When initially thinking about rhetorical analysis, the memories of past exhausting and tedious papers of analyzing speeches from historical figures I felt apathetic towards, or repetitive books of 500 pages, would strike my mind. This assumption that rhetoric can only be found in written texts was clearly a misjudgement. This specific rhetorical analysis opened my horizons to new forms of thinking—and writing—about the future. Not only did it raise my awareness about considering the audience, exigence, constraints, and the broader argument of a text, but it allowed me to realize that rhetoric is seen in our everyday lives, in whatever we do, read, hear, and look at, whether at home, on the train, or as we even scroll through social media.
As I was looking through artifacts to choose, Atwood’s “Time Capsule found on the Dead Planet” came to me naturally as I remember myself being fascinated by her structure and words, completely agreeing with everything she expressed regarding humanity’s future. However, when trying to find a piece to connect to her story, I stumbled upon my hypothesis annotations for Jorie Graham’s “We”—I knew their arguments were connected and had multiple rhetorical strategies. Though, I was initially overwhelmed by the fact that I had to articulate what both Atwood and Graham meant by their words cohesively into an overarching argument. During my rough draft, I had a handful of jumbled and sporadic bullet points, arrows leading to ideas that I was not yet ready to eloquently express, and random quotations from each piece. I had to read, reread, and reread once again, to see if I was making sense in my writing. After about an hour collecting my thoughts, carefully reading each piece over again for lines, phrases, or even words that I could potentially analyze, and scrolling through my own hypothesis annotations, I spent a night forming my paragraphs. Although it was a complete mess, with thoughts alternating between each story and poem, I knew I wanted to convey a controlling idea about a possible, future post-human world. It was just an idea, yet as I continued to write and have office hours, I discovered new terms and established a more centered thesis. In the beginning, I did not believe I could do either of them justice; though, as I continued to revise and redraft and reread my analysis and paid credence to their rhetorical devices, I knew that I synthesized both pieces to the best of my ability. I discovered the purpose and importance of the exigence, and made sure to connect to my controlling idea.
Nevertheless, this is still a work in progress, there is always room for improvement, and it may never fully be finished. I am continuing to revise and consider peer review. For the future, I hope to further develop my analysis with more clarity, style, and flow. My topic sentences may still need work, and the genre conventions I acknowledged may have multiple different perspectives. However, in regards to future writing, I can say that I will now keep in mind the WHY and HOW an artifact invokes change within the audience, instead of simply the what.