for a written responseAs you ...
Analyzing a written argument chosen from textbook readings
for a written response
As you know at this point, the arguments we have
been reading tend to have certain content in common, and often in the following
order: Summaries of opposing views that are refuted or qualified (They Say) A
thesis/the main point (I Say) Reasons and evidence that support the thesis
(facts, observations, anecdotes, research, expert opinions, etc.) “the development of the essay ) Responses to naysayers/counterarguments
(Skeptics May Object) (maybe at the beginning or interspersed throughout)
Explanation of the significance of the issue and thesis for the reader (So
What/Who cares?) How a writer develops this content depends on the kind (genre)
of argument s/he is motivated to write: an academic argument, an editorial, a
commentary, a magazine article, or a speech. Writers must make rhetorical
choices about how best to communicate their point of view, given the purpose,
audience, and place of publication of their arguments. As academic readers and
writers, our purpose is to read carefully and critically others’ arguments
about important issues to evaluate them fairly and use them effectively in our
writing. Assignment Purpose Rhetorical analysis requires you to evaluate
whether an argument is convincing and effective by analyzing how writers have
composed their texts to persuade their audience. In other words, you focus not
on your opinion about the topic presented in the argument but rather on
explaining what rhetorical choices the writer has made to put together an
argument that appeals (or fails to appeal, or both) to the intended audience.
Rhetorical analyses aim to evaluate the content, the rhetorical appeals ”kairos, logos, pathos, ethos ” that attempt to persuade the audience, and
the language/style the writer uses to be persuasive. Content and Process for
Generating Content 1. Start by carefully reading, rereading, and annotating
your chosen argument. To annotate, Keep track of places where you notice the
various appeals by putting an "E "
(ethos), "P " (pathos), "L
(logos), or "K "
(kairos) in the margins (sometimes these will overlap as various appeals do
spill into each other). Note the structure of the piece and identify parts of
the argument that are present or missing (see bulleted content of arguments
above). Underline passages that help you analyze the writer’s style, tone, and
word choice (diction) as described in Section III or the Rhetorical Analysis
Questions. Such choices create the writer’s persona” the sense you have of the
person behind the writing as well as their attitudes and/or biases about the
2. Continue annotating and note-taking by
answering as many of the questions as you can in the document "Rhetorical Analysis Questions. ."
on numbers one and two, develop an interesting and specific claim about how the
text is working to persuade the audience” your thesis.
4. Next, identify those places in the text that
directly support your thesis: How and why did the elements in those places help
you arrive at your thesis?
5. Think about the best way to order the
rhetorical points you have now identified and to present the evidence for your
thesis. Structure The following is a common generic structure for a rhetorical
analysis. For each bolded heading, you may well have several paragraphs.
Introduction and Thesis: To inform and engage your reader, provide a context,
some interesting background, for the issue addressed in the argument. Briefly
discuss the author’s background, purpose, audience, and the text’s place of
publication. Summarize the argument you are analyzing concisely and objectively
(about 200 words), and then state your thesis: the main point you are making
about the writer’s rhetorical effectiveness and chief rhetorical strategies.
First rhetorical appeal/strategy*: State your point about the rhetorical
appeal/strategy and analyze how it works in the argument with examples and
discussion/interpretation. Specifically, summarize and/or briefly quote the
part of the text you are focusing on and then discuss how it works to affect
the audience using one or more of the strategies for persuasion. Second rhetorical
appeal/strategy: Same as above. Third rhetorical appeal/strategy: Same as
above. And so on, for as many points as you want to make: Be sure to provide
plenty of specific details from the text as evidence to support the claims you
are making about the effectiveness of each rhetorical appeal/strategy.
Emphasize your sense of the text’s credibility
and persuasiveness for its audience. Discuss whether or not you are a part of
that audience and explain why the text did/did not persuade you, either fully
or partially. *Remember that you will often find the appeals intertwined, so
don’t feel it necessary to separate your paper into sections for each appeal.
It will be extra useful to think of the points you want to make about how the
writer uses persuasive strategies.
The paper follows all the guidelines given above.
The analysis focuses on analyzing the effectiveness of the rhetorical
appeal(s)/strategies used in the argument and not on responding to the
argument. The thesis is specific and detailed. The rhetorical
appeal(s)/strategies are clearly explained with a developed discussion of
evidence (plenty of evidence) from the text to show how each concept works to
affect the audience.
Format: MLA Length 400-600 words. Nowhere in this essay
can you speak in the first person.