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Rhetorical Analysis Project

Genre: Rhetorical Analysis in an Academic Essay format
Audience: Educated, curious readers
Length: 750-1000 words

We’ve been practicing a method known as a rhetorical précis: a highly structured summary that explicates what a writer is arguing (claim), how she does it (strategy), why she does it (purpose/exigency), and for what intended audience. Your first major writing assignment in this class is a rhetorical analysis, which draws on those skills in an extended format: show us the rhetorical purpose and structure of an argument based on its rhetorical strategies and features.

In our case, your challenge is to analyze any persuasive piece from this week’s Sunday Review section of the New York Times. If you identify another persuasive essay elsewhere in the Sunday paper — and they do appear in the Sunday Magazine, the Style section, Business, etc. — feel free to run it by me as an alternative.

Support your points with references to rhetorical appeals (SMH 8d), drawing on direct quotes, references to tone, and other rhetorical features found in the text, especially those related to exigency, main claims, strategy, purpose, and audience.

Background: St. Martin’s e-Handbook:

Due Dates:

  • Weeks Two and Three: Rhetorical précis (5)
  • Week Three: Preview Rhetorical analysis
  • Tuesday, 9/29: annotated copy
  • Thursday, 10/1: First Draft
  • Tuesday, 10/6: Peer Reviews
  • Tuesday, 10/6: Second Draft
  • Thursday, 10/8: Final Draft