Article 2: 500 Words
Article 2: Rhetorical Analysis of a Primary Source (500 Words)
Here, you’ll write a rhetorical analysis of your primary source. If the rhetorical analysis feels confusing or challenging, that’s actually a good sign — it means that you’re learning.
In this assignment, you’ll each choose a specific text to talk about — using outside research and your own reading of the text, you’ll discuss how the text functions for writers and audiences. Tell us what the text says, how it says it, and how that messages fits within the context of the situation.
First, address the following key points from the rhetorical triangle:
- Author: Who wrote it?
- Purpose: Why was it written?
- Audience: Who was it written for?
As you consider these, make sure you go into detail. I don’t want “a restaurant owner wrote about his favorite food.” I want “The author of this blog post is Rudolph Howard, the founder of Rudolph’s Pancake House. Here, he explains that his favorite types of omelets have exotic cheeses, and I believe the purpose of the post is to entice restaurant patrons in Bloomington-Normal to come try the new feta cheese omelet on their updated menu. To better reach this audience, he also posted a link on the restaurant Facebook page, which has 11 fans. I feel kinda bad for him, though — he doesn’t have many fans, and the post has no likes so far. And the blog post was boring, too — he didn’t say why the omelet is tasty, just that “you should try it. I recommend it. Especially with marshmallows on top.” In fact, reading that made me want to never visit his restaurant, and I think he should reconsider whether his target audience would willingly consume eggs and marshmallows from the same plate.
Next, you’re going to look at how your primary sources uses the rhetorical modes of persuasion (ethos, pathos, logos) to communicate, and how these fit with the genre and genre conventions.
Here’s an example:
In this McDonald’s billboard posted on Main Street, they feature an image of a Big Mac. This hamburger it huge — it fills the entire billboard, and it’s printed in very bright colors on a red background so you can see the burger on the billboard from half a mile away. For the genre of billboards, this fits the convention of using very large, very visible images that can be quickly seen and understood by distracted drivers. Next to the picture, they include the word HUNGRY? in bold, bright letters. In fact, just thinking about it makes me hungry, like I should stop writing this lesson plan and go to McDonald’s right now.