Rhetorical Situation Analysis
Formal Guidelines: You are to write a five to six page analysis of the rhetorical situation surrounding any text we have read from these few weeks. Your essay will make use of two external articles, not covered in class, dealing with the issue at hand. Your sources should be a news-magazine essay or newspaper editorial that come from relatively recent publications (i.e., published within the past two years). Your project is to be double-spaced and follow the formal style requirements as indicated in the syllabus.
Requirements: You will be analyzing the rhetorical situation surrounding your selected text as well as how your text responds to the situation. Your essay must follow a consistent logic and must revolve around one central argument. On top of these elements, you must look for and expose any weaknesses in the rhetorical reasoning of the article and attempt to solve them. Basically, how would you/could you make this argument better? Where are the holes in the argument? Use these holes to make counterpoints and enhance the strength of your argument.
Strategies for Pre-Writing: This is the most important phase of the project. Your goal is twofold: 1) You must research and analyze the situation out of which your selected text arises. 2) You must analyze how your selected text presents the situation. These two goals are not likely to yield the same results since your text will craft the situation to fit its argument. At the end of the day, your position should be sound and illustrate how accepting or not accepting the topic will change the world for better or worse. It is important to stick with your opinion throughout the paper. Don’t waver. Don’t prove both points or argue both sides. I want to know your opinion on the topic you choose.
Things to think about:
In addition to the strategies we have discussed in class, you can begin your analysis by thinking about the following questions:
- What is the purpose of the argument? What does it hope to achieve?
- Who is the audience for this argument?
- What appeals or techniques does the argument use – emotional, logical, and ethical?
- What are the facts used in the argument? What are the ethical/moral implications?
- What are the contexts – social, political, historical, cultural – for this argument? Whose interests does it serve? Who gains or loses by it?
- What are the weaknesses of the article and how would you solve them?
Remember, you do not need to answer every single one of these questions. Concentrate your analysis on those features that you feel are particularly important or interesting to the text.
Be sure to back up your argument by presenting evidence in the forms of your outside sources, quotes, summary, and paraphrase. Use the MLA guidelines.
M 2/5: Things People Don’t Want to Talk About
W 2/7: On Campus Recruitment
F 2/9: Monkey ≠ Blackness