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Project Two

Page history last edited by Jared 12 years, 6 months ago

Project Two: Rhetorical Analysis





In this assignment, apply what you have learned about rhetoric to a piece of discourse written by someone else. This exercise will give you an opportunity to express your critical reading ability and your knowledge of the ways in which rhetoric is put to use by other writers.


You will choose the subject of your rhetorical analysis from a list of approved texts posted on our course wiki. These 50+ possibilities encompass a variety of genres and registers (manifestoes, science fiction, autobiography, science, popular politics, etc.), broad subject matter (drugs, globalization, race theory and race relations, warfare, punk rock, genetics, feminism, civil rights, fashion, masculinity, technology, ecology, etc.), and politically run the gamut from the extreme right to the extreme left. However, they all contain a rhetorically inventive and rhetorically interesting argument. You may also request approval to write about a different text, including a movie or graphic novel (two mediums we will also practice analyzing in class). Please post your selection to the I Got Mine page before midnight, 9/28.


The audience for this assignment is your classmates, your teacher, or any other readers of the argument you have chosen. You should not assume that your readers are familiar with the work you have chosen to analyze, or have read the work before turning to your paper. (You should attach a copy of the work to your completed analysis.) Nor can you assume that they are familiar with the issue the author raises. So part of your task will be to briefly review the contents of the work and to suggest to your audience why they, too, should be interested in the issue and the author's treatment of it. However, it is not sufficient for you to simply review the text. In an analysis, you are expected to explain the reasons for the effectiveness of the author's treatment of the issue at hand. Help your readers see how the argument works (or doesn't work).



By answering the following questions, you should generate a great deal of material that you can use in composing your rhetorical analysis. You will probably find that many parts of the text will reveal more than one aspect of its rhetoric.


1. What is the rhetorical situation?


2. What is the writer's ethos and how is it created?


3. What claim or proposition does the writer advance?


4. Considering the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs the writer assumes to be common ground with her or his audience, how strong or weak are these arguments?


5. How is the text arranged? What are its parts? What is their relation to one another?


6. What is the role of style and tone?



Your analysis should help readers understand why you find this piece rhetorically interesting. Your invention process will give you much material to consider and select from. You may organize your analysis around one or more of the rhetorical features you have examined. Whatever your claims about how the text works, remember always to ground them in the rhetorical situation: who is being addressed, when, where and why.


In general, you must present the claims of your analysis, provide whatever supplementary information about the issue may be necessary for your readers to understand those claims, and marshal the evidence which supports your analysis and its conclusions. The text itself is primary evidence for this analysis; in showing how language affects audiences, you will find that frequent specific references and quotations are vital.


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