RHETORICAL ANALYSIS: CRITICAL WRITINGWhen you write a rhetorical analysis, all you’re really doing is putting onto paper the strategies you discovered/ideas you came up with when reading the text critically. Below is a set of guidelines devised to help you organize the thoughts from your critical reading process. The guidelines detail the aspects of the text you might consider discussing, and they offer you some direction in terms of organizing your paper. Remember that you do not have to cover all of these aspects when writing a formal rhetorical analysis.
GUIDELINES FOR RHETORICAL ANALYSISYOUR TITLE:The title of your essay is the first point of contact you have with your reader. What sort of title would describe your paper and distinguish it from other papers written on the same essay? Example: “Political Spin”(from sample) A Rhetorical Analysis of the Letter from George Bush to Saddam”YOUR INTRODUCTION: DETAILING THE RHETORICAL SITUATION 1. How would you describe the rhetorical situation? What will you say about the writer, the subject, thecontext, the audience, and the principal aim/purpose of the text? Are there any aims subordinate to the principal aim? . How would you summarize the essay in one or two sentences? (Try not to digress into a lengthy paraphrase of the piece. ) What is the writer’s thesis?
3. What features of substance and style will you focus on in the body of your essay, and why do you consider them so important to the discourse? (This is your thesis. ) YOUR ESSAY’S BODY: DISCUSSING THE CONTENT OF THE TEXT 1. How does the writer develop the discourse, and why has she/he chosen these methods of development? 2. How has the writer arranged the discourse, and why has he/she chosen this pattern of arrangementover others? Make specific reference to the introduction, the thesis, the body, and the conclusion if you think it is important. ) 3. If the essay is persuasive, which of the persuasive appeals (logos, ethos, or pathos) predominates, and how do these appeals strengthen or weaken the argument? 4. Are there any fallacies or other weaknesses in the argument? How do they affect the reader’s response to the work? What kinds of assumptions are at work here? Are they fair assumptions? What are the particular strengths of the argument? How does the writer establish common ground? 5.
Does the writer make effective use of concession, refutation, and/or counter-argument? YOUR ESSAY’S BODY: DISCUSSING THE STYLE OF THE TEXT 1. Which of the following features of style do you consider most important to the discourse and why? 2. * language (including level of diction and tone of voice) * figurative language, symbolism, allusion (biblical, historical etc. ), irony * humour * number and length of paragraphs * length and style of sentences * rhythm and repetition 1. How do these particular features of style enable the writer to achieve her/his purpose?
YOUR CONCLUSION:Use your conclusion to comment on the effect and effectiveness of the essay as a whole. How well does the writer achieve the purpose, appeal to the audience, and demonstrate the effect of style on content? NOTE THE FOLLOWING CONVENTIONS OF ANALYSIS: 1. Analyze a text in the simple present tense 2. Enclose essay titles inside quotation marks 3. Refer to yourself as “the reader” or “the audience” 4. Support your claims with textual evidence (direct quotations and paraphrases)| from UBC Writing Centre Ponderosa Annex C, Room 101D 2021 West Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2 Canada