Common Final Assessment Rhetorical Analysis
Purpose of this assignment
The purpose of this assignment is for you to show that you have learned to identify, analyze, and interpret both the direct and indirect means by which two writers attempt to persuade their audiences to accept their arguments by comparing the arguments made in two texts about the value of majoring in English.
One article “In Defense of the ‘Impractical English Major’ by Carolyn Gregorie appeared in the online magazine The Huff Post, and “Top 10 Reasons You’re Not Wasting Your Time as an English Major” by Sophie Reeves appeared in College Magazine. While there are similarities in each writer’s rhetorical approaches, there are also some significant differences. Here are full citations for each text:
Gregoire, Carolyn. “In Defense Of The ‘Impractical’ English Major.” HuffPost, 7 Dec. 2017, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/how-english-majors-are-ch_n_4943792 (Links to an external site.).
Reeves, Sophie. “Top 10 Reasons You’re Not Wasting Your Time as an English Major.” College Magazine, 7 Feb. 2018, https://www.collegemagazine.com/top-10-reasons-english-major/ (Links to an external site.).
The common final assignment will help to show you have learned the following skills
The common final assignment will also show that you have become familiar with the following content
• Write an effective introduction that ends with a thesis statement that establishes the scope and purpose of the essay.
• Construct a logically developed and organized essay.
• Synthesize, integrate, and contextualize quotations.
• Effectively integrate quotations, paraphrasing, and summary with your own voice.
• Rhetorical and organizational strategies.
• Methods of persuasion (such as ethos, logos, and pathos)
• Other rhetorical concepts such as audience, purpose, genre, and context
Tasks involved in preparing for the final
This final assignment has two parts – reading the text and identifying the main argument and persuasive strategies and then writing an essay in response. Choose one of the following:
Option 1: After you have read both articles, write a multi-paragraph essay which integrates your analysis of BOTH texts, and in which you write a reasoned position comparing and contrasting the strategies each writer uses to appeal to its intended audience.
Option 2: After you have read both articles, write a multi-paragraph essay in which you analyze ONE of the texts. In your analysis take a reasoned position on the extent to which the text is rhetorically effective given its intended audience.
- Skim both articles, taking note of the titles, subtitles, first and last paragraphs in order to get the “gist” of each text. Make a prediction about the writer’s purpose and potential audience(s).
- Closely read and annotate both texts. Have a conversation with each of them. Make comments, ask questions, make connections. As you read consider how this writer is trying to engage his/her audience.
- After a first read, read each text a second time according to the strategies we have used in class in order to identify each text’s main argument, supporting claims, evidence. Write out a quick summary of each text. Identify the type of evidence each writer uses.
- Given the publication and content of the article, what do you know about the audience for each text? Who are they?
- Why is it reasonable that the audience might not accept the writer’s claims?
- Where do you see the writer trying to address the audience’s opposition?
- How would you describe the strategy the writer is using?
- How might using this strategy increase the likelihood that the audience would accept the writer’s main argument?
- What impact might the writer have been trying to achieve in using this strategy?
- How might this impact have been effective (given the audience and their beliefs, values, experiences) so that the audience is persuaded to agree with the writer’s main argument?
Criteria for Success
Successful papers will:
- introduce the topic and text(s) and provide a brief summary or summaries (if writing about both texts) of the author or authors’ argument(s);
- include a thesis statement;
- support your analysis clearly, focusing on the rhetorical strategies from the assigned text(s);
- integrate evidence and examples through quoting and paraphrasing, using appropriate documentation;
- analyze these textual examples to support your position;
- conclude thoughtfully;
- be cohesively structured with effective transitions so that your reader does not get lost while reading;
- clearly communicate your ideas for an educated reader and be mostly free of grammatical errors.
This essay is not an agree or disagree exercise, nor is it intended to generate an extensive summary of the articles.
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