you will be writing a rhetorical analysis of the essay quot anybody can teach writing quot by seth kahn

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We will spend a short amount of time discussing it, but you should read the text thoroughly, more than once, taking notes or annotate ideas on the article, and be ready to discuss some options for analysis in-class. DO NOT RELY ON THE CLASS DISCUSSION ALONE to prepare you for your analysis. You will not be able to analyze every aspect of the article that we discuss in class, so be sure to have a strategy that answers the major questions for your OWN paper.

You must include examples (as quotes or paraphrases) from the text, so you will need to understand the content.

You will likely need to do some research about the author of the text and/or the publication venue. Indicate where this information comes from—cite it.

Analyze this article for various rhetorical strategies the author seems to be using and why. Identify the author’s use of rhetorical elements (style, arrangement, tone, references/citations, word choice, etc.), ultimately determining the author’s effectiveness/ineffectiveness in reaching the intended audience. Your focus is to ANALYZE the article, NOT to agree or disagree with the author’s article. Be sure you can look at the work objectively; don’t allow your passions for the topic prejudice your ability to analyze an author’s writing.

As you write, consider your own audience. Because everyone is analyzing the same essay and because we are working on some specific concepts related to the course, your audience is your professor (or rather, me as representative of college-level standards). If you were writing this paper in another context your audience would change. Your goals for this assignment are to show me your abilities in analysis, and in clearly and accurately writing that analysis.

Among other things, your analysis will need to consider the following (see the checklist in Everything’s an Argument, p 89-90):

  • Identify and BRIEFLY summarize the article. The whole paper is not a summary, but you need to include one. It should be no more than one paragraph in length and should be near the beginning of the essay. As stated above, if all you do is summarize the article I’m not reading it and assigning a failing grade.
  • Identify the author. Who wrote the piece, or who is taking responsibility for the message?
  • Identify other important information about the piece—when was it written, where was it originally published? You may need to do some online research to answer these questions.
  • Identify the probable audience. Who is the article attempting to target? How do you know? What specific things does the writer say or do to give you this information?
  • Identify the purpose. What is the central goal of the article? What other goals might the author also have? How is the author attempting to do this? Why is the author attempting to do this? What might these goals do for the success/effectiveness of the article?
  • Identify the major/main claims made in the article. What other smaller/minor claims are there? How do you know? What kinds of claims are they?
  • Identify the rhetorical appeals (pathos, ethos, logos) at work in the article. How are they targeting the audience (or intended to target)? How are they working toward or against the effectiveness of the article?
  • Identify other rhetorical devices at work (tone, word choice, repetition, etc.) How are they working toward or against the effectiveness of the article?
  • What evidence/support is provided by the author to reinforce or “prove” the claims?
  • What conclusion(s) is/are the audience supposed to reach? Are they likely to do this? Why or why not?
  • Use evidence and well-developed arguments to support your own claims. In other words, indicate what you’re “reading” from the article and how you’ve come to your conclusions. Go beyond the surface answer of what might be obvious. Do a thorough, college-level analysis.

Formatting Guidelines:

All formal essays for this class, including this one, must follow MLA-style formatting guidelines. This includes 1-inch margins, 12-point Times New Roman font, double spacing, a title (something more catchy or interesting than Analysis Essay or Formal Essay #1), your last name and page number in the right heading of each page and an MLA header with your name, the professor’s name, the course title and the due date in the top left corner of the first page. You must also include a Works Cited page with correctly formatted bibliographic listings, and proper quote conventions within the body of your essay.

The analysis should be no less than three (3) full pages. I am happy to read more than this, but anything less than three pages will not receive a passing grade.

Your essay should be written in a formal, academic tone. Strive to achieve a neutral, third-person perspective. First-person “me” and “I” statements have no place in this essay.

You will write two drafts of this essay: a First Draft and a Final Draft. As you write the Final Draft you should strive not just to “correct errors,” but to understand how your own writing functions and work to make revisions that reflect a deeper understanding of the task, your writing skill, and a larger understanding of your writing process. In other words, many of the same processes or questions I’m asking you to consider for this assignment should go into your own revision considerations.

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