Rhetorical Analysis Paper for Memoir Analysis of “Chinese New Year Pineapple Tarts”

Write a Rhetorical Analysis Paper for Memoir Analysis of “Chinese New Year Pineapple Tarts” by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

RWS 305—Sherman

Rhetorical Analysis Paper for Project Two  (70 points)

Memoir Analysis–“Chinese New Year Pineapple Tarts” by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan


3+ pages, typed, double-spacedUpload to Turnitin


This paper asks you to do three tasks: 1) Briefly summarize the essay, 2) explore the rhetorical situation, and 3) analyze the way the text fits the genre (the characteristics and qualities of memoir).


Be sure to have watched the videos “Introduction to Memoir and Personal Writing” and “Writing a Rhetorical Analysis” and looked at the posted reading about memoir.


The following steps and questions are to help you draft the material for your paper.  The essay itself should be in essay form, not simply answers to these questions.


  1. Briefly summarize the essay, including information about the publication and the intended audience. (This information should be approximately ¼ of your paper.)
  2. A significant element of memoir is bringing the story to life.  Readers understand the experience more through what the writer shows them than what the writer tells them.  Identify how the author uses specific description, especially concrete sensory details, to show the experience.
  3. Writers also use reflection to help readers understand important parts of the story.  Reflective information shows how the writer views the situation.What reflective moments do you notice in the story?
  4. Memoir shows the personality of the writer.  What does the writer seem like to you? Be specific about what in the story has formed your opinion.



  Excellent!  – A Very Strong – B Competent – C Not Yet Competent Criterion Value
Comprehension – Understands the writer’s meaning and purpose



·          The text is thoughtfully analyzed, focusing on the most important ideas.

·          Meaningful discussion of what the author wanted to express to the audience



·          There is solid analysis, focusing on important ideas.

·          One or two less important ideas might be emphasized

·          Insightful discussion of what the author wanted to express to the audience


·          There might be more summary than analysis

·          Some minor points may be presented as more significant than they are

·          Overly general discussion of the author’s purpose



Consideration of the genre –

Identifies elements of the genre




·          Demonstrates specific elements of memoir as presented in class readings and lectures ·          Makes good observations about genre, although they may be more general ·          Little to no discussion of the genre.








·          Abundant use of direct outside text(Tan’s essay) to support the analysis ·          Effective use of direct )Tan’s essay) outside text to supportmost of the analysis ·          Little to no use direct use of the outside text.

·          Little discussion of specific parts of the essay





·          Effective use of paragraphing

·          Thoughtful introduction and conclusion

·          Logical connection of ideas from one to the next

·          Clear paragraphing, although some paragraphs might be overly short or combine more than one idea ·          Unclear paragraphing or a more “freewrite” style of writing   15%
Use of language




·          Sophisticated sentence level expression


·          A variety of sentence styles,

·          Concise expression

·          Natural (not stiff or overly formal) expression

·          Good sentence level expression

·          A variety of sentence styles, although there may be more simple sentences

·          Concise expression

·          Mostly natural (not stiff or overly formal) expression

·          An over-reliance on simple sentence structure

·          Inaccurate word choices or a reliance on overly formal language




January 24, 2009

Wall Street Journal


When I was growing up in Singapore, Chinese New Year meant one thing: my grandmother’s pineapple tarts.

The salty, buttery, bite-size circles topped with quarter-size dollops of dense, homemade pineapple jam were an obsession for me. We had them in the house just once a year, at the lunar new year, when Singaporeans spend two days visiting friends and relatives to swap tales of business and children’s test scores over tea and sweets.

Year after year I’d be reminded how superior my grandmother’s tarts were. In our friends’ homes, I would nibble politely and think privately, this crust is too dry. Or too flaky, or not flaky enough. There’s too much pineapple, or too little. Only my father’s mother got it right, I believed. I also believed she would teach me to make them one day. And then, when I was 11, she died.

