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Rhetorical Analysis on an article regarding South Dakota’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

MLA 8th edition

A rhetorical analysis is an analysis of the rhetorical moves a writer makes. In other words, youre examining how a writer appeals to his/her audience to convince them to agree with an argument and how a writer adheres (or not) to the conventions of a genre and the expectations of a discipline.

For example, scholars writing in a literary journal are expected to make certain moves including a review of literature, during which they might identify another scholar with whom they disagree or position themselves in a debate; a discussion of a theoretical approach; an examination of the text through that theoretical lens. They are expected to quote extensively from the text they are examining but to assume the reader is familiar enough with it that they do not have to fill in a lot of detail on plot or character. They are expected to keep to a certain tone and, in some journals, to fill the article with so much jargon that it is indecipherable to all but a few other specialists (you have already gotten a taste of this in The Settler Colonial Present by Lorenzo Veracini).

Similarly, librarians reporting on a study theyve conducted would also be expected to do a review of the literature but would probably follow that up with a section on methodology. Then would come a presentation of the data, a discussion or analysis of said data, and a conclusion in which, more often than not, they might call for a further study of the topic.

Rhetorical Appeals: writers also appeal to their readers through ethos (credibility), pathos (emotion) and logos (logic). Most scholarly articles rely heavily on logos and ethos (thats why they cite experts), but pathos occasionally creeps in there too. In more popular journalism, this balance might be shifted, with an emphasis on pathos.

Your task in this paper, then, is to address as much of the following as you can:

1. Find an article on your topic. Ideally, it will be one of the sources that you plan to use for your research assignment.

2. Analyze it using the criteria discussed above, and answering these basic questions:

a. What do you know about where it was published and the expectations of that publication?

b. What discipline is the author writing in and what are the conventions of that discipline?

c. Who is the audience? How can you tell?

d. What do you think the audiences expectations are? Why?

e. What is the articles thesis or main point? How do you know?

f. What organizational moves does the author make? This might be related to the sections the article is broken into if thats how its organized. How do these structural moves affect your understanding?

g. What sort of tone does the author establish? How does this tone emerge? How does it affect your reading of the article and/or your tendency to agree with the thesis? h. What kind of evidence does the writer use? Is it reliable? Sufficient? How does this affect your tendency to agree with the thesis?

i. Does the author appeal to logic, authority, or emotion? Where and how? How does this affect your tendency to agree with the thesis?

j. Overall, are you convinced? Why or why not?

k. How might you use what you learned here in your essay?

The basic questionand this can serve as the prompt for this paperis: What rhetorical moves is this writer making?

Length: 3 pages (not including the works cited page)


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