rhetorical analysis essay

The objective of this assignment is to enable you to write a well-constructed rhetorical analysis that makes a claim regarding the rhetorical tools exhibited in a text.

The subject of your analysis will be a rhetorical article (editorial) approximately 1-2 pages long.

Suggested sources: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, the London Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, your city’s newspaper’s editorial page, etc..

You can use any editorial writer. Suggested writers include: Richard Cohen, Ellen Goodman, Maureen O’Dowd, William Raspberry, Anna Quindlen.

Sample Websites from which to harvest editorials:

In a rhetorical analysis, you should:
1)    Make a clearly stated, complex claim about the text’s rhetoric and its effectiveness (thesis)
2)    Contextualize the text using the Rhetorical Triangle (author, audience and purpose)
3)    Discuss rhetorical appeals of the text (logs, ethos, pathos)
4)    Observe proper MLA quotation and citation formatting requirement
5)    Observe proper MLA paper formatting requirement
6)    Choose a clear organization for the paper that clearly aids understanding (think about your audience the whole time you are writing)
7)    Create interesting and functional introduction and conclusion paragraphs

Your essay should include the following parts:

•    Introduction: this is where you introduce the text you will analyze and let the reader know what your standpoint on this text’s rhetoric will be. Be sure to include an explicitly stated thesis.  Write in the third person throughout, and use an authoritative tone.
•    Body:

*Contextualize: who is the author, who is the audience, and what is the author’s purpose in this piece of writing?

*Identify and discuss each of the rhetorical appeals—ethos, pathos, logos

*Make sure each paragraph has a main point, evidence from the text to support that point, and explanation of the evidence

*Remember to keep your analysis as objective as possible; discuss the text’s rhetoric, not its subject

•    Conclusion: this is where you restate the claim you have made about the text and explain why your analysis supports the claim. You should also use a recognized concluding strategy; a formal conclusion, an implied conclusion, a broader point made of the thesis.

Minimum length: 750 words


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