Overview: Rhetoric sometimes gets a bad rap. People often associate “rhetoric” with empty words or manipulation. You know better. Rhetoric involves making particular choices about language (images and video as well) in order to affect an audience in a particular way. Rhetoric is something we can study and something we can use to help get what we want. Many times, the things we want are good things, noble things, like equality, criminal justice reform, clean energy, or a date with a person we really like. For this project, we’ll take a look at some texts together and, in a sense, reverse engineer the rhetorical situation. We’ll analyze how texts work to deliver messages and affect the audience—a task that is often referred to as “rhetorical analysis.”
Purpose: This writing project asks you to…
Analyze and describe a text within the context of its rhetorical situation, including, but not limited to purpose, audience, genre, context, tone, stance, and rhetorical appeals, among others.
Evaluate the effectiveness of strategies used in the rhetorical situation.
Write an academic essay in which you inform your audience how a text works, rhetorically—or how it creates its message. For this rhetorical analysis essay, you must use one of the following texts:
A Modest Proposal
Our Fear of Immigrants (right click and choose to open link in a new window)
What’s Eating America
In addition to the guidance from our readings and discussions, the following questions should help you generate ideas: What does the author want to accomplish? How does the author use strategies to communicate meaning? Why does the author want readers to have certain experiences? Does the writer have a particular agenda?
Sources: You’ll need to quote from the text you’re analyzing directly. You may also need to quote from other class readings to clarify ideas, define terms, and/or offer support for your conclusions, etc. Since the author and text are the focus on your project and because you are analyzing rhetoric, I’d imagine that you will need to quote from the text you’re analyzing often; your reader will want to hear the author’s words as you analyze them. You will also compose an MLA Works Cited or APA References page for the text you’re analyzing and any other course materials you may use. Note that you will not be using any sources found outside of this course. It is important for any information which is paraphrased, summarized, or directly quoted from the sources that you place page numbers, paragraph numbers, or time stamps in parentheses at the end of a sentence which uses the information.
Evaluation Criteria: Project 3 – Academic Writing should be 3-4 pages (1000+ words) in length and will be assessed in accordance with the following criteria:
· Understanding of the text’s purpose
· Use of language appropriate for rhetorical analysis
· Clarity/Strength of claims
· Organization/Paragraph Development/Length
· Attention to your Rhetorical Situation – Purpose/Audience/Genre/Tone/etc.…
· Use of of evidence – quoting, paraphrasing, summarizing – including introductory and follow-up material
· Use of source citation (signal phrases/attribution) and documentation (MLA Works Cited or APA References)
Audience: Professor/ academic journal. When you compose an “academic essay,” it is helpful to think of your audience as a panel of instructors like me but who don’t know the specific content of our class. You might also think about writing for an undergraduate publication like Young Scholars in Writing or Stylus, UCF’s journal of first-year writing. The “academic” audience is one that you’ll be asked to write to frequently, even when your instructor doesn’t explicitly call it such. For example, when your philosophy professor says, “Write an essay about what it means to ‘live the good life,’ he means “Write an academic essay about what it means to ‘live the good life.’”
Title: Use it to catch the reader’s attention and reflect the content of your essay.
Formatting: Your document should be in MLA or APA format; typed in an appropriate 11 or 12 pt. font (Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman or something similar); all margins should be one inch; and the essay should be double-spaced. Note: Avoid five-paragraph essays, as you’re purpose and genre don’t lend themselves to this kind of organization/formatting. I suggest at least six or seven paragraphs for a one-thousand-word essay.
Reminder: Your purpose IS NOT to summarize the message of the text (though you will do this briefly in your opening) or to give your opinion about the subject matter. The author and the text are the subject of your analysis.
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