Rhetorical Analysis of a Set of Texts

Rhetorical Analysis of a Set of Texts

→ A thesis-driven, analytical essay that examines how a set [2-3] of complex, multifaceted texts [print, visual, multimodal, and/or mixed media] function rhetorically, both separately and collectively.



Project 2 asks you to carefully select a set of either discipline-specific or cultural texts to analyze rhetorically. Using specific criteria and tools for rhetorical analysis [learned from course readings and practiced during class activities], you will analyze and examine the following for each text: author, exigency, rhetorical situation, genre, genre conventions, rhetorical function, and rhetorical success of the texts within their situated community.


Rhetorical Analysis of a Set of Texts Essay

This project is an insightful, analytical essay [4-5 page minimum] that employs concepts from the readings and assignment sheet to analyze texts. Be sure to include 1] a works cited page, where you’ll cite the selected texts AND 2] copies of the selected texts as digital files, all of which will be submitted to your peer review partner and Dr. Distel.


Selecting A Set of Texts

Look for a selection of texts that share a common thread. For example:

® For the animal rights movement, you might select a pamphlet, a website, and a YouTube video

® For the genre of the syllabus, you might select a syllabus from ENG 1510, ART 1411, PSY 1010


Project 2 Criteria

The essay:

  • Demonstrates an understanding of the elements of the rhetorical situation as well as the effectiveness/ineffectiveness of specific rhetorical
  • Contains a clear thesis statement that goes beyond restating the argument of the original texts to say something new about the texts’ successful/unsuccessful rhetorical function in their particular
  • Provides support for its thesis in the form of adequate and appropriate textual or visual examples from each of the texts, and the analysis of those examples using particular rhetorical concepts [exigence, situation, audience, genre, constraints, ] and concepts, strategies, tools, and techniques.
  • Is thoughtfully organized and developed with supporting paragraphs referring back to a central
  • Shows evidence of substantial and thoughtful revision that considers feedback from Peer
  • Follows standard academic conventions of grammar, punctuation, and spelling—containing very few or no surface-level errors—and appropriate MLA
  • Meets required length [at least to the bottom of the fourth page, not including the works cited or samples of the texts/images you are analyzing].



The thesis of your rhetorical analysis should be an insightful realization about how these particular texts function, both separately and collectively, in a specific field, for a certain social movement, or within a particular community of practice. An effective thesis focuses on how texts, within particular genres, contribute to accomplishing a specific social action or compelling its audience to think or act in a certain way. A good argument also considers the community in which the texts operate and how certain conventions or community norms influence an audience’s reception and/or a writer’s decisions. Consider the following questions when writing your thesis: How and why does this text succeed with its audience in achieving its purpose [or the purpose of its authors]? Texts may succeed in some aspects and fail or be less effective in others. In what ways is this text effective/ineffective in achieving its intended purpose? How does this text work in concert with, or against, other texts in the set?


What Makes It Effective?

A “good” rhetorical analysis takes into consideration the values, goals, and culture of the community in which the texts emerge. A good analysis will provide a wide range of examples of a variety of rhetorical and visual techniques operating in the texts, a discussion of how and when they are strategically used by the authors, and an understanding of how those specific rhetorical moves align with or challenge the author, community, genre, and/or intended audiences’ shared beliefs and attitudes.

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