Essay 2: Rhetorical Analysis
You will argue for your interpretation of the text.
A rhetorical analysis of a text examines a text rhetorically. The meaning of the word text depends on how creative you want to get. A text can be a book, article, consumer product, movie, advertisement, or commercial, to name a few. For this assignment you will pick a text, define, describe, and analyze the rhetorical context and/or argument the text is making. All texts have an author or authors and are created with a purpose. A rhetorical analysis helps us to understand the purpose it was created for and what it is saying or arguing.
Consider the ethos, pathos, and logos of the text. What appeals are being used in the text you are analyzing? Ethos – appeals to character. Pathos – emotional appeals. Logos – appeals to reason and evidence.
Sample Rhetorical Analyses
- Segregation and Unequal Representation
- What the Truck
- The Logic of Suicide
- Call Me, Beep Me, If Ya Wanna Reach Me.
- In the Arms of an Angel
- ‘Imagine’ World Peace. I Wonder If You Can
What to look at for a Rhetorical Analysis
- Consider the topic.
- Consider the audiences of the text.
- Consider the author.
- Consider the medium and design.
- Examine the language.
- Consider the occasion.
Be specific when referring to your text. Have the text in front of you if you can. Then you can reference specifics and avoid generalizations.
A Checklist for Analyzing Images (Especially Advertisements) on page 145 of our textbook is very thorough and helpful for analyzing visual images.
Pages 181-182 have checklists that are helpful for doing the work of analyzing arguments. Use these as guidelines to begin your analysis.
Page 191-192 has a checklist for writing your analysis of an argument. Very helpful for the early stages of drafting.
- 1500 to 2000 words in length
- 3 to 5 credible sources
- Works Cited
- Image of text or the advertisement itself as featured image
- Clear thesis and introduction
- Use of ethos, pathos, and logos
- Well-supported claims
- Specific references and details from the text
- A conclusion tying together your analysis
Remember, this is a formal assignment, make sure you are using appropriate tone and diction! Talk about the text, not what you think about the text!
- Critical Thinking
- Clarity of Thought
- Close reading of text, understand purpose, audience, and appeals
- Clearly defined focus or thesis of analysis
- Support ideas with evidence from the texts
- MLA, sources, annotations
- Images and Title
- Conclusion, lesson, takeaways