Rhetorical Analysis

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Select from the list below for your R.A. If the link doesn’t work, copy and paste the URL provided into your address bar.


“The Real Reason White People Say “All Lives Matter (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-halstead/dear-fellow-white-people-_b_11109842.html
” (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.Arts Education Integral to Learning (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.” (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2016/sep/18/tod-marshall-arts-education-integral-to-learning/?post_id=10153742872562077_10153742873677077#_=_
“How a National Food Policy Could Save Millions of Lives” (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. http://michaelpollan.com/articles-archive/how-a-national-food-policy-could-save-millions-of-american-lives/
Other ideas:

John Stewart has done a ton of humorous pieces that present an argument in a tongue in cheek sort of way. You can probably find these on YouTube. (Prior approval required)
Have another idea? Run it by Andrea first to see if it can be approved.



Instructions: Rhetorical Analysis (R.A.)

For this essay, you are asked to demonstrate your mastery of the elements of rhetorical analysis by composing one of your own. You may wish to consult EAA pages 111-119 (6th ed) or 112-117 (7th ed) and the rest of the chapter to assist you in structuring your paper.

Your purpose is to demonstrate that you understand the elements of argument, can identify them and discuss how they impact the success or failure of the argument in terms of how well these devices make it succeed or fail. Your essay must do this to receive a passing grade.


Assignment Instructions:

Select one of the arguments posted for you in week 4 (open the “RA Options” page). There are a selection of articles for you to choose from.


Examine the author’s argument in depth and write a critique (aka rhetorical analysis) of how well the argument was presented by the speaker. You will need to develop a solid thesis that clearly states how effectively the speaker argued. Stay focused on the author’s skills of persuasion, not the issue’s validity. Your paper will address the validity of the evidence used, any biases of the author, and what tools of persuasion and rhetoric the author used. Stay focused on the strategies the speaker uses to convince his/her audience. Your purpose here is not to analyze the issue or weigh in on it. Your personal view on the matter itself is irrelevant to this assignment.


Length:600-1000 words

Structure: Proper essay structure is required (an intro with your thesis clearly stated, at least three body paragraphs, and a thoughtful conclusion).

Format: MLA Paper Format

Your introduction must:

Introduce the author and the name of the work
Provide a brief overview of the work
Provide the author’s central claim
Have a thesis statement that provides your assessment of the work as to whether the argument is effective or not (see the example RAs provided in the Week 4 module to see how others have crafted their thesis statements).
Expectations for the body of your essay:

Evidence from the work must be used appropriately to back up your claims.
Work should be free of unnecessary summary. The author’s job was to convince his audience. YOUR job is to analyze how effective he was in his efforts, not to spend your time summarizing the work. When you choose to include summary, it should work toward supporting some point that you are making.
Clear and concise language, appropriate to college level work must be used. The paper should be free of grammar and mechanical errors.
An analysis of appeals used, the impact of tone and figurative language, the presence of fallacious claims, and any biases on the part of the author should be considered and discussed as you draft your papers. You need to go beyond just pointing out the logos, pathos, and ethos in this essay.
An awareness of weaknesses in the argument should also be present in the analysis.

Scoring Rubric

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Essay demonstrates excellent composition skills including a clear and thought-provoking thesis, appropriate and effective organization, lively and convincing supporting materials, effective diction and sentence skills, and perfect or near perfect mechanics including spelling and punctuation. The writing perfectly accomplishes the objectives of the assignment.
Example. Rhetorical Analysis

A Search for Equality
Anne Roiphe’s “Confessions of a Female Chauvinist Sow” first appeared in the magazine New York in 1972. In this essay Roiphe aims to convince her readers that women must put faith in the idea that they are equal to men, not superior. “Women who want equality must be prepared to give it and believe in it . . . .” Personal anecdotes, contrast, and comparison are techniques Roiphe skillfully uses to create a strong, convincing essay .
Roiphe begins her essay with a personal anecdote describing the “horrifying” realization that she married a man exactly like her father. This technique immediately establishes the essay as informal and personal. It is a great way to capture the reader’s interest. Also, this particular anecdote is used as background information for the first point Roiphe makes in the following paragraph—that “. . . people . . . have at one time or another been fouled up by their childhood experiences.” Another anecdote in the essay explains how Roiphe’s mother used to give Roiphe “mad money” before going on dates. “My mother and I knew young men were apt to drink too much . . .” and “mad money was for getting home on your own, no matter what form of insanity your date happened to evidence.” Anecdotes such as this are entertaining and tend to lighten the mood of the essay. Also, it is quite easy for readers to relate to personal experience. Another function of anecdotes in this essay is to substantiate and support main ideas. At the end of one paragraph Roiphe states, “The hidden anti-male feelings, a result of the old system, will foul us up if they are allowed to persist.” This is directly followed by the anecdote explaining the necessity for “mad money”—that men are untrustworthy, inconsiderate beasts. The anecdote clearly provides evidence and support for the fact that women have anti-male feelings.
Shortly after capturing the reader’s interest with the introductory anecdote, Roiphe begins using contrast. The numerous examples of contrast throughout the essay portray men and women as being drastically different, especially morally. Boys are thought to be incapable of engaging in “. . . easy companionship . . .” as girls are able to do, and men are generally believed to be “. . . less moral . . .” than women. “Everyone assumes a mother will not let her child starve, yet it is necessary to legislate that a father must not do so.” Roiphe uses contrast to illustrate the common anti-male attitudes women have, and in doing so, makes it obvious that women feel superior to men. This exactly, Roiphe points out, is the barrier to equality between men and women. It is clear to the reader that equality between the sexes will never exist as long as women continue to feel superior to men. The contrasts also function to support points Roiphe makes later concerning the similarities between men and women.
About midway through the essay, Roiphe makes a transition from contrast to comparison. She begins focusing on the idea that women are actually quite similar to men. She bluntly states, “Intellectually I know that’s ridiculous . . .” to assume “. . . that women given power would not create wars.” She admits, “Aggression is not . . . a male-sex-linked characteristic . . . .” Comparisons such as these smoothly lead Roiphe into making one of her strongest comparisons—that “. . . us laughing at them, us feeling superior to them, us ridiculing them behind their backs . . .” is “. . . inescapably female chauvinist sowness.” These comparisons, particularly the last one, are shocking and cause the reader to reflect on previous ideas in the essay. Roiphe’s statement, “. . . what they have done to us, and of course they have, and they did and they are . . .,” momentarily makes readers believe that men are mainly to blame for the inequality between the sexes. However, through effective comparison Roiphe leads her readers to logically infer that women must also be responsible for the inequality between men and women. It then becomes clear to the reader that the “. . . secret sense of superiority . . .” women feel is what makes them equally as chauvinistic as men.
More important than the functions of the techniques she uses independently is how Roiphe uses them together. For example, had she bluntly stated early in her essay that women are “female chauvinist sows,” without preceding it with contrast, a quite different effect would have been created. Her readers, particularly the women, would have undoubtedly been offended. This approach would certainly have prevented the essay from being convincing. It is obvious that Roiphe purposely used the techniques in a planned way. This allowed her to create a specifically designed essay that was beneficial in helping her present her ideas.
Works Cited(Please note—this is an outdated version of MLA)
Roiphe, Anne. “Confessions of a Female Chauvinist Sow.” Patterns of Exposition 9. Ed. Randall E. Decker. Boston: Little, Brown, 1982. 85-90.

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