Rhetorical Analysis


Paper 1: Rhetorical Analysis

WRITING ASSIGNMENT: A rhetorical analysis of an essay from our Green & Lidinsky textbook, or a documentary, or a political speech.

CONTEXT: You have read our textbook, a model rhetorical analysis, and a breakdown of an introduction and part of the first body paragraph for a fairy tale to better understand the elements of a rhetorical analysis essay.  Now you will apply what you learned from these readings to write an essay in which you analyze a work from out text, or a documentary, or a political speech and explain your analysis using evidence from the source to support your claim.  Please reference your notes and pages 32-41 in our course textbook to guide your analysis.


Choose one of the following:

• an essay of particular interest to you from the Greene and Lidinsky textbook (319-876).

• a Frontline documentary http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/

• a political speech at http://www.americanrhetoric.com/top100speechesall.html

or on Youtube.

PURPOSE: To critically read, to analyze, to explain, to argue

AUDIENCE/S: Think of your classmates as your audience. You all have read, seen, listened to the same work, but they don’t understand the meaning. Your job is to provide an explanation of the meaning of the work that provides a deeper understanding and analyze this meaning as to the essay’s effectiveness and the strategies used by the author to make the work persuasive. 


• First read the work through for comprehension and take notes as to the effectiveness of the author’s work. Is s/he persuasive? If so, why? What does the author/director do to convince you? These are rhetorical strategies and they may appeal to you emotionally, rationally, or merely because of the author’s ethos—his/her sense of self or reputation as an ethical person. These notes are a form of prewriting and will prove useful as you begin to draft your essay.  

• Think through the rhetorical situation. Who is the targeted audience? What is the social, political, historical context of the work?

• Write a main idea statement and a working thesis. Use your thesis to guide a rough outline or map of your essay. Write a draft of your essay and post to our Discussion Board. Use feedback to add key information to revise your draft. 

EVALUATION CRITERIA: The best essays will:

• Provide a clear main idea statement that identifies the issue and what is said about the issue.

• Provide a thesis statement that states how effective the text is and why. 

• Provide an analysis of audience and purpose and how known

• Provide information about the rhetorical context of the work and how known

• Provide clearly stated topic sentences

• Provide examples from the text in support of thesis and topic sentences, which are thoroughly explained

• Provide thoughtful analysis of strategies used by author supported with textual evidence and explanation.

• Provide an interpretation of the essay, which is not only accurate, but thoroughly supported.

MANUSCRIPT REQUIREMENTS: Length: 4–5pages using Times New Roman 12 pt font and double-spaced in MLA format.

Follows MLA format, as follows:

Left Justified—name, assignment, date


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