TEXT ANALYSIS & LETTER TO THE AUTHOR

PART 1 – RHETORICAL / TEXT ANALYSIS

Instructions: 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,

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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’d need to quote from the text you’re 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.

Evaluation Criteria: Part 1 of 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)
Mechanics/Grammar/Spelling

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 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.

Reminder: Your purpose IS NOT to summarize the message of the text or to give your opinion about the subject matter. The author and the text are the subject of your analysis.

 

PART 2 – LETTER TO THE AUTHOR

Situation: Since you picked the text for Part I of this project, the author must have spoken to you in a certain way. Think back to when you first read the text. Did it make you think about the content in a different way? Did the author’s ideas upset you, inspire you, challenge you, make you smile, make you curious to know more or something else? In other words, think about the way you reacted to what the author said. Ask, “Why?” Now, Part 2 of this project asks you to use your reactions and imagine that you feel compelled to compose and send a letter to the author. This will be your role as a writer and will help establish your purpose.

Instructions: Write a letter to the author of the text you analyzed for Part I. To write an effective letter, you will need to briefly introduce who you are, what text you are addressing, and why you are writing the letter. Think about your letter as a way to engage the author in conversation; use the opportunity to discuss various points you deem worth exploring, things you agree with and/or things you don’t agree with. You will need to explain your reactions to the text. Though you do not have to be positive, you need to be polite. Be respectful and don’t rant. As you discuss the main points, use specific references from the author’s text to illustrate, clarify, and/or support your points. Within your letter, I want you to build in at least two thoughtful questions for the author. Make sure not to list these at the end; instead, integrate them into the overall letter and your discussion points.

Evaluation Criteria: Part 2 of Project 3 – Academic Writing should be 1-1½ pages (500+ words) in length and will be assessed in accordance with the following criteria:

Originality/Creativity/Risk-Taking
Description/Detail/Questions
Clarity/Specific References
Organization/Paragraph Development/Length
Attention to your Rhetorical Situation – Purpose/Audience/Genre/Tone/etc…
Mechanics/Grammar/Spelling

Audience: The author of the text

Genre: Personal Letter or Email with a Formal Tone

Formatting: Your document should be typed in an appropriate font (Arial, Calibri, Time New Roman or something similar); all margins should be one inch; the letter should be single-spaced.

Outside Sources: Not required, but if used, must be attributed properly for the genre (i.e use signal phrases)

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