Writing Your First Rhetorical Analysis Paper:Background Knowledge Erica Buzonowski
What is Rhetoric? The art of effective and persuasive speaking or writing. Language is designed to impress and persuade. Choosing the best possible means of persuasion to fit the situation and the audience.
Types Of Rhetorical Text All text has a rhetorical purpose, either… verbal (i.e. speeches, lectures, pep talks) visual (i.e. magazine ads, TV/web commercials) written (i.e. editorials, letters, applications, articles)
Rhetoric Attempts to Persuade: Persuasions attempt… to move us to take action. to challenge us to think about something with a new perspective. to inspire us. to entertain us. to convince us to believe something is true. to analyze a situation. to show understanding or compassion. to define, explain, condemn, or criticize.
Where did this come from? In ancient Greece, the abilities to read and write were limited. Most legal decisions were decided in public based on oral speeches. Aristotle studied speakers and audiences observed what was effective and created a systematic approach to persuade the audience. Ethos, logos, pathos, organization, tone, allusion, analogy, anecdote, assertion, and authority are all apart of this persuasive approach.
ETHOS Appeal to the authors credibility. Be aware of… The audience. Anticipate the questions and concerns they may have. Sensitivity to the issue. Thoroughly consider the issue from both sides. Trustworthiness. Support claims with evidence that the audience will accept.
LOGOS Appeal to logic and reason using facts statistics scientific reasoning logical reasoning common sense
PATHOS Attempt to persuade by arousing emotions such as sympathy, empathy, shock, fear, sadness, guilt, and guilt. Attempt to persuade by arousing desires to be like others, to be included, to have love, sex, friendship, partnership, wealth, status, or to impress.
Organization Dividing an essay effectively between the introduction, body, and conclusion. Introduction: How does the reader catch your attention regarding the topic? Body: How is it structured? Conclusion: How is he argument closed? (Be aware of characteristics that signal different sections.)
TONE Characterize the authors voice Intelligent? Hard-driving? Laid back? Angry? Funny? Describe this tone and cite examples to illustrate. Look beyond content of the piece, how does the author create that tone (word choice, humor, witty wordplay, sentence structure?) LIST strategies you think the author uses.
Allusion A reference, especially a covert, passing, or indirect one. An indirect reference to a commonly known event, person, story, piece of pop culture, or history. Can function as ethos, logos, and/or pathos appeals (depending on the nature & authors intent). A powerful way for authors to further connect their readers to the piece.
analogy A comparison of two different things, events, relationships, or situations for the purpose of ‘encouraging’ readers to assume that what is true about one thing is also true about the other. This can be used in any type of appeal. Does the comparison makes sense? Is the analogy truly relevant to the topic that is being argued, or does it make a memorable statement that is not really a valid comparison?
Anecdote A story, not necessarily about the author or any other real person. Common in rhetoric, but there are challenges in relying too heavily on anecdotal support.
Assertion ‘Declaration; a forthright statement’ (FYC 36) A statement or claimthe author makes with the expectation that the reader will believe it is true. Foremost rhetorical strategy- used in every argument. Sometimes factual, but that’s not always the case. Simply saying something is true doesn’t make it true. Authors often need to provide evidence to support assertions.
Assertion (continued) In assertions, there might be obvious opinions. Could sound convincingly enough to be true without evidence. Too many unsupported assertions is propaganda- not argument. The author will lose credibility. Editorials have one main assertion with secondary assertions in body paragraphs.
Authority (Last one!) Using expert testimony, statistics, and/or facts from credible sources to support an assertion. To evaluate credibility of an authority, you need to consider how much detail the author provides. Citations- facts usually used. Create a logos appeal. Facts, statistics, and expert testimony by nature are logical and reasonable.
Works cited Taylor, Marcy, Elizabeth Brockman, MelindaKreth, and Laura Grow. "Chapter 3: Rhetorical Analysis." First Year Composition: English 101. Third ed. Dubque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt, 2008. 29-47. Print.