Rhetorical Analysis

The student will be required to write a short essay that analyzes the rhetorical strategies utilized in an assigned essay. The eligible essays are listed below. The assignment should contain an introduction identifying the author, essay title, thesis, and a brief summary of the argument. It should also indicate the intended audience and tone of the original essay and briefly outline the methods of development that will be presented in the body paragraphs. The body paragraphs of the assignment should identify three rhetorical strategies employed by the author and three examples of where each strategy is used. The student should also suggest what the effect of these examples might be and why they are used. The strategies cited could be as general as ethos, pathos or logos, with the three examples being specific methods of development. They could also be specific methods such as a narrative, with three examples of narratives used in the essay. The various types of figurative language discussed in class may also be used. The acceptable methods will be described in class and will be listed prior to the assignment. Any varieties that do not appear on this approved list will not be accepted. Additional clarification regarding the formatting of the assignment and the eligible rhetorical strategies will be outlined in class. The content of the assignment will vary depending on the essay selected and the interest of the student.


40% of the assignment grade will be determined by argument. Are the author’s thesis, argument, intended audience, and tone clearly articulated? Are the assigned number of strategies and examples represented and do they coincide with the definitions of the methods of development outlined in class and in the textbook? If presenting figurative language, do the examples offered match the definitions of the types of figurative language (metaphor, assonance, etc.) discussed in class and within the textbook?


40% of the grade will be determined by arrangement. Does the analysis contain an introduction and a conclusion? Are the methods of development being examined enumerated in the introduction? Does the organization of body paragraphs clearly indicate which examples belong to which strategy? Is it clear which effect belongs to which example?


20% of the grade will be determined by grammar and style. Is the analysis free from typos and other grammatical issues? Are the structures of sentences clear and do they adequately convey the necessary information without generating confusion?


You may choose one of the following four essays:


Michael Chabon, “Kid’s Stuff”



Tanya Maria Barrientos, “Se Habla Español”




Diana George, “Changing the Face of Poverty”




Dave Barry, “Guys vs. Men”