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Rhetorical Analysis

         The purpose of this first scaffolding assignment is to encourage you to look critically and carefully at the argument of another scholar. You will start by looking at the assigned articles in Pop Perspectives, as well as the two student example essays.  Choose one to write about using an in-depth rhetorical analysis.


        First, you must make sense of her/his main pointsby explaining them in your own words. You will start by discussing some of the following points:

1.     Who is the author and what is their purpose (as far as you can tell) in writing this text?

2.     Is there any necessary context we may need to know to understand it? Here you might address questions like who was the intended audience and when/where/why the text was originally published, or if the writer is responding to anything in particular.

3.     What is the writer’s position?  What does the writing set out to prove to its audience or seek to make its audience understand? What is the main point (thesis) and essential claims? What evidence does the author offer for these claims? What kinds of support does the text use?

Next, respond to the essay with your evaluation and analysis of the claims and the rhetoric (not only what it says but also how it was written)

1.     Do you find the author’s position persuasive?  Do you agree or disagree with the claims?

2.     What are their most interesting points or most well-supported claims?

3.     Do you doubt any of the claims?  Does the author make any assumptions or claims which they do not support?  Which assumptions or conclusions strike you as problematic or unreasonable?

4.     Are there any problems with the way it is written?  Are there issues with structure/organization, tone, or word choice?

5.     On the other hand, if you admire the way the text was written, how does the essay’s structure, tone, and word choice help to support the author’s thesis?

6.     What are you views and thoughts on this topic? How do they relate to the ideas expressed in the author’s text? How might all this connect to your essay topic or other issues you are interested in writing about?

Assignment Success Notes: Your response should at least 600 words (about 2 pages, double spaced) and use MLA citation. This means you must cite the text you are analyzing in correct MLA format. Use this exercise as an opportunity to improve your MLA skills. If you include quotations from the original text, make sure they are short quotation (no more than 3 lines long). Use this as an opportunity to practice weaving together short quotes, summary, and paraphrase from another text with your own words, analysis, and opinions.


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