Rhetorical Analysis Essay Assignment


Length: Five paragraphs; at least two full pages

Purpose: To analyze the rhetorical situation of an essay

Audience: Your instructor and classmates (an academic audience)

Genre: Academic essay

1. Pick one of the following essays from 50 Essays:

a. “The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me” by Sherman Alexie (pages 15-19)

b. “Turkeys in the Kitchen” by Dave Barry (pages 72-75)

c. “Two Ways to Belong in America” by Bharati Mukherjee (pages 290-294)

2. Read the essay very carefully. Then write a five-paragraph essay about the essay you selected.

a. Paragraph One: Introduction

i. Introduce the essay you will be writing about.

1. Include the author’s name and the title of the essay.

2. Give a brief (no more than two sentences) description of what the essay is about

ii. End your introduction with a thesis statement

1. Your thesis should indicate the three elements of the rhetorical situation you intend to analyze

2. Your thesis should indicate why it is important to consider these elements (what people can expect to learn by reading your essay)

3. Example: By examining Carr as an author, exploring the context in which he wrote, and considering the message he conveys through his essay, his audience can arrive at a deeper understanding of how technology influences the intellectual experiences of people in the United States.

b. Paragraphs Two through Four: Main Body

i. You must write three paragraphs in the Main Body of your essay. Each paragraph should address one part of the rhetorical situation (purpose, audience, message, context, or author).

ii. Each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence that indicates the rhetorical element you will be discussing.

iii. Each paragraph should include supporting details from the essay you are analyzing.

1. You must include two short quotations (no more than one sentence each).

2. Your quotations must be properly cited in MLA format.

iv. Questions to consider in the Main Body of the essay (depending on the topics of your paragraphs):

1. What is the essay’s context? What does the essay tell us about the values of the society in which it was created? How do you know?

2. Who is the author? Why should we trust the author? How do you know the author is credible? What qualifies the author to write about the topic? Is the author an expert? How do you know?

3. What is the author’s purpose? How do you know?

4. Who is the essay’s intended audience? How do you know?

5. Does the author have an agenda? How is the essay manipulating its viewers? What does the author want readers to learn? How does the author want people to react? How do you know?

v. Each paragraph should end with a transitional sentence that foreshadows the next paragraph.

c. Paragraph Five: Conclusion

i. Restate your thesis (using different words)

ii. Summarize your main points

iii. Leave your readers thinking:

iv. Based on your analysis, did the author achieve his or her rhetorical goals? Why or why not? How could the author have been more successful in achieving these goals?

3. Do not use either the first person perspective (I, me, my, we, us, our) or the second person perspective (you, your, yours) anywhere in this paper. This paper must be written entirely in the third person perspective.

4. You must include an MLA-style works cited page. Any paper failing to include a works cited page will receive a ZERO.

5. Writing Center Requirement : You must visit the Writing Center with a draft of this paper. Failure to visit the Writing Center will result in a 10-point deduction from your overall score on the paper.

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