Rhetorical analysis essay, Unit 6 assignment.

 

Rhetorical analysis essay, Unit 6 assignment.
Essay length: 1000 to 1200 words
The Death of Honestyby William Damon
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Article:

http://www.hoover.org/research/death-honesty
Rhetorical analysis essay with focus on the content of the article. When 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.

 

Sample Rhetorical Analysis
The original article can be found at E. B. White – The Essay and the Essayist.
In “The Essay and the Essayist” E. B. White introduces, describes, and applauds the essaywriter. He introduces the essayist as an easygoing person who

is relaxed and prone to observation and insight. He paints this person as an egoist—self-absorbed and not quite fragile, but definitely sensitive. He

presents a list of characters that this person is capable of playing, and then takes on each role, thus illustrating his point. By presenting extensive

metaphors, alternating between first and third person, and varying sentence length, White is able to convey his message in a most entertaining manner.
The reader is introduced to White’s initial metaphor in the firstparagraph. Stating that the essayist “is a fellow who thoroughly enjoys his work, just

as people who take bird walks enjoy theirs” not only speaks of pure enjoyment, but equates the essayist and his job with leisure and fun. However, a

much stronger message comes through in paragraph two when White writes, “The essayist arises in the morning and, if he has work to do, selects his garb

from an unusually extensive wardrobe: he can pull on any sort of shirt, be any sort of person, according to his mood or his subject matter.” In this

context, the essayist is portrayed as a laid-back and somewhat frivolous person, who lives life on a whim. This notion is further solidified in the

clause “I need only fling open the door of my closet.”
In addition to his use of metaphors, White also alternates the voice of this piece between first and third person, creating a feeling of “us” and “them”

and giving readers a false sense of security or camaraderie.White begins by describing the essayist and what he does as though the essayist were someone

else, almost pointing an accusatory finger. But then, in paragraph two, he impishly admits, “I like the essay.” In the third paragraph, he switches back

to the third person, and again that wagging finger—this time more disciplinary—comes out. However, in the final paragraph, he reverts to first person

and says, “I think some people find the essay the last resort of the egoist, a much too self-conscious and self-serving form for their taste; they feel

that it is presumptuous of a writer to assume that his little excursions or his small observations will interest the reader.” This is not only ironic

but represents egoism at its best.
Finally, White uses varied sentence lengths to first create a vivid image for his readers and then punctuate his point. He tells elaborate stories, and

then hits readers with a quick, concise punch line. This can be seen first in paragraph one when, after three long, colourful sentences, he writes,

“This delights him.” Readers have been taken on a journey, and White ensures that they get to their intended destination. He repeats this style in

paragraph three when he writes, “It is the basic ingredient” and again in paragraph four when he writes, “There is some justice in their complaint.” The

last example is particularly effective and leads into a touching admission of weakness, again winning the support of readers.
In “The Essayist,” E. B. White seems to be informing his audience and apologizing to them simultaneously. He appears to be saying “This is what the

essayist does. It’s fun but presumptuous, and I do it. I know it’s bad, but it makes me happy. Don’t hate me for it.” His cleverly insincere self-

deprecation is winning, and he emerges as an everyday hero.
Final Notes
This sample is for demonstration purposes only, so it is much shorter and less detailed than the one you will write, and it does not include

parenthetical citations and a Works Cited or References page. Your rhetorical analysis must.
As you write, remember that everything you include should be there to demonstrate how the writer uses a device to make the audience think, feel, or

understand. Writing is about transmitting ideas to an audience, so make sure to keep the rhetorical triangle in mind (the relationship between the

subject, the writer, and the reader). Then, as you write each paragraph, you will remember to emphasize how the writer’s rhetorical choices impact

readers.

 

 

 

Checklist for Rhetorical Analysis Essay
After you have completed your analysis, use the checklist below to evaluate how well you have done.
• Did you use MLA or APA guidelines to format your essay? Did you check your formatting against examples in the textbook or on the Purdue Online

Writing Lab site? (See this unit’s lesson for links.)
• Did you introduce the reading by identifying the author, the title, and the subject matter? Did you put the title of the essay in quotation

marks?
• Did you include a summary of the article following your sentence of introduction?
• Is your thesis the last sentence of the first paragraph, or do you have a good reason it is not?
• Did you consider including an essay map/preview statement with your thesis sentence? (Speak to your tutor or see item #2 in Lesson 1 for further

information.)
• Have you used third person point of view throughout? If not, do you have a good reason you didn’t? Check and make sure you have not shifted into

first-person or second-person point of view.
• Does each paragraph have a topic sentence with at least two supporting points and a conclusion?
• Did you use a transitional word, phrase or sentence at the beginning of each body paragraph? Did you use transitional words and phrases as

necessary to connect sentences within your paragraphs?
• Did you follow all the assignment parameters?
• Did you include quotations from the article? As you did so, did you follow the four required steps?
• Did you check each use of research to determine whether you integrated it?
• Did you make sure that no paragraph (excepting the conclusion) ends with a quotation?
• Does your in-text citation properly match the corresponding Works Cited or References entry? Check this very carefully—remember that the first

word of the citation has to match the first word of the corresponding entry.
• Did you make sure to do your in-text and Works Cited or References entries correctly? Did you check each citation word for word and punctuation

for punctuation against an example from the textbook, the Purdue Online Writing, or another reputable up-to-date source?
• Did you create a suggestive, emphatic conclusion rather than one in which you unnecessarily repeat the main supporting points?
• Did you revise very carefully for grammar and mechanics?

 

 

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