Choose a Topic

Choose a Topic

Choose a Topic

Choose one of the topics given below, and write a rhetorical analysis essay of approximately 1000 to 1200 words (about four double-spaced typed pages). Expect that if your essay goes over the length requirement, your essay could be returned to you for revision.

Choice One

Carefully read “The Rhetorical Stance” by Wayne C. Booth. Then, survey the textbook  in search of three non-fiction essays, one that illustrates a degree of the pedant’s stance, one that illustrates a degree of the advertiser’s stance, and one that illustrates a degree of the entertainer’s stance. Also search for an example of the rhetorical stance (as Booth defines it). In a formal essay, provide your findings with sufficient explanations to support your opinions. For this topic, you do not need to provide additional research sources, but you will need to properly document Booth’s essay, along with all other essays discussed.

Choice Two

Select an essay or article and analyze the rhetorical strategies and appeals employed to persuade readers.

Do one of the following:

Choose a non-fiction essay (with a sufficiently substantial basis for a meaningful analysis) from the textbook. Please choose an essay you have not worked on before. You should also not choose an essay that has been used in one of the textbook's sample rhetorical analyses, like Sarah Schmidt's "College Girl to Call Girl," or Martin Luther King Jr's "The Ways of Meeting Oppression." 

Ask your coordinator to recommend non-fiction articles (outside of the textbook) that might be appropriate choices for this assignment. 

Choose from this list of recently published articles:

“Your E-Book is Reading You” by Alexandra Alter

“How to Have a Conversation” by John McDermott

“The Death of Honesty” by William Damon

“Daddy issues” by Sandra Tsing Loh (This one is long but worth it.) 

How to Proceed with the Rhetorical Analysis

Decide on an approach to your essay. You can focus on either the content of the article or on its rhetorical methods and style (examining how the text persuades its readers). 

If you choose to focus on the content of an article, be careful to avoid the trap of stepping away from rhetorical analysis. The article has to be at the forefront of your discussion at all times. 

If you choose to focus on the article’s rhetorical methods and style, visit the University of British Columbia Writers’ Workshop segment called “Rhetorical Analysis: Critical Writing” 

Review the guidelines provided to you in the textbook’s chapters on critical and rhetorical analysis, as well as on the checklist below, but note this: In your analysis, you will report on the rhetorical techniques the writer uses to support his or her thesis. Your job is NOT to mark the essay or article, NOT to write a review of the essay or article, just to analyze its rhetoric.

The key to a good rhetorical analysis is to discover and report on how the writer gets the message to the reader. Follow the FOUR D’s outlined below for every technique you choose to discuss.

Discover the technique.

Define the technique (as necessary). For help with this, Google “Rhetorical Devices.”

Describe the writer’s use of the technique by including at least three examples (quotations) of each, making sure to integrate them properly.

Discuss the writer’s probable motive for the technique and its impact on the reader.

Decide how you are going to limit your analysis. Consider limiting your discussion to as little as one technique per body paragraph.

Write a working thesis. 

Create an outline and consider speaking with your tutor to review your thesis and outline. We strongly encourage you to do so. 

Write your first draft.

Create a Works Cited or References page, and as we have reminded you previously, do not guess, and do not use a software program. Just pay careful attention to detail, and ask your tutor for help as required. 

Revise and edit your draft. You should have produced and edited at least one preliminary draft before you hand in the final copy. 

Consider using the Write Site’s coaching services. Tutors are not expected or encouraged to review your drafts, but reviewing drafts is one of the mandates of the Write Site. 

Study the assignment checklist and answer the questions honestly. 

When you’re ready, upload your assignment through the assignment drop box. 


You will find sample analyses in the textbook chapters on critical analysis and rhetorical analysis. While these are good models in general, some of them do not do precisely what we are asking of you in this assignment. For example, they do not provide an explicit direct-list thesis statement (thesis + essay map) at the end of the opening paragraph. There are other matters that are not in sync.
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