Rhetorical Analysis (RA) Shorts

English 350Nancy Armstrong-Sanchez

Rhetorical Analysis (RA) Shorts ~~

Worth 8 points each

Directions: Using the principles of analysis listed below, construct a Rhetorical Analysis for assigned readings/films/events.


The directions in the Weekly Folders will guide you towards the use of different tools of Rhetorical Analysis. For example, RA 1 will focus on examining “Purpose” & “Audience.” Please see questions listed on pp 2. to help you develop your analysis for each RA.

For each RA, students will follow MLA formatting and include at least one direct quote and/or paraphrase + “Works Cited” page. For MLA formatting and citation guidance, please see the materials listed on BB. (For your review, I have also provided some resources & a sample below.)

Each RA should be @250-300 words. Please see below for “RA Suggested Format.”

RA Suggested Format

Section Information to include

I. Topic Sentence Overview: Include Title, Author & Brief Recap

II. Analysis using Evidence/Support Analysis Tools: Purpose, Audience, Appeals (Ethos, Pathos, Logos), Stance, Genre, Tone, Language, Structure.

Evidence/Support: Examples, Specifics and/or Quotes

III. Concluding Sentence Reflective/ evaluative commentary: Examples:

“By using humor, the author is successful in reaching the audience.”

“By relying on the appeal of logos, the author makes a convincing argument about conservation.”

“The author’s purpose is never clearly stated, so the story/video/blog is confusing and unclear.”


Determine what the writer’s PURPOSE is. What, specifically, is the piece trying to get us to think, feel, or do?

Determine who the writer’s AUDIENCE is. Are they writing to people who they think agree with them, or disagree? How can you tell? What else can you tell about the audience?

Who is the intended audience? What values does the audience hold that the author or speaker appeals to? Who have been or might be secondary audiences?

APPEALS: Determine what the writer tries to DO to accomplish that purpose with that audience – their rhetorical moves. EVERYTHING the writer does, all of these rhetorical moves, will be some variation on these three basic tools of rhetoric:

LOGOS – ask yourself: What evidence does the writer give that their point is true? And is this evidence good? Is the warrant in the argument good?

CLAIM: You should only listen to me.EVIDENCE: Everything you see and read on the news is fake. B.S.

CLAIM: I’m never gonna find somebody.

EVIDENCE: That date was a disaster. Could be true

PATHOS – ask yourself: What feelings is the writer trying to trigger in the audience, and why? How does triggering this feeling help them reach this goal?

ETHOS – What does the writer tell us about themself, and why? How does this help them reach their goal? Also: What group does the writer try to bring their audience into as part of “US” (writer and audience)? What does this group think and believe?

Determine the writer’s STANCE. What are the author’s attitudes about the topics? Does the stance seem to be affected by the relationship with the audience?

Determine the writer’s TONE. How is the author’s tone communicated to the audience? Is the author constructing and piece that is humorous, serious, sarcastic, etc.? Review the word choices, the examples given and the overall organization of the piece; where do you see the tone most clearly communicated?

Explore the writer’s use of LANGUAGE. How formal/informal is the language? What specialized vocabulary is used? What other language features do you notice?

Determine what the writer tries to DO to accomplish the goals listed above; how does the author STRUCTURE their piece? How is the piece organized to convey its message? How does the structure facilitate the purpose of the information in the piece? How are other pieces in this genre typically structured?

Grading Range:

Stellar = 8 points; this RA

demonstrates a dynamic understanding of/connection to the material, making connections between, through and beyond the materials.

supports assertions and conclusions with robust examples/discussion;demonstrates a good faith effort by dynamically employing the analysis tools of the current unit; and,

is largely free of errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics.

Strong = 6 points; this RA

demonstrates a robust understanding of/connection to the material;supports assertions and conclusions with adequate examples/discussion;demonstrates a good faith effort by dynamically employing the analysis tools of the current unit; and,

is generally free of errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics.

Satisfactory = 4 points; this RA

demonstrates a basic understanding of/connection to the material;demonstrates a good faith effort by marginally employing the analysis tools of the current unit;

supports assertions and conclusions with minimal examples/discussion; and,

may have some errors, but generally demonstrates control of grammar, usage, and mechanics.

Developing = 2 points; this RA has been minimally completed; however,

understanding of and connection to the material could be developed further;

tools of analysis could be articulated in greater depth;

assertions and conclusions could be expanded further; and,

mechanical/grammatical errors are numerous.