Rhetorical Analysis


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Rhetorical Analysis

  1. 1. Rhetorical Analysis Critical Reading and Writing
  2. 2. <ul><li>When you are asked to do a &quot;rhetorical analysis&quot; of a text, you are being asked to apply your critical reading skills to break down the &quot;whole&quot; of the text into the sum of its &quot;parts.&quot; </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Determine what the writer is trying to achieve, and what writing strategies he or she is using to try to achieve it. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reading critically means more than just being moved, affected, informed, influenced, and persuaded by a piece of writing. </li></ul><ul><li>Reading critically also means analyzing and understanding how the work has achieved its effect. </li></ul>Critical Reading
  3. 3. What’s in a question? <ul><li>On the next slides is a list of questions to ask when beginning to analyze a piece of prose. </li></ul><ul><li>These questions can be used to simply read the text rather than write a formal analysis (a sample of detailed formal analysis follows later in this section). </li></ul><ul><li>Keep in mind that the writer does not need to apply all of these questions to every text. This list is simply one method for getting started on reading (and then writing) more critically. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Questions to ask for CR <ul><li>What is the general subject? Does the subject mean anything to you? Does it bring up any personal associations? Is the subject a controversial one?   </li></ul><ul><li>What is the thesis (the overall main point)? How does the thesis interpret/comment on the subject?   </li></ul><ul><li>What is the tone of the text? Do you react at an emotional level to the text? Does this reaction change at all throughout the text?   </li></ul><ul><li>What is the writers' purpose? To explain? To inform? To anger? Persuade? Amuse? Motivate? Sadden? Ridicule? Is there more than one purpose? Does the purpose shift at all throughout the text? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Questions to ask for CR <ul><li>How does the writer develop his/her ideas? Narration? Description? Definition? Comparison? Analogy? Cause and Effect? Example? Why does the writer use these methods of development?   </li></ul><ul><li>How does the writer arrange his/her ideas? What are the patterns of arrangement? Particular to general? Broad to specific? Spatial? Chronological? Alternating? Block?   </li></ul><ul><li>Is the text unified and coherent? Are there adequate transitions? How do the transitions work? </li></ul>
  6. 6. Questions to ask for CR <ul><li>What is the sentence structure like in the text? Does the writer use fragments or run-ons? Declarative? Imperative? Interrogative? Exclamatory? Are they simple? Compound? Complex? Compound-complex? Short? Long? Loose? Periodic? Balanced? Parallel? Are there any patterns in the sentence structure? Can you make any connections between the patterns and the writers' purpose? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the writer use dialogue? Quotations? To what effect?   </li></ul><ul><li>How does the writer use diction? Is it formal? Informal? Technical? Jargon? Slang? Is the language connotative? Denotative? Is the language emotionally evocative? Does the language change throughout the piece? How does the language contribute to the writers' aim? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Questions to ask for CR <ul><li>Is there anything unusual in the writers' use of punctuation? What punctuation or other techniques of emphasis (italics, capitals, underlining, ellipses, parentheses) does the writer use? Is punctuation over- or under used? Which marks does the writer use when, and for what effects? Dashes to create a hasty breathlessness? Semi-colons for balance or contrast? </li></ul><ul><li>Are important terms repeated throughout the text? Why? </li></ul><ul><li>Are there any particularly vivid images that stand out? What effect do these images have on the writers' purpose? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Questions to ask for CR <ul><li>Are devices of comparison used to convey or enhance meaning? Which tropes--similes, metaphors, personification, hyperbole, etc. does the writer use? When does he/she use them? Why?   </li></ul><ul><li>Does the writer use devices of humor? Puns? Irony? Sarcasm? Understatement? Parody? Is the effect comic relief? Pleasure? Hysteria? Ridicule? </li></ul>
  9. 9. Rhetorical Analysis <ul><li>While the term &quot;rhetorical analysis&quot; is, at first, rather intimidating for many people, it is easily understood (at least at its most basic) when broken down and defined. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rhetoric: The art of persuasion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Analysis: The breaking down of some thing into its parts and interpreting how those parts fit together. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In rhetorical analysis, then, we examine how authors attempt to persuade their audiences by looking at the various components that make up the art of persuasion. