Category Archives: Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Rhetorical Analysis Essay

This assignment asks you to perform rhetorical analysis, which you read a bit about in Laura Bolin Carroll’s “Backpacks vs. Briefcases: Steps Toward Rhetorical Analysis.” It goes a step beyond, however, in asking you to analyze a debate rather than a single text.

Here’s what you should be doing:

  1. Sketch out the debate. What is the debate? Where did it come from?
  2. Introduce your pieces. Who are the key players? What are the key ideas? Where did it come from?
  3. Evaluate the effectiveness of each argument. This is different than simply whether or not you agree with their position. Someone can create an effective argument that is (1) faulty or (2) completely in opposition to your own views. Someone can create a cruddy argument to support a view you agree with. Again, you are evaluating the effectiveness, not whether or not you agree.
  4. Compare and contrast. Where do the articles converge? Where do they diverge? Think about vocabulary, purposes, appeals, etc.
  5. The rhetoric of the debate. Using what you’ve learned through your analysis, try to come up with the “bigger picture.” How do people discuss this issue? What kinds of rhetoric and rhetorical appeals are necessary to this debate?

You do not have to address these five criteria in any specific order. The questions that follow are to prompt your thinking. You might not answer all of them. You might address more than is asked.

The complete draft of this paper should be 1000+ words with MLA style in-text citations and a works cited page.

Drafts:

1st Draft – due Tuesday, February 25:

  • 500+ words
  • Post to blog
  • Bring copy (print or electronic) to class to workshop with peers

2nd Draft – due Tuesday, March 4

  • 750+ words
  • Revised
  • Attempt at MLA style citations and Works Cited page
  • Post to blog
  • Bring copy (print or electronic) to class to workshop with peers

3rd Draft//Complete – due Tuesday, March 11

  • 1000+ words
  • MLA style in-text citations and Works Cited page – correctly formatted
  • Revised
  • Post to blog
  • Bring copy (print or electronic) to class to workshop with peers