Writing Rhetorical Analysis Paper

Posted: February 3rd, 2022

Assignment Sheet for Paper 2
For this assignment, you will write a rhetorical analysis of one of these three essays:  “There’s a Reason They Choose Schools” by Timothy Wheeler (pages 660-662), “Public Universities Should be Free” by Aaron Bady (pages 575-578) or “On Patriotism” by Donald Kagan (pages 697-703).
A rhetorical analysis does three main jobs:  1) it offers a brief paraphrase of a piece of writing; 2) it discusses the way the writer uses rhetorical appeals to influence the reader through intellect, emotion, or credibility; 3) it evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the piece of rhetoric, including its overall ability to persuade the reader.
Body Section One:  Paraphrase.
State the writer’s main point in one or two sentences.  Then, look at each paragraph and record the main idea each contains.  Include any important details.  Your summary does not need to be exhaustive, but you need to assume that your reader has not read the essay you are talking about, and you should give a good overview of the entire essay.  Be sure to include ONLY the points the writer makes.  DO NOT make any commentary or assessment of your own on these points.
Body Section Two:  Analysis of Rhetorical Elements.
First, state the writer’s supporting reasons (which come from the writer’s own mind). Do these reasons seem logical to you?
Then, discuss a few pieces of evidence the writer introduces from outside sources. Is this evidence convincing?
Find a few passages where the writer appeals to the reader’s emotions through ideas that are moving or through emotionally charged language. Include at least one quotation as an example of emotional appeal.  What kinds of emotions does the writer try to evoke in the reader’s mind?
Finally, talk about whether or not the author is credible, both in the information presented and in his or her narrative persona.
Body Section Three:  Your Evaluation.
Talk about the overall persuasiveness of the piece of writing.  You can evaluate persuasiveness by examining your personal reaction to the piece of writing.  Did it move your emotions?  If so, how and why?  If not, then what was it lacking, or what could have been better emphasized in to evoke emotions from you?  Did the piece of writing contain sound reasoning, or was the reasoning illogical?  Did you find the speaker believeable?  Were you convinced by the evidence offered?  Was the evidence of good quality?  As you conclude, you may offer your personal reaction to the writer’s ideas, if you wish.
General guidelines:
Your analysis needs to be at least at least five well-developed paragraphs long, and it will likely be longer if you give full consideration to all the ideas the essay contains.
Each student must visit the Writing Center at least once during this assignment. You must bring your most current draft with you to the Center.
Grading Rubric
Thesis/Focus (20 points)
The paper contains a strong thesis that clearly states the student’s evaluation of the essay chosen.
Audience and Purpose (10 points)
The paper is shaped by the needs and perspective of the audience as well as the writer’s
Organization and Coherence (20 points)
The paper follows a clear organization, using topic sentences and effective transitional devices.
Development (20 points)
The paper provides specific, detailed analysis of the essay, including all three rhetorical appeals and direct reference to the text (quotations).
Correctness (20 points)
The paper shows correct usage of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and both proper paper format and MLA documentation format.
Style (10 points)
The paper exhibits a clear sense of personal writing style that is appropriate to the subject.
Element of composition
Half points
Partial points
Full points
Thesis is present but weak
Thesis is strong but not consistently followed throughout
Consistent attempt made to follow strong thesis throughout
Gestures towards awareness of audience
Shows awareness of audience inconsistently
Shows basic awareness of audience throughout
Most paragraphs are focused, some transitions are used
Focused paragraphs with transitions
Consistent organization, with smooth, logical transitions
Supporting details provided but may be too few or vague
One or two well-developed supporting details
Several well-developed supporting details,
Student repeats only a few errors repeatedly but they may interfere with comprehension
Some errors present but they do not interfere with comprehension.
Few errors
Words and sentences are mostly appropriate and effective
Competent but repetitive sentences and word choice
Some sentence and word variety
Please note that failure to follow MLA format or the requirements listed on the syllabus will also result in either a point deduction or a failing grade (0), depending on the severity of the infraction.

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