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Essay #1: Rhetorical Analysis
For Essay #1, please write a summary and analysis of any of the articles from Ch. 14 assigned by your instructor. Your audience is educated peers who have read the article, and are wondering what you think about it.
Your rhetorical analysis must include a summary of what the article argues, and also an analysis and evaluation of how well the article makes its points.
Your essay should include those elements of summary that Greene and Lidinsky recommend:
- the context of the article
- a clear statement of what you feel to be “the gist” of the article
- a description of the key claims of the article
- 1-2 relevant examples (direct quotations or paraphrases) from the article
As no summary is neutral, you must weave an analytical thread throughout your summary that suggests to the reader your judgment of the value of the article. You might consider including:
- examine how well the article appeals to its intended audience
- evaluate the author’s use of evidence
- identify the author’s purpose or motivation for writing
- point out the gaps and flaws in the article’s argument
Do not attempt to summarize every last detail of the article. Instead, focus on the gist of the article and your analysis of the how well the article supports its points.
Because an analysis is your perspective, it is appropriate to use “I” in this essay. However, do use “I” sparingly — your focus should be on analyzing the article, not on simply stating your own beliefs.
Guidelines for Essay #1
Length/Due Date: approximately 600 words, due Sunday midnight Central Time.
Style/Format: This, as all essays in EN106, should be formatted in a standard scholarly format. (Most students follow MLA or APA guidelines, which are outlined in Easy Writer.) No matter what format you follow, be sure to do the following:
- Use 12 point, Times New Roman font, double-spaced.
- Use 1-inch margins top, bottom, and sides.
- Although no cover page is needed, you should include your name, my name, the course number/title, and date at the upper left-hand corner of the manuscript.
References: Essay #1 must quote or paraphrase the article you are analyzing. Each time you quote or paraphrase the article, include in-text citations that follow MLA or APA style.
File format: Please submit your essay as a .doc, .docx, or .pdf file. These formats are available in most word processors, including Google Docs and Open Office, and will ensure that your instructor is able to comment on your work.
Works Cited/References: Create an appropriate bibliography, with one entry for the article you are analyzing. Use Easy Writer to learn how to format a end-of-text citation for a work in an anthology or selection in a book with an editor.
Titles: Include a descriptive title at the beginning of your essay that tips your readers off to your central message. Do not format your title with quotation marks, boldface, underlining or italics. Quotation marks or underlining are only appropriate if the title borrows words from another source.
Deadline: Submit your final draft essay no later than midnight on Sunday at the end of this unit.
Use of essays for future courses: Please understand that your essay may be used— anonymously—as a sample for future EN106 students and instructors unless you expressly request that it not be used. Your work, of course, will only be used for educational purposes.
Assessment: See the Grading and Assessment content item under Course Home to see the criteria and rubric I will use to grade your essay.
Why Is This Assignment Important?
A very common type of writing you will produce in your academic career is a source analysis. The ability to engage in close reading of a text, identify salient arguments and evidence, present the text’s ideas in your own words, and evaluate that source’s effectiveness is foundational to entering academic conversations. Summaries also serve an important role in helping other readers make sense of a difficult text. You might think of analysis as the job of a tour guide: you are offering your readers a brief glimpse into another world.
As you learned from Greene and Lidinsky’s chapter, writing a rhetorical analysis involves a great deal of critical thinking and evaluation on the part of the writer. You must identify the author’s thesis (what Greene and Lidinsky call “the gist”), uncover how the key claims of that thesis are supported and developed, evaluate the conversational contexts of the author’s work, and, at all points, consider how your perspective affects your interpretation of the text.