I didn’t know her well but, by all accounts, my grandmother was a remarkable woman. Born to a farming family, she married a wealthy man only to watch her husband’s generation lose most of the family money. To buy schoolbooks for her three children and put food on the table, she set aside her pride and turned to handwashing the neighbors’ clothing. At Chinese New Year, she would bake and sell hundreds of cookies and tarts.

Ever since her death, Chinese New Year has been tainted with some regret for me. The cookies I bake and set out, though tasty (or so I think), never come close to the memory of my grandmother’s. I didn’t fully grasp the care she put into them until I was in my 20s and baking in my Washington, D.C., kitchen. Other than one aunt, the women in my immediate family are confessed klutzes in the kitchen, with no baking skills or tips to impart. I experimented using clipped-out recipes and then a growing compendium of cookbooks.

My failures were legion. One Thanksgiving, a cheesecake pie I attempted was so lumpy that the guests were incapable of any pretense of enjoyment (one very nicely inquired if I possessed a whisk). I had less luck with Chinese cookies, which are tricky as they rely heavily on texture and are typically less sweet, which makes them a hard sell to begin with. Mine were burned, too salty, not done enough.

On a recent trip to Singapore, I reached out to the few family members who had lived with my grandmother and helped her bake. I asked to help with this year’s pineapple tart production.

The process began at dawn, when the “aunties” (my aunt and her sisters and mother) headed to a market to pick up the 70 pineapples they’d ordered. Their plan that weekend was to make 3,000 tarts. Twenty-three years after my grandmother’s death, her tarts remain so famous that family members and friends still request jars filled with them at the new year.

All morning, we squatted over low stools in the backyard, peeling pineapples and using knives or Chinese-style soup spoons to painstakingly gouge out the eyes from each fruit. After chopping and juicing, we mixed the pulp and juice in massive woks and pots with cinnamon and several knots of the fragrant, tropical pandan leaf used in many Southeast Asian desserts. (The flavor is vanilla-like, but more complex.) Then we spent three hours sweating and stirring over the hot stove — a sauna and a workout all at once.

We worked mostly in silence, my lousy Teochew (my family’s Chinese dialect) being a slight hindrance. But using a tossed salad of Mandarin, English, Teochew and the occasional Hokkien phrase, I soon learned some things about my grandmother.

My Tanglin Ah-Ma (as I called her, because she once lived in Singapore’s Tanglin area) had always loved to cook, although no one knew where she’d learned. She was well known for her deliciously sour salted-cabbage soup and dau yew bak, a stew of pork belly braised in anise, bashed garlic and a thick, dark soy sauce. An invitation to dinner at her place was a coveted thing.

She was devoted to feeding her family with the best food she could put on the table, sometimes rising at 3 a.m. to make Bak-zhang — a pyramid-shaped sticky-rice dumpling filled with meat and wrapped in a pandan leaf — for the family breakfast. As my cousins who lived with her got older, she let them play with dough in the kitchen as she made her pineapple tarts, imparting her method in the process.

The hours flew by in my aunt’s sweltering backyard kitchen. As the jam became more dense, so did our relationships. I’d never spent this much time with this side of my family before. My aunts told me how our ancestors emigrated to Singapore from Teo Ann Kim Sar, a tiny village in southern China they referred to as Sar Leng Tan. When a friend stopped by and teasingly said I was “fierce” and not to be crossed, an aunt jumped in and said “Aiyah, Sar Leng Tan girls are all very fierce one!”

As a child, when I’d visited my Tanglin Ah-Ma, she would urge me to eat as many tarts as I wanted, and she made sure I had plenty to bring home. But because of our limited ability to communicate, I never really felt I knew how she felt about her “Ang moh” (a Teochew phrase that implies “Westernized”) granddaughter. But now I understood. The soup, the Bak-zhang and the tarts were proof enough.







Last Updated on November 6, 2019 by Essay Assistance