Rhetorical Analysis English Essay
(Use this site to write the essay. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/01/07/father-time)
A rhetorical analysis explores how you come to a certain attitude about what you’ve read, heard, or seen. It is analyzing a persuasive text based on which of its features seem most significant to you. The goal of a rhetorical analysis is to expose details about the way a text is executed, focusing not simply on what the text is about but especially on how the text is put together — that’s a key distinction — and suggesting something about how persuasive the text really is based on the particular elements it includes or omits, or how it arranges them.
Once you have chosen a text to analyze, choose which specific elements of it seem most important to focus on. Your analysis should consider the significance of both the content and structure of the text — take notes and make lists about the following aspects:
- What kinds of details are included? Where did they come from? Are they credible?
- How are the details arranged? What do they leave out? What is repeated?
- What is the tone of the text? What does the main idea seem to be?
- What kind of quantitative information is used? What kind of figurative language is used?
A rhetorical analysis doesn’t need to talk about every single detail in the text, but it needs to be very thoughtful about the details it does choose to discuss.
- Start your essay with a summary of the text’s topic, evidence and conclusions.
- Provide contexts for a reader who is not in this class, who may not know this text – explain the rhetorical situation and the text’s intended audience.
- State what you think is the most significant thing about the text (that’s your thesis).
- Discuss the effects of the way information and ideas are organized in the text.
- Identify any rhetorical appeals the text uses (logos, pathos and ethos).
- Close your essay by re-stating the impact of all the above elements in the text.
Your essay should be 3-4 double-spaced typed pages (750-1000 words). It can have as many paragraphs as it needs. Your introduction and conclusion should be general enough that they take up only a paragraph each. Each body paragraph of your essay should introduce a detail about the text, and then explain how you think that detail contributes to the text overall. Remember that no quoted or paraphrased detail from a text can stand alone in your essay; analysis means that YOU need to explain WHY you’ve included everything that appears in your essay.
This assignment will be assessed according to:
- responsiveness — focus analysis on both form and content. 20 points
- risk — employ precision in analyzing the details, make everything included in the essay relate to one sharp point about why you think the text works the way it does (that’s your thesis); consider alternatives and complications within the topic. 20 points
- power — organize the essay so that each paragraph considers a particular detail about the text; use transitions to connect paragraphs and aspects of the text; provide plenty of context and explanations for each detail mentioned and each point made. 20 points
- presentation — edit the final draft for grammar, punctuation, and other usage conventions; use MLA format, and avoid “I” (as in, “I don’t think Wild knows what he’s talking about when…” or “I agree with Wild that…” ) in this genre of writing. 20 points