How is the class going so far? What do you like? What can be improved? What is going bad?
“The Danger of a Single Story” by Chimamanda Adichie.
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.
Rhetorical Analysis Notes
- 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?
Ethos: Appeals to Ethics, Credibility or Character. Ethics, ethical, trustworthiness or reputation, style/tone. The credibility of the speaker persuades.
Pathos: Appeals to Emotion. Emotional or imaginative impact, stories, values. Uses emotional response to persuade an audience.
Logos: Appeals to logic. Persuade by reason and evidence.
To quote a CNN article on the Danger of a Single Story:
Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie believes in the power of stories, and warns that hearing only one about a people or nation leads to ignorance. She says the truth is revealed by many tales.
She illustrates this with a story about coming to the United States, as a middle-class daughter of a professor and an administrator, and meeting her college roommate. Adichie says that her roommate’s “default position toward me, as an African, was a kind of patronizing, well-meaning, pity. My roommate had a single story of Africa. A single story of catastrophe.”
Adichie also tells how growing up in Nigeria reading only American and English children’s books made her deaf to her authentic voice. As a child, she wrote about such things as blue-eyed white children eating apples, thinking brown skin and mangos had no place in literature. That changed as she discovered African writers, particularly the Nigerian Chinua Achebe.
This is a great quote that highlights some of the moves we need to do in our article. It summarizes her topic, problem she is addressing, and solution; including examples she uses.
Topic: Many people do not realize that they are getting only one story. A single story is incomplete and she says dangerous.
Problem: Having a single story about an issue or group of people leads to stereotypes and incomplete information.
Solution: To look for multiple stories of whatever issue or topic you are hearing. She recommends we get our news and stories from multiple perspectives.
Reasons and evidence: She gives examples from her personal life to highlight that she has a personal connection.
Background: She gives background information, citing quotes and examples that place her issue in a historical context. She also uses current examples to place the issue in a contemporary context.
Write for three minutes on what stood out to you.
In small groups discuss the reading and look for:
- How does connect with Critical Thinking?
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.
Critical thinking and clarity of thought are the first two criteria for the rhetorical analysis. Take a minute and figure out which other possible criteria we should use.
- Critical Thinking
- Clarity of Thought
- Close reading of text, understand purpose, audience, and appeals
- MLA, sources, annotations
- Images and Title
- Read Chapter 9, A Logician’s View: Deduction, Induction, Fallacies