Friday, September 20, 2013

Assignments for September 27, 2013

  • Read & study PA 89-109
  • Don’t worry about “The Parent Trap”
  • If you didn't complete it in class, finish 3-paragraph critical response to “One Man, Many Wives, Big Problems”
  • Do plagiarism exercises, LBH 654-55
  • Complete outline of rhetorical analysis and be prepared to go over it in class
  • Familiarize yourself with MLA style, LBH pp. 667-713


  1. I am really confused on how to start writing the rhetorical analysis outline. I don't understand where to even start..

  2. I'm glad you asked if you're confused. The first step is to choose which one of the essays you're going to write about. I recommend picking the one you best understood and connect to. Read over the essay again to make sure you understand exactly what the writer said and have an idea of how the arguments are put together.

    Next, make sure you understand what a rhetorical analysis is. The second paragraph on page 90 of the textbook summarizes the three main components of a r.a.: (1) rhetorical situation, (2) means of persuasion and (3) rhetorical strategies. I suggest for the first stage of your outline you simply jot down a few notes under each one of these categories for the essay.

    A good place to start for making your outline is to ask and answer these questions.

    (1) Rhetorical Situation: Who is the writer, and how might his life or work affect the position he is taking? Who is his audience, and what is he trying to accomplish? What, exactly, is his main idea, and what does he want his audience to think and do about this subject? When was this essay written? What was the social or other situation that prompted it to be written?

    (2) Means of persuasion: Does the writer employ good logic? Does he also appeal to emotion effectively without being manipulative? Does he write with real authority?

    (3) Rhetorical strategies: Is the essay well organized? Does each point follow on the other? Does he provide adequate evidence? Does he start with his strongest point or save it for last? Does he employ good counter-arguments in an appropriate place? Does he state his position up front or build up to it? Does he effectively use the techniques described on pp. 100-101 of PA?

    Chapter 4 gives you much more depth on writing a r.a., but what I've given you here is the bare bones info. I hope you do well on it, and we'll talk much more about it in class.

  3. I should add that if you find that doing a rhetorical analysis is hard, it's because it is. Analyzing rhetoric requires not only understanding exactly what a writer is saying, but seeing how he organizes his thoughts and evaluating how well he put everything together. It's probably harder than anything you did in high school, and it's supposed to be. Rhetorical analysis is what second-semester college composition is about, and it's part of learning how to think clearly and critically. It's hard to learn but worth the effort if you can do it. Not everybody can do it, but it's a precious skill to have in college--and in life.

  4. This is Maricela, on the essay, can i add statements from another article such as a news report. For example im doing mine over "When Life Imitates Video" and adding a statement news report over the colorado shooting movie theater in 2012 .