Posts Tagged ‘Rhetoric & Persuation (Argument)’

When Fiction is a Bad Idea

by   |  04.09.10  |  Rhetoric & Persuasion (Argument)

Sometimes, writers make things up out of thin air when writing introductions of essays intended to be nonfiction.

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Research Goals and Evaluating Secondary Sources

by   |  03.29.10  |  Research and Cultural Identity

In class on Friday, we discussed the following items related to the goals of research:

What are some of the purposes of research?

  • To confirm the validity of your claims – appealing to the opinions of experts
  • To establish your credibility as an informed reader of a text
  • To provide historical context for your argument/analysis
  • To discover new knowledge (highest goal of research)

Pitfalls of Using Secondary Sources

  • Losing your own voice

Secondary sources should be used sparingly to supplement your claims about a text – claims from secondary sources cannot be your primary argument about the text. When quoting a secondary sources, be sure to follow up the quote with your explanation or argument about why the information from the secondary source is relevant to your claims.

  • Quoting sources that have no relation to your text
  • Failure to properly cite sources

Writing Assignment for Friday Feb 19

0 Commentsby   |  02.18.10  |  Interpretation and Purpose, Nonfiction (Essays), Rhetoric & Persuasion (Argument), Rhetorical Analyses

Linked below is an excerpt from a book-length work of nonfiction by Annie Dillard titled An American Childhood.  I would like you to treat this piece as if it were a complete essay for the RA due on Friday February 19:

from An American Childhood

When reading, consider the rhetorical strategy of the essay, the essay’s primary argument, and pay particular attention to the identity of the speaker.  This work also takes a major turn at one point in the essay that significantly changes the interpretive landscape of the piece.

Reading Assignment for Wednesday, February 17

0 Commentsby   |  02.15.10  |  Announcements, Nonfiction (Essays)

In addition to reading “The America I Love” by Elie Wiesel in The Conscious Reader (835-37), please read and be prepared to discuss the following 1988 essay by Peggy McIntosh on Wednesday, February 17:

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

Elie Wiesel claims in “The America I Love” that racism “has vanished from the American scene” (836). McIntosh takes a different approach. How do you account for the difference in these perspectives?

Evaluation – What Criteria Should I Use?

0 Commentsby   |  02.08.10  |  Evaluation and Critique, Rhetoric & Persuasion (Argument)

In class, we discussed ideas for defining criteria as required for Major Essay #2.  We examined real-world examples of criteria used in various evaluation processes:

The criteria below could be quite useful when evaluating the rhetorical effectiveness of a literary or film text:

  • Logos—the logical appeal.  When evaluating the logical appeal of a text, consider whether the work includes or avoids common logical fallacies. How well does the work withstand intellectual criticism?
  • Ethos—the ethical appeal. How well does the speaker establish her own credibility with an audience?
  • Pathos—the emotional appeal. How well does the work create a sense of emotional involvement in the reader or viewer?
  • Sensory Appeal—consider how well a work appeals to an audience’s sensory perceptions by using sound, rhythm, or visual imagery to make a reader/viewer’s experience more tangible or memorable; consider descriptions of smell or texture as well.
  • Structure—consider the structure or organization of a work as a criterion for evaluation (whether the sequence of events or the order of evidence presented is rhetorically effective).
  • Audience—consider whether the ability of a work to reach a broad audience or a limited audience could be used as a criterion for evaluation (this criterion could be a subcategory of the ethical appeal).
  • Other criteria can be useful depending on which aspects of a text you consider most important. On Monday, the class created a word cloud of additional words to consider as criteria for evaluating texts:

Word-Cloud-Results

Podcast on Writing About Literature

by   |  02.01.10  |  Interpretation and Purpose, Other Resources, Polls, Rhetoric & Persuasion (Argument)

Optional: I wanted to provide another resource that should be helpful when preparing to write Major Essay #1 (and future essays). Consider listening to Lecture 16 by Daniel Coffeen from a course on rhetoric at another university.

Caution: The speaker in this podcast sometimes uses language that we do not affirm (profanity), which may be offensive. As such, listening to this podcast is not required.  However, the content in the podcast may be quite helpful to most undergraduate writers. This podcast provides practical advice on the goals of writing about texts and the posture of a writer when writing about texts. If you choose to listen to the podcast in your free time or while exercising, you can download it to your iTunes library.

Note: This speaker discusses texts other than the ones we have read, but the advice in the podcast could be applied to an essay about any text. It’s just an optional resource that is available on the web from iTunes.

Nonfiction Essays – “Somebody’s Baby”

by   |  01.27.10  |  In-Class Writing Assignments, Nonfiction (Essays), Rhetoric & Persuasion (Argument)

Regarding the essay “Somebody’s Baby,” please respond to the following items as a comment to this blog post:

  1. Describe the rhetorical (persuasive) strategy of the essay (how does it accomplish its argument?).
  2. Does the essay have an emotional appeal (pathos)? If so, exactly how is the emotional appeal created?
  3. In what ways does the essay appeal to logic or reason (logos)?
  4. How exactly does the speaker establish her credibility with an audience (ethos)?
  5. What is the thesis of this essay (or its persuasive goal)?
  6. Include the names of the people in your group.

Writing About Short Stories; “Die Grosse Liebe”

0 Commentsby   |  01.15.10  |  Interpretation and Purpose, Rhetoric & Persuasion (Argument), Short Stories

Writers of stories spend time creating cultural universes, and they ask us to experience these universes as readers.  These cultural universes are shaped by carefully selected details in the stories—particular language, particular images, and particular spaces.   Every word, every detail in a text functions as an argument—an argument that attempts to alter the experience of readers.

On Friday, we’ll look at additional details in “Die Grosse Liebe” and what effects those details have in the story’s performance:

One of the most interesting questions to ask when writing about texts is simply, “How?”

  • How does the story perform its argument?
  • How does the story accomplish its purpose?
  • How does the story’s language cause readers to experience certain effects?
  • How does a certain detail interact with other details in the story, and to what effect?
  • What kind of cultural universe is presented in this story?  And how does the story create that kind of universe?

Here’s a clip with selected images and audio from the movie described in the short story:

Rhetorical Analysis Guidelines

by   |  01.13.10  |  Rhetoric & Persuasion (Argument), Rhetorical Analyses

Be sure to read the Rhetorical Analysis Guidelines linked to the Pages sidebar of the blog.

An example rhetorical analysis is available on this link: Example Rhetorical Analysis.

NOTE: You should not do any research when writing a rhetorical analysis.  For rhetorical analyses—and for your first two major essays—I want to read only what you find interesting from your own engagement with the text.  Please do not refer to or quote any source outside of the text about which you are writing.  Stay focused on the work you are reading.