Rhetorical Analysis PAPER



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Definition: A rhetorical analysis asks you to explain how writers or speakers within specific social situations attempt to influence others through discourse (including written or spoken language, images, gestures, and so on).Caution: A rhetorical analysis is NOT a summary. It also does NOT ask you to agree or disagree with the author’s argument.

Expectation: In 3-5 pages, make an argument about how a speaker uses a speech to convey messages to a particular group of audience by exploring the speaker’s goals, describing the techniques or tools used and providing examples of those techniques, and analyzing the effectiveness of those techniques. Please use the APA Style & Formatting Guide (7th edition) to format your essay.

Learning Outcome: Identify the relational components of rhetorical situations and the larger conversations, activities, and environments in which they are embedded

Recognize and exemplify rhetorical features—including genres, language conventions, and methods of delivery—employed in civic and professional discourse communities

You may conduct your rhetorical analysis over three phases:

PHASE 1: Reconstruct the historical context in which the speech occurred and advance claims. During this phase, you explore the rhetorical situation, namely the communicative context of a text/speech.

It includes: Audience: The specific or intended audience of a text.Exigence: The text/speech’s reason for being, such as an event, situation, or position within an ongoing debate that the writer is responding to. It may also refer to the problem that requires change.

Constraints: The obstacles that stand in the way of solving the problem.

PHASE 2: Analyze the speech by applying classical elements (e.g., a canon). You may refer to Table 15.4, p. 281. During this phase, you examine the speech text in terms of: Invention: The speaker’s major ideas, lines of argument, or content. Does the author(s)/speaker(s) want to inform, persuade, or entertain? What does the author(s)/speakers(s) want the audience to believe, know, feel, or do?

What the content of the text, the key point(s) the author(s)/speaker(s) is communicating to the audience?

Organization: Arrangement; The structure or general pattern of the various components in a rhetorical speech

Style: The language the speaker uses

Delivery: The mode of presentation adopted by the speaker, including vocal and nonverbal behavior.

Memory: The devices speakers use to help them remember significant ideas and illustration throughout their speeches.

Or, you may examine claim, support and warrant of the speech text:

Claim: The main idea, thesis, opinion, or belief of an argument that the author must prove. The claim should be debatable and answer the question, “What’s the point?”

Support: The statements given to back up the claim. These can take the form of facts, data, personal experience, expert opinion, evidence from other texts or sources, emotional appeals, or other means. The more reliable and comprehensive the support, the more likely the audience is to accept the claim.

Warrant: The connection, often unstated and assumed, between the claim and the supporting reason(s), or support. The warrant is the assumption that makes the claim seem plausible. More specifically, warrants are the beliefs, values, inferences and/or experiences that the writers/speakers assume they share with the audience. If the audience doesn’t share the writers’/speakers’ assumptions within the text, the argument will not be effective.

PHASE 3: Assess the effects of the speech on the audience. Ethos:The authority or credibility of the author/speaker. Can refer to any of the following: the actual character of the speaker/writer, the character of the speaker/writer as it is presented in a text, or as a series of ground rules/customs, which are negotiated between speaker, audience, and specific traditions or locations. The speaker must convince the audience of their credibility through the language they use and through the delivery, or embodied performance, of their speech.Did you analyze ethos enough in your essay?

Have you looked at what experiences or claims to authority qualify this author/speaker to speak or write? Have you considered the credibility and moral character of the writer/speaker?

Have you considered the design or appearance of the text you are analyzing? Does it look professional? What can you say about the author/speaker based on the appearance of the text alone?Pathos Emotional appeals to the audience to evoke feelings of pity, sympathy, tenderness, or sorrow. The speaker may also want the audience to feel anger, fear, courage, love, happiness, sadness, etc.Have you analyzed pathos enough in your essay?

Have you considered how the author/speaker appeals to the emotions of the reader/viewer? How does the author/speaker establish a bond with his audience?

How might the author/speaker change his strategy if he/she was trying to establish a bond with a different audience?

Have you considered your own personal reaction to the background music of this advertisement?

What kinds of feelings do the colors that the author/speaker uses provoke?

What other images in the text provoke an emotional response? Why would the author include these images?LogosIn classical rhetoric, logos is the means of persuasion by demonstration of the truth, real or apparent, the reasons or supporting information used to support a claim, the use of logic or reason to make an argument. Logos can include citing facts and statistics, historical events, and other forms of fact-based evidence.Do you analyze logos enough in your essay?

How does the author/speaker back up his argument in this text? Does he incorporate facts, statistics, or numbers? Have you considered how logical the author/speaker’s argument is?

Are the claims this author/speaker is making realistic?

Does the author/speaker consider alternative arguments?Finally, you will need to create a thesis for your rhetorical analysis. Often, the thesis statement will assess the author/speaker’s effectiveness in accomplishing their purpose with the intended audience through the use of rhetorical strategies.

You might adapt a template like this one: “In [text], [author/speaker] effectively convinces [audience] of [message] by [rhetorical strategies].”Here’s an example: The webpage “Rhetorical Analysis,” written by the Writers Workshop, effectively informs students about how to write a rhetorical analysis by breaking down the elements of the rhetorical situation in an easy-to-read list, posing a series of questions about rhetorical strategies, and capitalizing on the Workshop’s ethos as the campus writing center

.doc file | APA | Argumentative Essay | 4 pages, Double spaced

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