First select a written text in any medium that you or others find persuasive, compelling–could be an op-ed in the Daily Texan, the transcript of a political speech (it’s an election year!), a blog you follow, or on a news analysis website (foxnews.com, salon.com, slashdot.org, etc.). Creators Syndicate has some good stuff, too, as does the Huffington Post. Be sure it’s substantial enough to support a careful analysis; also be sure it’s an argument meant to persuade you, and not simply an “objective” report of an event. Then analyze this text according to the rhetorical principles we’ve studied in this course so far. NOTE: you are looking for a persuasive piece–not a report of a robbery, but an argument about why it happened or why the perp is also a victim, or whatever.
Meme: Using makeameme (makeameme.org) Pixlr (https://pixlr.com/), imageflip (https://imgflip.com/), or some other photo editor, create a visual meme for facebook, twitter, or Instagram using an image with a quote on top that makes the main or most compelling claim of the argument you’re assessing in a snappy, provocative way. Save to your box account and share with group in class for feedback.
Here’s an example I made in 5 minutes with Imgflip:
or this one I lifted from facebook:
Written Analysis: Your purpose in this 2-3 page piece is to offer a rhetorical analysis of your chosen text, not to take a position on the issue to which it responds: your job is not to advocate or evaluate but to analyze and describe.
It’s important to remember that an analysis involves more than a summary of a writer’s argument. Whereas a summary emphasizes the text’s content or what the text says—central claims, key evidence, and a recap of the conclusion—an analysis also examines how an argument is put together and what specific rhetorical choices have been made.
Specific Details for Written Analysis
Begin by introducing the article you’ll be analyzing, offering important information about the situation or occasion to which it responds, enough for your audience to follow your analysis. State the full name of the author and the full title of the article, if possible creating a link from your text to that article, and putting the rest of the source information in a Works Cited section below your artifact in MLA format.
Spend the majority of your allotted space analyzing how the argument works rhetorically, what makes it persuasive. You should discern and describe (identify and explain how each works to benefit the argument) each of the following:
- the author’s apparent purpose: what does the author want from the audience? (what specific action or attitude does s/he hope to prompt?)
- who this author is and how s/he establishes credibility (ethos)
- any appeals to the audience’s emotions (pathos). Be specific: which emotions are evoked (fear? anger? love?) and how (vivid imagery? charged language? identificatory moves?)
- any appeals to the audience’s sense of reason and logic (logos), including the formal topic(s) and the supporting and main stases operating in the artifact. Be specific.
Plus at least one of the following:
- the intended audience and the actual audience (could be the same)
- the exigency: what is the specific urgency prompting the rhetor to speak/write?
- the type of discourse (juridical, deliberative, epideictic)
- the cultural or historical context in which the article was written, the larger conversation to which it contributes, as well as the timing of this contribution (kairos)
Conclude with a what you found the most compelling aspect of the argument you’re analyzing and with a rebuttal point that you wish the argument had addressed (to preemptively counter an argument that could be made against it).
Paste your meme into your analysis in an appropriate spot–either right at the beginning or wherever that particular point is being made.
Bare Minimum Requirements
For a C or above, each essay will:
- Be 2-3 pages long, typed, double-spaced; have 1 inch margins and name, class, date at the top left corner of the first page with title centered two lines below the date
- Summarize and analyze the selected text fairly, without advocating or slanting
- Demonstrate an understanding of these rhetorical principles and complete all the assigned tasks
- Include meme that captures the main argument or the most compelling part of it
- Be written effectively and coherently, with very few grammatical errors
- Have been peer reviewed in Canvas.
- Be submitted on time on Canvas, along with a link to or attachment of the text you’re analyzing.