Rhetorical Analysis

ENC 1101 Midterm (Rhetorical Analysis)
A rhetorical analysis is an examination of how a text persuades us of its point of view. It focuses on
o Identifying and investigating the way a text communicates;
o What strategies it employs (rhetorical appeals) to connect to an audience;
o How it frames an issue;
o How it establishes a stake in the issue;
o How it makes a particular claim (argument);
o How it provides support and persuades the audience to accept the claim (the main argument).
It is not an analysis of what a text says but of what strategies it uses to communicate effectively. You must, of
course, begin your analysis with what the text says—its argument—but the work of the essay is to
show how the text persuades us of its position. You might think of the piece you choose to analyze as a
particular kind of engine that produces a particular result. An analysis of the engine examines all the parts,
how they work in isolation, together, etc. to see how the engine does what it does.
Rhetorical Analysis Format:
o Select 1 of the readings on Blackboard (“Course Materials” à “Essays” à “Essay 2” à”Reading
Options”). You will need to read and review the reading several times to take notes and determine the
author’s argument to collect evidence to use in your analysis.
o Begin with a short, neutral summary of the text (Introductory paragraph that defines the author, “title,”
source, and summary)
o Thesis that argues the most important rhetorical features of the text and their effects (end of the
o Several paragraphs of evidence, arranged under topic sentences. After you have read and annotated
your text, you will have an abundance of evidence to draw from for your essay. Arrange your best
ideas under claims about your text. The analysis should form the majority of the paper and be
organized under central ideas. Each claim you make should have evidence from the text to back it up
(use direct quotes).
o Conclusion
***The information below relates to Rhetorical Appeals (do not attempt to address all questions). After
selecting and reading the chosen text, identify specific quotes to use that demonstrate the rhetorical appeals
Authority or credibility of the author. The speaker must convince the audience of their credibility through the
language they use and through the delivery of the writing.
• Have you looked at what experiences or claims to authority qualify this author to write about this issue?
• What is the credibility of the writer/speaker?
• Have you considered the design or appearance of the text you are analyzing?
• What can you say about the author based on the appearance of the text alone?
Emotional appeals to the audience may evoke feelings of pity, sympathy, tenderness, or sorrow. The speaker
may also want the audience to feel anger, fear, courage, love, happiness, sadness, etc.
• Have you considered how the author appeals to the emotions of the reader/viewer? How does the author
establish a bond with the audience?
• What specific strategy does the author use to establish a bond with the audience?
• What kinds of feelings does the author provoke?
• What other images, symbols, or metaphors in the text provoke an emotional response? Why would the
author include these aspects?
The reasons or supporting information used to support a claim, the use of logic or reason to make an
argument. Logos can include citing facts and statistics, historical events, and other forms of fact based
• How does the author back up the argument in this text? Does the author incorporate facts or statistics?
• How logical is the author’s argument? Why?
• Are the claims this author makes realistic?
• Does the author consider alternative arguments?
o MLA Essay Format (12 point, Times New Roman font) –look up your chosen article on
Google to locate the necessary information to complete Works Cited page.
o See Blackboard for MLA format à See “Works Cited”
o 3 – 4 pages (5 paragraph minimum)
o Use direct quotes for in-text citations in body paragraphs that include the author’s last name
and page number. For example “add direct quote” (Smith 2).
o All evidence should come from 1 of the selected readings posted to Blackboard. No outside
o The grading rubric for this assignment is posted on Blackboard.
Due Dates:
• Thursday, March 1st (bring article selection & Introductory paragraph to class)
• Tuesday, March 13th (bring a printed draft of Essay 2 to class for peer revision)
• Essay 2 Due: Thursday, March 15th at the beginning of class.
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