Analyze a Text

Purpose and Description

Throughout the course, we have learned that being part of a conversation involves more than voicing your own opinion. It also involves more than simply repeating what others have said. Indeed, we must learn to analyze and think critically about our sources so we can use them in a strategic yet responsible way. Your aim in this exercise will be to analyze a source and examine what strategies the author deploys to achieve his or her rhetorical objective. Please consider the following as you undertake this assignment.

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Invention and Inquiry (pre-drafting)

  • Select a source you have collected related to your topic that lends itself well to rhetorical analysis;
  • Explore the context in which the document was published (author, publication source and platform, publication date, socio-cultural, including political, context)
  • Analyze the source according to rhetorical methods discussed in class, with particular emphasis on the rhetorical situation and rhetorical triangle, the author’s argument and evidence, organizing contrasts (58), rhetorical appeals
  • Use “The Method,” summarized on p. 27 of our textbook, and “Reformulating Binaries,” summarized on p. 60.
  • Synthesize the evidence you have gathered through annotations and notes about the ways in which the author deploys rhetorical strategies to achieve a particular objective given the situational constraints (this will help you compose a working thesis statement)

The Composing Process (the end-product is what you will turn in)

  • Compose a paragraph in which you introduce your source and its relevance to the topic/conversation you have been researching this semester, and include a thesis statement that guides your analysis. You should arrive at your exercise’s working thesis via the above pre-drafting invention and inquiry;
  • Present your analysis in focused body paragraphs;
  • Draw a conclusion based on evidence gathered through your analysis. The conclusion should identify the strengths and limitations of the source’s argument and the extent to which you find it rhetorically effective or ineffective.

The audience for this assignment is your instructor, your classmates, and, in general, anyone who can access and read information online. You should anticipate that readers have some education and knowledge of the subject but do not necessarily possess a clear or complete understanding of it—or the ways in which authors rhetorically craft information to influence thought and action.

Specific Requirements

Your paper should:

  • Focus on a source related to your research topic;
  • Carry out a thesis-guided rhetorical analysis
  • Include a title that reflects the spirit of the assignment;
  • Be 2-3 pages in length (double-spaced, one-inch margins, 12 point Times New Roman or Garamond typeface);
  • Use in-text citations as necessary, and include a Works Cited entry for the text that you are analyzing
  • Include a works cited entry for the article you have analyzed
  • Be uploaded to Canvas as a Word document by the beginning of class for the Workshop on September 17. The final draft is due on September 24, 5 pm

The writing you complete for this exercise is designed to help you develop your rhetorical knowledge of texts and arguments that contribute to the conversation you have begun to research. You will use elements of this analysis for Paper II, so think about ways you can continue to build on, develop, and refine your work as you move forward with the inquiry. Please contact me if you have questions about this assignment or anything else related to the course.

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