Background

In class we’ve talked about the importance of rhetoric in effective communication. Success in this endeavor depends tremendously on a keen understanding of the ways message is conveyed to audience. Since writing is a form of communication, and writing well means communicating well, it doesn’t hurt to acquire a deeper understand rhetoric in a writing class.

Purpose

As I’ve stated before, before you learn how to do things, you must first see how it’s done. It is for this reason alone that I am assigning you the task of performing a rhetorical analysis. Your goal is to choose a text and analyze how it works rhetorically.

There are two types of texts you can choose. You can choose to analyze either a traditional written text or a multimodal text. In linguistics, text is anything that we can derive meaning from. It is anything that communicates meaning. Once you’ve chosen a text to analyze, you have to:

  1. Examine its rhetorical situation
  2. Explain its rhetorical appeals (ethos, pathos, logos)
  3. Situate it within social, historical, or cultural context

Keep in mind that your analysis does not lie solely in finding fault with a text. A thoughtful analysis aims to reveal the various interactions of elements that contribute to a text’s effectiveness and power.

Nuts and Bolts

  • 7 to 8 pages (1750 – 2000 words)
  • 12 point type font, MLA format