentences. Though the paper may contain some errors in grammar and mechanics, they are not severe or frequent enough to obscure what the writer is saying. Texts adequately meet assignment objectives and respond adequately to the original assignment, although there may be several minor problems with style, tone, thesis support, organization, or mechanics
D: The “D” essay has any one of the following problems to a great degree, or several to a limited degree: It lacks a central idea; it lacks a clear organizational plan; it does not develop points in support of a thesis, or develops them in a repetitious, incoherent, or illogical way; it does not relate directly to the assigned topic; words are used inaccurately and unidiomatically; it contains a limited vocabulary so that the words chosen often do not serve the writer’s intentions; sentence structure is often rudimentary or garbled; it contains many serious errors in grammar and mechanics so that the writer’s meanings are often obscured or confused; or the essay falls short of the required length and/or sophistication of the assignment.
F: The “F” essay is sub-standard in many of the areas itemized above in the “D” essay. Texts fail to meet assignment objectives or have several major problems with tone, writing style, thesis support, organization, and mechanics.
1. The Case for Man/Woman Marriage. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaRK-0W5HQI
2. Marriage=Biology (Not Bigotry) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cQCi4ehXkg