Tips for Finding a Text
Start with a question. What do you care about? What matters to you?
Find a text you can see multiple times. Pick a scene from a movie. A short film, text, ad, song, video, or commercial. Something related to what you are interested in that you can look at several times.
Ask yourself, “How does this help others?” Will analyzing this text connect to a broader or more important topic?
We are going to analyze a text together. Take notes on what you notice.
Start with the Text
See first, then look.
What do you see? What stands out? What is happening?
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.
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+ words
- 3 to 5 credible sources
- Annotated Bib/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
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
Research for a Rhetorical Analysis
The assignment asks you to research scholarly sources to add to your analysis.
If your text is dealing with a major issue, you will want to find some scholarly research to help define, back up, and analyze the text.
For example. If your text deals with gender issues, search for gender AND media. Or gender AND ads. Or sexism and media. What else can you look up?
Find keywords related to the broader topic and bring in research to use in your analysis.