Quick Write

Imagine that you live in the time of Star Trek. You do not have to worry about making money in order for food or shelter. Everything you could ever want is now taken care of. What would you do now? What would you want to be? What would you decide to do with your time?

Deliberately Target Your Purpose

Thinking is always guided by purposes. Your purpose is whatever you try to accomplish; goals and objectives.

Figure out what you are after and how you are seeking it. Does what you do match with what you want to accomplish.

Examine personal goals, economic goals, and social goals. Make a list of important goals and determine whether you find inconsistencies in them.

Ask yourself, what am I trying to accomplish? Is this purpose realistic?


Students should understand the concept of rhetoric – rhetoric is there to persuade and effective rhetoric will lead to certain results. Every form of communication is rhetorical.

Students should understand how the elements of a rhetorical situation (exigence, audience, constraints – and purpose) work. Students should be able to identify the rhetorical situation in a given text

Students should understand the principles behind the concepts of the elements of the argument (logos, ethos, pathos) – and how they can be applied

Points borrowed from Source

Analyzing Arguments

Chapter 5 in our textbook is about an analysis of an argument. This is what we are doing with out rhetorical analysis. We are analyzing the argument that the text and the author are making. This is an important skill to learn to become a better critical thinker. We should not only be clear with our arguments, but have an understanding of how other people make arguments. Why do you think that is?

In groups, summarize the points or takeaways of each section from our textbook.

  • Examining the Author’s Thesis
  • Examining the Author’s Purpose
  • Examining the Author’s Methods
  • Examining the Author’s Persona
  • Examining Persona and Intended Audience

Pages 186-187 have checklists that are helpful for doing the work of analyzing arguments. Use these as guidelines to begin your analysis.

Page 195 has a checklist for writing your analysis of an argument. Very helpful for the early stages of drafting.

  • How does Carrol define rhetoric?
  • Why is her purpose in writing this text?
  • Why does she say rhetorical analysis is important?

Rhetorical Analysis

  • What is the primary purpose of the text? To entertain, inform, persuade, demonstrate knowledge, something else?
  • Consider the topic. What point does it make?
  • Who is the primary audience? How well is it adapted to the audience?
  • Consider the author. What is her aim?
  • Consider the medium and design. What is the genre of the text?
  • Consider the occasion. Why was it created?
  • Media/Design. How does the medium affect the tone and organization?

Let’s apply these questions to the article we read for today. In groups of two or three, answer the rhetorical analysis questions.

Apply the questions to the text Backpacks vs. Briefcases: Steps Toward Rhetorical Analysis

Rhetorical Situation

rhetorical situation is the context of a rhetorical act, made up (at a minimum) of a rhetor (a speaker or writer), an issue (or exigence), a medium (such as a speech or a written text), and an audience. Source

The Rhetorical Situation, or context for writing. The author has a purpose and is writing for an audience. They each affect one another.


Author’s Purpose

We previously talked about having a purpose for everything we do. Now we can see that purpose is also important when writing.

Rhetoricians agree that all writing should begin first with a purpose.

Author’s Purpose is the reason for the text.

All good writing has a purpose. When we write anything, it can be for any number of reasons. When you read a story, try to figure out why the author wrote it. What motivated them to write it? What are they trying to achieve with it?

What possible purpose can the author have? What purpose does the text have?

  • To Entertain
  • To Inform
  • To Persuade

These are the three main purposes a text can have, but these are not the only reasons.

In college, we write to learn, to build knowledge, and to demonstrate learning.

  • To Learn
  • To Build Knowledge
  • To Show learning

When you are given an assignment, figure out what your purpose is. What is the text supposed to convey? Good writing is purposeful. You have to know what you want to accomplish before you can figure out how to accomplish it and if you accomplished it.

We can also think about writing within a conversation. You can write to summarize a conversation in order to understand it. You can write to enter a conversation, or to add to an existing one.

  • To understand
  • To Enter a Conversation
  • To Join a Conversation

Quick Write

What is our purpose in writing a rhetorical analysis? Why are we doing this?

What is your purpose as an author in writing this rhetorical analysis? See the list above.


Friday: Journal Due