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Components of Rhetoric <ul><li>Although there are certainly many different viewpoints regarding what, exactly, rhetoric is, it is quite often divided into the following general areas: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1. Purpose: What is the author attempting to do with his/her work? Understanding the intended purpose of a text is the first (and crucial) step in a deeper understanding of the text and author </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2. Audience: Who is the text written for? Obviously, an author's intended reader plays a large role in how the author appeals to the audience. An audience consisting of children, for example, calls for very different strategies than an audience of economists </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3. The Appeals: Aristotle, when referring to the strategies that writers use in their texts, discusses three main groups: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Three Rhetorical Styles <ul><li>Ethos: The Ethical appeal does NOT refer strictly to ethics. The ethical appeal, instead refers to the credibility, character,and confidence of a writer. There are a number of ways in which an author may establish ethical appeal. </li></ul><ul><li>Pathos: Pathos is often referred to as the the emotional appeal, although it may certainly go beyond emotion. Examples of pathos include the use of emotion-laden words, the use of description, and the use of repetition. </li></ul><ul><li>Logos: The logical appeal refers to the use of reasoning to appeal to the reader. Examples of this include the use of definitions, statistics, law, and comparisons. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Ethos <ul><li>Acme Gizmotronics , the company that you've trusted for over 100 years, has recently entered the World Wide Web! Now you can purchase our fine products through the internet. Our quality gizmos, widgets, and thingamabobs can be shipped to you within minutes. All come with the famous lifetime guarantee that makes Acme the company that the world depends on for it's gizmo needs. </li></ul><ul><li>Our spokesperson, Mr. Coyote says &quot;I'm not really a coyote, but I play one on tv. I've used Acme products for years. Their slingshots, rocket launchers, crowbars, pogo sticks, and power pills are the best around. And don't forget their high-powered dynamite! I buy everything from Acme. They are the company that I trust the most.&quot; </li></ul>
  13. 13. ethos <ul><li>ACME is currently supporting research into a form of clean, ultra-efficient, cesium-based power that promises to usher in a new period of cheap, globally available power. Based on a small island off the coast of Costa Rica, ACME Technology Research is one of our most significant divisions. Interested in learning more about ACME ? We thought you might be. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Back to reality - Ethos <ul><li>ACME is not a real company, contrary to popular belief. It's something we made up to use as an example of Ethos . </li></ul><ul><li>The ACME homepage is an example of ethos because of the way it keeps referring back to the character of ACME. </li></ul><ul><li>ACME is a company that &quot;you have trusted for over 100 years.&quot; They even have a spokesperson vouching for their integrity. </li></ul>
  15. 15. ACME's new dihydro-cesium detonation process <ul><li>By combining cesium and dihydro-oxide in laboratory conditions, and capturing the released energy, ACME has promised to lead the way into the future. Our energy source is clean, safe, and powerful. No pollutants are released into the atmosphere. The world will soon have an excellent source of clean energy. A typical example of energy released from the dihydro-cesium process. </li></ul>
  16. 16. ACME's new dihydro-cesium detonation process <ul><li>ACME is currently working towards a patent on our process. Our scientists are exploring ways to use the process in cars, houses, airplanes, and almost anything else that needs power. ACME batteries will be refitted with small dihydro-cesium reactors. Once the entire world is powered by ACME's generators, we can all relax and enjoy a much easier life. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Back to Reality - Logos <ul><li>Logos is an argument based on logic or reason. </li></ul><ul><li>The ACME Research page is primarily logos-based because it appeals to the reason of people reading it. </li></ul><ul><li>It suggests that Cesium will provide the world's energy for a very long time. It is clean, safe, and efficient, all of which are appeals to the logic of the audience. </li></ul><ul><li>By using such convincing reasons in its argument, ACME hopes to provide the world's energy. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Cesium-Based Reactor Kills! <ul><li>A baby turtle breaks free from the leathery shell of its egg, catching its first glimpse of its first sunrise. It pauses a moment to rest, unaware of the danger that lies so close to it. As the tide comes in, approaching the nest, it also approaches a small pile of metal - cesium. The water draws closer and closer, the turtle unsuspecting of the danger. Finally, the water touches the cesium. The nest is torn to bits in the resulting explosion, destroying even more of an endangered species. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Cesium-Based Reactor Kills! <ul><li>Why does this happen? One name: Acme. </li></ul><ul><li>Acme Gizmotronics is supporting a dihydro-cesium reactor, trying, in their anthrocentrism, to squeeze energy out of such destructive explosions. And, they are dumping waste cesium onto the shores of their island, threatening the environment. Studies have shown that the dihydro-cesium reactor will destroy the island's ecosphere in less than four months! Other environmental concerns that can be seen on the Web. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Cesium-Based Reactor Kills! <ul><li>How can they get away with this? </li></ul><ul><li>Costa Rica (where the island is near) has lax environmental laws, allowing Acme to do whatever they want - including destroy endangered species. </li></ul><ul><li>What can you do about this? </li></ul><ul><li>Don't let them get away with it! Boycott Acme products! And call your representatives, and tell them you support stricter legislation to prevent things like this! </li></ul>
  21. 21. Back to Reality - Pathos <ul><li>Pathos is an argument based on emotion, playing on sympathy, fears, and desires. </li></ul><ul><li>The Say &quot;NO!&quot; To Acme! page is pathos-based because it relies on an emotional response from the people reading it. </li></ul><ul><li>By stressing the helplessness of the (endangered) turtle, it attempts to sway people to its side, against the &quot;commericial hordes&quot; of Acme. </li></ul>