Rhetorical Analysis Essay Assignment

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Assignment

Prompt: In English 101, you had to write expository essays. A rhetorical analysis is an expository piece of writing that evaluates and explains how a writer/composer communicates, maybe even influences, an audience. Locate a visual/oral/verbal text that you deem interesting and analyze it according to the way the text uses rhetorical effects and strategies to make its argument. Use specific textual evidence to establish a general argument (i.e., thesis) about how the text “works.” You should not simply paraphrase or summarize what the writer/composer says or composes; rather, your goal is to provide a way of understanding the measure of persuasive effect by analyzing the rhetorical situation.

To do this, first identify the maker, intended audience, message, and intended purpose of the text. You can take your cues from the readings included in the book, class discussions, or discussions with your instructor. This information will set the foundation for the rest of your analysis. Next, explain how (and how effectively) the text

  • appeals to its intended audience;
  • employs the available means (the rhetorical appeals of ethos, logos, pathos; the rhetorical methods of development; and visual and/or aural elements, if applicable).

Process: Before proceeding with your work on the assignment you must present your topic and text for your instructor’s review and explain what makes this text an interesting subject (i.e., what is not rhetorically obvious) for rhetorical analysis through through a 1-page Statement on Planned Research. This statement will layout the topic and three questions about the topic you want to study. It will also layout why you are interested in studying the topic and what you expect to learn through this analysis. The topic must be approved by your instructor.

Doing research is fundamental to putting together an effective paper. To this end you must conduct research on your topic and develop an Annotated Bibliography of at least four sources (see Annotated Bibliography Assignment Sheet).  The bibliography can be changed in the final paper, but the annotated bibliography text you submitted will be a graded assignment separate from your Essay Assignment.

As you are drafting, consider how you are supporting your claims about the text. Refer to specific moments in the text (using quotes and other concrete details) as evidence for your explanation of how the writer/composer uses rhetorical strategies. At the same time, consider the balance between description and analysis in your writing. Describe moments in the text in order to make your argument, but remember that your job is not to summarize the text for your readers. Your job is to evaluatethe text by analyzing these details and making an argument about their rhetorical effect.

After drafting, revise and edit the Final Draft. Consider carefully the organization and coherence of your piece. Develop clear paragraphs that support your thesis. It is essential you incorporate feedback (from peers, from the SVWC, or Smartthinking) at this step off the process based on two completed Feedback Sheets. You must also reflect on this process and develop a Reflection Memo laying out your steps.

The Reflection Memo is meant to make you cognizant about the writing process. Based on the feedback you received, lay out your process of incorporating feedback and what you learned about the writing process as such in a 1-page memo. Your answers will not be graded for grammar, but you should try to answer as specifically and clearly as possible. The memo should explicitly answer these four questions:

  • What did you understand about the changes asked for in your essay by your reviewers? Be specific.
  • What changes did you make during the revision process and why?  
  • What changes did you not make and why not?
  • What did you learn about the research process and how will you use it in the next assignment?

Format: Your final draft should be three to four pages (double-spaced, TNR font, 1” margins). When citing your outside source(s), follow MLA format (see IC Part 6 or Bowie State Course Library Guide for English 102.).

Deliverables: 1) Statement of Planned Research, 2) Annotated Bibliography, 3) Rough Draft 4) 2-Completed Feedback Sheets, 4) Final Draft , and 6) Reflection Memo

Suggested Themes and Topics

  • Music videos
  • Ad campaigns by athletic gear companies
  • Ad campaigns by fashion
  • Speeches by famous social activists
  • Speeches by presidents
  • Movie analysis
  • Social movement campaigns
  • Essay by authors
  • Historical figures and their writings
  • Media campaigns by politicians
  • Presidential campaigns
  • Amazon ad campaigns
  • Marijuana policies
  • Specific topics in Hip Hop
  • Objectification of women in advertising
  • NFL protests
  • Black Lives Matter
  • Immigration controversies
  • Social Media campaigns
  • Video Essays on Youtube

    Additional Topics:

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